How does Garmin database subscription pricing work?

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by elvisAteMySandwich, Apr 17, 2022.

  1. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    This may be a dumb question, but I'm looking at Garmin's pricing page and something doesn't make sense to me. They don't show any bundles. What if you have an Aera 760 and you run Garmin Pilot on an iPad as a backup. Do you have to pay $169.95 and $99.99 for a total ~$270/year? Does Garmin really charge you per device for database updates?

    People who have GTN 750Xi as a PFD and say a GTN 625Xi as a backup, are they really paying hundreds per device for annual database subscriptions?
     
  2. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Messages:
    953

    Display name:
    Cluemeister
    Garmin's bundles and explanations of the bundles leave a lot to be desired. Call them and let them walk you through it.
     
  3. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    Okay, I'll do that. Just makes me uncomfortable when companies hide their pricing.
     
  4. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Near KCON

    Display name:
    Joe_B
    They are not hiding anything.

    https://fly.garmin.com/fly-garmin/support/pricing

    Go to this page and input your device. You can chose from bundles, one paks, or pilot paks. When you select one of the options, it will tell you the cost and what devices it supports.

    People with multiple devices often opt for the one pak but you can also purchase individual databases at the bottom of the page.

    For me, the best option is a bundle as I have a GTN750xi and GI-275's as well as a GNS530W. A bundle let's me update all of them.
     
  5. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    Okay, I'm starting to understand their pricing a little bit more. It's the naming that seems to be my biggest hurdle: bundles, one paks, pilot paks. So if I had multiple Garmin devices and just wanted US data, it seems like it would cost $669 (US one pak) and an additional $99 (base garmin pilot subscription). So about $770/yr. But it depends on how many devices, as it may be cheaper to just buy a database bundle for each one individually.
     
  6. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Near KCON

    Display name:
    Joe_B
    You have to look at what the various packages support. Bundles support multiple devices. My advice would be to set up an account and then go to the devices page and register all your stuff. Then you can plug in the various package options and see what is the best solution.
     
  7. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    2,423
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas

    Display name:
    Mark
    I prolly should look into bundling my premium Garmin Pilot and my Aera 660 subscription.
     
  8. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    2,612
    Location:
    New Hampshire

    Display name:
    Heywood Jablowme
    I pay about $1000/year for full databases for a G3X, GTN650, GNS530 and a Aera 660. I think that's reasonable.
     
    John Godfrey likes this.
  9. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    This is the plan as soon as I close on the current plane. Just thinking about future panel upgrades while I wait for the pre-buy inspection to get done. But now realizing that need to factor in database subscription prices as well.
     
  10. Fracpilot

    Fracpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2019
    Messages:
    427

    Display name:
    Fracpilot
    Dang. I thought $700 for my GTN650 Aera 660, and GTR225 was ridiculous. You’ve got me bear for sure. Nice setup though.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2022
    edo2000 likes this.
  11. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    That's a nice setup with good redundancy. If they all talk to each other, have the same database info and similar user interface then I can see why that's worthwhile.

    Foolish me, I thought the price of a piece of avionics was the MSRP + a little for installation. But it seems like it's heading toward the shaver+blades model. The electronics will get cheaper over time but the cost will move towards subscriptions.
     
  12. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    2,612
    Location:
    New Hampshire

    Display name:
    Heywood Jablowme
    I think it could be a little cheaper if we skipped terrain and obstacles but it was such a small difference that we just went ahead and got the complete package.
     
  13. Fracpilot

    Fracpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2019
    Messages:
    427

    Display name:
    Fracpilot
    Same here. The GTR225 was only $20 extra for the year. Made sense to just buy it.

    Fixed the typo to my previous post. Should’ve been GTN650, not GTN650c.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  14. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Near KCON

    Display name:
    Joe_B
    Ha ha ha, foolish Elvis. Here are the facts for my area. What you pay for electronics, be prepared to spend 50 - 80% more for installation to the avionics shop. Then for my meager setup, it costs me $599 for the bundle and, $79 for my pilot subscription and, money to the avionics shop for upgrades like smartglide, etc. So at least for a Garmin panel, you are going to pay big. I cannot speak for other stuff like Avidyne and other manufacturers but the one thing I have learned is that Garmin stuff is expensive but works great (at least the stuff that I have).
     
    elvisAteMySandwich likes this.
  15. chemgeek

    chemgeek En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    2,663

    Display name:
    chemgeek
    Jepp databases are even more expensive than Garmin. I switched to Garmin when they started providing nav data, at a significant cost savings. I paid Jepp more than $100 more per year for Eastern US coverage than I am paying Garmin for full US coverage now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2022
  16. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    Thank you all for sharing what you've seen! I'm just getting started, don't even own a plane yet but that might be fixed by next week. I'm trying to absorb as much as possible by reading threads, but sometimes I need to just ask dumb questions or make dumb statements and have someone correct me so I can learn. Much appreciated!

    @Joe_B1 The install costs sounds crazy. Do you think it's a temporary thing because we're in the steam gauges to glass conversion phase? Will it be better in a couple years?
     
  17. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Near KCON

    Display name:
    Joe_B
    From what I can tell, most avionics shops are severely backed up and I don't think its a temporary thing. These systems are very complex and require quite a lot of time to install correctly. Couple that with covid, supply chain issues and the shortage of qualified people to do this work and it ends up taking a lot of time and costing a lot of money. Just about every manufacturer has backorders on equipment as well.

    If you could see behind your panel, you would be amazed at how many cables run between the various boxes. You have receivers, transmitters, computers, high and low power equipment that all has to work perfectly. It is very complex stuff that requires highly trained people to do the work. Add in hangar space, and tons of specialized test equipment and you can see why install costs run high. If its an IFR install, the avionics tech literally has peoples lives in his hands they have to be certified and accountable for their work.

    Lots of stuff to consider.
     
  18. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Messages:
    5,635

    Display name:
    hindsight2020
    As to the bolded: you're new to this I see. :D

    As to the follow up questions: No to the first one, and hell No to the second. It's not a temporary dynamic, it's a fact of life in the certified side.

    You're entering an insufferably ossified motor vehicle recreational market that does not enjoy the economies of scale your automobile and personal consumer products enjoy. It treats every component install like that of a hand built, single serial number, custom hot rod installation somehow destined for orbital re-entry. Then it adds the special inflection of charging labor and base component pricing indexed to that of conveyances dedicated to the public carriage for revenue (airliners/cabin class turbines). Something your lawnmower will never come close to engaging in, as a demographic.

    For those who enjoy the airline cosplay thing, it may very well be just another sunk cost in life. For those who aren't into it for said reasons, it's anywhere from a nuisance to a hobby-exiting imposition, depending on where your hull value sits vis a vis the electronics being demanded in order to enter certain airspace. Hangar fairies abound too. Experimental is the largest option to sidestep that guano, provided your mission doesn't require a second row. Otherwise you're captive.

    Welcome, and may your wallet always see eye to eye with what your heart desires. :D
     
  19. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    I'm slowly learning those install costs are no joke. I just got quoted $25k to make an experimental plane IFR capable. About $10k in hardware and the rest as installation costs. You just said it doesn't match up with the PC market pricing which I can see, but it's still really hard for me to wrap my head around it. These avionics systems are just a bunch of mini-PCs connected by wires to each other and a bunch of sensors. It feels like it could be a lot cheaper, especially for experimental. But I suppose no one has incentive to aggressively tackle install costs right now.

    I feel like you just casually shared one of the three key secrets to life. Now I just have to figure out the other two. :)
     
  20. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Near KCON

    Display name:
    Joe_B
    Perhaps it would help you to understand if you downloaded an installation manual for something like a GI-275 or a GTX345 or if you can find one, a GTN750xi. They are hundreds of pages long.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2022
  21. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    I've looked at a couple and they remind me of the early days of computers where a lot of things were hard wired to each other.
    [​IMG]
    In modern computers, the hard wires are replaced with software communicating over standard protocols so that you really only need power and an ethernet cable to have most devices talk to each other. In my little fantasy world, Lycoming could package their engines with sensors and a single engine sensor computer. It would need two things, power and an ethernet cable. It would be able to publish engine stats to whoever subscribes to its engine stats feed, just like we can get updates when subscribing to a twitter feed. If the protocol were standardized, you could easily swap different engine monitor alerting and display units from different companies. Furthermore a downstream subscriber could even broadcast those stats outside of the plane to say companies that automatically monitor your engine performance while you're in flight. Apply some analysis to your engine performance over time and develop maintenance tasks to improve it for future flights.

    Behind the pretty glass panels, avionics are closer to 1970-1990 technology. Lipstick on a pig.
     
    TCABM likes this.
  22. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    7,999

    Display name:
    asicer
    Garmin actually uses Ethernet for many of its newer devices.
    CANbus was more or less invented for this purpose and is what is used in automobiles. OBD-II is how the data exits the car.
     
    TCABM likes this.
  23. elvisAteMySandwich

    elvisAteMySandwich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2020
    Messages:
    77

    Display name:
    elvisAteMySandwich
    That's interesting. I wonder if they are using TCP/IP and doing a OSI stack for networking.

    Started reading about CAN bus took me down a rabbit hole. Fascinating that the automobile industry was able to create some interoperability standards. ARINC seems to be specifying the networks for large commercial aircraft. Wonder if it will filter down to small GA planes.

    The plane I'm about to buy has a Dynon pitot/AOA which talks to a Dynon D10A flight instrument. The pitot is unheated and I'm thinking to get it upgraded to the heated version. But there's a catch. The Dynon pitot/AOA only talks to Dynon flight instruments and the Garmin pitot/AOA only talks to Garmin ones. So instead of interoperability, I'm in the position where a single pitot/AOA sensor could define which manufacturer is the future upgrade path of all my avionics.
     
  24. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    7,999

    Display name:
    asicer
    I sure hope not. Considering the nature of the data, I would hope that they don't use anything much above layer 2.
     
  25. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Near KCON

    Display name:
    Joe_B
    There are many different network architectures as well as protocols in use in GA already. I know in my plane with a Garmin panel, there is a high speed serial bus, CANBUS, LVDS, ARINC, USB, ethernet. Garmin and my engine monitor use USB for updates and log data. My engine monitor uses LVDS for sensor data, ARINC is used to drive nav instruments. CANBUS and serial RS-232 is for data between boxes. This is what I have been told but I am sure there is a better explanation than this.
     
  26. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    May 5, 2019
    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    KOMN

    Display name:
    jrcox19
    As others have said. Canbus, Ethernet (Various non standard flavors), ARINC 429 (and other ARINC flavors), RS-232/422 (No real standard format) are all relatively common in GA.
     
  27. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    7,999

    Display name:
    asicer
    "GPS-Aviation" born from the old Apollo formats is sort of a de-facto standard. There's a good amount of inter-connectivity across manufacturers using that. Ditto the Shadin format. It really helped that Garmin published it in the appendix section of their install manuals way back when.

    And wasn't the GDL90 format adopted by the FAA (or someone semi-authoritative) as a standard for FIS-B/TIS-B over RS-232/422?
     
  28. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    May 5, 2019
    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    KOMN

    Display name:
    jrcox19
    It's a damn shame Garmin has stopped following the standard that they created.
     
  29. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    7,657
    Location:
    Wasilla, AK

    Display name:
    stewartb
    The cheapest bundle is more $$ than the aggregate of what I need. I go ala carte.
     
  30. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    10,860
    Location:
    Colorado

    Display name:
    murphey
    Remember the the forces of flight…lift, thrust, drag, weight and money. Without the last one, the first four dont’t matter.
     
  31. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    10,860
    Location:
    Colorado

    Display name:
    murphey
    I do too. Obstacles, terrain and such once a year. Maybe. Mountains don’t move. Annual NAV subscription for the US is $299/yr.
     
  32. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Near KCON

    Display name:
    Joe_B
    But isn't cost a big component of drag?
     
  33. FPK1

    FPK1 Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2021
    Messages:
    241

    Display name:
    FPK1