How often do you update your Garmin databases?

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by kicktireslightfires, May 1, 2021.

  1. kicktireslightfires

    kicktireslightfires Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just curious how often you guys typically do the update? Seems like they release an updated version once a month? It takes about 40 minutes to update both the PFD and MFD in my aircraft so it's not something I'm excited about doing at every release. I'm thinking maybe once every 3-6 months. Curious how often you guys update?
     
  2. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    If I’m flying IFR it’s always a current database. If not meh… when I notice it’s a problem :-/
     
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  3. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    I fly IFR on virtually every non-training flight. The nav data cycle is every 28 days, on Thursdays. So that's how often.
     
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  4. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    ^^^ This. I keep the twin IFR legal.
    I am not sure why it takes 40 minutes to do an update every month? Is this a G1000 and the updates include terrain, etc?
    My updates for the 530W take less time than it takes to retrieve the card from the plane and go out to the hangar to reinstall it.
     
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  5. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Not sure on a Garmin, but on the Avidyne I update just the Nav database and it takes about 15 seconds. I do it as part of my start-up checklist. Are you uploading terrain as well? Geology really doesn’t change every 28 days, but I don’t know Garmin.
     
  6. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    40 minutes?!

    Are you downloading via internet? What avionics do you have?
     
  7. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    I keep our Commander IFR ready. Download every month, it takes just a few minutes. Most of the time is taken up scrolling through the alerts list.
     
  8. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    I update every cycle so I'm always IFR-legal. Takes about 10 minutes tops to program a 430W data card. It takes much longer to update my EFB database, but that can happen unattended.
     
  9. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Not sure what avionics the OP has. But 40 minutes is surprising.

    A Garmin 650 takes almost no time at all to update while at the airport- just a few seconds to swap cards before start. Updating the cards themselves while at home takes a few minutes to login, download, and transfer data to the card.

    Garmin 430 was similar to the 650 but the cards were slower, for transferring data from computer to card, requiring maybe a minute more.

    An Avidyne MFD uses a USB flash drive, and updating adds a minute or two to startup mostly just because the MFD has to reboot after updating data.
     
  10. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    G3X- whenever it prompts me to.
     
  11. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    It might take that long. I never figured out a way to update the 162 database. Maybe he’s doing something complicated to get around the issues.
     
  12. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I update about every 28 days. I pay a lot for the service so there’s no reason not to keep on top of it.

    I’m curious though why it takes you 40 minutes? What Garmin navigator(s) do you have? I do both cards for my WAAS unit in less than ten minutes and the non WAAS only has one card, which takes less than that. I can update the cards for two planes in a lot less time than forty minutes.

    That said, if it took me 40 minutes I wouldn’t let that deter me from religiously keeping them up to date.
     
  13. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Maybe it’s not a navigator? He mentions PFD/MFD.
     
  14. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    He had a skycatcher at one point, which has a g300 in it.
     
  15. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I will rephrase: what Garmin equipment are you updating?
     
  16. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    The G1000 will take at least 40 minutes. I’ve worked all morning at updating them before.

    Even the newer Aera hand held GPS update times are painfully slow for what I think they should take in 2021.
     
  17. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you're VFR only, update whenever you want. If you're IFR and using RNAV as your primary navigation source, you have to have the current navigation database in your navigator (you're not required to update all the extras, though, like obstacles).
     
  18. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    The Aera is very slow downloading data, Garmin Pilot is very fast...same company?
     
  19. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    If Garmin works like many large companies, it is probably a totally different team working on one vs. the other, and one team has their act together while the other doesn’t.

    At least I haven’t had any trouble with the database updates on the Aera. They just work. Can’t say the same for the G1000.
     
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  20. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Every FAA moon cycle. Which equates to roughly exactly about precisely every 28 days.
     
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  21. CA182R

    CA182R Pre-Flight

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    The Aera database management and update are a real joke, at least on my unit. I moved away from the Garmin portable line.

    Fortunately, Garmin Pilot and my GTN unit are the total opposite. I always keep them updated. I've had rare hiccups with updating the GTN through FS510, so I update the day before a flight just in case.

    I also have a GNC 255 and not a huge fan of updating from the USB port (but at least it's really quick). That one, I update occasionally or for IFR. May upgrade to GNC 355 some day and benefit from the crossfill connectivity..
     
  22. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Pre-Flight

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    When I pay for it, I try to update every cycle. But there have been long periods of time when I haven't re-upped my subscription. I can't understand the 40 min update time though. My G1000 does it in well under a minute for both PFD and MFD.
     
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  23. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    Which AERA? My old 510 updates in a couple of minutes via USB using the current Garmin webupdater. It takes longer to take off and replace the batter cover to attach the ancient mini-USB cable than it does to run the database and software updates.
     
  24. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    The 660 and 760 are the worst because they have more features and require more data. I haven't updated the 796 for a while but I recall it taking a little less time.
     
  25. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    In my experience, the 660 takes 45 minutes or more. The navigation charts IIRC takes like 40 of those minutes. The safe taxi, airport data, etc are pretty quick.
    I download all the charts, you can save time by only selecting a few.
     
  26. CA182R

    CA182R Pre-Flight

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    I've seen various speeds when downloading Aera updates with the Wifi interface, sometimes including days to get it done. Updating with the flygarmin/USB cable method is more acceptable, around 5 minutes, but the Aera has a weird issue that the "Downloads" page doesn't seem to be aware of databases installed with the USB method. I even wonder what happens if someone has automatic download enabled and the databases were already installed with the USB method.
     
  27. Skymark11

    Skymark11 Filing Flight Plan

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    I went away from the wifi option update with the Aera 660 and have had more success with the usb cable- about 15-20 min the other day - be sure to enter mass data storage option after plugging in the 660.

    I have a new GTN 650 and have will have my first update as soon as annual is complete. When you say swap cards- do you have to buy another Garmin Card or will generic work?
     
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  28. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Once you have a subscription, you can use a computer to download the updates to the card you have.
     
  29. rbridges

    rbridges En-Route

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    I do it every cycle. Sometimes I'm a few days into it. I fly IFR around the Atlanta area. (Un)fortunately, I only have a 430W, so it's not like I have a ton of stuff to keep current.
     
  30. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Ran updates for my G3X last night. Loading the updates onto the SD card took about 35 minutes. Loading the SD card data into the G3X took 20-25 minutes.
     
  31. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Once you learn the process, it's easy to do, and once the subscription has been purchased, it really doesn't make sense to let that money go to waste.

    It's been a couple of years since I've updated a GTN product, but my recollection is that it didn't take long at all.
     
  32. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

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    Ditto.

    Both 430's and the Avidyne, map and charts. I also keep WingX up-to-date as well.
     
  33. MICHAEL MAHN

    MICHAEL MAHN Pre-Flight

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    I just took on the role of keeping the databases on our two club planes current. It's quick and painless. One is a GTN 650 with the SD card. The total process is about 10 minutes for both planes. I've only updated the maps. It might be a little slower when obstacles etc. need updating.
     
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  34. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I update my database regularly, as the updates are released. I even paid $250 for a Wombat so I could update it if from my IPAD if I am on the road when it is due.

    But unlike many of you, I fully understand why it takes the OP 40 minutes to do two updates. It takes several minutes to erase the old chip, download the update, apply the update, and verify the update. I do not sit and watch it the whole time so I let it run for a while and come back in a few minutes and check. If it isn't done, I go on to other things. It really does take several minutes and unless you just sit there and watch it, I can easily see where it take 40 minutes to do two of them. But NO, it doesn't have to if you sit and watch it.

    btw, I love my Wombat from Bad Elf. It has eliminated a lot of stress (other than spending $250+, but I have already gotten over that).
     
  35. Vince R

    Vince R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just a comment on the 40 minute upgrades...

    I have a pair of GTNs and a G500, all connected with Garmin Flightstream. I download the updates to my iPad in maybe five minutes, then it’s maybe another five minutes to sync from iPad to the GTN-750 with the flightstream card in it. The 750 pushes the updates to the 650 pretty quickly - maybe another five minutes or so. But the push to the G500 is quite slow - easily upwards of an hour. Many times, I’ll just go for a little local flight, and the G500 won’t even be fully updated an hour later. It has me thinking of just updating the G500 cards the old-fashioned way.
     
  36. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Garmin guys monitor Beechtalk panel forums, you might want to join there and post this question. Or call Garmin service, it could be something simple. The G500 and GTNs have a high speed bus they should be using.
    Update: BTW, same boxes, a guy in another forum says his updates complete while taxiing. He said don’t update the flight charts, they take all the time, anyway they get transferred on demand anyway.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021 at 1:04 PM