IFD 540 vs 750 Xi

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by WannFly, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    so with new and fast Xi in the market.. how does the comparison hold with IFD 540?
    Xi being latest and greatest i am assuming big G have some plans on bringing in new features that will get help from faster processing .. whats Avidyne's answer?
     
  2. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Avidyne's thing is "being a slide-in replacement for Garmin." And they did that very well, and rightfully nailed Garmin for a stupid decision (requiring a much more expensive install). If they'd have had a way for a 540 to replace the common KLN-89B + KX155 combo in a similar way, I'd have strongly considered it.

    I'm not sure if the IFD550 uses all-new hardware or not. If it does, you could consider that to be the "540Xi" even though it was introduced 3 years ago. Otherwise, I wouldn't expect Avidyne to have new hardware soon.

    It remains to be seen what the GTN Xi units will become, but they're already better than the standard GTNs and are at the very beginning of their software lifecycle, whereas the standard GTNs are likely at the end of theirs. The standard GTNs have gained VNAV, visual approach guidance, and quite a few other features along the way through software updates. Who knows what Garmin has up their sleeve for the Xi units.
     
  3. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    My take on Avidyne is if you have a 430/530 it’s a no brainer swap when that unit dies. As for a new installation it would be a tough sale being
    Nearly the same price. I’ve messed with them both and the Garmin just has better graphics and interface. The only real plus of the avidyne is that it has more physical buttons and software updates and improvements are free.
     
  4. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    so what i heard recently that when a unit a certified, it means all the components of the unit is certified as well and they cant just upgrade one piece. this means that the first unit that shipped form Garmin in 2011 and the last unit shipped in Jan 2020 is exact same one. may be down the road new feature would come that would need faster processing, donno.

    anyway, i am just rambling ... i aint doing anything until my 480 goes tango uniform... but at some point i have to take this call. 650 xi/750 xi vs Avidyne
     
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  5. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Maybe Avidyne will come out with an IFD490.

    :rofl:

    Sorry.
     
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  6. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    Do you want to continue with knobology that is supplemented by some touch function, or do you want to use a single knob nearly exclusively for frequency changes in turbulence? Do you want a more simple interface, or do you want something that acts a little more like a jet FMS? Do you want a GPS that can serve as an emergency AI, or do you want better integration with a larger suite of avionics? Direct swap into a 430/530 harness?

    I personally find nothing wrong with the processing speeds of the 650/750 as is, nor do I find their screens to have poor resolution. I like the function of the Garmin units better than the Avidyne - which can take more steps. I also like the integration into my avionics better.
     
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  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think the answer ultimately comes down to flow. There are very few things one does which the other doesn't, but there are several things they do differently. Whether one is "better" or "more intuitive" is about personal likes and dislikes than anything truly objective. Connectivity with other items is another big deal.

    One flow-related consideration for the tech-challenged. By that I mean you have still not quite figured out that all Windows program menus are the same or what the "share" icon on your phone or tablet is for (I actually saw that one just yesterday). Garmin units since the 430 and the early x96 handhelds have followed similar "logic," so a transition from a 430 to a GTN is easier than from a 430 to an IFD.
     
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  8. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    I have no relation with a 430, I have 480 which is more FMS than garmin world of GPS. Having said that my panel is very invested in garmin and I like the fact that garmin stuff will talk to each other better and less finger pointing when things don’t work.
     
  9. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The 650/750 aren't bad... But the 650Xi/750Xi are better.

    That doesn't manifest in many ways other than responsiveness yet, but as time goes on the Xis will gain more new features that the standard GTNs cannot handle.
     
  10. JohnAJohnson

    JohnAJohnson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Big advantage with the Avidyne is that you can install it with IA supervision, even from scratch, and if it needs to be serviced, you can send it to Avidyne yourself, and get it back directly from them. If your Avidyne needs a firmware update, you can do it yourself at no cost, other than the A&P supervision. Garmin is all about taking care of their dealer network, and while commendable, it is expensive, and has no benefit for me. I own an IFD540 now and have had to call Avidyne a couple of times with questions and they were 100% great about it. I tried that with my 430 years ago and was told to contact my local dealer. Trying to track down a Garmin dealership proved to be anything other than user friendly. I called Garmin to inquire if their product (G3X) was compatible with the Avidyne IFD box, and their answer was, "we can't guarantee that - didn't test". Really? Other manufacturers do test for compatibility with others' products and will not try to hide their findings in hopes you'll be coerced into staying with the brand. Difference in philosophy I guess. Like Bendix, Speery, Honeywell, et al., every dog has its day. Lighten up on the kool-aid and you'll see the Avidyne boxes are excellent navigators that can go toe to toe with the Garmins and even if they tie, the other tangibles mentioned above are significant and to me, are easy tie breakers.
     
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  11. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I replaced my GNS units with Avidyne's IFD550 and IFD440 last year, and I am very happy with them. Prior to the change, I had looked at both the IFDs and the GTNs as possible replacement (those are really the only available new choices these days). Both have really nice displays with plenty of resolution to show nice-looking maps with good weather and traffic overlays. They differ a little bit in capabilities and a lot in user interface design. The latter is a matter of personal preference - best is to spend some time with each and see what you like better. Functionally, the GTNs are nice upgrades to the GNS series, but they don't quite reach the capabilities of the IFDs, which are derived from an actual FMS. Now, do you need all that navigational magic? That's up to everyone to decide for themselves.

    Another consideration is compatibility. Garmin has earned a reputation of creating a somewhat closed system, not too compatible with equipment from other vendors. I wanted to keep my options wide open for future EFIS and autopilot choices, and felt that Avidyne would do that best. On the user interface, I also like the fact that virtually everything can be accomplished either on the touch screen or through knobs/buttons, the latter being my preference in turbulence.
     
  12. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    The OP's question implies that the IFD boxes are lagging because the GTNs have a new "Xi" version and the Avidynes are still "original hardware". I don't know if Avidyne has a plan for a hardware revision, but to the original point--so far there's nothing lacking in the areas of IFD responsiveness or processing capability where a need for new hardware has yet been identified. Until the current generation of IFD hardware is exposed to have a limitation, I'd say there's not any currently-compelling advantage to the "Xi"s.
     
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  13. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If I had to guess, I would say that Garmin's hardware boost for the GTNs may have more to do with obsolescence than with new capabilities. It's pretty common in the avionics world that at some point, when parts are no longer procurable, new technology is inserted to keep the system producible, supportable and affordable/profitable. Sure, the better processing speed does open some new possibilities downstream - but how much processing power does one really need to navigate from A to B? For the specific improvements I would love to see for GTNs and IFDs - things like expanding the list of devices they can interoperate with, better support for PBN/RNP/RF legs, keeping up with displaying future weather products, etc. - I believe the processing power and display capabilities are/were already there. Both platforms have enormous potential to grow just from future software updates.

    - Martin
     
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  14. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So, what are these capabilities that the IFD has that the GTN doesn't? I've heard this "FMS" thing before, but so far I haven't been able to find out what's really different other than Avidyne marketing-speak.

    The compelling thing is what is to come in the future... The cost of the installation itself on an IFR GPS/Nav/Com system is so high that it's worth spending extra to get something that will keep you happy for a very long time.
     
  15. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    exactly. i could probably get a better price on the IFD from Jesse Saint , last i checked his price was unbeatable even here in the boondocks, for IFD only, believe big G only sells via dealer. the guy out here charges about 2.5-3k for install. everything else in my panel is Garmin... so thats something to pay serious attention to
     
  16. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    What I said was "currently-compelling". Vaporware, in my opinion, is not compelling. Your opinion may differ. Regardless, it remains to be seen whether there will be a practical difference in performance or capability that will eventually differentiate an Xi unit from a current-gen IFD (or previous-gen GTN).
     
  17. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good question, and I would like to see someone do a thorough analysis of the differences in terms of navigation and guidance between these two products. I consider myself an expert user of the old GNS devices, and I'm getting closer to being an expert on the IFDs. I have a good basic understanding of the capabilities of an FMS in larger airplanes from my line of work - not as a pilot, but as an employee of a large avionics company (neither Garmin nor Avidyne). The GTNs I know the least about; my knowledge is based on what I've ready in the pilot guide, what I've seen in the press and at trade shows, and what other pilots have relayed to me from their experience.

    So with that disclaimer out of the way, here are some things the Avidyne does for which I have not yet found equivalent support on the GTNs:
    • Gaps in flight plans. An FMS usually calls that a discontinuity, or short "discont". Not all flight plans are contiguous from take off to landing. Quite often a STAR ends with "expect vectors to an approach" or something along those lines. The IFDs accurately reflect these situations by having an explicit gap between the defined portions of the flight plan. A gap may be there by design, or ir may tell the pilot that the flight plan construction isn't quite complete yet. It's actually quite a useful thing once you've seen it in action a few times.
    • More complete support of ARINC leg types. GPS and thus most RNAV procedures are meant to fly from one point over the ground to another. However, many legacy procedures have leg types such as "fly a heading to an altitude" (VA) or "fly a heading to intercept the next leg" (VI) or "fly a course to an altitude" (CA). Some of these are maybe getting rare in the US; BROAK1 at KPHX is an example of a departure procedure which depending on the transition uses several of these examples. A more common example is a missed approach leg like "fly runway heading to 2,500, then..." which the IFD handles automatically when connected to an EFIS or Air Data Computer.
    • Loading multiple approaches at the same time. This is one of those tools which you won't need very often, but boy can it come in handy at times. Example: setting up for an instrument approach on the runway favored by the wind direction, but with high minimums (say LNAV only). You can then pre-load an approach at the same airport from the other side with better minimums and be ready to start that second approach as you go missed on the first one. The other example would be lining up multiple approaches at nearby airports in a quick sequence to do practice approaches for currency - you can set that all up on the IFD before you start the flight.
    Do we all need these capabilities? I would say the answer is 'no', for even the old GNS units give most pilots more than they use in real life. But you asked for examples of what the FMS heritage of Avidyne's IFD means, so here you go. If you are looking for the best navigation and guidance capability of a GA-approved GPS navigator, I believe the IFD beats the GTN.

    Best regards,
    Martin
     
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  18. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    GNS 480 has the discontinuity feature but it’s can’t load multiple approaches at the same time. Good to know.
     
  19. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The GNS480 is a good reference point for this discussion. It, too, was more heavily influenced by air transport FMS concepts in its design, and in the fundamental definition of what a flight plan is. Many of us are unaware of that because, frankly, all we ever do if fly on great circle lines between well-defined points. For the most part, that's all the GNS430/530 units could do. But there's a whole world of more complex ways to navigate out there, which many GNS430/530 owners today probably remember from their days of instrument training long ago (before GPS). How well all this complexity can be reflected in a flight plan is a key differentiator between the GNS480, the GNS430/530, the GTNs, and the IFDs.

    - Martin
     
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  20. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Aha! You must be a Collins guy. :)

    Aha. OK, now we're getting good information here. :)

    TL;DR: I see the difference, but it's unlikely to actually make any difference for 99% of piston-driven airplanes.

    I'll address these one at a time - 2nd, then 3rd, then 1st.

    For the leg-type example you give - the GTN *does* do that. I even loaded the BROAK1 into the GTN simulator on my iPad and "flew" it from runway 26 (climb heading 258 to 1635 MSL and then proceed direct JUTAK. I don't think it supports RF (Radius to Fix) legs yet for RNP approaches. Does the IFD?

    For the multiple approaches - Yes, that's true. However, outside of training, I can't think how that'd be a great idea. If I don't have time to load another approach - I'm not ready for the next approach. Get vectors somewhere, take a breath, brief the second approach, THEN fly it. And in training, IMO it would lead to bad habits to load all of the approaches prior to starting the first one. But it is an interesting ability, and the Garmin stuff doesn't have it. That said, I don't know of anyone else who does either - I'd sure like ForeFlight to support something like that before I did it on my panel so that the panel doesn't screw up my EFB's flight plan. Does Avidyne do flight plan transfer with ForeFlight or only with their own app?

    That brings up a workaround, too... If you really need that second approach ready to go, load it in ForeFlight, and beam it to the panel when you miss the first one.

    Finally - The gaps. That's a cool function, but even flying a turbine-powered airplane, in the real world it's incredibly rare to actually fly those procedures as charted IME. For example, we do LEEDN.GOPAC2 into KMKE frequently, which ends with the BONOT fix, fly track 076, expect vectors to the approach. I have literally NEVER made it to BONOT. I think I have gotten a heading after a fix once (ie "after Badger fly heading 090...") but that was a simple case of waiting for the fix and pushing HDG.

    So, I get that there are some "missing" things on the GTN, but they're not likely to be things we'd be doing in our little piston pounders. I think the only place I've ever gotten a STAR in a piston was Houston, and I have yet to get a SID in a piston. Plus, as you mentioned, the ones that have the heading legs aren't too common even then.
     
  21. Fracpilot

    Fracpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The newer GTN650/750 does put the gaps now between the SID and flight plan. It also does it in the Garmin 3000.

    You can see where the “gap” is between the last point of the flight plan and first point on the STAR. It’s not a discontinuity like in Collins and “Honeywont” but it’s there.

    I’ve flown a lot of years in Collins, Honeywell and now in my first year of Garmin. I’m not a fan of the Honeywont system (as you can see), but I’m a huge fan of Collins. My last plane had the Proline 21 with SVT. I have zero IFD experience except on the iPad IFD trainer.

    Garmin is a great system but it certainly has its challenges and takes time to reprogram your Collins thinking to Garmin. You also have to remember Garmin was built for small airplanes first and that architecture is still in their G3000, while the G5000 has evolved to a true comparison with all of the Collins features.

    The hardest part with Garmin is trying to understand Activate Approach and Activate Vectors to Final and when the needles switch or won’t auto switch, similar to Honeywont.

    Never an issue in a Collins.

    It’s also a challenge going from my work plane with G3000 to the GTN 650 in my personal plane. The G3000 programming is the same but the GTN650 requires a couple extra steps to activate the approach fully and for it to switch over.


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  22. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    IFD - it’s less expensive to buy, does the same or more, is way less costly to install if you already have a 430/530, and is consumer friendly.
     
  23. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Look (carefully) before you Leap!! I looked into swapping my GNS 530W for an IFD 540 but learned that the IFD does not support the GDL88-D (diversity) ADS-B unit I have had for many years now (LONG before the $500 rebate !). According to Avidyne I would need to buy a new transponder to work with their 540 for ADS-B out. And the FS 210 box I use now for the iPad to 530W connectivity as well as AHARS would also be surplus. My 530W talks to the S-Tec 60 PSS and dual G5s through a GAD 29B so I think that would work with the 540...maybe. The labor that would go into making the wiring changes PLUS the cost of a new transponder PLUS removing the GDL 88 D antennas PLUS trying to sell the surplus equipment makes the swap a non-starter. So "Plug 'n Play" is not always a totally correct assessment...Like most things "it depends"!!
     
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  24. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It draws a line of magenta arrows on the heading legs rather than the magenta line so that it's not showing an actual discontinuity, but still representing what is to be flown. The magenta arrows may (and do) move, the line won't.

    Interesting. I have only limited experience with the G3000 (SimCom only, no actual flight) but I was under the impression that, similar to how the G1000 logic is very similar to the GNS series, that the G3000 was very similar to the GTN.
     
  25. Jdm

    Jdm Pre-Flight

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    Martin, great points, and very accurate about the FMS. I’ve got over 5k hours with two types of FMSs.
    I also have a 650xi in my own airplane. I’m always trying to compare new equipment to the simple FMS standard. Nothing compares in my opinion. The Xi has a brilliant display and it’s lightning fast, but it’s way more complicated to achieve the desired outcome in every situation. Even the old FMS units were blazing fast, so display speed doesn’t impress.
     
  26. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    the Xi versions no longer needs the DB card to be present after loading DB, its stored internally. just heard on the webinar
     
  27. Fracpilot

    Fracpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You’re correct. The G3000 logic is almost identical to the GTN’s.


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