Panel upgrading - Really, how bad?

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by Mtns2Skies, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    So I know one should buy a plane with the panel already installed. BUT... let me pose this hypothetical.

    Plane with a very VFR panel, 1 radio, xpnder and a 6 pack thats IT. How ridiculous would it be to throw a VOR/glideslope + A used Garmin 430 in there? I really just want basic IFR with /G for as cheap as possible. Moving map would be nice.

    Maybe a basic autopilot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    ***DISCLAIMER - I don't know jack shyte*** - but it seems like used 430's are in the $4-5000ish range (non-waas I think) plus whatever to install. I think.
     
  3. TheGolfPilot

    TheGolfPilot Line Up and Wait

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    If there is room and the wiring allows why not

    You'll end paying way more than 4K though. There will likely be holes to be made, wires to move, etc
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
  4. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Yeah but would that upgrade be prohibitively expensive? Or (if the plane is the right price) is it reasonable to buy expecting to do this work?
     
  5. Theboys

    Theboys Line Up and Wait

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    I think you would be looking at 10g by the time you were done and 14g probably with adsb upgrade.
     
  6. Theboys

    Theboys Line Up and Wait

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    To me the avionics in a plane decide if I even want to look further in to its specs. They are the most expensive thing with a really poor return on your investment. Imo.
     
  7. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    Go experimental. Avionics are cheaper and you can install them your self. Otherwise you are looking at 10K to install a used 430W.
     
  8. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Did you guys see the "maybe a basic autopilot" part?

    That alone is what... 15k installed?
     
  9. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Find me a (reasonably priced) experiment skywagon equivalent... and bear hawks arent even close. A canadian company builds super-cyclones which are a skywagon copy, but they are waaay more expensive than any used skywagon. That price different will buy me plenty of avionics.

    Didnt know autopilots were that much - nix that.
     
  10. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    Yup. Buying a plane without an active AP and wanting to add one has to be one of the most awful investments ever, especially if you're looking at lower end planes (which I would expect by "basic VFR").

    I would never buy a plane without the AP I wanted (at least with current certified AP market)
     
  11. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    Murphy Moose, Compair 6
     
  12. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    The Moose is closer to a beaver than a skywagon. Compair is something I hadn't heard of before - I'll look into it.

    I like certified planes though. Nothing wrong with experimental, just my preference.
     
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  13. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    The Moose can be built with a traditional flat engine. In that configuration it has almost the same specifications as a 185.

    There are lots of certified airplanes that I like as well but cant bring my self to own one. If I needed the capability of a 185 though it would be hard to replace.
     
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  14. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    You can find real 430W units around for ~$7500. You'll need a CDI, big swing in prices on those (Did you say that) then you'll start cutting into that panel and building proper supports for the racks, adding wiring, probably an Avionics Master and a breaker.

    Probably around 12k all in.
     
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  15. ChemGuy

    ChemGuy Cleared for Takeoff

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    Those prices for a used gps sound about right.

    When I looked at AP upgrade a couple years ago it seemed used was almost impossible as you woukd need paperwork/STC from manufacturer and that was un doable or just as expensive as new.

    Unless the basic vfr was a hell of a deal it's not worth it to add avionics. Unless you plan to keep plane forever, or make money with it
     
  16. FredFenster

    FredFenster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was just a little under 12 grand last year for a used Garmin 480, Garmin 340 audio panel, King 206 VOR/GS, heated pitot, GPS antennas, + install.
     
  17. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I believe installation will only keep rising in costs mostly due to the increasing demand for integration. To tie everything together and make everything play with everything else you need lots and lots of wire.

    I saw something the other day to use as an example, there was a service bulletin released that would enable the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) to flash the aircraft landing & taxi lights when another airplane (intruder) forced the TCAS to issue a resolution.

    All we need now is a horn for the TCAS to honk :rolleyes:
     
  18. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    A good audio panel too? I have more time in my audio panel harness than anything other radio.
     
  19. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    If you want a cheap IFR certified GPS, you could pick up a used Apollo GX series for RNAV approaches for about $1500.
     
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  20. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Thats a good idea, and then pick up a handheld GPS If I REALLY wanted moving map.
     
  21. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    It does have a moving map (I have one in my plane). I supplement the GX with a tablet to make life easier.

     
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  22. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    If you want a GX-60 with an anunciator send me a PM. I've got one on the shelf.
     
  23. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

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    How much room does a GX-60 take up on the panel?
     
  24. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    It's not very big, here's the dimensions I found online: Size: 2.0” x 6.25” wide by 11.125” deep
     
  25. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Are modern avionics using ethernet for the interconnects? Seems like it would be a whole lot less wire and much more flexible to just tie everything into a network and send packets around. Perhaps not easier because getting all the protocols right can be frustratingly difficult, but just from a wiring and physical installation perspective...
     
  26. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ethernet is just finally coming to GA aircraft radios BUT the mechanical installation isn't what you might think. You still have to strip, prep and pin the Ethernet cable into the same connectors as the other wires. Aircraft Ethernet cable seems to be somewhat hard to find without a minimum purchase of 100 feet, usually costs near the same as RG400 coax.

    Ethernet has been around for some time in the business aviation world, especially in cabin entertainment and management systems.

    The yellow cable laying there is an Ethernet cable:

    [​IMG]
     
  27. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I guess I can understand why you wouldn't just use a RG45 in a high vibration environment, but what else is unique about Aircraft Ethernet cable?
     
  28. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Just about all aircraft wire has tin (or silver = high heat) plated copper conductors, with tefzel (ETFE) or "Teflon" (PTFE) insulation. Seems like fire is a big reason. Insulation creep may be another. Plating for corrosion protection.

    https://www.rfmw.com/datasheets/tensolite/nf24q100_d.pdf
     
  29. farminpilot

    farminpilot Filing Flight Plan

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  30. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like Cat 6 plenum rated cable. Often silver plated copper conductors and smoke & flame resistant insulation.
     
  31. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Just one example, this one is significantly different than the link above. I have not seen a aluminum foil type shields specified in aircraft avionics. Seems like all are a flat copper braid an then a standard copper braid. This shows polyethylene insulation.

    http://www.mouser.com/pdfdocs/AmphenolPCDCat6Cable.PDF
     
  32. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Think he said skywagon, which is a rather expensive airframe.

    I'd guess 10-14k for a 430 install, also depends if you have a nav head that will talk to the 430.

    At least with the skywagon you got more of a chance of getting some money out of the upgrade.

    I bet if you got something like this

    [​IMG]
    http://indyairsales.com/1953-cessna-180-n1692c/

    If you could get it for 50ishk, dumped 12-14 at in it with a GNS and nav head, you actually could likely end up coming in ontop when you went to sell it.
     
  33. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    We just priced what you are asking. We have an Arrow with a 6 pack and no radios. Actually we have Terra radios but they are junk.
    New Garmin GTN650 with indicator installed $16,000
    Garmin Audio panel installed $2000
    Garmin GNC 255 secondary NAV COM with indicator installed $6000
    Garmin GTX 345 transponder with ADS-B installed $6000
    Obviously we are reviewing our options. The only problem I've found with installing "less expensive" GPS is that it still costs $3000-$4000 to get installed. This is what's killing GA in my opinion. I can buy an experimental airplane, all of these radios non-certified, and install myself for less than this.
     
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  34. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

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    That fits pretty closely with what we were recently quoted as well. As a club, we're trying to figure out how to justify putting $30,000 of avionics into a 39 year old airplane that's probably only worth about $30,000 or so. Especially since we're looking at an engine in a few years and the interior is original (and has seen better days).
     
  35. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    I'm not sure I would do that. Around 6 years ago, I had heard there weren't any more displays to be had to repair them. If the display takes a dump, your options might be extremely limited. Mine did once when it was still repairable - I was talking on it in the pattern, and when I pulled off the runway, the display was black!
     
  36. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    I had one in the plane I used to own. Here's a pic, if you're familiar with the size of the audio panel and KX155 next to it.
     

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  37. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Sounds like the GTX 345 and new interior is in your immediate future.

    Are you guys considering holding on to the plane for another 30 years, or selling it next year? The amortization of the upgrades is what'll tell you if it's worth it or not. Not the vref price.
     
  38. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think the club plans to keep the plane until it won't fly anymore, but there are enough 1) members not flying, 2) considering selling their interest and 3) others not interested in spending any money on upgrades that we may be at a stalemate.

    What I know for sure is that the interior won't be redone in the next 5 years, unless we turn over most of the club members. We can't get the votes to fix things that are causing real issues, I can't ever see getting the votes for "cosmetics".
     
  39. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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  40. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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    I have a very basic setup in my NAvion. I'm waiting on a quote from the shop for a basic IFR panel upgrade. I'm anticipating around 22K. ADSB Transponder, WAAS, radio, ELT, convert to breakers. The latter may change the price quite a bit.