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Garmin GX60 general question

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My J model has the standard KX170's from the factory. Even though they are older technology, I am considering a GX60 GPS Comm as an "upgrade". It is enroute and approach certified. For $2200 I can have it mounted and ready to use including the Mid Continent CDI. This would make my J a legal /G. Then I can use e Foreflight for "advisory" data to support the mission. I spoke with Garmin and for $450/yr they still offer the database upgrades but do not offer repair support. While I was there, we discussed a GTN 650 which would be very nice to have but, I simply cannot justify that much money for the type of flying I do at this time. If the weather is hard IFR, I stay on the ground now.

Other than having the latest whiz bang panel, can anyone think of a technical/safety reason why this setup would not be a logical and affordable step for my mission?

Tim

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Tim,

that is not a bad deal ( if that includes the installation price, does it ?) However, be aware that in the next few years , you will have to have WAAS onboard.

other consideration: you may want to check whether TSO-129A1 (GPS approved for en route and non precision) can still be approved ( so that you can file /G) but I know current installs are ok but I believe reading somewhere that the FAA does not grant that anymore.

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The GX60's common problem is the display is not available or repairable. The user interface is horrible in my opinion (owned a GX55 & still own a 60 with a bad display..lol). The unit will be of no help to you in 6 yrs when you need a waas gps signal for ADSB. With the age of these units approaching 20 yrs old now I would not spend any money on avionics that are no longer supported by there manufacturer...

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Before I upgrade my panel I had a GPS 155 TSO IFR. No moving map but legal for enroute and approach. I sold it for $1050 about 18 months ago. I am not familiar with the 650 for comparison. Bennetts still lists several versions of the 150 and 155 but I do not see a 650.

 

My 155 was connected to the HSI and through it the autopilot would hold the GPS route or approach. The interface for the pilot was much less intuitive than more modern boxes.

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We installed 2 years ago a GX60 and it has served us very well.  The radio is connected to the Accutrac autopilot and this combination work very well. If you use the MD CDI you will miss out on the vertical guidance feature, a function we use on almost every flight.   

Despite the fact that we are very happy with our setup in light of the service / display issues I would install a Garmin 300XL if I had to do it again.    

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When faced with these sorts of decisions, I try to look as far into the future as I can and try to minimize my total lifetime costs, not necessarily the immediate costs. There are plenty of times where paying more now will lower your lifetime costs. After I bought my plane I found one of my comm's had an intermittent RX. I had a shop look into it, but the problem would not fail long enough for them to fix it. When I bought the plane I knew I was going to upgrade the panel, I just wanted to do it the following year. But the bad radio forced my hand. I elected to do the upgrade much sooner rather than to put any real money in an 30 year old radio. So get our the crystal ball. Where do you see your airplane in 5 years? In 2020?

 

If Garmin won't fix it, you could be out that $2200 just a month or two after installation. And you'd be worse off then than you are today. This upgrade is a total crap-shoot.

 

If you don't want it for real IFR, LPV approaches, and all that, I am wondering what real benefit this upgrade brings you? What flights can you make with that upgrade that you cannot make today?

 

Larry

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Perspective...

Some people don't pay to upgrade the database every 28 days.

They use the GPS to drive straight lines between VOR locations.

But you have that already with the old radios, just a little more complex.

I'm waiting on a WAAS source to add value to my existing BK collection.

A used 430W would really add some value.

Come-on BK 770,

-a-

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Tim,

 

I hope you are correct, but $2200 seems abnormally low for the installation of an IFR GPS unit.

 

I would be in the camp urging you to NOT install a unit that cannot be repaired.  I would encourage you to find a 430, WAAS or NON-WAAS for the upgrade.  I had the 530 and 430 in my Aerostar replaced with GTN-650's and frankly am not happy.  The extra features of the GTN make no difference in my IFR capability in the real world and IMO are not as pilot friendly as the 430/530. 

 

My curiosity is really peaked with the low install quote.  I wish you would check into that and verify it is from a reputable avionics shop.

 

Jgreen

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To do a (legal) install , you will pay an avionics tech 1500 to 2000 dollars in labor to do the install.....that being said you might want to consider installing something that is currently serviceable , the GX series are no longer serviced by Garmin.....The 430 series are available for 5K second hand , and the install is not much more......This will give you full capability and also do away with one of the older navcomms......better to pay now , than pay twice... 

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The purchase is complete. A GX60 with antenna, tray, connectors and CDI for $1700. All that will need to be added is new coax. The old coax is being shipped but, it was suggested I replace it as a precaution. My local avionics shop is going to remove one of the old KX170's and localizer and replace it with the new setup. The windshield is crazed and a bit hazy so, I m going to let them replace it which will make the avionics install much easier. He said if I let him do the windshield at the sme time he woud charge a flat 6 hours labor. My avionics guy also suggested a 796 and air gizmo mount but, I already have a foreflight gen II and mini ipad to use instead. The Century IIB is inoperative but the shop feels very confident they can repair it for less than 1K. I am hoping he's right but we won't know till it's apart.

Everything else on this plane is in good shape and operational. So far, I m very happy with this purchase.

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Hit the post button just a bit too quick.

I did shop the 430W units and decided not to go that route for several reasons. With the 2020 ADS-B requirement pending I feel confident someone will bring to market a cheaper simpler unit to meet the requirements as we get closer. The FAA is already acknowledging the 2020 deadline will likely not be met and will most likely be pushed out.

The cheapest 430W I could find was $5800 plus 1800 installation. (The GX60 is a simpler installation and does cost quite a bit less) For that price, I would go ahead and pay the few thousand more and get a GTN 650 and have the latest technology. Yes, it would be nice to have a panel this sophisticated but if the GX60 dies on me, I can find another one and simply slide it in. It takes one Allen wrench and about 45 to 60 seconds to change units.

To make what could be a longer story short I just don't see anything on the market that I consider "reasonably" priced so, I'm gong to keep it simple for now and see how things go.

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I think its a good move. Install it , wing it till it no longer works, and then buy a used GTN or better in 2020! Years ago I heard that the capability of electronics and computers technology doubles every 18mo. Probably greater than that now! Who knows what will be the new thing in 2020! I bet my Kx155 and 530w will be just fine!!

-Matt

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At 6 hours he is losing his ass...the paperwork will take two hours alone......good for you...

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I have a GX60 and I've never had a problem with it yet and it works well for both cruise and approach. In fact, I shot to GPS 23 approach to X60 with it yesterday. I certainly do not spend over $400 a year updating the database, however. I update it once a year then check the approach I'm going to use. There is a Mooneyspace member here that sells updates cheap. I'm going to give him a try and if it works out then I might update more often. An upgrade is definitely in my future as I would like to have a WAAS capable unit, but I'm in no hurry and I'm willing to wait to see what becomes available in the near future. In the mean time the GX60 does what I need it to do and if it fails I can replace it cheap and quickly.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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...Years ago I heard that the capability of electronics and computers technology doubles every 18mo. Probably greater than that now! ...

That's a variant of Moore's law and while not really a "law of science or nature" has proven true for 50 years:

www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/museum-gordon-moore-law.html

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the shop may keep the old indicator and KX and that may be worth something.

i am still curious about what the final bill will be.

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The old KX will go on my shelf as a replacement if needed later. It will be 3 or 4 weeks before the work is done. Waiting on the windshield to get here and then I will be out of the country for 10 days. Plan on taking her in for the updates after that. I'll let you all know how it works out.

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Haha, thanks Bob B, couldn't remember the Law. My 318 Digital Electronics class in college was fun, it kicked my ass! I'd love to go back and try to pay more attention!

-Matt

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Just fixed a black display for a "friend/experimental". The connectors on the panel and on the main board where the front slides in.........are soldered tabs to the top of the boards. (not through holes as one would expect).  These tabs needed the to be re-soldered,  there were cracked solder at the board.  Not unreasonable after 20 years.  You will need a very small pencil soldering iron (radio shack), a very good light, Lupe or magnifying glass and know what to look for, can't find them do them all you have nothing to lose, unless Garmin will repair and not just say "bad display" "too bad".  Good luck.

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Seeing a new post on this topic has prompted me to post an update to my installation. 

Here we are 16 months later and the GX60 is working fine.  I agree, it's not as pretty of a display as other units and the programming is different but, the unit has been rock solid with 255 hrs since installation.  My avionics shop honored his estimate and the total bill for the unit and install was $2200.  I fully realize I may have been just dumb lucky.  Who cares, it works.  

The only real PITA issue I've had with this plane has been the Century IIB autopilot.  After several hours of bench testing a weak transistor was the problem.  During the repair process, I asked the shop owner on two separate occasions if it would be easier to just replace the control board.  He just looked at me the second time I asked and said "I'm going to fix this thing.  It's a challenge now" I was truly amazed at his patience and systematic approach of diagnosing and eventually repairing the unit.  When all was said and done, he refused payment stating that it would be more than it was worth if he billed me for all the hours.  I finally ended up leaving a stack of money on his bench as I left letting him know how much I appreciated his tenacity and positive attitude.  

Aircraft ownership is challenging but rewarding.  We fly up and down the left coast and enjoy our time aloft more than most private plane owners because............ we fly a Mooney.

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