LANCECASPER

Avidyne IFD540 One Year Pirep

55 posts in this topic

It's been a year so far since I replaced the GNS530W with a slide-in Avidyne IFD540. At the same time I replaced a King KT76C digital display Transponder with an Avidyne AXP340 with ADS-B out. I thought I would briefly mention my thoughts.

The Garmin 530 was a workhorse and when it came out in 1998 - it leapfrogged over anything available. To have a nav/com/gps/decent sized moving map in one box this size was a game changer. But many years have passed and as good as it was, technology has allowed things on avionics now that weren't available back then: 

- MUCH higher resolution screen. The 530 displayed 8 colors,  the Avidyne IFD540 displays 65,000 with 4 times as many pixels. The screen size is even 20% bigger. 

- The touch screen/pinch and zoom is great since we are all used to iPhones, iPads and other devices that use this technology. Buttons are there if you want to do that as well.

- It may sound like a small feature but something I use on every flight is the USB port to keep my iPad charged.

- Rubberbanding is there and I need to remember to use it more often.

It used to be that there was a market for a Multi-Function display and a gps but with the IFD540 and other newer technology GPS's no need. I liked the 540 so much that later in the year I replaced the GNS430W with a slide-in Avidyne IFD440. I didn't have room to go to a second IFD540 or I would have. Believe me I tried. The units are very easy to get used to. The FMS requires a little change in your thinking and planning, but while you are figuring it out, "Direct-To" works just fine.

The slide-in installations were a piece of cake. I wrote down all of my settings and took pictures of those screens on the Garmins and with the help of an A&P slid the old one out and then the new one in. After a few minutes of entering the configurations, everything I had on the Garmins were on the Avidynes (Stormscope WX-500, Skywatch traffic, etc). The Aspens saw the Avidynes with no problems. It couldn't have been easier. In addition to the new technology these are zero time boxes with new warranties. Eventually everything wears out. I figured I had definitely had my money's worth from the Garmins. A nice part of the upgrade is that much of it is paid for by selling the Garmins after you pull them out.

These are new products so there are regular software updates to them as we speak. Avidyne listens on their forum and wants feedback (http://www.avidynelive.com/default.asp). The updates that have come out I am able to load myself under the supervision of an A & P if I choose since there is no avionics shop on the field where I am based. Try that with any other brand - I don't think so. The database updates from Jepp are as easy as it gets. Load them on a properly formatted USB stick and then put them in and load them by the directions. It has worked every time for me with no glitches. The last software update activated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the units so I am excited to see what's in store this year from 3rd party apps. Avidyne already has a bluetooth keyboard and is sending everyone a keyboard free that registers by the end of the year.

Quick comment on ADS-B out. This is well worth it. Don't wait until you have to do it, get the benefits of it now. I get my ADS-B-in and 3-D vision on a GARMIN 796 and an iPad or iPhone with a GDL-39 3D.

I originally thought that an Avidyne IFD540 was only a worthwhile choice if you have a GNS to slide out. But I like them so much that I am installing an IFD 540 / AXP340 as a new install in another airplane (M20M). I could have chosen anything since it was a new install, but I felt this was the best value. For those that already have a Garmin 530 or 430 in my opinion this is the best upgrade for the dollar value out there.

(Hang on, three IFD's in one year might make me their best customer yet . .lol)

N312D panel right.JPG

Edited by LANCECASPER
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*Members that donate $10 or more do not see advertisements*

Any guess on the total cost after trade in? Looks great!

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Actual mileage may vary. Please see dealer for details. Void where prohibited. 

Just kidding. Some dealers have specials going where certain items are discounted or thrown in. There are rebates at times. You can look at Ebay completed auctions to get a feel for what used 530W's and 430W's are actually bringing - I didn't trade mine in.

Edited by LANCECASPER

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Lance,

Nicely written Pirep.  Can't believe it's been a year already. 

Wifi, blue tooth, HD touchscreen, portable keyboard, and their customer service guy visits us here at MS...

Makes me wish I had a pair of Gs to pull out...

Best regards,

-a-

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Lance, thanks for the pirep. Very good info for anyone considering a panel upgrade and torn between Garmin and Avidyne. What are your plans for the R? I thought after picking up the M you might have pulled the 540 (and 440) out of the R and installed them in the new bird.

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Great report.  Thank you.

Two questions:

1.  I have a Garmin 430...if the IFD430 slides into the already installed Garmin tray, can the IFD tray be used with the Garmin when I sell it?  What about the GPS antenna?  Is it also interchangeable? 

2.  I understand the new Garmin 650/750's navdata is "box" specific...i.e. one must buy a subscription for a specific unit; no data card sharing.  Does Avidyne data work the same way?  Could two people "share" an IFD navdata subscription?

Thanks.

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2 hours ago, kevinw said:

Lance, thanks for the pirep. Very good info for anyone considering a panel upgrade and torn between Garmin and Avidyne. What are your plans for the R? I thought after picking up the M you might have pulled the 540 (and 440) out of the R and installed them in the new bird.

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Haha if I did that I'd have to buy back the 530W from you. It may come down to pulling the Avidynes out and replacing them with used Garmins if the person who buys it wants to have the price lowered. Or you could trade in your J on the R with the Avidynes in it.   : )

Edited by LANCECASPER

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Good pirep, thanks. With any new product there is always the fear that reliability is unproven. These are still pretty new but is good to hear from folks how they are holding up. I'm still a couple of years away from an upgrade (two kids in college) but the Avidyne boxes will definitely be considered.

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3 hours ago, Mooneymite said:

Great report.  Thank you.

Two questions:

1.  I have a Garmin 430...if the IFD430 slides into the already installed Garmin tray, can the IFD tray be used with the Garmin when I sell it?  What about the GPS antenna?  Is it also interchangeable? 

2.  I understand the new Garmin 650/750's navdata is "box" specific...i.e. one must buy a subscription for a specific unit; no data card sharing.  Does Avidyne data work the same way?  Could two people "share" an IFD navdata subscription?

Thanks.

1. Yes. The trays are interchangeable. If you have a Garmin 430W with a Garmin WAAS antenna your Avidyne will be WAAS. If not then you will need to use a WAAS antenna and cabling.

2. Probably not legally. I bought a subscription for each box and got a bundled deal last year at the Jepp booth at Oshkosh where if I paid for 12 months they gave me 15 months.

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It's a little early but in a few years that's what I'll be looking for!

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I installed an Avidyne cockpit as well (540, 440, 340, 240)  and I couldn't be happier.  Customer support is outstanding and they actually listen to their customers' suggestions when implementing new features.  There have been two software upgrades that have been released since the introduction of the 540 with a third and fourth in development.  They have a very deliberate upgrade philosophy.  So far all of the software updates, which been offered, have been free of charge. I total agree with Lance's pirep including his assessment about ADSB out.  I was amazed at the traffic around Atlanta.  Most of it I couldn't see on my stratus until I was transmitting out.  Its actually kind of scary the amount of traffic that you never see. 

Edited by tony
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After reading what Lance said in his OP about the MFD and GPS combo, it got me to thinking about my panel. Currently there is a BFG i-Linc (MX20) over a 430W. When the i-Linc finally goes Tango Uniform, maybe its space should be taken by a 540 and the 430W move to a 440. And since that is a year or more away from now, new s/w features and partners may provide even more benefits to plugging them into my panel. Just sat in on their webinar and am continually impressed by the continuous improvements, enhancements and fixes they are making. Lance was right - they seem to be listening to their current and potential customers.

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I'm still liking mine. I did the 530 trade in at 9a5 Lafayette Ga. The deal was so good that I really had no choice and I was even non WAAS on the 530. It's getting the Lynx 9000 transponder right now and I hope I'm done for a while $!$!$!

image.jpg

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image.jpg

 

I'm curious about the green/yellow/red markings on the altimeter.  This is a very simple-stupid question, but what are they used for?

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I'm curious about the green/yellow/red markings on the altimeter.  This is a very simple-stupid question, but what are they used for?

They are a way of bugging altitudes for instrument approaches.  Green tab points to 500' above DH or MDA, yellow tab points from 200' to 100' above minimums and red tab is placed at DH or MDA.

http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/altitude-alert-indicator-2-7-8-in-dia.html

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Hey Tony, we keep thinking alike... When will the Lynx go in? I'm considering the Avidyne - will be good to hear how it integrates... (I also have the same altitude bug)

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I'm curious about the green/yellow/red markings on the altimeter.  This is a very simple-stupid question, but what are they used for?

I'll have to say thanks to Kpaul. I thought that was just something that got in my way and after eight years I just keep moving it instead of REmoving it haha. Maybe I'll try it as intended !

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Hey Tony, we keep thinking alike... When will the Lynx go in? I'm considering the Avidyne - will be good to hear how it integrates... (I also have the same altitude bug)

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In for annual now and getting the Lynx in the same shop. I think it will display just like your 530, at least for now. Lynx will be in the same location as yours but just a touch lower. Shop has done a couple now with 540's so hopefully no issues. 

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I just hope Avidyne will enable weather and true adsb traffic from Lynx in future something that Garmin won't do...

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I just received my free keyboard from Avidyne. I am excited to try it on a flight this Thursday and Friday. Avidyne didn't have to do this - there were no promises made when I bought the IFD540 a year ago. This is just another example of the type of company Avidyne is! They have exceeded my expectations.

Avidyne keyboard.JPG

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Simpson is doing a good job maintaining customer contact here for Avidyne as well.

Best regards,

-a-

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Simpson is doing a good job maintaining customer contact here for Avidyne as well.

Best regards,

-a-

Thanks!

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I'm really like the IFD440 but I'm curious about a couple things. Is it compatible with the Harmin Flight Stream 210 I installed last year which allows me to upload my flight plan to my GNS430Ws via Bluetooth?

if not is there a way to send flight plans wirelessly to an IFD440?

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It's not compatible with the FS210, but Avidyne has built in Bluetooth and WAAS and the Apps should start showing up soon that can take advantage of these capabilities.

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