larrynimmo

Aspen upgrade path

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A year ago I bought the Aspen E5 and it worked really well, but not unlike many of us, I wanted more....a year later I sent back my E5 and configuration module through West Air avionics and had it upgraded to the new Promax with synthetic vision ....I’ve only had one short flight with the synthetic vision but it looks really good and gives me a lot of info improving my situation awareness.

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

thank you all for orienting my pic....this is an amazing tool...I just need to take the time to learn everything about it so that it can be of the most benefit for me.

 

Larry

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23 hours ago, larrynimmo said:

A year ago I bought the Aspen E5 and it worked really well, but not unlike many of us, I wanted more....a year later I sent back my E5 and configuration module through West Air avionics and had it upgraded to the new Promax with synthetic vision ....I’ve only had one short flight with the synthetic vision but it looks really good and gives me a lot of info improving my situation awareness.

BB2543BB-895C-45CF-A622-47FA896E58D0.thumb.jpeg.31afdf74c63618d8594a42ff76e7fb75.jpeg

How much was the upgrade?

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I have been a long term reader of the forum and thank you to everyone who contributes.

I'm also interested in your take.  I am just in the early stages of upgrading a panel on an MSE.  It has the 430w Garmin units.  I really like the Aspen unit for it's size on our panels.  My avionics installer is trying to talk me OUT of Aspen, saying that they used to have outstanding service, but now parts are a hassle, the support on his end if there's a hiccup, they're in essence over promising and underdelivering.  The alternatives are Garmin G5, less expensive, and/or incorporating one of them with a more robust system.  Any owners here with experience in last 12 months (the period of time he said Aspen's gone down hill) with them on a NEW installation?  He said for some of their equipment, they're months behind making it.   

I don't want some gear that the manufacturer will go away.  If their customer support isn't better than the 'bigger guys', they will be gone soon.  

 

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Welcome aboard MD1!


Funny, I have been a long time reader too...   :) my title says Non-stop reader...

I also know we have an Aspen guy (actually from Aspen the company) here that can fill you in on the specific details that your non-aspen guy delivered to you...

There are many people that just went through the upgrade to the latest format Aspen has...

Yes, some Aspens have had some unexpected quirks...

Read up on all of this around here.

 

Unfortunately, the competition hasn’t done a whole lot better...

The good  issues are known and the fixes are in place... for all of them...

 

If you want the Aspen, read up on some of the issues... high speed processor, and high definition graphics are greatly appreciated...

 

MS has been great at finding challenges and answers...

PP thoughts only, not an instrument guy...

Best regards,

-a-

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I have a KI256 / KCS 55A/ KFC150 with electric mechanical gyro backup in my M20J and unfortunately the KI256 gave up the ghost late last year.  I subsequently have researched the various options ad nauseum (looking at OH of the KI256, or getting Aspen, G5, Gi 275 or G3X) finally deciding on going with an EFD1000/EA 100 with a GI 275 as the backup and removal of the vacuum system.  The plane is in the shop now and should be done in a week or so.  I'll post a pirep when it's done.

Factors for me were as follows:

Wanted to get rid of vacuum system and mechanical gyros - MTBF of <500 hrs and insidious failure mode is not acceptable;

The KFC150 is a good autopilot and I wanted a path that could continue to drive the KFC150 with improvement in efficiency (i.e. GPSS);

G5 would not drive the KFC150 flight director and required retaining the KI256 (after OH'ing it) to drive the FD (which knocked out the G5s early in my search);

The Aspen requires a backup with an independent power source (or vacuum driven - which did not work for my goal of getting rid of the vacuum);

The GI 275s did not require separate backup since they could back each other up;

The GI275s do not require an additional box to drive KFC150 (Aspen requires the EA100);

I wanted to retain the ability to upgrade the KFC150 to the Aerocruz and still use whatever EFIS system I went with (Aspen plays very well with King autopilots and GI275 is supposed to also interface nicely);

I found the GI275 presentation to be a bit busy and not a full EFIS as with the Aspen presentation;

I found the Aspen presentation to be most efficient for the IFR flying that I frequently do;

The G3X requires a total panel redo which I wanted to avoid and was the most expensive option;

All units will talk nicely to the twin Garmins GNS units in the panel;

What pushed me to the Aspen route was that it had (in my opinion) the nicest presentation for the space and was easily expandable without locking me into any specific domain.  It also gave me a pretty powerful and easy to use EFIS without the need to wreck the panel and do a whole rebuild.  Finally, I found the menu structure and buttonology very intuitive and easy to use.  

Let us know which way you decide to go.

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Great info!  The gear seems solid and well organized to fly with.  My avionics guy says of late, their supply/support is the issue 'if' there's an issue or glitch.  He has a King Air he's working on and has been waiting for some sort of unit Aspen keeps promising but not delivering and finger never points to themselves.   

 

Dynon, others supply and support I don't hear issue as much, just an unbreakable cult with Garmin you have them, to change most of your stack to work with their stuff.  I've done some upgrades, and have a relatively new autopilot, I don't feel the need to go with the new Garmin autopilot but admit that it seems very nice.  

 

I had a second installer who said today be cautious with Aspen now a days, they got overrun with the updates and still catching up.  I'm still looking around, asking for others who had a successful ground-up install experience in the last 4 or 5 months.  Especially since the MAX unit was new.  

Edited by MooneyDriver1

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We have an Aspen guy around here if you want to ask directly... :)  when it comes to finger pointing... the buck stopped there...

Lots of upgrades from old to new have been accomplished recently... faster processor, sharper screen...

that must have been a ton of work...

A certain quality issue came through as well... see the Aspen guy if interested in those details...

then there are those MSers that are buying these things up in threes!  :)
 

Some are Great problems to have...

PP thoughts only...

Best regards,

-a-

 

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1 hour ago, carusoam said:

We have an Aspen guy around here if you want to ask directly... :)  when it comes to finger pointing... the buck stopped there...

Lots of upgrades from old to new have been accomplished recently... faster processor, sharper screen...

that must have been a ton of work...

A certain quality issue came through as well... see the Aspen guy if interested in those details...

then there are those MSers that are buying these things up in threes!  :)
 

Some are Great problems to have...

PP thoughts only...

Best regards,

-a-

 

Who is and how does one chat with this 'Aspen guy'?  (Feels like I'm on Star Wars looking for Yoda).   My main questions:

1- Why are 2 of your dealers saying I should avoid the Evolution or E5 for supply and support issues from the mothership? 

2- Is there ANY gear that is or has been out of stock and dealers have had to face constant headwinds to get and answer when it's available? 

 

I can't imagine why impartial guys would steer me a way, if there wasn't a hint of truth that the company recently putting customers out.  I have read on the forum of MUCH longer delays than promised with Max upgrades for pilots.  So 3-  What is the truth on equipment and support and if missed, how is Aspen compensating these pilots on the forums for their shortcomings?    Thank you.  

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3 hours ago, MooneyDriver1 said:

Who is and how does one chat with this 'Aspen guy'?  (Feels like I'm on Star Wars looking for Yoda).   My main questions:

@Andy Smith

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MD1

Impartial people are unable to steer people... by definition. :)

What you are witnessing is the world of avionics...

It has been this way forever...

That doesn’t make it right, or unchangeable...

But the products keep getting better every year...

Add the FAA to the pile... they keep getting better as well.

 

If you really have skills... you are able to speak directly with the manufacturers to get the answers that you seek.

Everyone’s questions are different... because everyone’s situations are different...

 

expect that it is a ton of work to keep up on every update in avionics... of every avionics company...

So... if you get funny answers from various avionics shops... the onus is on you to find out what is right for you...

 

Some people go with Big G for a fully integrated instrument panel... it costs more to do this, and the results are still imperfect at times...

Welcome to GA... you didn’t get here accidentally.   Now you have a more complete view of another of its challenges.  :)

Negative pireps are easy to write, and don’t carry much meaning... search to find the pireps written by MSers who are willing to share their experience... tremendous value can be found there...

When discussing challenging issues... it helps to stay positive and respectful... this way the manufacturers and their reps keep coming back...

PP thoughts only, not a Yoda like center of the universe...

Best regards,

-a-

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Carusoam, all aid points and it is a learning game.  Difficult to get too excited on Apsen when I like the gear, but hear and read of the overpromise/underdeliver message recently.  They are a small guy compared to Big G as you point out.  They will have to excel in service and responsiveness for it to make sense that direction or the obviously won't make it.   Nobody seems to have had much experience on a new install in the last several months, and nobody can say if the gear is actually available, or not for the installation I would need. Installers say that this is a relatively new issue with them.  Trying to look objectively as possible on all sides.  

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There is a potential gotcha with upgrading a E5 to a EFD 1000 PFD Max. The E5 doesn't need a back up horizon and single screen MAX PFD does. So if you took your vacuum system out you will have to add a suitable horizon or add a 1000 MFD max with remote battery.

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2 hours ago, Stanton R said:

There is a potential gotcha with upgrading a E5 to a EFD 1000 PFD Max. The E5 doesn't need a back up horizon and single screen MAX PFD does. So if you took your vacuum system out you will have to add a suitable horizon or add a 1000 MFD max with remote battery.

Great information.  I learned today two things, source was a distributor...so take as you may:

1- If you had vacuum system or back up attitude with at 2000 or 2500 Max removed, with the very recent reboot issue, the recommendation is to not fly IFR.  He said an AD may come from it.   I am not knowledgeable enough to know why the E5 wouldn't need a backup but the Max does.  Paperwork I am assuming?? 

2 - The unit not available for the King Air and some other planes depending on the equipment is their second generation ACU.  Not even being made and Aspen was keeping dealers in the dark how bad the supply was/is.  Kept saying was out of stock, when wasn't even being made, and still isn't. 

 

Hopeful Aspen addresses it all, as their product, when working and available, is my top choice in the market for my soon to spend AMUs.   Especially for a Mooney panel size.  

 

Edited by MooneyDriver1
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Airframe related availability is a complete wild ride...

There is a really good, affordable, AP available for many planes... just not for Mooneys yet...

And the time frame is measured in years...

It is the STC process that adds a fair amount of cost, and time to the approval process...

Where the approval process is at any one time... some vendors are pretty good with their details...

It is a challenge to find the updates... every now and then somebody will post the schedule...

Big G has a page on their web-site that give status expectations... for anyone looking at availability of their newest AP.

When it appears like a conspiracy... it usually isn’t... if they were that good at manipulating their public image... they would have done better getting the product out the door...

 

Just use caution when ‘bashing’ products and people... they stop visiting after a while...  then we are left with the bashers and less support...

If you need an example... search for Peter Garmin... he gets mentioned a few times each year...

If you need Garmin support... find Trek Lawler over on BT... he used to visit MS.

Best regards,

-a-

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On 3/10/2020 at 2:06 PM, MooneyDriver1 said:

Great info!  The gear seems solid and well organized to fly with.  My avionics guy says of late, their supply/support is the issue 'if' there's an issue or glitch.  He has a King Air he's working on and has been waiting for some sort of unit Aspen keeps promising but not delivering and finger never points to themselves.   

 

Dynon, others supply and support I don't hear issue as much, just an unbreakable cult with Garmin you have them, to change most of your stack to work with their stuff.  I've done some upgrades, and have a relatively new autopilot, I don't feel the need to go with the new Garmin autopilot but admit that it seems very nice.  

 

I had a second installer who said today be cautious with Aspen now a days, they got overrun with the updates and still catching up.  I'm still looking around, asking for others who had a successful ground-up install experience in the last 4 or 5 months.  Especially since the MAX unit was new.  

I have dual MAX screens in my panel.  I really like them.  Getting used to the scan is a little different, but no wash out in sunlight and super easy to read at night.  If I had all Garmin stuff ie autopilot, audio panel and GPS, I'd probably go G3X.  I love the larger screen on the Garmin unit, but the Aspen allows you to do stuff in little increments.  When I was picking up my plane from the avionics shop, most of the G3X planes were complete panel redos.

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14 hours ago, carusoam said:

 

 

Just use caution when ‘bashing’ products and people... they stop visiting after a while...  then we are left with the bashers and less support...

If you need an example... search for Peter Garmin... he gets mentioned a few times each year...

If you need Garmin support... find Trek Lawler over on BT... he used to visit MS.

Best regards,

-a-

I completely agree and not bashing whatsoever.  That said...if manufacturer doesn't make being proactive and forthright to customers (and dealers) with availability estimates and/or support top priority, they won't be sustainable very long, and that doesn't help them or "us" in the long run.  I agree on it's not conspiracy.  Support goes both ways, and I don't mind paying the higher costs in many cases for it. 

Edited by MooneyDriver1
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