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Quick update on the installation  of two GI 275's, a AV20S, and fixing a stormscope at Lancaster Aviation. First important thing: on time and on estimate. No unpleasant surprises, two weeks betwe

I recently had a horrible avionics experience.   About 5 flights after my annual, my mode C stopped working on my GTX345 that was installed less than a year ago.  "Pressure altitude failed" error

GI 275’s and A20S Install at Lancaster is almost done.  Next week KAP150 goes back into place and plane goes to Henry Weber to get vacuum and SVS removed. Can’t wait to have my mistress back

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Lancaster Avionics is a shop that can be trusted to do things right and fairly priced . I highly recommend them always.  The work is near perfection and always performed within a reasonable  time.   I have never heard a bad report and they’ve been at it a long time. A real nice bunch of guys and girls.    Doing the job right. In Lancaster PA. 

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5 hours ago, quik flite said:

Lancaster Avionics is a shop that can be trusted to do things right and fairly priced . I highly recommend them always.  The work is near perfection and always performed within a reasonable  time.   I have never heard a bad report and they’ve been at it a long time. A real nice bunch of guys and girls.    Doing the job right. In Lancaster PA. 

I hope so! I’m dropping my J there 8 hours from now for a dual GI275 install + my old wx1000e stormscope back (it’s been inop for a while), and a av20-s in place of the old clock.

Obviously too excited to sleep...

N782Dj panel upgrade.pdf

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Lancaster Avionics is a shop that can be trusted to do things right and fairly priced . I highly recommend them always.  The work is near perfection and always performed within a reasonable  time.   I have never heard a bad report and they’ve been at it a long time. A real nice bunch of guys and girls.    Doing the job right. In Lancaster PA. 


Well, I can give you a negative report from personal experience. And there are others... on this site...

The shops I trust in our area are rmag’s SureFlight and Smart Avionics.


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6 hours ago, Marauder said:

 


Well, I can give you a negative report from personal experience. And there are others... on this site...

The shops I trust in our area are rmag’s SureFlight and Smart Avionics.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

 

The quote I got from Lancaster was very high.  Smart Avionics just put my GFC500 in.  So far so good.  The pile of old wires they pulled out that the last avionics shop left in was shocking.

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This thread has perfect timing for me.....

So embarrassed this weekend due to crap work from my shop....

broke down, car rental etc.....

In the USA the customer is always wrong.....

Does anyone know of a good shop in east central Florida that is not in Daytona :wacko: !!!!!

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The Garmin reps are always ready to pounce if any shop sells the forbidden goods over the counter. However, they are completely silent when the shop does shoddy work or outright steals from the customer.  They need to open up the damn network and increase the monitoring / have customer feedback after every major install. Shops with complaints get a visit from the company. 

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1 minute ago, MIm20c said:

The Garmin reps are always ready to pounce if any shop sells the forbidden goods over the counter. However, they are completely silent when the shop does shoddy work or outright steals from the customer.  They need to open up the damn network and increase the monitoring / have customer feedback after every major install. Shops with complaints get a visit from the company. 

I would add one caveat to that.  Keep track of how many total customers they have done work for.  Using a 5 star rating system, since satisfied customers usually do not take time to rate an experience, assume any customer who did not give them a rating was a 4.5 star customer.  Include those ratings when determining an overall rating for the shop/product.

Just looking at the number complaints would not necessarily paint an accurate picture.  If two shops have 10 complaints against them in a year, but one shop only did 25 jobs while the other did 500, I'd say the first shop looks pretty bad while the second looks pretty good.

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The quote I got from Lancaster was very high.  Smart Avionics just put my GFC500 in.  So far so good.  The pile of old wires they pulled out that the last avionics shop left in was shocking.


Ben at Smart is a good man and is very customer oriented. He did extra work for me at no charge because he said he wanted it done right.

Dan’s (rmag) shop (SureFlight) does decent work as well.


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With the age of our planes and the number of "face lifts" the panels have likely been through, I am amazed any avionics upgrade comes out without any problems unless it is an entire rip and replace. I have worked with three avionics shops with my J, and I believe I have been fortunate. None of them returned a plane to me I did not have to bring back for a missed something or another, but every one of them fixed everything and said "thanks for using us".

My latest saga has been very frustrating, as it involved a shutdown of one supplier by the COVID-19 virus, FAA re-approving hardware/software from a manufacturer, mis-matched wiring instructions from two vendors whose equipment was being connected to each other's, a DOA electronics box, and a part that died exactly two weeks after a two year warranty. Did it take longer than quoted? A 75 hours job started February 27th and I picked up the plane June 12th. And what was I charged? Exactly what was on the original quote! I still have some squawks to get handled, but I am in annual right now (had to get a ferry permit to get the plane home) so those will have to wait for another week or so.

So kudos to the following folks:

Southern Sky Aviation in Birmingham, Aspen Avionics, Avidyne, and FreeFlight. Every one of them did what they could to do the work I had quoted, and they all helped each other out when things were unclear.

I thought it would be nice to hear about the folks who try to take care of their customers, and from my experience, the folks listed above do so.

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I’ve had 5 airplane panels done by Kitchener Aero, now Mid Canada Mod Centre in Kitchener Ontario.  While not as cheap as some other shops, I’ve never once had an issue with any of their installations.

Their documentation, from logbook entries, mod report forms or wiring schematics second to none.

Clarence

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If the shop does not finish the install and the plane can’t be flown, could this result in some form of insurance claim? Not sure they would cover it but hate to think that the shop could collect that much money and abandon the plane install project

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21 hours ago, MIm20c said:

The Garmin reps are always ready to pounce if any shop sells the forbidden goods over the counter. However, they are completely silent when the shop does shoddy work or outright steals from the customer.  They need to open up the damn network and increase the monitoring / have customer feedback after every major install. Shops with complaints get a visit from the company. 

You make a valid point that increased monitoring and customer feedback would help. 
But to be fair, in this case the op brought in his own used equipment and made an arrangement with the shop to install it. I don’t think Garmin or any other manufacturer can be held accountable. They have no jurisdiction over the shop for anything other than their own new equipment. This is an arrangement solely between the op and the shop. 

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On 6/21/2020 at 5:55 PM, quik flite said:

Lancaster Avionics is a shop that can be trusted to do things right and fairly priced . I highly recommend them always.  The work is near perfection and always performed within a reasonable  time.   I have never heard a bad report and they’ve been at it a long time. A real nice bunch of guys and girls.    Doing the job right. In Lancaster PA. 

@jetdriven

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On 6/22/2020 at 9:34 AM, N201MKTurbo said:

I just installed my own avionics. That way I know it is done right. That being said, I was amazed how long it took.

I did this too.  Two major installs and only had one squawk - I reversed an airinc signal wire re-pinning a GAD29B after moving it.  Took about 10 min to diagnose.  Probably had over 200 hrs of work into those two projects though.  
 

I did the GFC with sparkchasers in Smithfield NC and could not be happier with the work / shop business culture and communication.  They are not the cheapest shop, but stick to their schedule, keep the promises they make, and do excellent work.   

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  • 2 weeks later...

GI 275’s and A20S Install at Lancaster is almost done. 

Next week KAP150 goes back into place and plane goes to Henry Weber to get vacuum and SVS removed.

Can’t wait to have my mistress back.
I’ll post a report on the experience at Lancaster Avionics  here once I test fly her.

Fingers crossed.

0AE225C7-760C-493D-A3D1-8AE7A4D8A4E2.jpeg

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14 minutes ago, Eduleo said:

GI 275’s and A20S Install at Lancaster is almost done. 

Next week KAP150 goes back into place and plane goes to Henry Weber to get vacuum and SVS removed.

Can’t wait to have my mistress back.
I’ll post a report on the experience at Lancaster Avionics  here once I test fly her.

Fingers crossed.

0AE225C7-760C-493D-A3D1-8AE7A4D8A4E2.jpeg

I assume the AV20-S is mounted on the panel that is at a slight angle to the main panel.  Please let me know how the AI function works there.  I'm considering doing the same thing but I'm worried that being mounted at an angle might induce a pitch error during turns.  I'm thinking a left bank might make the pitch go up a couple degrees while a bank to the right might make the pitch go down a couple degrees.

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Just now, Bob - S50 said:

I assume the AV20-S is mounted on the panel that is at a slight angle to the main panel.  Please let me know how the AI function works there.  I'm considering doing the same thing but I'm worried that being mounted at an angle might induce a pitch error during turns.  I'm thinking a left bank might make the pitch go up a couple degrees while a bank to the right might make the pitch go down a couple degrees.

In this plane the side panel to the left is flush with the main panel, no angle between them.

i did hear that the av20 doesn’t like to be mounted at an angle, which causes the AHRS to misbehave. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Quick update on the installation  of two GI 275's, a AV20S, and fixing a stormscope at Lancaster Aviation.

First important thing: on time and on estimate. No unpleasant surprises, two weeks between dropping her off and picking her up. The panel was well wired and documented before, so they didn't have to hunt for loose wires somewhere in there. Removal of vacuum pump and svs was done by Henry Weber down the taxiway.

The first stormscope computer I bought online to replace the old broken one was faulty, so I asked Todd at Lancaster to send it back (30 day warranty) which they did, with pictures of the packaging). The second unit worked well. The installation of the AV20s was without issues. The 275's work so far as expected, and integration with the KAP150 is flawless. I think it reacts faster to the 275 than it did to the old gyros. The clarity and usefulness of information is impressive. I kept the old instruments around it for fear of the readouts being so small, but it took me minutes to get used to it and I don't look at the other gauges anymore, except for x-checking with the 275's. All configurations seem to be on point, except for the altitude alert which is deafening (can't find the setting for that).

One thing that I see as a plus, but not particularly legal (so it's a great idea to write it here, obviously) is that they installed the lower unit as a MFD, not as HSI. so I have the options in there to run all other windows (terrain, traffic, cdi, etc) besides the HSI and HSI map. That could be helpful since there is a CDI on the top ADI unit, I could use the traffic page departing a congested area for example.

One big minus: I should have checked the estimate better. Even though I talked about having the OAT probe installed on the 275 and asked about its location when I dropped the plane off, it was not in the estimate and they didn't install it. I have probes for the JPI900 and the AV20S, but it would be nice to have actual winds show on the 430W's. I might do that on my next annual when the panels are all off anyway. The AV20S does provide TKAS. My fault for not checking it closer.

At the end they gave me a box with all the old gauges, all the paperwork, wiped the plane for COVID, and off I went.

I'm happy with all the redundancy in my panel now, and the fact that I have all information I need to for hard IFR in a narrow sight angle, so no head swiveling anymore while in the clouds. Bank account is leaner but not broken. 16 AMU for 275's and 3 more for the other stuff.

 

IMG_0893.jpg

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I recently had a horrible avionics experience.  

About 5 flights after my annual, my mode C stopped working on my GTX345 that was installed less than a year ago.  "Pressure altitude failed" error on the 345.  I called the shop that had installed it and they said it was probably the encoder.  They had not replaced my encoder when the 345 was installed because the old one worked fine.  Quoted me $300 for a new encoder and 3-5 hours labor for a total of $6-800. 

Because I was on call for work I called a local shop who said about the same thing except they quoted $7-900 and could get me in that week.  I thought PERFECT! Let's do it.  I dropped it off, the next day they called and said it was good to go.  I went back, paid, taxied out and BAM, same error.  I taxi back let them have it for 3 more days.  They called and said it was fixed again and that it was a software issue with the 345, but they updated it and its working.  Charged me another $1500 in labor for troubleshooting and were nice enough to take off $400 of the labor.  I paid, departed and it worked fine for 3 flights and the error was back.  I emailed the shop and asked if they wanted another crack at fixing it and all I got was crickets.  

Scanning beechtalk, i found someone with the same error.  It was a cabling issue.  I, with an IA from work, started pulling out my stack and relatively quickly found the pinched cable.  Mine wasn't sheered like the one on beachtalk, so I was able to push it aside and replaced the stack and the problem has gone away so far.

 Long story short, I paid over $1900 for an avionics shop to fix something which they were unable to do in 15 ish hours.  I fixed it in less than 2 hours and now my trust in avionics is marred by this one bad experience.

Oh well, live and learn.

 

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ChrisV,

My trust in your avionics skill has gone way up!  :)

I’m glad you posted what you found...

 

Thanks to Eduardo for all the details he shared too...

The More MSer data the Better!

Best regards,

-a-

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