Part of the answer Howard is that Garmin/Jepp don’t want people to download a database cycle and then write multiple cards with it – obviously. There used to be a way of doing that on the old GNS boxes but I think they eventually stopped it. (Please don’t post any hacks here openly ). The traditional thing is to format the card with a nonstandard file system, and store a hidden key on it somewhere, and the downloaded database is then locked to that key. If they used off the shelf retail data cards (which some boxes do) the protection would have to be based on you supplying the key embedded in the GPS when you download the cycle onto the card at home (etc). Or something potentially problematic like a download in the cockpit only.
Half the stuff coming from Garmin and half coming from Jepp is just daft. There are numerous threads here on EuroGA about the database costs and when I tried to check the costs people posted (I don’t have Garmin gear myself) it took me ages to find the products and then it took ages more to find the pricing… one has to complete a shopping trolley to find out. I think there is a lot of money and politics in that, too – for example prob99 Jepp are paying Garmin for the privilege of displaying Jepp data on Garmin hardware. The two companies don’t like each other much, with e.g. Garmin frustrated about Jepp’s refusal to code some objects.
I think the flight plan data is plain text XML – mentioned here previously. It can be generated on a laptop etc. Whether it is convenient is another matter; I hear that the GPS has to be power cycled to pick up the flight plan. I cannot understand why Garmin don’t provide a much nicer route e.g. a direct download of an airway route, copied/pasted into a phone app, over wifi or bluetooth. It’s essentially been done by reverse engineering the crossfill interface but Garmin blocked it on the later boxes.
So, the bottom line is that I can safely leave the terrain card in the 530 when it goes off to be converted to W, because no-one could profit by my retaining it?
Howard, I have the very same setup and I think the situation is pretty clear.
1) I can’t find the spec or a good source of supply for a spare data card for the RH slot.
There can be a terrain/TAWS card or a flight plan card, the latter is only accessed during startup. You need to buy this overpriced card&. You also need a special USB programmer which can be bought for even more money including a card.
2) I can’t find a source that will tell me if I can write routes to a card that also has terrain data on it.
You can’t. The terrain card is different and cannot hold flight plans. You insert the flight plan card, start the device, confirm the import, turn off the device, swap back the terrain card, turn on the device.
3) I can’t find an authority on the data spec for uploaded flight plans – anyone know?
It’s Garmin FPL format which is very simple. autorouter can generate it.
4) I don’t know anyone who does this – does the Garmin software for terrain updates also load up flight plans?
No, these two have nothing in common.
I have the 430W and the kit. My advise is: don’t buy it. It’s a waste of time and money. The flight plan import procedure is so tedious and time consuming that you will barely ever use it. You need to use a PC to load the flight plan onto the card (Windows only although works well in a virtual machine). This is already a very stupid process where you have to choose a slot number on the card. Then you have to put in your 430W, load that, do the stupid import, turn it off, swap card and on again. Then your flight plan will often be locked because there is something it doesn’t like about it.
My procedure is to enter the departure, the first few waypoints and the destination. Enroute I keep adding waypoints as needed. More often than not I only need a fraction of the flight plan waypoints.
Peter and Achimha, thank you for your replies.
Peter, I take your point about Jepp being worried about users sharing their Jepp data with friends. I find it depressing that they don’t implement data security based on the 430 hardware itself (serial number) or in the data, instead of via the hardware cards / card reader. Jepp’s route makes everything more closed and more expensive.
In a moment of madness I bought the Garmin 430W card reader, without a spare data card, because I thought that my old GNS430 (non-W) Jepp card might work as a flightplan card. Presumably that’s wrong and to import a route I need the foul-priced card in achimha’s post above…all €349 worth! ( I won’t be doing that!) Could you confirm that I need that specific expensive data card please achimha. Thanks (My plane is in service at the moment, or I’d just try it for myself.)
I mostly fly VFR and the reason I wanted to import routes into the 430W was because for some routes there are waypoints such as VRPs that are not in the Garmin 430W database, for instance the north tower of the Humber Bridge. I’d also like to plan routes with custom turning points. I know all these can be programmed into the 430 but it’s terribly time consuming. I’d like to create flight plans simply using say Skydemon and then export them to the 430W. If it costs £100 to do this, I might bear the cost. €349 for a data card is completely ridiculous.
At the moment I fly with most of my route in my 430W and the difficult to programme parts on my Garmin 795. I can then fly on my autopilot for the 430 bits and fly by heading or by hand for the 795-only parts of the route. It’s not ideal. I think a GTN750 would solve my problem, with rubber-banded route entry, but it seems like that might cost more than €349 :D !
I’m glad you were asking about this Howard, as I’ve been wondering the same thing recently too. Having bought SkyDemon and running it on an iPad Mini Retina on my leg using a kneeboard, I think it would be handy to have the route in the Garmin 430 too. This would be useful for me incase the GPS running SkyDemon cuts out temporarily, and also as a ‘quick glance’ guide to current position (it’s easier to look straight ahead at the 430 than down at the iPad).
If you (or anyone else) knows of a cheaper way to load routes on to the 430 from SkyDemon (or elsewhere) then let us know :)
Looking for a Garmin 430 database update
as I only fly vfr i would like to update my 430 with a database that might not be current for ifr but would be great for me
will to contribue to the costs
430 or 430W ?
Is this possible? I thought that the databases were individually locked to devices?
Stickandrudderman, no, they are not locked, you can pull a card out of one device and insert it into another, and it will work.
Excellent, so when I finally get around to installing my 430W I’ll be able to solicit help from here!