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Random avionics internals

Bathman wrote:

Always liked the king 170\5 units. No manual required for the students on how to use it.

The same is true for the small Trig Radios. Audio quality is much improved over the old Kings, though. I do like their feel, but I do like the much improved audio quality of the more modern radio.

mh
Inside the sky.
EDXE, EDXF, Germany

What is amazing is how “spare garage workshop” this mainstream stuff is.

I have been in electronic manufacturing since 1978. I was 21 then, and worked from here

There was no heating (that we could afford to run 24/7) so in the winter the water pipes would freeze up and the joints came apart, and when I arrived in the morning I saw the two parts of the joint held apart by a slug of ice about 2cm long.

But even then we managed to turn out professionally designed electronics. Everything including connectors and switches was on a PCB, for a start. Cabling was done with pre-made ribbon cables.

The KMA20 is a piece of s**t in terms of attention paid to manufacturability. Whoever was running that business was straight out of college and his biggest achievement was this. The labour content was massive. But then they – as is always the case in avionics; a GTX330 costs only about $200 to make and put on the shelf at Garmin – sold the gear for 10x to 30x the parts+labour figure so probably didn’t care.

The silly pricing of avionics has protected this business for all those decades.

Compare the KMA20 with a KLN94

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

The silly pricing of avionics has protected this business for all those decades.

When has pricing ever been related to cost, especially in a small market such as avionics. That is a recipe for bankruptcy. :)

KUZA

NCYankee wrote:

When has pricing ever been related to cost, especially in a small market such as avionics. That is a recipe for bankruptcy.

Right you are, yet one could take a leaf from software engineers’ book, and start a non-profit open-source avionics project that would do a proper design for manufacturability, maintainability and certifiability. It won’t be very quick, but the final product will give a lot more bang per buck than most commercial avionics today. I am not up to the task of leading such an undertaking, but I would gladly contribute my effort. @Peter, what’s your take on that?

Last Edited by Ultranomad at 10 Aug 13:11
LKBU near Prague, Czech Republic

In certified avionics, it isn’t possible because of the organisational (manufacturing facility) QA requirements, etc.

You could do it in the homebuilt world and I would be surprised if nobody has, given how many people fly with e.g. Ipads screwed to the instrument panel. You could do an open-source EDM700-lookalike kit, Shadin Microflo-lookalike kit, etc. But then I think all those opportunities are being eaten by glass cockpits where the fuel totaliser is just a bit of code which reads the flow transducer pulses via an interrupt.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

In certified avionics, it isn’t possible because of the organisational (manufacturing facility) QA requirements, etc.

The project itself may procure a design organisation approval in due course. As to the actual certification burden, looking at the internals above, I get an impression that a major reason behing notoriously high costs of certification is the lack of design effort to make it cheaper by using technologies that make the fulfilment of some certification requirements either automatic or at least easier.

LKBU near Prague, Czech Republic

A certified Trig radio doesn’t cost much more than a non certified MGL. Glass panels are a whole different thing though, but a non certified g900x system costs at least 70k, almost 10x as much as a roughly equivalent Dynon system or g3x touch system from Garmin.

Ultranomad wrote:

I get an impression that a major reason behing notoriously high costs of certification is the lack of design effort to make it cheaper by using technologies that make the fulfilment of some certification requirements either automatic or at least easier.

I imagine so because that requires understanding the requirements before you start. Not designing it first and then muddling through certification, patching issues as they appear.

LeSving wrote:

A certified Trig radio doesn’t cost much more than a non certified MGL.

Even that MGL has to be certified as a radio, otherwise it would be illegal to transmit using it. That should be the hard part.

LeSving wrote:

Glass panels are a whole different thing though, but a non certified g900x system costs at least 70k, almost 10x as much as a roughly equivalent Dynon system or g3x touch system from Garmin.

That’ll be because G900X is based on G950/ G1000 which isn’t cheap. And there’re people who spend that much on avionics for a homebuilt.

Sure certification is easier once you know how and design it to meet the spec. This is true for any standard. It gives an advantage to big old companies with, ahem, good lunching contacts inside the certification bodies, and makes it potentially impossible for newcomers to the market. I once tried to launch a BASEEFA approved product and the guy on the phone practically told me to get lost!

I guess that Avidyne didn’t do that very well with some recent products which is why it took such a long time.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Martin wrote:

Even that MGL has to be certified as a radio, otherwise it would be illegal to transmit using it

I checked all this half a year ago. The MGL has been tested and found OK some years ago on 25kHz separation. Today the telecom authority do not do this kind of testing/investigation anymore, they rely on adherence to specs by the manufacturer. The easiest way for the manufacturer to show it is OK as a radio in an aircraft is therefore to certify it. They could also test it according to the standard for ground based equipment, but MGL was not interested in doing that. A new radio has to be 8.33 today, and therefore the MGL is illegal. According to MGL the radio is built from the ground according to the specs, but as long as it is not certified (or tested) this means little. It is not the aviation authority that approves radios. In a non certified aircraft you can use an approved ground based unit or a certified aircraft unit, but not a non certified aircraft unit.

I think Garmin only elevates the prices for the g900x because of the insane prices of the g1000. The g900x is built using un-certified components, just like the g3x, but it uses the “architecture” of the g1000. If you got that kind of money, it is a bit strange that people would buy the g900x instead of the certified g1000.

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