Finally got my Garmin G5 units installed and calibrated today – yeah! Took longer than I thought but not because of the Garmin design, just the usual retrofit/upgrade surprises you get when you need to mount new equipment and move or reroute wiring in a finished airframe.
With two G5 units I decided to use one as Primary Flight Display (PFD) and one as a Horizontal Situation Indictor (HSI). Mine is a standalone setup using only a GMU 11 magnetometer (no G3X system). The magnetometer is mounted in the tail, which for an RV-8 is ideal.
GMU 11 mounted on fuselage centerline, pointing forward
The G5 units mount in the holes previously occupied by my RC Allen AH and DG. I could use the same panel holes and mounting holes for the supplied G5 installation. Pretty clever how Garmin does this. Use the old mounting holes to mount a horseshoe shaped G5 mounting ring. Then insert G5 instrument and hold with an Allen screw like most radio rack mounts use.
Garmin mounts using original instrument holes
G5 Units in place
The calibration went pretty smoothly except for the Magnetometer. (Note: You do have to do the Pitch/Roll calibration separately for each G5 unit if it is a standalone installation. After that, calibrating one unit pretty much takes care of the second unit.) I placed the aircraft at the run-up area at my home field (52F), which is about the only place with enough room to do this. Pointed the aircraft to magnetic north, started the test and waited 20 minutes for something to happen. The G5 should tell you to turn right at some point but after 20 minutes -- nothing. So with all my resident “experts” away at Airventure, I decided to punt and go fly. I needed fuel so I headed to KXBP Bridgeport and after fueling saw there was no one around and a nice big ramp, so I tried the magnetometer calibration again. This time, after seven minutes, the display said, “Turn right slowly”. Eureka it was working. Once that first seven-minute test was done the remaining turns (every 30 degrees until you’re back facing North) went pretty quickly.
These are pretty cool little units. I need to figure all that they are telling me, but I’m looking forward to that over the next few weeks.
Seeing these little guys in action made the pain of crawling around the confined spaces of the fuselage worthwhile.