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Old 05-09-2009, 04:02 PM
bearcatkm bearcatkm is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: flint mi
Posts: 4
Default MGL or GRT ?

I am down to two EFIS
The MGL voyager/odyssey or GRT HX series ?
with autopilot
can anybody give me a idea, of the two to chuse from?
Hounds forever..................
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:44 PM
hevansrv7a's Avatar
hevansrv7a hevansrv7a is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 1,553
Default My vote

OK, let's take the case of someone in Michigan where GRT is made. That is a service & support factor. Let's further assume that a proven track record matters. No offense to the excellent work done by MGL, much of which we should hope is "emulated" by others, too, but you are sinking a lot of money into something that could actually keep you alive in some circumstances. I guess you can tell how I vote.
H. Evan's RV-7A N17HH 230 hours
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Last edited by hevansrv7a : 05-10-2009 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:20 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 11,852

No way to answer your question unless you first tell us what you want to do with your airplane, and what you want your EFIS to do. Shopping by brand is for consumers - not airplane system designers....which we all are!

Paul F. Dye
Editor in Chief - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
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Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)

Last edited by Ironflight : 05-09-2009 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:41 PM
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rleffler rleffler is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Delaware, OH (KDLZ)
Posts: 4,066

You're asking the wrong question.

Paul Dye wrote an excellant article in a recent RVator about requirements and the amount of resilence that needs to be designed into your panel. A longer version was published in our EAA 9 Chapter newsletter. It talks about what equipment you need to meet your mission requirements.

While both MGL and GRT make good products, their target audiences are different. Are even more so depending on which of their products you are talking about.

For example, MGL uses lower resolution screens. This enables MGL to offer a product at a lower price. You want to compare that to the GRT HX, which is GRT's high resolution more expensive solution. I would think that the Sport or HS from GRT may be a closer comparison, specifically in price and screen quality. I'm sure that there are many other differences, with each vendor having their strengh and/or weakness.

Read Paul's article, then document your requirements. Then determine which EFIS mets your requirements. If it becomes a flip of a coin on technical merit, then factor in quality of support and price.

For me, because screen resolution and refresh rate is important to me, my final two are AFS Advanced Deck and the GRT HX.

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the GRT HX. Fortunately, I have at least six months before I have to make a final decision. I do like some of Rob's recent improvements at AFS.

Two other requirements that I've taken into account in making my EFIS decisions are:

A very non-scientific and very subjective process. I took my wife to Stein's booth last year at OSH. He had one of every major EFIS vendor's product in his booth. I simply asked my wife, which one she liked the best. She's not a pilot and has no clue as to what an EFIS is or how it works. She liked the GRT HX over the AFS and MGL units. Once she found out how much the Garmin unit was, that quickly was eliminated.

The other is based upon first hand knowledge of friends that are currently flying. Most of the folks that I know are flying with GRT products and are pleased with their decision. I do have friends with the AFS product, but it's about a 10 to 1 ratio at the moment.

Now that I've shared some of my bias, it really doesn't mean anything. What's important to you and which vendor can meet your requirements at the best price is all the matters. If price doesn't matter, then I'm sure Stein will be more than happy to sell you one of his nice Garmin panels.
Bob Leffler
N410BL - RV10 Flying
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:35 PM
apatti apatti is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Middle Georgia
Posts: 654
Default My inflation adjusted two cents...

In a rapidly changing environment such as EFIS's I think you also have to take into account the upgrade path provided by each company you consider. Keep in mind, once you buy, you are sole sourced. You have to be careful just comparing current features. You know once one company comes out with a popular feature or performance improvement, the others are going to match it. The question is, will the current hardware be able to support it without major modification.

So, one question you have to ask yourself is, which system will I be able to upgrade with new features as they come out? Is one of the systems likely to run out of processer speed, screen resoution, or anything else soon?
Warner Robins, GA
Phase I complete
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:04 PM
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lostpilot28 lostpilot28 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 1,095

Bob makes a good should compare two EFIS systems that are closer functionality, but only after you figure out what your mission is (Paul's advice).

I've got 2 MGL Voyagers and think they're great...and the support is fantastic. It's clear to me that the MGL people really know their stuff. Also, their products appear to be modularized so upgrading is a given. For example, this summer they're supposed to have a replacement CPU board that has a separate graphics processor to allow high-res terrain. I'm planning on buying it!

The only thing I haven't done yet is buy the comm extender to run the autopilot servos I have installed (~$175).

I do have one small complaint about my Voyagers, however...they really do take a lot of setup & config before using them. That very well could be the case with other systems, too...I don't know. But configuring each probe for the engine with high, low and warning parameters was time consuming. And you have to do it for air-data, too. I'm sure you will have to do most of this for other systems, as well...but I would think any manufacturer could have a handful of "typical" parameters pre-loaded to minimize this. Maybe that's wishfull thinking!

So far, I have nothing but great things to say about MGL. Your decision won't be easy, but I'm betting you'll be happy with whatever system you decide to go with.
Sonny W
Boise, Idaho
RV-7A Flying!
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:20 AM
dav1111 dav1111 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Posts: 634
Default Upgrade service

First you should know that my comments are extremely biased. I installed a three screen GRT system in my RV-10 in 2006 (Duel Horizon I and signel Sport Hz). I have no experiece with MGL so I cannot compare upgrade support or service between the two.

In 2008 I upgraded my Sport HZ to the new higher resolution Sport 6.8"" screen and GRT credited me with my original purchase price of the Sport HZ against the upgrade. The price difference was -0-.

After the HX came out in 2009 I also upgraded my Duel Horzizon screens to the Duel HX 8.4" and GRT again credited me with my original purchase price against the current price of the Duel HX 8.4" system. This after flying the duel Horizon system for three years. What a deal.

The customer service GRT has provided me both in install and programing has been wonderful and their upgrade policy of giving full dollar credit for your original purchase is impossible to beat. Being able to buy something now to fly and then as improvements come about being able to upgrade for full dollar credit is a no brainer. One thing I know is that in the avionics world changes are going to happen and the question is whether or not 2-5 years from now you are going to look back and say I wished I had waited until that system came out. With GRT you don't have to, just upgrade.

I just hope GRT doesn't come out with bigger screens than their 8.4" My panel doesn't have room for anymore size upgrades. However it is nice to know that if GRT comes up with a new 8.4" platform that gives me more functions that I can pull my existing system out, mail it back and upgrade for full credit of my original purchase price. I know personally that you can't do that with Garmin or AFS, I have no idea what MGL's policy might be in the future.

Remember to go back and read the first line and take my comments for what they are worth.
Russ Daves
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:24 AM
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Lionclaw Lionclaw is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 653

Originally Posted by rleffler View Post
For example, MGL uses lower resolution screens.
What resolution are the GRT panels? I'm not finding a number on the horizon page. Their pricing page shows they have a paid upgrade to get you to 600x480.

The MGL Odyssey and Voyager are 640x480. The Enigma is much older, and is 320x240. When I saw the Odyssey last year at Osh it looked gorgeous.
Andy Compton, PhD EE
RV-10 - #41414 (building)
RV-9A - N643AC (built,flying,sold,missed)
My blood and sweat, the Wifey's tears
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:05 AM
breister breister is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,172

Ditto on everyone who said "let your requirements drive the decision," and also consider your technology comfort zone.

I intend to fly IFR a bunch, and my first decision was a GNS 480 for nav and a 496 for WX & terrain. Once those decisions were firm, I really only needed flight instruments and engine instruments - so I went with a vendor whose product is solid and was chosen by Burt Rutan for his spaceship which provided better bang for the buck for the features I needed then (I chose Dynon D-180 when it was brand new). That, along with the track record of Dynon as a "simple appliance" were deciding factors for me. Might my decision be different today? Certainly, particularly since the GNS 480 has been discontinued.

So in addition to all of the features, you might want to download simulators if available or get behind someone you knows' units to see how "intuitive" you find it to operate that piece of equipment. First time down the chute in hard IFR is NOT the time to find out that you are overwhelmed with buttons!

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Old 05-10-2009, 09:07 AM
rv72004 rv72004 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 452

I agree that MGL has come a long way. Now they must just lose the plastic bank machine buttons and put something out that looks a little more aviation level. Also the engine module looks very cheap. Its plastic with a decal.
Im not running their stuff down, I actually think its good stuff, just would be nice if they listened. A lot of people I speak to feel the same.
RV7 flying
xp360, CS, All Glass cockpit

Last edited by rv72004 : 05-10-2009 at 11:30 AM.
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