ARNAV MFD

I just had a long conversation with Susan Hamner (sic?) of ARNAV. I very much appreciate her response to my two emails that I sent about 10 -14 days ago. Unfortunately, she told me that she was unhappy with my previous, somewhat vitriolic posts regarding the latest version of their ICDS/MFD and considered them to be ‘infalmatory,’ ‘inaccurate’ and ‘arm waving.’ She asked that I have patience and work with them. There were no apologies, only requests for additional patience and efforts on my part. I offered to apologize and retract anything that I have posted that was inaccurate, but she was unable to point out any.
I pointed out that I felt that the responses from ARNAV have been poor, both in timeliness and in content, to which she replied that their first response was, “An engineering response not a pilot response” and that, “I should get past that.” She also added that they may be unable to meet my standards (elapsed time in update rates) and I would have to meet them half way. I can only ask what is acceptable in update rates, and is 45 seconds, or half of that, even reasonable?
I asked for a refund and return to the previous version, to which she declined.
Needless to say, I continue to be very unhappy with ARNAV and the upgraded ICDS. I will continue to work with them as I would for any company whose products I use. I will offer any feedback that they request and most of all, as I have no other reasonable choice, I will wait for the ‘maintenance version’ of the software to be released, whenever that will be - she didn’t know.
I strongly recommend that anyone who is considering upgrading their older ARNAV MFDs wait until the next software is released and reviewed. We are not paid to be their beta testers with every release. Unless you are sure you will be happy with the upgraded unit, I would suggest that you save the $2,000 or apply it to an Avidyne conversion.

Neither unit is perfect, but from everything that I have experienced and read, Avidyne is the more progressive and responsive company. They seem to have the market in large screen MFDs and I presume that it due to their products and service and not because of my posts.

Finally, what annoyed me most about the call was the slightly veiled threat that I should toe the line or I would be left with an unsupported ‘legacy’ product. She went on to say that ARNAV had to make some decisions about what was profitable and ‘worth the effort.’ I find it reprehensible for the company to try to hold their customers’ opinions hostage, when the fault lies with business decisions that the company itself has made. They failed to keep their product current, and their competition passed them by. They sold version after version with bugs. They failed to meet announced deadline after deadline. They failed to meet expectations. Apparently, they disappointed their largest customer (for the product) to the point where that customer no longer offers their product. But what is absolutely the worst? They blame their customers for their own mistakes. Bottom line: they failed to keep their customers happy.

I have expressed many of these opinions with some of you individually. I have always wanted to give ARNAV the benefit of the doubt and not post such negative comments. My comments have become more negative as their products and service continue to disappoint. Finally, I feel that by keeping quiet, I would be letting down anyone who was considering upgrading. Do your homework. Do your research. But, make an informed decision. This is just one man’s opinion. I invite anyone to post their’s, even ARNAV.

Marty Kent

Marty,

It’s been comments like yours and other ARNAV users that convinced me to take the offer from Cirrus to UPGRADE to the AVIDYNE on the SR22 I picked up last June. It was a good decision.

Thanks,

Walt

After visiting the RNAV booth at Oshkosh and asking them what are the benifits of the $2000 upgrade, I to am considering the Avidyne upgrade. The main reason I am considering Avidyne is that RNAV will not support database updates unless you spring for the $2000 upgrade.

Ouch!!! Even Microsoft who loves to sell you the latest version of their operating system still supports their older versions.

I’m happy with the new revision (920AH) of Arnav ICDS-2000 software. Arnav isn’t perfect, I agree. And it would be nice if the display updated more quickly after changing resolution. But I find this a minor thing, not a problem. When I change resolutions, I usually select the resolution I want, then go on with my scan, returning a little later to see the redrawn screen.

I recall that I measured it took about 10 seconds to change resolution, but I don’t recall exactly what scale I was going from and to when I did this.

I have found the terrain model extremely useful. I flew to the east coast and back in June, through Colorado. My wife likes to stay as low as possible, due to her sensitivity to altitude, even when on a high flow of O2. Using the terrain feature, we could easily see the lowest path, for example, between Bryce Canyon UT and Grand Junction CO.

I departed KSBA at night last weekend, and found the terrain display once again very helpful and reassuring (not that I’d want to depend on it, but it is a great addition).

I wonder why we have such different experiences with the same software. I’m generally pretty unforgiving of software that doesn’t work well.

Also, I’ve found the folks at Arnav, including Susan, to be most helpful and informative.

The price of the upgrade, $2,000, I think is very low considering the cost of software development and the tiny market.

As to bugs, I’ve seen bad, disturbing software bugs in both Sandel and Garmin products. I don’t mean to slam either of them, but it isn’t like Arnav is alone.

I sure hope Arnav keeps working on the ARINC-429 interface, so that we’ll be able to get the curved segments of approaches, and Skywatch data, on the ICDS-2000.

Marty,

Have you tried anyone else’s Arnav and compared the response time to yours? It seems like your resposne time is at least double (and typically much more than double) what others have experienced.

Is it possible there is something wrong with your Arnav unit itself which is causing the extra delay? (i.e. maybe some problem with the hardware upgrade)?

If your refresh rate was more similar to what others are reporting, how would that change your opinion of the value of the upgrade?

Steve

I, too, have been holding back, refraining from making comments about Arnav products and service in this public arena until they’ve had a fair chance to respond. But I must say that my patience is wearing pretty thin.

Arnav, if you’re reading this (and one would hope you are), please return my calls - those I made before Oshkosh, and the in-person message I left at your booth at Oshkosh on Thursday 7/25.

Thanks,

Mike Radomsky
732.213.7905

I’m more on Robert’s than Marty’s side of this one, although I understand Marty’s complaints.

  • I wish that Arnav were matching Avidyne on new product and feature releases;

  • My observation of the tech economy makes me think that it will be only become harder for Arnav to match Avidyne as time goes on, for VHS-vs-beta type reasons;

  • Nonetheless, I prefer the new Arnav display and software to the old, despite the existence of the bug I’ve reported, mainly because the terrain-display feature has proven very useful to me, above all when flying in the west. I’m glad to have gotten the upgrade, FWIW.

Coming from the tech business, Avidyne management understands that a company needs market share to be profitable. Garmin is profitable in GA avionics. I’m sure Arnav isn’t. Avidyne now has OEM wins with Cirrus, Lancair, Diamond, Eclipse, etc. They are on track to be a dominant supplier. The interesting battle royale will begin next year when Garmin moves aggressively into the MFD space.

-Curt

Jim,

I also picked up Rev H, plus I had the hardware added for the Arinc 429 interface so that my Skywatch would work with the ARNAV sometime in the near future. Like you, there are certainly some features in the Avidyne that would be nice, but I continue to be pleased with the ICDS2000. My refresh has never been 40 secs. It really does seem to be dependent on screen conditions at the time. I have seen it as short as 8 seconds, but also as long as 26. Regardless, it just has not been that big of a deal for me.

We could all sit here and complain because we got our 22s before the TKS( this one is a big deal for me), or the new glass display for our primary flight instruments, or the new tuned exhaust system, but I continue to look at what I flew with for 8 years in my Skylane. I am still very much enamored with my SR22 as well as the avionics, including the ARNAV. I hope that ARNAV will continue to support the Cirrus community (especially with regard to downloadable weather products). I also know that there will continue to be new and better products that will continue to arrive on the market…that’s life!..as for me, I still am light years ahead of any other single, and almost all of the twins on the field at THV…still a happy camper here in York, PA!

Paul
N925PW

I’m generally pretty hard on our vendors - including Cirrus - but on this one I simply don’t have the problems with my ARNAV that Marty is having.

Most of my updates are 15 secs or less. The only time its longer is when I have the detailed terrain data on the screen. Even then, it doesn’t seem to be to 45 secs.

My bottom line is that, despite ARNAV’s obvious shortcomings as a vendor, I am glad I put down the $2000 for the upgrade - particularly the terrain feature.

My strategy will be to skip the current generation Avidyne on my SR22 and wait for a major upgrade beyond the 5000C - who knows what it wil be, but in this business it is certain to be something. Maybe from Avidyne, maybe from Cirrus’s next supplier.

Bob

Curtis: Regarding your observation: “The interesting battle royale will begin next year when Garmin moves aggressively into the MFD space” actually, according to at least one Avidyne representative, the word seems to be that Avidyne is moving into the GPS/VLOC receiver field in the future. They want to be the “one box” company in the future. Look for an Avidyne version of a “530 on Steroids” in the future.

Everyone: I just posted my opinions based upon my particular MFD and the way I fly. I’ve spoken with Robert and we use the equipment very differently, hence we have different experiences and opinions.
He rarely changes the range. I take long flights through various types of airspaces (B, C, E, etc) and frequently encounter fronts and T-storms. I often use the screen to see what is happening an hour in advance to start thinking about my options. I often talk to Flightwatch and ATC for reroutes. Long ranges are great for planning, while the shorter ranges are great for more crowded airspace.
All of these activities result in more than occasional changes in range. If I were to fly a lot on the west coast where I rarely have wx issues and fly predominantly in dense airspace, I would probably use the 50 NM range a lot more. As it is, I use 50 NM - 200 NM most often and occasionally, scale down as I approach my destination.
That is all fine and great. I am not trying to talk anyone out of the upgrade. I am trying to educate folks to what I feel are it’s shortcomings. If they won’t bother you and you think the other benefits are worth the $2K, go for it!
But to be clear, my complaints with the unit are:

  • The painfully slow update/redraw times affect the way I use the equipment
  • The terrain avoidance, the upgrade that so many like so much, works only sporadicaly on my unit
  • The higher resolution but smaller fonts make the screen slightly less readable in my wife’s and my opinions
  • I don’t think the new colors do much and I have defaulted to leaving them off.
    So, in other words, I get very little new value for my $2K and some headaches which I did not have before.
    Now, my disappointment with ARNAV is:
  • They continually promise and miss the deadlines, sometimes by years. (My patience has worn thin.)
  • Their response to my complaints was almost entirely defensive and not investigative. They showed little interest in seeing me satisfied and spent a lot of ink on telling me that I was wrong.
  • They continually ship poorly tested software.
  • Their communication is poor. Most recently, they sold the ‘upgrades’ and shipped units back to owners and never even told anyone that the new software wasn’t included. It took complaints or calls to the factory to determine that.
    Caveat emptor. That’s it!

Marty

I agree with all you said. I have the upgrade and I am happy with it do hope for afew improvements. From Don

Steve: (Your question in black. My responses in blue.)

Have you tried anyone else’s Arnav and compared the response time to yours?
Nope, but see next answer.

It seems like your resposne time is at least double (and typically much more than double) what others have experienced
Not exactly. Even ARNAV has finally admitted to 43 seconds to redraw whenever the 100 and 200NM ranges are involved (zoomong in from it or zooming out to it).

Is it possible there is something wrong with your Arnav unit itself which is causing the extra delay? (i.e. maybe some problem with the hardware upgrade)?
Yes it is definitely possible. I have offered to fly with anyone from ARNAV (so the MFD can be tested in my environment in my part of the country) or to send it back to them for a loaner. But, they have recreated the blanking problem, the 45 second redraw time and most other complaints, so i am not too sure of the efficacy at this point. Despite my offer, they also have indicated no interest in checking my unit.

If your refresh rate was more similar to what others are reporting, how would that change your opinion of the value of the upgrade?
That depends. What redraw rates are you or others experiencing? I feel that 10 -15 seconds is still unacceptable. The Avydine, Garmins and Sandels (all arguably different units) do not approach these times. I would accept up to 3 seconds, in a pinch. But 10 -15 is not acceptable in my book, especially when it locks up the screen during its redraw.

Good questions. Thanks Steve.

Marty

I’ve decided to hold off getting the software/hardware updates to my ARNAV since reading these discussions. Would those of you more involved in the discussion mind answering a few clarification questions?

(1) What’s this about ARNAV not supporting database updates unless you get the hardware/software upgrades? Am I REALLY going to be forced to plunk down $2K for my next database update in Dec? (I had decided to update the ARNAV database only once per year…)

(2) Is the ARINC29 interface and support for it REALLY going to come about, or are they blowing smoke?

(3) RE the screen refresh rates: Are you folks talking about delays in recomputing / plotting the screen base image only, or is EVERY SINGLE position update (screen refresh) on the screen taking 45 sec.? (I don’t think I could deal with 45 sec for every position update to make it to the screen.)

— I.E. if I turn the plane at say, standard rate (2 min for a 360), am I really only going to get 2 to 3 images of the entire screen rotation? Or, is it just when changing resolutions, say 25 to 100 MN range, that I’m going to get a long delay, with the unit going back to its now normal once a sec. refresh rate including scrolling and rotating, at the new selected resolution as the map moves?

I ask because I was convinced that I didn’t need the AVIDYNE - I had the option of the ARNAV or a blank plate and later retrofit when i got my SR20 last Jan. - and Cirrus couldn’t make any assurances that AVIDYNE was even considering engine monitoring at the time. I use the MFD for situational awareness, usually leavng it in 25 or 50 NM resolution mode, and the Garmins for long range navigation and flight planning. Obviously, 3/4 of a minute is totally useless for situational awareness - a lot happens in 45 sec. AND, I can figure out where I am with a paper map and crossed VOR radials faster than that!

So, whether to stay with the ARNAV or migrate to the AVIDYNE now, while I can get a good deal, depends on the answer to these questions…

Thanks in advance for the help!

When you really think about it, the REAL beauty of the Garmin 530/430 when it first came out was the color moving map. Earlier version IFR approved GPS units either had monochrome or no map at all. Throwing in the ILS/VOR Com option made it a “one box for everything” concept. The Comm ekements are easy to imcorporate.
Now the moving map world has changed. We are into superimposing everything on one big screen which mandates the need for a larger screen. The Garmin iIS TOO SMALL for that role now. But in many aircraft, perticularly older models, there is no room or budget for a big screen so I think Garmin still has a strong nitch regardless of what Avidyne does. On the other hand, Avidyne makes multi sizes of sreens as well which, at least in the MFD market alone, while probably propel them as the leader. No one else is doing what they are doing in the MFD field right now. Hate to say it, but ARNAV is doomed as they have no nitch at all.

In reply to:


(3) RE the screen refresh rates: Are you folks talking about delays in recomputing / plotting the screen base image only, or is EVERY SINGLE position update (screen refresh) on the screen taking 45 sec.? (I don’t think I could deal with 45 sec for every position update to make it to the screen.)


I can answer this part. The long refresh delays – in my experience, 8-10 seconds to 25 seconds or more – are when you change resolution or some other display setting, not when you change heading.

The screen is not as fast as it used to be, and not as real-time fast as the Garmins, in keeping up with dramatic changes in heading or position. This is most true, as you would expect, when the display-detail is at its greatest (full terrain, etc) and (in my experience) when the mileage-scale is at its smallest (25 nm etc). If you swing into a 360-degree turn in those circumstances, the display would lag your actual heading. But, in my experience, this is a minor irritant. It’s a lag – not a blank or frozen screen, as when changing resolutions. The time it has most effect is when you’re manuevering to enter the landing pattern. I rely on the Garmins – or my eyeballs out the window! – for orientation at that point, because the big screen can’t keep up.

I think all “new Arnav” users agree that the performance is significantly slower than the old system. Whether or not that’s a real irritant depends on the factors you’ve seen mentioned here – how often you change the resolution, how valuable you find the new terrain display, etc.

It seems to me if I leave the terrain function ‘off’, the refresh rates aren’t as long. But, this is only an issue when zooming in or out.
But, I prefer the ‘old’ Arnav for many, many reasons. I used the ‘pointer’ often to pull up way point info almost instantly and that feature has been altogether removed.
IMHO, I hope those at Arnav who ‘blessed this (as an) upgrade’ will have better luck in their new careers!
If they consulted with a group of 10 cirru users prior to the release, they could have avoided alot of embarrassment and difficulty.
But, you can and should decide for yourself by hooking up with someone having ‘the upgrade’ and then grade it for yourself. As you know there are others here who prefer the changes.
However, if you thnk you will ever get near the capabilities of Avidyne, that just won’t happen. So, it may be worth your investment.
TC
Good luck

In response to:
(1) What’s this about ARNAV not supporting database updates unless you get the hardware/software upgrades? Am I REALLY going to be forced to plunk down $2K for my next database update in Dec? (I had decided to update the ARNAV database only once per year…)

I was told this when I stopped by the ARNAV booth at Oshkosh and asked them to review the features of the hardware upgrade (version v.920AH). The upgrade includes an expanded database option that I assume is used to store the additional terrain, bodies of water, road and other information. As it was conveyed to me by the person manning the booth at the time, the database format changed to accommodate this additional information and they will no longer support the original database format.

Maybe someone who already has a name of contact at ARNAV can contact them to confirm this.

I agree with Jim’s assessment.

Regarding requiring the new hardware to get updated data, I wouldn’t think that would be the case. I say this because you can get the Revision H software (which has updated data) without the new hardware. If my assessment is correct, this needs to be clarified, because I think the impression is that it requires the $2000 upgrade to get new data, which I don’t think is true.

Andy