I am a little behind on my blogging. I flew the airplane on the 11th, the weather was nice VFR at Anoka, but not so nice not too far away. So I stayed in the pattern and did landings. On about my third one, the EFIS PFD (the left instrument panel screen) went into a mode of crashing and rebooting itself every 45 seconds or so. Good news is the reversionary mode (combining all data form the two screens on to the one working screen) worked as advertised. Though the cycle from normal to reversionary mode every 45 seconds was highly distracting. So I returned to the hangar and called SteinAir, the folks who I got the avionics from, and asked for ideas.
While I was talking with Stein, a few other things came to mind that may or may not have been related. I have always had some difficulty with the touch screen on this unit, sometimes requiring multiple pushes to get a response. Eric and I also isolated this screen as the source of some intercom noise. They said that it is certainly the kind of thing that the screen itself needs to go back to Garmin. Stein arranged for Garmin to send me a new screen 2nd day shipping and I returned the failed unit on warranty.
Having been skunked on weather for a while, I didn’t want to cancel the day of flying. So I disconnected the PFD connector. This put the MFD into permanent reversionary mode. I got another flight in after that before it got dark. When I got back to the hangar I removed the screen for shipping.
It was actually a good experience. The customer service from Stein and Garmin was as it should be and very accommodating. I also know that the reversionary mode works and that I’m not sunk in a single screen failure. This is exactly the same thing I would do if I had an EFIS failure away from home. No functionality was lost, but buttons and display/placement are different enough it was nice to see it.
Incidentally I debated long and hard over if I should design around a single larger screen or the two smaller screens like I have. I didn’t realize that the reason I chose the two screens would be so quickly realized. But if I would have designed around the one screen I would have been grounded. Even if I would have had a small flight instrument back up like the GRT mini, I would not have had engine instrumentation. So I am pretty glad I have the set up I do. It is already paying off.