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[May 15, 2016]


My Garmin GNS-430W has been giving me issues lately with the buttons. I need to exert a lot of force in order for the buttons to operate. This is a common issue with the 430W's, and requires them to be sent into Garmin to be fixed as part of their $900 flat rate service. While the unit was in there, I also had the screen replaced, battery swapped out and the software updated.

The Garmin 430W's have been selling for a very high price recently. I think their value has been increased due to GA airplanes being pressured into getting an approved WAAS GPS system for ADS-B in/out. With some of the prices I have seen these units listed for, I could sell the 430W for basically what I had into it. The logical replacement for the 430W is Garmin's replacement unit - the GTN-650. I called up a couple of local shops and a few of the normal experimental avionics vendors and they price was pretty much fixed across the board - $9,850. I remembered Stark Avionics used to be known for offering great deals on new avionics, so I gave them a call. John Stark answered the phone and said their price was $9,015 shipped for a new GTN-650 with the GA-35 antenna. A check was put in the mail and a week later a new GTN-650 was on my doorstep.

I started the swap out of the units today. I wasn't looking forward to the swap as I needed to remove my panel. First step was to disconnect the battery.


After about 4 hours of continuous work, the panel was out. This was definitely where I spent most of my day. There was a lot of little things that needed to be disconnected, removed and/or unfastened to get the panel out.


With the panel out, I can remove the tray for the 430 and install the 650 tray.


I made a wiring chart of where all of the existing wires were located for the 430, then cross referenced their signaling to double check everything seemed to make sense.



I then needed to label all of the wires. As soon as I removed the wires from the DSUB connectors, they would be much harder to identify. I affixed masking tape to wax paper, then used a sharpie to create makeshift labels. This system worked phenomenally as I could just attach the labels to the wires quickly.


All of the wires labeled and the DSUB connectors removed.


The 650 tray is just about as deep as the 430 tray with the exception of the fan which sticks out on the right side of the 650 tray.


The fan sits roughly 1.5" deeper than the 430 tray. Luckily for me, I won't have any interference with existing items behind the GPS unit.

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Last Modified: September 4, 2017