G1000 NXi Phase II

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CFIDave
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G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by CFIDave »

After 3 years of waiting for new hardware and software for my 2017 DA62 that was originally delivered with G1000 NXi Phase I and GTX335R ADS-B Out-only transponder, I was able to upgrade to the latest Garmin hardware and software:

1. About 2 months ago I installed new ".03" NXi Phase I software that finally enabled the GTX345R transponder with ADS-B IN weather and traffic, and FlightStream 510 wireless SDcard for communicating with an iPad/iPhone. This required new wiring in the form of an additional High-Speed Data Bus (HSDB, i.e., Ethernet) connection between the transponder and the PFD, and (only for those with TAS units) re-wiring of the pre-existing Avidyne TAS605 active traffic unit to send target information to the GTX345R instead of directly to the No. 2 GIA63W.

2. Last week I got my DA62 back after installation of NXi Phase II, including a new pair of GIA64Ws (nav/radio/GPS/autopilot), new engine interface module (GEA71B), and new audio panel (GMA1360). This required some additional new wiring (e.g., a HSDB/Ethernet connection between the new audio panel and a GIA64W) as well as new software version 2056.10 with GDU version 20.89. (The good news for owners of recent DA62s delivered in the past 12 months or so is that this new wiring may already be pre-installed in your aircraft while Diamond was awaiting Phase II certification.)

Splash Screen
The first thing you notice with Phase II is the video (animated GIF?) that plays on the MFD when the G1000 NXi boots up -- it shows an air-to-air video of a DA62 in flight with spinning props. The video ends with a nice new photo of the same plane in flight.

Audio Panel
The biggest change with Phase II is the new audio panel, which takes a bit of work to learn its operation. There are all-new buttons for determining crew isolation from each other and passengers, with more fine-grained control over the sharing of intercom, audio alerts, ATC radio, NAV radios, and music. The new panel accepts both wired music and wireless Bluetooth inputs (e.g., from iPhone/iPad) to control music and phone call sharing among the pilot/co-pilot/passengers. And the buttons have white and blue LEDs to show whether wired vs. wireless connections have been selected for that input.

If you have a GDL69A SXM installed, SiriusXM satellite radio music is distributed only via the MUSIC 1 wired input button; there's no more MUTE softkey on the MFD for satellite music. Music from an iPhone can be heard via either Bluetooth MUSIC 1 or MUSIC 2 input buttons, but not the TEL button input. And phone calls made from an iPhone -- useful for picking up an IFR clearance at non-towered airports -- can be made only via the TEL input button configured for Bluetooth. None of this is explained in the manual, so you'll be experimenting to find out what works and what doesn't.

I'm not sure Garmin/Diamond tested this system very much, as there are some major bugs:
- the Volume physical rocker switch located on the back of the center console for rear seat passengers to control radio volume (this used to work fine with NXi Phase I) is now completely inoperative. The Channel physical rocker switch located on the back of the center console still works to change satellite radio channels, but can't access any SXM radio channels above 223 (it wraps back around to channel 0). However the MFD still lets you see and select 300 and 400-numbered radio channels (I listen to rock channel 316 "SXM Comes Alive" a lot).
- Using Garmin Pilot on an iPhone/iPad to control SXM radio channels and volume has the same problems: You can't see any channels above 233 that are accessible on the MFD, and the volume slider on the screen no longer has any effect other than to reset the volume to minimum/off.
- The SPKR button lights up when you press it, even though the DA62 (unlike the DA40/42) has no cabin speaker installed. And despite what it says in the manual, the public address (PA) function controlled by the same button doesn't work at all.

Garmin's software for the DA62 is configured with the new 3D audio feature disabled. But with a little bit of fooling around in G1000 Maintenance Mode, it's possible to enable 3D audio -- it's very useful for example, to hear ATC Approach sound like it's coming from 11 o'clock in your stereo headset, while an ATIS/AWOS recording sounds like it's coming from 1 o'clock.

I also learned that it's possible for an iPhone to maintain two simultaneous Bluetooth connections to the panel: one pairing to the audio panel for phone calls or playing music (assuming you push the right audio panel buttons), and another pairing to the FlightStream 510 card for synchronizing flight plans/traffic/weather/AHRS/etc.

GWX70 Weather Radar
If you have weather radar in the nose of your DA62 (or DA42), you may know that you're supposed to put the unit into STANDBY on every flight to keep the unit from bouncing around and getting damaged from bumps during taxi or during turbulence -- even if you're flying in VMC and don't need to use radar. Now with NXi Phase II you don't have to do this anymore: there is no OFF when selecting the MODE softkey -- the unit automatically starts up in STANDBY.

Flap Lights
One of the strangest new "features" of NXi Phase II is that all 3 flap lights are now on full time when the panel lighting is turned OFF (i.e., past the click that you can feel). It's still possible to determine flap position because one of the lights is brighter than the other two, but flap position is not as obvious as before with only one light illuminated. Dimming of the flap lights for night operations still works, but all 3 lights are (dimly) illuminated, rather than just one light. This isn't just my Austrian-built DA62 that does this; two other DA62s that recently got upgraded -- newer Canadian-built aircraft pre-wired for Phase II by the factory -- also do this.

It seems bizarre that a G1000 upgrade would affect the flap lights, so I spent some time looking at the schematics. When panel illumination is turned OFF, there are no dimming circuits to affect the flap lights. The only thing I can figure out is that there are 3 wires directly connected to the flap lights that permit the GFC700 autopilot to sense the flap position, and these wires terminate as discrete sensing inputs on both new GIA64Ws. If these GIA64W inputs have a lower impedance (resistance) to ground than the previous GIA63Ws using the same inputs, this might cause the lights to illuminate full time.

Electronic Checklists
NXi Phase II enables the missing Checklists function that used to be grayed out. All you need to do is visit Diamond's website https://www.diamondaircraft.com/en/serv ... hecklists/ where they've published the latest DA62 (and other model) checklist files. Download the DA62 NXi file to an SDcard inserted into the top MFD slot, and the file will be transferred to internal G1000 NXi memory after system boot (allowing you to then remove the SDcard).

Coming "Soon"
If all of the above is insufficient to encourage DA62 owners to upgrade from NXi Phase I, be aware that Phase II hardware will be required to run the *NEXT* software update that Diamond promises will include the still-missing NXi features like Visual Approaches, SurfaceWatch runway monitoring, and WireAware that have been available with NXi for years on other aircraft. This software is expected to become available by year-end 2020 or early in 2021.

And you'll be doing your fellow Diamond owners a favor: Since Garmin ceased production of GIA63Ws, the pair of removed GIA63Ws from your plane will be returned to Diamond so they can be installed in Legacy G1000s in need of a WAAS upgrade.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by NDCDA62 »

Thanks Dave !

This is a great overview of the Phase II upgrade.

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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by jast »

Thanks for the great review!

I just brought 62.113 to its first 100h check at Diamond Egelsbach and at least they will install FS510 and the latest phase I software.

Phase II upgrades are stalled right now in Europe because Diamond is internally figuring out how to reuse the GIA63W and therefore give a discount for upgraders. It’s sad because we had already organized everything including a DA42 shared ownership who would buy the GIA63W but everything for stopped. And we were promised the GTX345R which we already payed for. This is another unfortunate story of bad customer communication and slow reaction to relatively straightforward issues. While the aircraft amazes with every flight, Diamonds missing customer focus (as company, not the individuals) is disappointing.

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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by CFIDave »

jast wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:41 am
Phase II upgrades are stalled right now in Europe because Diamond is internally figuring out how to reuse the GIA63W and therefore give a discount for upgraders.
Any day now Diamond is expected to announce their GIA63W trade-in program for NXi Phase I --> Phase II upgrades, as well as for Legacy G1000 owners that need to install these traded-in GIA63Ws in their aircraft. In both situations owners may be pleasantly surprised by the pricing.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by jast »

CFIDave wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:52 pm
Any day now Diamond is expected to announce their GIA63W trade-in program for NXi Phase I --> Phase II upgrades, as well as for Legacy G1000 owners that need to install these traded-in GIA63Ws in their aircraft. In both situations owners may be pleasantly surprised by the pricing.
:P :thumbsup:

Some good news from Diamond Customer Support would be really appreciated!
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by AndrewM »

Would be nice to get some pleasant surprise pricing on the DA50 as well!
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by ultraturtle »

Another audio panel oddity is that there appears to be no way for center or rear row passengers to hear VHF communications.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by CFIDave »

ultraturtle wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:15 pm
Another audio panel oddity is that there appears to be no way for center or rear row passengers to hear VHF communications.
Yes, but there's a configuration setting in Maintenance Mode for the new GMA 1360 audio panel (the same screen where you can also enable 3D audio) that will fix this:

"While passenger in ICS, route selected COM audio to passenger"
Just change OFF to ON

And there's a similar setting:
"While passenger in ICS, route selected NAV audio to passenger"
although I don't think most passengers care about hearing marker beacons, morse code, or VOR audio communications (is that even still a thing?)

You don't need a software Loader SDcard to make these changes -- just enter and use Maintenance Mode (unless you prefer to pay a Garmin tech to do it.)
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by CFIDave »

Too late to edit my previous post above: Maintenance Mode is properly called "Configuration Mode" on the G1000 NXi.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase II

Post by ememic99 »

CFIDave wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:11 pm
VOR audio communications (is that even still a thing?)
I remember getting ATIS this way at some airport in France (I don’t remember which one).
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