Deal Carefully on a Used GNS530W

While Avidynes IFD540 plug-and-play GPS navigator is opening the flood gates for removed Garmin GNS530W systems, don’t look for steal deals. Private sellers and reputable retailers-which we define as established avionics shops with Garmin and Avidyne dealerships-sell the units for $8000-$9000, on average. This price should include a mounting rack, connector kit, connector backplate and GPS antenna. It likely wont include a navigational indicator, the preferred standalone choice being Garmins GI106A. Its a high-quality OBS resolver-style indicator equipped with integral nav source mode annunciation. Add $2500, on average, to the project for a new one, although there are some on the used market for a bit less. The King KI209A indicator will work, too. The KI209A is often paired with the BendixKing KX155A/KLN-series GPS package found in early 2000-vintage Cessnas and in some later Piper models. Most analog and electronic HSI systems will work, too. Use caution, however, with Sandel SN3308 EHSI displays that have older software. Budget $2000 to have it upgraded so it can display the WAAS GPS glideslope signal from a GNS530W/430W.

Like the GNS430W, Garmin has flat-rate repair pricing in place for the GNS530W, so you want to be sure the unit is in good serviceable condition. This can be verified with a basic bench evaluation, although keep in mind that most shops wont be able to make major repairs or even tweaks to the GPS engine. It will need a trip to the factory for that. Speaking of the Garmin factory, it stopped shipping installation mounting hardware, creating a dilemma in the GNS530W market, and for Avidyne IFD540 projects.

While the Avidyne IFD540 can slide directly into a GNS530W installation it occupies the mounting hardware that will generally be required for reselling the GNS530W. Since Garmin no longer supplies them, IFD540 customers have no choice but to pay for Avidynes $650 rack and connector kit, plus the shop labor for installation. Several shops we spoke with pinned the cost at around $300, or a few hours of additional installation effort.

Dave Fetherston at Nexair Avionics in Mansfield, Massachusetts, told us that his shop wont take a GNS530W in trade unless it also gets the mounting rack and backplate. Fetherston notes that while this yields an additional expense, most IFD540 retrofits he performs requires the removal of the existing mounting rack anyway to add wiring for additional features, including the audio outputs for terrain warnings.

How about a used GNS530W supplied with an Avidyne IFD540 tray? While the shops we spoke with don’t see it as a deal breaker, some admitted its a grey area they would rather avoid. What helps is that Avidyne achieved PMA approval for the IFD tray and backplate assembly. It says the approved tray may be used in new IFD540 installations and may be used when an existing GNS530W tray is damaged or worn.