Mastering the Art of the Garmin Update

by Hank Gibson, CSIP, Gold Seal CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI

(Disclaimer: The following is specific to the Garmin Perspective in Cirrus Aircraft. As far as the author’s knowledge goes, the procedure is very similar for stock G1000 systems in other aircraft. Consult the Garmin Manual for the G1000 for specifics.)

You have finally upgraded from an Avidyne equipped aircraft to a Garmin glass panel. Admittedly, there are a lot more buttons, but yet so much more capability. You spend the first several weeks after your transition training flying around, mostly VFR, getting the hang of things. At the end of the month, you turn on the MFD and see that your NavData is expired. No need to worry, right? You go grab your Jeppesen card reader that worked with your old Garmin 430s, then look around for the cards. You find them, in their proper card slots, but unfortunately, they are SD cards, not the old 430 cards. Confusion and panic begins to set in before you realize you have no earthly idea how to update your Garmin.

Confused Person

Now what?

No need to fear, we are hear to alleviate all your Garmin update confusion. Below is a step by step process to updating your Garmin panel.

How to Update the Garmin Cards

  • Take both Garmin cards out of the bottom slots of the PFD and MFD
  • DO NOT FORMAT THE CARDS
  • Download the updates from fly.garmin.com
  • Re-insert cards back into the PFD and MFD using the instructions below

2 GB SD CardUpdating Jeppesen Information

(Hint: anything on JSUM that says Garmin goes on the Garmin card. Everything else goes on the SD card)

  • Take an SD card (make sure it’s blank or just format it on the computer) and download the Jeppessen Nav Data onto the card
  • Put the card in both the MFD and the PFD, turning on the batteries and avionics to allow the system to update with the card in each slot
  • Take one of the Garmin cards out of either the PFD or MFD and download the Garmin information from the JSUM program
  • Place Garmin card in slot removed from, turn the system on, allow it to update, then turn everything off and swap the cards, turning the system on again and allowing it to update

Below is a synopsis of what is actually on each card.

The Top MFD Card

  • Download the Jeppesen NavData onto a blank SD card
    • The card must be blank or else the information won’t download properly
    • To erase the card, simply format it on your computer
  • Insert the SD card into the top MFD slot, turn on the Batter and Avionics Master Switches, and let the download begin
  • Once download is complete, remove the card (or else the MFD will ask you if you want to update every time you turn it on)
  • To record flight data, insert a blank SD card in the slot after the download is complete (should be in FAT32 Formatting)

The Bottom MFD Card

    • The Garmin SD card goes here
    • DO NOT FORMAT THE GARMIN CARDS
    • Contains Garmin Information
      • Basemap
      • Safetaxi
      • Terrain
      • Obstacle Database
      • Garmin Flite Charts (if not using Jepp Charts)

SR22 Cockpit

The Top PFD Card

      • Use the same SD card you used in the top MFD slot to update the Jeppesen NavData on the PFD
      • Turn on the Battery Master Switches and let it update
      • Once complete, remove the card
      • This slot will stay open

The Bottom PFD Card

      • Also a Garmin card; again, DO NOT FORMAT
      • Contains Garmin information for the PFD
        • Basemap
        • Safetaxi
        • Terrain
        • Obstacle Database

Hopefully, after reviewing this and performing the updates several times, your confusion will be alleviated. It is more complex then the simple Garmin 430 and Avidyne update, but it will go very smoothly once you get the hang of it.

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