G530 GPS Review
In this review we look at PropwashSim‘s G530 offering. This unit comes pre-assembled including a custom PCB, an Arduino Mega clone and a power supply. LCD Display and all knobs and buttons are provided and installed in the version we purchased. As we purchased the unit at FlightSimExpo 2018, we can’t comment here on shipping and packing quality. The first impression is that the unit is well-built and professionally assembled. It fits on an opening of your panel via 4 screws (not provided) through holes on the unit’s face plate.
We obtained the installation instructions via an email from the owner, Kyle Larson, a really nice, entrepreneurial hardware manufacturer we met at the Expo.
The X-Plane version relies on ArdsimX to operate the controls. The Arduino sketch was already flashed in. All you need is to get the ArdsimX plugin folder from SimVim, drop it in the Xplane plugins folder and copy the data.cfg file there. The .cfg file maps all the encoders and push buttons. Once you are done installing, the unit’s controls work quite nicely. Like most simulated hardware that includes a screen, the actual G530 display needs to come from X-Plane and you must use a video port from your computer. To popup a G530 on X-Plane 11, go to the set
tings window, select keyboard, search for ‘popup’ and assign a key stroke to G430 (pilot), which is actually a 530. Once you save this setting you will get a very nice, responsive G530 to place inside your LCD screen.
To install in P3D or FSX you will have to do some more work. For the controls use some interface like Link2fs, Jim’s great freeware, or you can use Mobiflight. Because Arduino is already installed, simple USB Interface boards that can map directly to P3D or FSX can’t really be used with this product. But Kyle responded to our request for more info pointing out that: “We are currently working on having the GPS identified as a joystick/gamepad controller which can then be configured through the console in XPlane, FSX, P3d etc. This will hopefully happe
n in the next 2 weeks.” So expect a plug and play version sometime in November 2018, likely beside the Arduino version they currently offer.
We installed the product on our P3D sim without major problems in about an hour, using a freeware G530 popup (there are many out there). We did a few ILS 36 approaches into KHRT, Hurlburt Field in Mary Erther, FL Airport to test it out, and there were no unpleasant surprises. On the positive side, it all works as expected, buttons and encoders doing their job. On the negative side, the buttons are small and not particularly visible in the darkness of the cockpit. They also do not extend much out of the face plate. We think there is some room for improvement there. The encoders were fine with good click action.
12v power adapter (US version)
USB a-b cable.
With an unbeatable price, for what you get, I think this is a nice addition to any cockpit. GPSs units with the same functionality range from twice to four times as much from other vendors. We think that this product, and other offerings from Propwash Sim, have a great price-performance ratio and great support behind them. The company is still quite small, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it will grow steadily in the months and years to come, adding more products to their line up.