Garmin 696

I got the new 696 the very day it was issued. Traded a 496 at Pilot Shop in Phoenix,AZ. Great folks to deal with there. The 696 is huge improvement. Of course, just being larger screen helps as much as anything. Several enhancements on the XM Weather (PIREPS and wind speed goes out to 120 nm now instead of only 50nm). The Flite Charts are great also. Initially, there were some ‘bugs’ but they are available now in subscription/regular updates, and at a fair price. The Charts are easier to access than fumbling through the paper books, especially when SID/STAR changes come unexpectedly. I hope Garmin works in a Bluetooth set-up, to eliminate the ever-present additional wires required for antenna/power, etc. That would really clean up the cockpit. Being a Garmin product, user input and quick changes are easily mastered. The unit has substantially reduced my cockpit workload.

We have been looking at purchasing a Garmin 696. I have a couple of questions. Have you used it for more then 2 1/2 hours? That seems to be how long the battery lasts. If so how do you keep the battery charged? Are you able to quickly view this? What I mean is, since it is portable, where do you keep it for easy access and viewing?

Currently, whichever one of us is acting as co-pilot, is in charge of the portable unit, but that means we have to keep the unit on our lap. Not a big deal, but if we could find a solution so neither one of us has to hold onto it, then that would be great. But our main concern is the battery life.

We have a Siai Marchetti and space is limited. Plus we do not have a way to hook this up to any power. We are trying to figure out if we can have a power cable installed, still keep within FAA Regulation, and charge the unit while in flight.

I like my 696, but I wish there was a worldwide database and worldwide charts. I spoke with Garmin on it and they have no plans to develop at this time.

Thanks. We ordered ours this weekend. So far I have found Garmin to provide an excellent product. It’s a shame they have no plans to develop the worldwide database and charts.

Has the 2 1/2 hour battery life caused you any concern?

I would consider the battery for backup purposes only and do as much as possible to hook the unit to panel power. I would say 2 1/2 is max. You can try to reduce the screen brightness to save battery, but the biggest power draw is through the antenna and disabling the GPS pretty much defeats the purpose. Add the WX receiver and you can pretty much forget about a battery.

Thank you. We are working on how to install a power source into the panel. Not much room, but possibly the glove box will work. So far this unit is 100 percent better then what we had.

Just need to work out the power issue.

i also like Garmin 696 but my budget doesn’t permit me to have it :frowning:

save 10 dollars a day, you can buy it in 1 yrs time… good luck! :unamused:

I had a similar problem in my car that i think my solution can be used here, if not, maybe the idea can be modified.

I had a hand help garman gps and a motion computing tablet PC that i used while traveling, (im traveling nurse).
i put velcro on the bottom of my lap top and velcro on the dash, and then used a 12 inch peice of velco to attach the two and it was completely adjustable.
im not sure you can get the features that the 696 has but you can get a motion computing laptop for under 1000 leaving 2200 for software, and the laptop can surf the web if needed.
for me i used microsoft streets and strips (100 bucks) that included a gps antenna which does a much better job than my hand held 500 dollar gps, and a much bigger screen. and its also nice for someone to watch a movie during the boring stretches of flying or driving.

You will need to have a cigarette lighter plug installed, which does not cost much to have done. I have my 696 clamped to the yoke and like it best that way.