MGL Enigma EFIS/GPS, Thoughts? (love the MGL V10 Radio)

Published by: Captain X on 7th Jan 2011 | View all blogs by Captain X
I'm considering getting the Enigma EFIS for my Tanarg. I really like the MGL V10 radio and convinced Henry & Jim to get one also (it's light weight, fully digital (better discrimination, clear trans/receive), powerful (6w) but small compared to MicroAir (little bit wider on the dash though), easy to use with gloves, easy to use / program and best of all very easy to monitor two stations. Anyway, my current EFIs (black and white engine monitor) is slowly dying. I can see that replacement is unfortunately inevitable. One of the cool things about the Enigma is that it will easily program the MGL V10 that I love (it's something like this: just select nearest airports, then hit 1-10 to select the airport, then push 1-4 to tell it to program ground, tower, CTAF, etc.)
How does everyone like the Enigma?
How is the GPS (compared to Garmin (I have 396) for example)? How is the synthetic terrain?
Updates to GPS are free (I believe) based on public GPS system available for download. That's an awesome advantage over Garmin which charges an arm and a leg several times a year to stay updated. How does the data available compare to what Garmin charges for?
Abid, I'm waiting for an answer back from Matt, but what's the biggest MGL EFIS that you think could be put in the Tanarg dash?
Currently, my EFIS monitors fuel flow, oil temp, RPM, & water temp. Would you recommend adding wiring to monitor all 4 CHT's, all 4 exhaust gasses? Is it OK to save weight and complexity and just monitor one CHT and one exhaust temp? Or maybe one from each side? Or maybe those are not too important on a 4 cylinder open air rotax 912. What else?



  • Captain X
    by Captain X 6 years ago
    Looking forward to your thoughts, but,
    Here's a list I made of the advantages I see from installing the MGL Enigma:

    In addition to fixing my Intercom problem, this will:
    Allow me to program my radio with 2 button pushes

    Allow me to more easily store, categorize and access huge lists of radio frequencies

    Give me a moving Map GPS screen with synthetic terrain with FREE GPS database updates

    I could get rid of my current Garmin 396 and save weight-- But, I think I'll keep it in place and I can stop carrying a second
    portable GPS (Garmin map 96S) for backup in case my primary fails. having two GPS screens could be pretty cool.
    One additional use for the 396 is that I could subscribe to the Garmin Wx weather service

    Allow me to hook in a Zaon TCAS (like Henry sorta loaned me) and see traffic right on my GPS screen
    Zaon is a passive TCASlike system that relies on active radar (usually ground) pinging transponder equipped
    traffic in the sky. The Zaon then picks up the transponder's responses.

    Give me better and customizable engine monitoring-  we are adding CHT's and EGT

    Allow me to use the V10 intercom- which is much better, and can easily play music
    I've been using the Flycom EFIS intercom because that's the only way I could get audible warnings
    through my headphones "Warning Engine Temp!" etc.
    NOTE: There are two Flycoms: The Flycom who made my EFIS is no longer in business.
    The totally separate company Flycom who made my integrated Helmet / Headsets IS in business,
    and their product is AWESOME!!

    Has a programmable SD card that I can use to program frequencies and route (I believe) at home, then just stick in the Enigma
    when I get to the Hangar

    Allow me to get rid of my ACK altitude encoder for the transponder (not that I don't like it, but this way less weight, less wiring)

    Looks really cool!!  (Have to keep up with Henry and all his cool stuff)

    I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting.

  • Henry Trikelife
    by Henry Trikelife 6 years ago
    I found my Garmin 695 also can send radio frequencies to V10 radio.
  • Captain X
    by Captain X 6 years ago
    That's awesome Henry, I would go for it.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 6 years ago
    Hi David,
    We have been installing Enigma EFIS in our production trikes since 2006. The original Enigma was more sensitive to RFI but then Enigma MK-II has a lot more built-in protection for RFI.
    The wiring has to be properly designed to use many of these kinds of EFIS units. That's very important and especially important in a trike where a VHF antenna is probably in close proximity to the EFIS and other wiring.
    Any so called "ground loop" will play havoc with your readings (readings jump around) and trust me when I say many of the current production trikes have ground loops going on in them. Its not just as simple as putting in the EFIS. The wiring harness has to be properly planned.
    A very popular trike brand for example does not even wire the trike as per Rotax installation manual with a 25000uF capacitor required by Rotax now. Antenna RG-58 cable is run right next to other wiring which is highly undesirable. Lynx leaky antenna is put in front of the pod which is about the worst place to radiate RFI right back into the instrumentation.

    There is no real power bus, EFIS bus, Avionics bus separated so clean power and more importantly separate unshared grounds are given to each of these busses causing unreliable readings. Hell, most production trikes don't even use tefzel wire, a ground seeking master solenoid, or aircraft grade connectors which really do not cost much more than the auto variety they do use.

    So I don't know what your experience will be like. I think if you can check for ground loops in your trike, analyze the wiring and change it if necessary to follow best aviation practices used in airplanes in the GA world for eons, you will probably be fine.

  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 6 years ago
    About the Enigma EFIS and its GPS. Its a nice enough unit, gives color moving map, route planning, closest airports, airspace but I don't think just as a GPS it will hold its own against specialized units especially the very new ones.

    The advantage is that in the limited space of a trike panel, you have a color moving map GPS that is quite adequate for everything I have ever needed, has a very bright screen, has all the engine monitoring functions (EMS), all Flight Instrumentation System (EFIS), 9 different programmable screens at your finger tips (you can show just big numbers of ASI, VSI, Altimeter) on one page and nothing else if you wanted, gives you remote magnetic heading, (possible attitude), 3D terrain look ahead all in one place.

    However, the disadvantage is: if you are not the gadget or computer literate type ... you will feel ancient. Some people don't like to change. No problem. For them they should stick with their Chinese made dial gauges in their trikes.

    MGL V10 radio follows the protocol to allow radio remote control from the EFIS or any device that follows the standard protocol. There are other radios like XCOM (although I am highly disappointed with their service and attitude towards our clients ... all of them made in Australia from 2006 through 2008 have humongous problems with about 80 percent failure rate of some kind, so much so that they finally decided to move their whole production to Narco in PA, USA completely later on), newest MicroAir M760, SL30 COMM and so own that also have this protocol that they can follow.

    V10 is unique in that it allows decently sized gloves to still be able to operate the radio and it is software upgradeable so bugs can be fixed via a software update. We are using Flycom helmets directly into V10 intercom. Its not quite as good as Flycom intercom but close. We ahve requested some updates from MGL to solve the problem of having a separate intercom volume versus separate radio volume. Hopefully that will happen in the next software release of V10
  • Captain X
    by Captain X 6 years ago
    That's really great information Abid, thank you. I have a GA avionics guy that helps me. He seems to really know his stuff, so I hope we get all the ground loops out. I'll this to him.
  • Flying  Frog
    by Flying Frog 6 years ago
    I would like to go the same way as you are thinking David. The Enigma would be the EFIS of choice for me too. I could not use the V10 radio as it is not certified in Europe, so would have to stick with the M760. I would keep the Garmin 296 GPS fitted alongside it.
    I would not really bother with the 4 CHT and EGTs, I have twin EGTs next to the Flycom Focus and hardly ever take any notice of them.
    The only thing that puts me off the Enigma is the cost.
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 6 years ago
    Headed down now for another attempt at making a video of the operation of the Enigma and V10 radio
  • Todd Halver
    by Todd Halver 6 years ago
    David...I have the same Flycom B&W panel in my SLSA Tanarg and am not sure how long it will last either. I actually was going to put the Enigma into the Tanarg right before I purchased my Revo. Matt at MGL is great to work with. I even purchased a new panel with a bigger cutout for the Enigma from Air Creation France in case I ever need to make the switch. I have been very impressed with the Enigma in my Revo and have become proficient in customizing the screens. MGL also has a nice PC based flight planner where you can export routes from your PC to the SD card and load right into the Enigma. The serial connection to the V10 transceiver and ability to change freq from the Enigma is a very nice feature.

  • Captain X
    by Captain X 5 years ago
    Hey Guys,
    Thanks for all the help. I spoke with Matt yesterday and as much as it hurts my pocket, I think I'm going to go ahead and get it.
    Todd, I might be interested in your Tanarg/Enigma panel. I was thinking I would just cut mine, but maybe if you're not going to use yours and the layout is right? Is it precut for the V-10? I had to cut mine a bit already to fit that in.
    The route exporting sounds cool. Can you export routes made in other things like for example?
  • Captain X
    by Captain X 5 years ago
    I flew front seat in Henry's Tanarg / Bionix today- very nice!
    He just installed the MGL V-10 radio and switched from Lynx helmet intercom to the Flycom Integrated helmet/headsets (after trying mine). He was asking me how his new radio setup sounded. I thought it sounded very good, crisp from my end. Just to make sure, I radioed the other pilots in the pattern to ask how it sounded (one of whom was just complaining about some other pilot's radio) and they said it sounded great! That's the experience I had with mine too, except on days my Flycom EFIS is acting up (I'm currently using the EFIS as the intercom instead of the V-10's intercom to preserve the audible dash warnings)- Hence, I'm keeping the V10 & Flycom Helmets and ditching the Flycom EFIS in favor of the MGL Enigma (Mark II).

    NOTE: This is always confusing- There is a defunct company named Flycom that made EFIS's (EFISes? EFIIii?)- not very impressive. There is a totally separate company named Flycom that makes integrated helmet headsets (not two piece systems like the (my opinion) over-priced / over-complex Lynx system)- which are very well liked.
    In regards to this particular Forum of Enigma / V10, Henry is not using an Enigma. But, I just wanted to give some feedback on how Henry's V-10 system is working.
  • Todd Halver
    by Todd Halver 5 years ago
    David, my panel is just cut out for the Enigma and not the V10 so if you have your panel cut for the V10 you are probably just as good to enlarge the opening for the panel. I have a template drawing I will look for from AC and email it to you.

  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 5 years ago
    Getting some videos up on the Enigma and the V10 Radio interface
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 5 years ago
    Enigma is a great instrument but I agree with Abid's comments on the GPS. The GPS does not have all the details such as what fuel is available at the airport, is there a cafe open/hours of operation or the weather. If you want this stuff add a garmin or an iPad/phone. It does have the airspace and basic stuff which works great for me. I actually do real time weather on my iphone which is on the RH side of the panel. This has all the airport data via AirNav website. Additionally I used to use my telephone while flying and getting a new adapter for that which is most useful.

    It seems like each month something new will come out that makes the last thing we bought obsolete. If you have money to throw at the best GPS with real time weather and all the bells and whistles plus room on your panel do it.
    Enigma is a basic GPS and works grat for me with my phone.
  • Captain X
    by Captain X 5 years ago
    Thanks Paul, also, sometimes the iPhone can get data signal (so you can see winds and weather ahead/behind) even though you're too far from radio contact to get ATIS/AWOS etc.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 5 years ago
    There is a USB input at the back of the Enigma and MGL will come out with a plug-gable satellite receiver to get xm weather with a software upgrade if one subscribed. IPAD works generally to about 4000 or less feet but above that (in agl) it does not work for getting a connection. Trust me we know.
  • Ken Nussear
    by Ken Nussear 5 years ago
    Unless you jailbreak the ipad and run an external GPS receiver....
  • Captain X
    by Captain X 5 years ago
    AirCreation promptly sent me back the technical drawings for specific placement of the SP-2 and RDAC in the Tanarg. They are very helpful. Email me here on TPS and I can forward to you, or you can write to AC yourself. They are very helpful. Great service.
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