By Geremy Britton
It is with pleasure to be asked to review the GNS unit provided by Emuteq. This company is a relatively new business and are focussing on the General Aviation aircraft. I was invited by Steve Masters to test out the new unit, and i've reported my findings/recommendations below. I do stick by my word this is a great piece to add to any light aircraft simbuild. Why not test it out for yourself as a christmas present?
Without further ado...
I was eagerly pleased when a parcel was waiting for me at the office with my name on it. Very neatly presented - and this was before I opened the box. After carefully opening the parcel, it was evident the GPS was well packaged to allow for no movement in transit and sure enough there wasn't a single problem with it. Did I mention, by the way, this was sent with a courier not just standard mail so arrived much faster, safer and securer than other methods of postage.
After eagerly putting the thoughtfully printed instructions to one side I wanted to set eyes on the GPS unit itself, and for everything I imagined this lived right up to expectations and a little bit more. Even with new protective cover over the LCD screen. Fantastically and professionally manufactured to the highest level, the weight of the unit beforehand gave a clue to the quality of this product. The front plate is aluminium just like the real aircraft would be and every attention to detail has been taken.
The aluminium has been engraved with the lettering and detailing you would see which makes it difficult to tell it apart from its real counterpart. As soon as it was plugged into USB the illumination came on which is adjustable but adds that extra feel of realism, especially on night flights.
I received all necessary leads in order to make the unit function immediately with little work. There are 3 plugs on the back, one for the screen (VGA), one for the buttons (USB) and one optional 12v input for the back lighting. I wasn't sure if I needed this, as its to cater for older computers which can't draw the volts through USB. So with a quick email over to Steve I was quickly given a conclusive response. That's what I like to see.
So off I went, being a boy excited about his new toy, I wasted no time in hooking up the wires and off I went. You will see a mini version of your desktop display on the screen which looks great. The screen colour and clarity is excellent. From here I proceeded to start up flight simulator and start a flight, it was simple: I moved over the GPS window to cover the small screen on the new GPS module and job done. The only thing I needed to do prior to this was edit a slight piece of code which removes the frame of the GPS from flight sim as you don't need it because your new module provides the frame and all the buttons. You can't size panels larger than the screen (This is true for all screens) so by removing the GPS surround in MSFS I could size the moving map to fully cover the screen on my new module.
The only thing left to do is assign the GPS functions which I would recommend through FSUIPC, this was easy enough which meant it was now its time to fly.
There is no lagging, pixelating in sight and this is a truly easy module to configure. It took me around 30 minutes to calibrate the buttons and a further 30 minutes to set up the screen. From there simply save the flight and the screen will automatically jump to place on our GPS module each time you load your flight. That is all of course, explained in the instructions provided. And it appears that Steve is always on hand to guide and assist in the setup process.
In conclusion, if you were to demand my only advice this would be to use acrylic for the buttons on the unit so that the actual lettering would light up as well as the frame around the button to locate it. This niggle is greatly outweighed by its positives: Value for money is good. If you want a plastic panel with an old monitor behind make your own that's fine, however if you want a metal constructed, top notch quality engraved GPS look no further. I would recommend this module to all light aircraft builders due to it being a focal point. Remember you don't need a great simulator for a great panel like this, everyone must start somewhere - why not make this your starting point.