CF Airtronics of Brookville, OH installed the PMA4000 last week in my Grumman Tiger. I've flown it back to CT from OH where I had it installed, and then a couple hours afterwards. I've been in hard IFR and in VFR and used it for about 7 hours so far.
I really like this product.
As you may recall, we replaced a Narco CP-135 and a PSE PM1000II. The guy that did the installation, Ed Fix, allowed me to hang around and observe and help him. My installation impressions is that it was a pretty straightforward job, although it took a bit more time since we were working inside the airplane and not on a work bench. We had to carefully remove wires from the old units one-by-one, determine their new location, then resolder.
We installed the 4000 in the same physical location where the 1000 was, mounted in the metal instrument panel. Since the faceplate of the 4000 is a bit narrower than the 1000, we had to be creative to cover up one of the old screw holes from the 1000. If we had centered the 4000 in the same place as the 1000 then both of the old mounting screw holes would show. Also, since the pin locations in the 1000 and 4000 connectors were significantly different, we had to cut and resolder those wires into the new D-connector. Therefore, a couple of suggestions: if your marketing indicates you might get a good amount of sales from your previous 1000 customers, I'd recommend a wider faceplate that can cover up all the old PM1000 holes, plus if possible make one of the pin connectors compatible with the 1000.
Another installation issue: it appears, at least in my particular airplane, that the depth of the pushbuttons is a bit shorter than I'd prefer. I have a double-metal panel, the original metal panel with a metal overlay, and we installed the unit with no shims behind the panel. Once we tightened up the mounting screws we had hoped that the pushbuttons would come "out" farther. As it stands, I have to make a higher than expected effort to depress the buttons; it requires the "fatty" part of the finger to be used to depress the button slightly deeper than the face of the instrument panel. It would be better if they stuck out about 1/16" farther.
At several points during the installation we had a varying audience. All were impressed with the compactness and features. The only dissenting comment was the observation that the 4000 was a monaural intercom versus stereo. Although I personally have no desire for a stereo intercom, it's feedback to consider.
Operation was simple. I played a lot with it during my flight home. Since I've been flying with much a much different switching panel it took a bit to get used to the new features, but it's something that came quickly (I suppose reading the manual would have helped a bit as well...) I was initially surprised that the appropriate COM light flashed when transmitting, but after realizing what was happening I decided that I like that feature a lot. In the dark it was not possible to determine which COM was selected if both buttons were depressed for monitoring, but it's a simple matter to reach up and "feel" where the toggle switch is.
Since I have an IFR GPS as COM #1 we connected the other navigation radio, a VOR receiver, as NAV #1 on the audio panel. The switched #2 input was connected to the marker beacon receiver audio. I think as more and more aircraft are converted to GPS it would be nice to be able to have different optional buttons for the NAV switch covers. For instance, instead of NAV1 and NAV2 on the switch covers, you could offer optional buttons labeled VOR and MB, or VOR and ADF, etc.
Quality of sound of the intercom was exemplary, as expected. The only sound quality issue I have is that the sidetone when transmitting on either radio is way too high. I've reviewed the documentation that came with the 4000, and I cannot find anywhere on how to adjust this. Jon Maestre is on vacation for a couple more weeks, so I'd appreciate some input from you on how I can adjust the sidetone. Otherwise, I'm quite pleased with sound quality.
In looking at what I've written so far in this email, I realize that it's all minor nits and picky feedback. Bottom line, however, is that I'm quite happy with the PMA4000. It is everything I was looking for: a small compact footprint able to be mounted anywhere, incorporation of the minimal switching capabilities that I need, and a top quality four-place intercom. This unit is a must for anyone that no longer has the need (or the space or the desire) for all the standard audio switches, and wants to incorporate an good intercom.
Kudos to you and your employees.
That's all my 2 cents worth. Thanks for the opportunity to bend your ear, and thanks for designing another fine product.
Grumman Tiger N81140