Today I finally pulled the trigger on some behind the scenes–or rather, behind the panel–components. While some EFIS systems like Garmin make use of Micro-SD cards for updates, etc, GRT uses USB for software updates, system backups, and historical logging of flight and engine data. In addition, GRT’s remote BlueTooth capability and the Radenna SkyRadar-DX ADS-B both tie into the system via USB. To have enough capacity, including having a panel-mounted USB jack, I needed to acquire a USB hub and the remote panel jacks that allow me to simply plug my USB stick right into the panel.
There are a couple industrial strength USB hubs that GRT recommends on the advice of a number of builders that have trial tested these devices. I opted for the StarTech 4-Port USB Hub because it was significantly cheaper than the other recommended 4-port hub, it got great reviews on Amazon, and its configuration.
As for this hub’s configuration, you can see in the pics above that ALL of the inputs for both power and data reside on one side of the hub. The other recommended hub had inputs on both sides of the hub. In my opinion, having all the inputs on one side makes it easier in both mounting the hub and in managing the cabling & wiring.
As I mentioned above, in order to tie both the main GRT EFIS and Mini-X EFIS’s rear panel USB ports to the instrument panel in the way of panel-mounted USB jacks, I ordered one cable per EFIS that has a standard USB plug on one end and screw mounted female USB jack on the other. Obviously this will allow plugging the USB stick in at the panel and give me the same capability as if I was plugging it into the back of the EFIS box. Below is a pic of the panel side of this cable, and a diagram showing the mounting specs for the jack: