PFC 1000 GDU and Audio Panel (retrofit bezels)

The PFC 1000 is a Garmin G1000 GPS simulator. The hardware and firmware are made by PFC. The firmware does not emulate the G1000; it merely sends messages to simulation software regarding the controls (knobs and buttons).

Right-click and select "Save Target As" (Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As" (FireFox) to download the Hex file. Otherwise your browser will probably just display the raw contents. Your browser may try to save it as a text file. More later.
Bonus links:

If you have a serial unit you cannot simply apply this firmware to upgrade your system to USB. Please contact sales for more information.


The PFC 1000 Retrofit bezels consist of:
  • A PFC Digital Controller III (DCIII). You can see a photo of the front of a DCIII below.
  • Bezels, usually two. Each of these fits over a monitor in your MFD main panel and gives the appearance of a Garmin G1000 GDU. Each bezel contains the basic G1000 controls and may optionally include an A/P cluster, a standby instrument cluster, and/or an audio panel (simulated GMA 1347). Each bezel plugs into the DCIII where it says "DB-9 OUTPUT TO PFD" or "DB-9 OUTPUT TO MFD".
  • Zero, one, or two Audio Adapters, depending on your hardware configuration. Each Audio Adapter plugs into the DCIII where it says "DB-9 OUTPUT TO COMPUTER".

P1000118.JPG (56.85 Kb)

Digital Controller III

The DCIIIs currently shipping were originally designed to plug into a computer's serial port. Since then we have advanced to using USB, so some of the markings on the DCIII cases are a bit misleading.
  • PWR IN 12V is correct. Each needs a 12V power supply. Likewise, the PWR and XMIT lights are correct.
  • USB is now the primary communications medium, rather than serial. Ignore the text "For Program Updates Only", that is now obsolete.
  • The serial connectors, marked "DB-9 OUTPUT TO COMPUTER", are no longer connected to a computer. However, the optional Audio Adapter uses that port (see Audio Adapter below). Do not connect serial cables to these connectors.
  • "DB-9 OUTPUT TO PFD" and "DB-9 OUTPUT TO MFD" are unchanged. The bezels plug into these using serial cables.

Audio Adapter

Each PFC 1000 Retrofit bezel may have an audio panel. The simulated Garmin GPS software drives two computer displays and, depending on the system configuration, the GPS software may be on a separate computer from the Audio Panel. If that is the case, the panel's messages need to be split across both computers, and either or both panels may require two USB connections each. To accomplish this we created a special adapter that plugs into the (now-unused) serial port (marked "DB-9 OUTPUT TO COMPUTER" on the original DCIII cases) and allows the DCIII to divert the bezel's Audio Panel messages to the master computer. In this case the main USB (marked "USB" and "For Program Updates Only" on the original DCIII cases) will be connected to the GPS computer and the Audio Adapter's USB will be connected to the master computer (which contains PFC's plug-in). Any bezel that does not have an audio panel will not need the adapter.

If the GPS software is running on the master computer along side the PFC plug-in, only one connection is required, and the Audio adapter will not be needed. (Having both connections won't cause any harm, it just isn't necessary.)

  • The Audio Adapter was introduced in version 2.01. Previous versions of the firmware do not support it.
  • The Audio Adapter is required for versions 2.01 and 2.04. Version 1.03 and up of the adapter sends a special "secret handshake" message to the DCIII that versions 2.02, 2.03, and version 3.00 and up of the DCIII will use to automatically configure itself.
  • Version 3.01 and up can be set to force whether it supports the Audio Adapter. This can be used, for example, if you have an older (1.00 to 1.02) version of the Audio Adapter that does not know the secret handshake.

Usually the correct settings will be applied during manufacture. However, if you field upgrade the DCIII from an older version, you may need to adjust the settings to match your hardware configuration.

Configurable Options

Audio AdapterAutoPresent, Absent, AutoThis tells the DCIII whether there is an Audio Adapter connected. If set to Auto, the DCIII will try to find the adapter for itself; however, older adapters don't know the special secret handshake. You can use this setting to force the DCIII into either mode.
A/P SelectorMFDPFD, MFD, AutoCertain versions of GPS software have trouble seeing Autopilot messages if they don't look like they're sent from the MFD. The default setting forces all A/P messages to look like they were sent from the MFD even if they weren't. At this time, no other software cares either way, so it's best to just leave it at the default. The Auto setting causes the A/P to use the Device Selector setting (below). We added this option as a hedge against possible future need. Leave it alone.
Display Backup Switch ModeMomentaryLatching, Momentary, No COMM PanelThe Display Backup control on each bezel may be a latching (push-on, push-off type) or a momentary pushbutton. If the latter, the software must simulate a toggling switch. This option tells the firmware to report the correct message when the button is pressed. If the bezel has no audio panel, set this to "No COMM Panel".
Device SelectorPFDPFD, MFDThis tells the bezel to send messages as an MFD or a PFD, except the A/P button messages, which have their own setting, unless set to "Auto".
Stby Instr SelectorPilotPilot, Copilot, AutoThere's usually only one set of standby instruments (pilot) but they may be physically located on the MFD bezel. Generally they need to send the "Pilot" selector in any case. This setting is a hedge against possible future need. Leave it alone.
G1000 PanelGDU-1044BGDU-1040, 1042, 1043, 1044, 1044B, 1045This tells the bezel which autopilot layout is being used. Set this to match the actual layout of the A/P buttons. See "GDU autopilot layouts" below for details.

GDU autopilot layouts

GDU-all.PNG (70.54 Kb)

Beechcraft A36/G36, Baron 58/G58 – (1 - GDU 1040) and (1 – non-WAAS GDU 1043) or (1 – WAAS GDU 1045)
Cessna Nav III (2) GDU 1040 or (1+1) GARMIN GDU-1044B
Columbia – (1) GDU 1040 and (1 – GDU 1042) or (1 – GDU 1044)
Diamond - (2) GDU 1040 or (1+… (1 – GDU 1042 or 1 – GDU 1044)
Mooney - (2) GDU 1040 or (1+… (1 – GDU 1042 or 1 – GDU 1044)
Tiger AG-5BI - (2) GDU 1040

Upgrading the Digital Controller III

Upgrading the DCIII is like upgrading any other USB-based Hardware Controller 3 except that there is no place to plug in the upgrade jumper. Instead, we have provided a switch inside the case, or in a few cases, a pushbutton on the front of the case.

If your case has a pushbutton, all you have to do is hold the button down as you apply power, then follow the rest of the instructions.

If not, there will be a switch in the back of the unit. You will need to remove the case cover to access it. This is a retrofit solution, so it looks a bit awkward in the light of day. Here is a typical installation:

P1000156c.jpg (202.70 Kb)

(Switches may vary in appearance.) Note that the switch is in the full right position. This is the programming position; any other position (center or left) will allow it to run normally. The switch has been mounted at that odd angle so that when it is in the programming position, it is impossible to put the cover back on. This prevents having to tear the simulator apart again because the switch was accidentally left in programming mode.

We recommend that you power the PFD and the MFD separately, to avoid confusion. The hex loader utility is not designed to handle multiple HWC3s at once and will likely just program the same board twice.

  • Power down both MFD and PFD.
  • Set the switch to "Program" (far right), or hold the pushbutton (if provided).
  • Power up the PFD.
  • Follow these instructions (skipping the "Install a jumper" step) to upgrade the PFD.
  • Power down the PFD.
  • Hold the pushbutton (if provided).
  • Power up the MFD.
  • Follow these instructions (skipping the "Install a jumper" step) to upgrade the MFD.
  • Power down the MFD.
  • Return the switch to "Normal" (far left) if switch was provided.
  • After testing, return the unit to service.

Some simulators that may use G1000 panels

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