PMA8000BT Audio Panel Function Update

Completed 4/2011

TMany of you already know that I changed out my PMA8000 Audio panel for the new PMA8000BT from my write-up of the PMA8000BT when I first installed it, and from my "Ultimate Audio Entertainment System" write-up.  We finally got our great chance to test out this new gear on our recent trip to the Baja in Mexico, and it was *fantastic* for the kids for their entertainment.  I was thrilled at how it worked, and we enjoyed many hours of bluetooth streamed music and more.  I am also loving that I can taxi out and without even hitting the "TEL" button, can call my wife that I'm leaving to go fly, and call her as soon as I land when I'm rolling in.  It's very convenient and very nice.

But while I was on my Baja trip, I became aware of an upgrade to my new PMA8000BT, and I thought I should pass the information on.  If you compare the 2 photos below, you'll see some of the visual changes that they made.

Original PMA8000BT Button Labels

Old PMA8000BT Buttons

New PMA8000BT Button Labels

New PMA8000BT Buttons

Notice how the top picture has "PUSH-HOLD FUNCTION" under the "TEL" button, and then the Function A, B, & C. along that bottom row of buttons on the Right.  Well, while I found it workable, it was kind of discombobulating to try to hold the TEL button and press buttons that were right next to it, to get it to change functions.  The changes were for things like Music distribution, Intercom Function (which changes wether the passengers hear the radio conversations or not), and monitoring functions that would give monitoring priority for Com1 over Com2 or not.  They're functions that you may or may not change fairly my case, I did actually change them quite often as there are times the passengers want to hear the radios and times that they don't.

Well, in the new software release, they got rid of that 2-finger operation, and instead went to a single-finger method, where you push a tap (or just a short push) to activate the primary function, but if you push and hold, you change the secondary function that's labeled below the button.  I'm not sure how to best describe it, but if I push and hold the MUTE button an extra half-second or so, it changes the music distribution settings.  It makes it much easier to change function without holding your hands in a way that lets you do the 2-buttons-at-once maneuver.

I was told that there wasn't too much along the lines of new features for the software, and that my old one would still basically do most everything the new would, but it would be easier to use.  I did see though that you can now adjust the volume of your bluetooth music via the control panel, so if your phone or device is not very loud, or too loud, you can tweak it slightly to make it better.  I still control the volume of music directly from the device like my iPhone, but now I can tweak the overall range that's available

Another feature that is new is that upon powerup, the new software will speak out the current settings of the intercom, monitor, and music modes, so when I first power on, it will say things like "Standard Intercom Function" and so on, telling me how it's configured.  It's not an annoyance as it only takes a couple seconds and it's all done, but it does give you a reminder of how it's configured so that if you just picked up passengers and don't want them to hear radios, you will know how it's set.

All in all I think it was a great little upgrade.  I do kind of miss the labels above the top row of buttons for Play/Pause, FF, and REV, for the music....personally I think those labels should have stayed, but....A) I didn't use them much, and B) once you use them a few times you kind of memorize where they are, so I can't complain too much.  The trade-off is that the intercom functions a bit easier, so it's worth it.

As usual, a great intercom from PS Engineering, and I'm real glad that I upgraded to the PMA8000BT. It's fantastic to fly behind, and not have all those wires everywhere!  I just love this audio panel!
If you have a PMA8000BT, contact PS Engineering about the upgrade.  If you have a PMA8000BT that you bought in 2011, the upgrade is free.  If you bought it in 2010 like I did, it's $79.95.  I also inquired for non-BT owners, and if you have an older PMA8000B with s/n of V04028 or higher, you can upgrade to the BT for $525.

Here are some other photos


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