Display Replacement Source
Do you have the popular Collins VHF 251 and VIR 351 Digital Flip-Flop Nav/Com
setup and flustered that the digital displays are always burning out?
Here is a posting from the Beech List for a
contact to get the displays at something like $36 and the secrets to changing
them out in about 5 minutes time:
Once or twice a year one of the display units will burn
out and die. The five digits displayed in each of these radios are separate
display units, so with dual nav/comms, this package has twenty individual
display units. Every time I'd bring one in for repair, it costs close to $100
and seemingly without fail, two weeks later a different digit in the same
radio would fail!
My avionics shop only charges a half hour labor and
usually says "I'll have it done in an hour or so"...so I figured just how hard
can it be! The next time it happened I figured I'd give it a shot by doing it
myself. The avionics shop agreed to sell me a display unit ($63), but
cautioned to be very careful, "there's a trick to getting that face apart
without damaging it" (not that they offered to show me what it was!). So I was
very careful, figured out the 'trick' without breaking anything, and changed
It took about five minutes, including pulling the radio
and reinstalling it in the panel. So with the help of a couple of electrical
engineering buddies from Raytheon, I tracked down the manufacturer of the
display units in hopes of getting a really economical fix to this recurring
problem. I contacted them and they promptly responded with a note saying
they'd be happy to sell to me and they'll even accept a credit card!
This is the reported display element removal
procedure from two CSOBeech.com visitors:
Remove radio/nav. from aircraft using a standard avionics
allen key. Undo the selector switches with a small allen key and gently remove.
Undo the two screws that hold the plastic front plate to the frame and remove
gently. Carefully pull out the failed display and replace with a new one, taking
care not to bend any pins. Reverse the above to re-assemble.
The top of the front cover is flexible and has "hooks" on the inside.
Simply slip a thin putty knife under to unhook after removing the screws and
knobs and the front cover slides off. To verify that it was indeed the
light assembly that was bad I switched the first and last and the problem went
with the light. I ordered one from Etsy for $35 plus shipping of $6.30 so
it should be resolved shortly.
Susan Shawlee of Sphere Research Corporation in
British Colombia has them in stock for $49 plus $22 shipping via parcel post.
It has also been reported by avionics guru,
John C., that the later Cessna 385 radios use the same display modules and if
you find these radios on EBay, they can be a source for replacement displays.
The Collins' DME DCE-400 unit reportedly contains these display modules as well.
NEWS FLASH November
2013: Latest report from
Beech Talker Larry M. indicates:
"the supply line for the digital displays for the 251/351 Collins radios is
drying up. The units are labeled a couple of different ways, but the Minitron
3015F part number is accurate. There is a supply of 20 units at $49.00, less
than half of what the market price is, at
Sphere Research Corporation
3394 Sunnyside Road
West Kelowna, BC V1Z 2V4
Phone: +1 (250) 769-1834 Fax: +1 (250) 769-4106
Cessna radios, and other Collins units, such as
their DMEs use these digits, and it can be even cheaper to find them used. I
saw a DME for sale, EBAY buy it now, for $99.00, and the seven digits alone
are worth $125.00, and you still have more parts!
Hopefully, these tips will extend the life of
your Collins equipment but come on folks, at some point even the most hardened
CSOB has to enter the 21st Century of Nav/Com technology
NARCO MK12D Display Replacement Source
Digikey PN: 541-1413-ND
OE PN: PD-20D025-5 and Datasheet is
NARCO NCS812 Display Replacement Source
Digikey PN: 541-1414-ND
OE PN: PD-20D025-7 and Datasheet is