Tablet computer for Navigation - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 124 Old 08-24-2011
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A nav solution just doesn't need to be this complicated. Still don't understand why an iPad with an inexpensive app isn't a better solution. Based on all the hardware, peripherals and OS you are willing to buy, I don't get it. Get a used iPad 1, if you must.
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post #22 of 124 Old 08-24-2011
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Or just get a proper marine chartplotter of course. Personally I will never buy an Apple product, but that's just me. I don't buy into the whole Apple "thing". Not saying they are bad, I just don't like the company or the way it operates, and I don't like their restrictive practices. Saying they "just work" is merely a reflection of this, in the same way that an XBox, PS3 or a microwave "just works", that's what happens when a manufacturer controls every aspect of the hardware and software.
An alternative to a tablet (which is a fad that I think will disappear as fast as it appeared) would be to get a fanless computer and run whatever you like on it. I'm a big fan of Linux, you pay nothing for any software, and it doesn't actually need any tinkering at all. I have my laptop setup to download updates etc, but on a standalone machine you install it and forget it. It runs forever with no complaints. If I was actually looking to do something different, I would probably look at one of the small fanless PCs out there, you can even get fully solid-state and waterproof ones, plus an armoured touch-screen for it. Could function as chart plotter, entertainment station, whatever I fancy. Quite frankly though, I don't think I can be arsed. I download a course into my Garmin 72h and that's all I need. On our last trip I had the laptop all ready to go and never actually bothered switching it on.

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post #23 of 124 Old 08-24-2011
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I reckon Paul may be pissing into the wind re the tablet thing but I do thoroughly agree re his Garmin comment. We had a plotter on the old boat along with a Garmin and I didn't properly connect the thing until we started planning to sell her. Those little Garmins are fabulous. Even with all the bells and whistles we now have I'm still going to carry one.

We have charts that cover all of Australia and most of Oceania on CMap chips but for passage planning and serious international work I suspect we'll go notebook pc plus paper. Damn it all I like paper.

Paul .... I'm about to start a Linux thread ... you might like to jump into that.

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post #24 of 124 Old 08-24-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
Or just get a proper marine chartplotter of course. Personally I will never buy an Apple product, but that's just me. I don't buy into the whole Apple "thing". Not saying they are bad, I just don't like the company or the way it operates, and I don't like their restrictive practices. Saying they "just work" is merely a reflection of this, in the same way that an XBox, PS3 or a microwave "just works", that's what happens when a manufacturer controls every aspect of the hardware and software.
An alternative to a tablet (which is a fad that I think will disappear as fast as it appeared) would be to get a fanless computer and run whatever you like on it. I'm a big fan of Linux, you pay nothing for any software, and it doesn't actually need any tinkering at all. I have my laptop setup to download updates etc, but on a standalone machine you install it and forget it. It runs forever with no complaints. If I was actually looking to do something different, I would probably look at one of the small fanless PCs out there, you can even get fully solid-state and waterproof ones, plus an armoured touch-screen for it. Could function as chart plotter, entertainment station, whatever I fancy. Quite frankly though, I don't think I can be arsed. I download a course into my Garmin 72h and that's all I need. On our last trip I had the laptop all ready to go and never actually bothered switching it on.
I already have a Garmin 441s chartplotter which will be my backup. I favor a Ubuntu solution, but having trouble finding a list of tablet PCs which will accept Ubuntu. Based upon a bit of googling there are serious issues running Ubuntu on existing tablet computers although there is a tablet version of Ubuntu now under development. I prefer an integrated solution with processor, SSD, screen, etc in a single enclosure to maximize reliability, minimize cost, and conserve power.
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post #25 of 124 Old 08-25-2011
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Thing is though Pete, a tablet isn't more reliable, and there are no field serviceable parts so if something does go then you've lost the lot, at least with a PC type setup, if a video card or a power supply goes south, you can rip it out and replace it relatively easily. I did some searching on 12v powered fanless PCs and actually there are quite a few out there and at surprisingly low cost too.
With regards to running Ubuntu on a tablet, pick a flavour of tablet really. Certainly if you are looking at the Android/WebOS type devices, you can't install Ubuntu as you would on a computer, it just runs on top of the existing OS, if you have a Windoze based tablet then it's just a PC that happens to be in a small case and therefore I see no reason you couldn't install the OS properly. As far as I know there isn't a "list" as such, you have to do some legwork with Google and look for specific tablets to see what people have done with them, or read through endless forums and try to follow multipage discussions with search engines that seemingly return everything except what you're looking for (sound familiar? )

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post #26 of 124 Old 08-25-2011
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By the way, for the record... I was trying to answer his question for hardware.

What I use (FWIW) is an iphone with Navionics... $10. Wife thinks my best route forward is an ipad in a bump case mounted on an arm and permanently installed in the boat.

I don't have a Depth Sounder, OR a Knot meter.. but then, I only sail on an inland lake right now. I use the navionics for navigating at night mostly.

I agree with the assessment though, that once you are spending $400 or more, getting a proper chart plotter is a WAY more reliable way forward.

CRED: IT Manager/Network admin for 12 years. Was a Telecom/Datacom engineer for 4. BSEE by education, and my first IT consulting job at age 13, 27 years ago. My sailing experience is nearly as old, started at age 8. However, I mostly have only crewed on larger boats 19, 27, 23, 34. I have only owned a 14 capri and a 22 capri.

I am an OS independent. I use what runs what I need it to.

I apologize too for any soapbox diatribe, Ive made.

If this is intended "play project" then I am anxious to hear what you do wind up with. Yes the Touchpad sold at many stores and online for $99 2 days ago. WebOS was the most recent generation of Linux (gasp) first developed by PALM. webOS - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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post #27 of 124 Old 08-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
.....Personally I will never buy an Apple product, but that's just me. I don't buy into the whole Apple "thing". Not saying they are bad, I just don't like the company or the way it operates, and I don't like their restrictive practices. Saying they "just work" is merely a reflection of this, in the same way that an XBox, PS3 or a microwave "just works", that's what happens when a manufacturer controls every aspect of the hardware and software......
I'm no techno-phile, so I respect this point of view from others. Although, from the distance of a layperson, it seems simply biased, not logical.

In the context of this thread, the OP wants computing power for navigation, not the ability to control any aspect of the hardware or software. I understand the OP limited this to Windows. Hopefully, discussing why that is necessary will be helpful to others that may review this thread when considering their options.

I have navigation capability on a Raymarine chartplotter, a Fujitsu tablet computer (OpenCPN) and an Ipad (Charts and Tides). From a field tested user, the Ipad is hands down the simplest to install, easiest to operate, most reliable and can be inexpensive if that is all you want it to do. It makes no difference to the vast majority of users whether the manufacturer allows access to their code. I wouldn't know or care what it said and fully confess that I don't understand why it matters for marine nav.

If the reason to avoid Apple is "just cuz I don't like 'em", it sounds like the reason I hated broccoli as a kid.


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post #28 of 124 Old 08-25-2011 Thread Starter
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Thing is though Pete, a tablet isn't more reliable, and there are no field serviceable parts so if something does go then you've lost the lot, at least with a PC type setup, if a video card or a power supply goes south, you can rip it out and replace it relatively easily. I did some searching on 12v powered fanless PCs and actually there are quite a few out there and at surprisingly low cost too.
With regards to running Ubuntu on a tablet, pick a flavour of tablet really. Certainly if you are looking at the Android/WebOS type devices, you can't install Ubuntu as you would on a computer, it just runs on top of the existing OS, if you have a Windoze based tablet then it's just a PC that happens to be in a small case and therefore I see no reason you couldn't install the OS properly. As far as I know there isn't a "list" as such, you have to do some legwork with Google and look for specific tablets to see what people have done with them, or read through endless forums and try to follow multipage discussions with search engines that seemingly return everything except what you're looking for (sound familiar? )
Thanks. I can't consider a desktop given the power consumption. Basically, I'm trying to create an inexpensive chartplotter. If by chance it fails, I'll make do with my Garmin 441s. It's adequate, but the small screen is a limitation and I don't want to invest the big bucks to buy a chartplotter with a large screen. I do like the idea of a fanless, low power computer, but the problem is finding the low power display and figuring how to deal with keyboard and mouse. The whole idea of the tablet is to eliminate keyboard and mouse and free up the horizontal surface. Currently I use a Dell laptop to run OpenCPN. The Dell does a fine job of running OpenCPN, but I'd rather free up the horizontal space and mount something on the bulkhead out of harms way. The laptop would be used at anchor for traditional laptop kind of things eg, email, browsing, etc. I have started the googling you speak of and as you say, the returns cover the gambit. The closest tablet I've found so far is a used Motion Computing LE1600 (http://www.motioncomputing.com/resou...pec_US_web.pdf) which can be had for < $250 and runs Windows XP (or Ubuntu). A really intriguing possibility for <$300 is the new HP Touchpad. Hackers have figured out how to install Ubuntu in a separate partition alongside webOS. In the new arena with no hacking required, the Acer ICONIA Tab W500 is nice, but costs about $500 and has many features that are overkill for this application.

As an aside, I favor open source software. This is one of the reasons why, all things being equal, I prefer Ubuntu and OpenCPN. That combination would be truly awesome.
Pete

Last edited by prroots; 08-25-2011 at 09:06 AM.
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post #29 of 124 Old 08-25-2011
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You know, it's the price limit that's affecting you most. It sounds like you need a convertible tablet/pc, but I don't think they've been out long enough to find a used one for under $300. I know that Lenovo makes a new one for around $1100.00, and I think it's only been out for a year. It might be time to think about increasing your budget.
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post #30 of 124 Old 08-25-2011 Thread Starter
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You know, it's the price limit that's affecting you most. It sounds like you need a convertible tablet/pc, but I don't think they've been out long enough to find a used one for under $300. I know that Lenovo makes a new one for around $1100.00, and I think it's only been out for a year. It might be time to think about increasing your budget.
Thanks. Basically, I'm looking for a tablet that in the router world is the equivalent of the Linksys wrt54g. That router is now very old, but has a life of its own due to the availability of free 3rd parties firmware with features only available in $600 routers (http://lifehacker.com/software/top/h...ter-178132.php)! As mentioned elsewhere, the performance requirements of this application are not demanding and many of the features being offered in new tablets are gross overkill for this application since I would dedicate the tablet to navigation.
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Last edited by prroots; 08-25-2011 at 09:44 AM.
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