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post #11 of 34 Old 04-27-2006 Thread Starter
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Magazine Article

This months issue of Sail Mag (May 2006) has an article "Nav Software for your PC"... interesting read... Lots of screen shots...
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post #12 of 34 Old 06-01-2006
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Panasonic has a wireless display in their Toughbook series. Using this, the computer can live down below and you can carry the display around with you. Some of the marine systems vendors are selling it for this use. http://www.nobeltec.com/products/prod_tb_wnd.asp
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post #13 of 34 Old 06-01-2006
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I have a Toughbook with a built in GPS and Bluetooth. It works great anywhere on the boat and you can see the screen on deck in the bright sun. have the smaller CF-18 that allows you to swivel the screen around so you are just holding a small tablet. I am running the Nobletec software with C-maps that you get free from NOAA. I am looking at getting the Raymarine system and hope that I can interface the toughbook to the features of the raymarine. I got a re-conditioned (basically new that some tech guy used for a month) for around $2700. Hope this helps.
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post #14 of 34 Old 06-01-2006
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One thing you might want to invest in is a Bluetooth NMEA multiplexer. It will allow your computer to talk to the Raymarine gear without using cables. If you need more info on them, let me know.

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post #15 of 34 Old 06-07-2006
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I have been trying to figure out how chart display screen which is visible from the cochpit. I have a laptop running Raytech (not a great program) which is interfaced to my instruments with seatalk. What I have been looking for is a 12inch more or less display to put in a case for protection or behind a window in the bulkhead to view the laptop display. there are lots onice ruggard units out there but they are in the $2-6 k range. Is there a lower cost alturnative?
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post #16 of 34 Old 06-07-2006
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bbarker43-

Do you just need a display or do you need it to be interactive. If all you need is a display, you might try getting a small LCD monitor and mirroring the display off the laptop on it. If it can be powered off of 12 VDC, then the wiring of it would be relatively simple...

You could enclose it or put it behind a window in the bulkhead and that would protect it from spray, rain, etc.

If you need interactive capability, then it gets a lot more expensive.

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post #17 of 34 Old 06-07-2006
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I haven't been able to find a display less than 15 inches that isn't expensive. I don't need it to be interactive a pc monitor looked like a good option but I could not find anything in a small size. The tablet pc is an option but I don't need the computing power
Any suggestions?
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post #18 of 34 Old 06-07-2006
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bbarker43-

You could try something like this, this, or this. On the last link, I'd look at the one of the sunlight-readable monitors. I believe you'll need a sunlight-readable display for what you want to do.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 06-07-2006 at 11:24 PM.
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post #19 of 34 Old 01-19-2007
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I've studied the RayM and Nobletec software. Undecided. But as far as PC is concerned, just buy an intel MB and screw it under the nav table add a powersupply hardwired A/C, mirrored SATA drives. Hook it up to your hard mounted flat screen. Infrared or wireless keyboard and mouse. May be able to use and see from the cockpit. For marina wireless just plug in dlink or linksys etc. PCI with external antenna. Kaazzzammm! I think Valdare is on the right road. Laptops are too expensive. The above mentioned runs about $300 or 400 depending on the CPU you want.
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post #20 of 34 Old 01-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
The HP machines, tablet or not, have always had some serious quality control issues IMO. The Fujitsu machines seem to be pretty reliable, as do the Panasonic Toughbooks. There are also some other brands of "semi-rugged" or "fully-rugged" Notebooks, but they're not really "name-brand" manufacturers.

Being a Geek for a living, I'd be happy to answer any specific questions.
Being also a PC "hobbyist", I am appalled at the prices of the fairly small Raymarine-style of plotter/radar displays. I am quite aware that even complex nav programs aren't particularly taxing computationally, and so I've resolved to buy old Panasonic Toughbooks of the PIII/early P4 variety...they are readily available from large utilities, mining companies and even the military as they go "off lease".

If you get, say, five of these laptops and ghost all five drives, and then hook in GPS and radar input, an IR mouse and a second LCD screen on an armature that swings into the companionway safe under the dodger, you can have everything you need for about $2,500, plus the backup of an essentially "throw-away" or "cannabalize for spares" laptops. A bonus is that Toughbooks are weather-proof enough to take in a dinghy to shore to check e-mail, etc. at an Internet cafe/library, but are uncool and aged enough to not be particularly attractive to thieves.

My own situation is somewhat special as I have a very dry pilothouse, and so can just strap a laptop in front of the nav station. Charging via a DC/DC Targus socket charger is straightforward, as is the wiring to the "black boxes".

An alternative is the relatively unknown mini-ITX motherboard format, a.k.a. "the car computer". Rather than recommend a builder, I'll give the Wiki link and leave it to the interested to pursue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini-ITX

This format (a PC the size of a slender hard cover book) could be stashed anywhere onboard that was dry and reasonably well-ventilated, and could run all nav, comms and systems data to various compact LCD screens as needed. You could even use a cheap switchbox and some USB sockets to plug in a mouse or keyboard at various spots near a screen, or use the aforementioned Bluetooth, IR or networked (Cat 5 or 6) connections.

In sum, I don't know why anyone would have a proprietary "marine" display aboard a boat when you could use a multitude of cheaper, more flexible, more powerful and more portable alternatives. You could put a GPS USB antenna and a Toughbook in your crash box and plot drift and set in your liferaft!

OK, that was a little over-enthusiastic, perhaps...
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