Originally Posted by camaraderie
My PC screen is completely unreadable in bright sunlight. Are the Toughbooks different or is that why the Raymarine screens are so expensive (other than the "marine" part! ????
That would depend, although "marine" is a synonym for "multiply cost by three", in my experience. I don't know specifically if the Toughbooks are easy to read in the sun, but shade is easy to create and you usually don't stare hypnotically at the display while underway in any case.
I am sure that full-sunlight displays exist for police, fire and ambulance services as well as for the sort of field engineers that use tablet PCs. I guarantee that buying a decent display (or even a cheap one that can be put in an acrylic box) is less expensive than the proprietary "marine" ones.
An alternative to the binnacle mount is a screen (not the whole unit) that can be rotated on an armature into the companionway. I stuck an old handheld GPS onto a lamp gooseneck lashed to a grabrail this way on my tiller-steered boat, and with the hatch closed and one drop board down, it was pretty weatherproof. I would swing the unit out into my range of view, and simply push it back over the nav station when done. I mounted my fishfinder/depth display (set to "largest number display") on the edge of the nav station, and could simply look down to see my depth. Once an hour, I would check the horizon, snap on the old Autohelm 1000 tiller pilot and go below to record my log.
That was a system that worked for me, but then my idea is that the less electronics out in the weather (because you can't always have the bimini up), the better.