Laptop/Chartplotter - SailNet Community
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 31 Old 06-21-2008 Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: VA
Posts: 2,050
Thanks: 1
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Laptop/Chartplotter

I've downloaded a free chartplotter program to run on my laptop using a cheap USB GPS. The program (SeaClear) seems to meet my needs very well, though it is not the most intuitive program I've ever seen, I've figured out how to create a route and other basic funtions and confirmed it works.

The question is, how to run my AC powered laptop while sailing. I've looked at the posts refering to inverters, but there seems to be a mixed bag. It looks like the cigarette lighter plug inverters leave a lot to be desired while hardwiring one or using a portable clipped to the battery has their own drawbacks.

So how should I proceed? I definitely want to power the laptop and I'd like to be able to power an LCD TV, but that is not as important as being able to run the laptop.

PalmettoSailor
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36
PalmettoSailor is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Senior Member
 
CrazyRu's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 452
Thanks: 2
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
There is a bunch of car adapters for laptops available. Every manufacturer offers one for the brand as an option. They are 12 DC to whatever DC your laptop uses. Technically speaking, all laptops are DC powered, and most of them are 12V DC, same as a boat.
Small 300-400 watt DC to AC inverters are quite reliable too. Problems starts when they are either less or more powerful. Less powerful ones can not handle current fluctuation, more powerful ones require permanent installation and careful wiring.

I used both approaches in my truck and the boat with success.

Last edited by CrazyRu; 06-21-2008 at 08:26 AM.
CrazyRu is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Wandering Aimlessly
 
PBzeer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cruising
Posts: 21,212
Thanks: 0
Thanked 94 Times in 91 Posts
Rep Power: 15
     
I've used a West Marine 400w plug in inverter, and am currently using a Kingston adapter w/built in inverter, that plugs into a cigarette lighter outlet, as well as having a AC plug as well. The WM inverter is much cheaper, and I only bought the Kingston because my AC to laptop adapter went out. Both have worked well for me.

John
Ontario 32 - Aria

Free, is the heart, that lives not, in fear.
Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
JCP


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Website & Blog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
PBzeer is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Senior Member
 
Maine Sail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 5,887
Thanks: 20
Thanked 222 Times in 169 Posts
Rep Power: 16
       
Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
I've downloaded a free chartplotter program to run on my laptop using a cheap USB GPS. The program (SeaClear) seems to meet my needs very well, though it is not the most intuitive program I've ever seen, I've figured out how to create a route and other basic funtions and confirmed it works.

The question is, how to run my AC powered laptop while sailing. I've looked at the posts refering to inverters, but there seems to be a mixed bag. It looks like the cigarette lighter plug inverters leave a lot to be desired while hardwiring one or using a portable clipped to the battery has their own drawbacks.

So how should I proceed? I definitely want to power the laptop and I'd like to be able to power an LCD TV, but that is not as important as being able to run the laptop.

Why not a dedicated chart plotter that can be mounted at the helm? They are far more reliable, I find substantially easier to use, plus they draw MUCH less current than a plugged in laptop. My MacBook Pro can draw up to 7 amps through the inverter. There are no 12v adapters for the Mac. My PC based laptop draws about 5.4 amps through a manufacturer supplied 12v charger..

I used a PC based plotting system and canned it very quickly in favor of a dedicated chart plotter. Having it at your finger tips/helm is priceless and many of the Garmin's now come PRE-LOADED with all the US charts..

I still run chart plotting software on my PC (not my Mac) but I never actually use it for navigation just planning..

I purchased a 19" Polaroid TV at Target that has an AC to DC converter and it runs on 12v.. With the DVD running it draws about 5.2 amps..

______
-Maine Sail / CS-36T


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




© Images In Posts Property of Compass Marine Inc.


Maine Sail is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 98
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
Your best bet is a power supply with DC adaptor, such as Igo or Targus. These will provide the correct DC power for the laptop. They can also charge a second device such as cell phone or music player. They come with changeable tips so you can use with new devices with different power requirements.
noreault is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Don Radcliffe
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Posts: 396
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
Our Fujitsu laptop with a core-duo processor is currently drawing 2.5 amps through a west marine 150W cigarette plug inverter. Simple, and works well. If you buy a chart plotter, you do get the advantage of a chart at the wheel but the disadvantage of paying extra to buy charts and the proprietary version of every technological advance like AIS.
donradclife is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Senior Member
 
Freesail99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 4,507
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Send a message via Yahoo to Freesail99
Quote:
Our Fujitsu laptop with a core-duo processor is currently drawing 2.5 amps through a west marine 150W cigarette plug inverter. Simple, and works well. If you buy a chart plotter, you do get the advantage of a chart at the wheel but the disadvantage of paying extra to buy charts and the proprietary version of every technological advance like AIS.
True, but if any water hits your laptop, kiss it goodby and if you keep it below and singlehand ....... You get the picture.

S/V Scheherazade
-----------------------
I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Freesail99 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Telstar 28
 
sailingdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,290
Thanks: 0
Thanked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 14
         
I'd second getting a dedicated chartplotter. The small Garmin units, like the older 192C or the newer 440 come with all of the US Coastal charts pre-loaded. They're IPX7 water resistance rated, and are very simple to use and draw much less power than a laptop. They're also usable at the helm and not going to die if they get splashed.

However, if you're talking about using your laptop on the boat, that's a different story. I just don't think using it as a chartplotter, while underway, is all that great an idea. It is far more prone to failure than a dedicated chartplotter and uses far more energy.

Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
sailingdog is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Sailor
 
Plumper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 845
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
I had a similar challenge. I solved it by buying one of those car jump start battery systems. It has about 30 amps of juice and charges when the engine is running or from my solar panel. It alone runs my laptop for about 8 hours (it is an old laptop). I find it quite convenient. It also has many other uses onboard.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
Plumper is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 31 Old 06-21-2008
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 476
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
Send a message via AIM to negrini Send a message via Yahoo to negrini Send a message via Skype™ to negrini
Targus Group | Leading Provider of Laptop Cases, Bags and Accessories is the way to go. Cheap, reliable, and very efficient. You'll find tons of options there. This is how I power my/wife laptop ....

Nave Rara
Beneteau Oceanis 43
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
negrini is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome