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post #11 of 19 Old 10-12-2008
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Originally Posted by Freesail99 View Post
I have a question. How do you secure your laptops when underway?
A pegboard and a length of Dyneema would do it. Countersink four holes in your nav station top and put in pegs. Lash the unit across the hinge to hooks or grommets. Cover pegholes with plastic plugs when not in use.

It won't move, even in a capsize. And if it does, you have other pressing issues!
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post #12 of 19 Old 10-12-2008
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I saw a Belkin last week. It cost only a little less than the GPS...
Well, that would work if it was a software issue or even a connector issue.

First off, SeaClear is free software, and unsupported, so you have to learn to work with it , not against it. You can always ditch it and spend the big bucks for a charting program.

Poor old Seaclear is just looking for your GPS on a serial port. The fact that it's not there is a hardware issue or an operating system issue, not Sea Clear's. If your Laptop has a serial port input, and your GPS came with a serial cable, plug it in, or at the very most just buy a cheap adapter to make it fit, and you're done.

Next, If your GPS came with a USB output, it doesn't help as SeaClear won't look at the USB ports for a GPS. Unless the GPS came with emulating software, in order to emulate a serial port. If it did, you're done.

Lastly, if the GPS came with a serial port cable and your Laptop doesn't have a serial port, You have to convert the GPS to a USB connector. The serial port to USB adapters (Belkin) sold actually have an intergrated circuit (IC) in them to translate serial communications to USB to and they include software to emulate a virtual serial port (com1, com2..etc). They come with a separate operating system driver to connect it to the operating system. In my case this was Windows XP but it works fine under Vista.

If you're commenting that a good charting program isn't worth the $15 for the Belkin adapter... I don't know what to tell you. Maybe to go spend $100.00 instead?

At least then you can yell at customer support if it doesn't work ...only if they speak English of course..

Incidently, To make it work took less time than it took to type this.
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-12-2008
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Freesail-
We've used strips of heavy duty velcro (2" wide type) and literally velcro'd it down. And also, used a pair of bungee cords to hold one down on top of a sheet of 2" thick foam rubber, to shock cushion it. That can be problematic if the foam blocks vents.
The newer "mobile" hard drives often have shock-protection lifts in them, that retract the heads to prevent shock damage, so that is less of an issue that it used to be.
But mounting the laptop where it is going to stay DRY, firmly affixed, and where no crew is going to be thrown on it (ahem!) will vary with the boat.
If I were fitting a laptop for extended bluewater use, I think I'd specify the new solid-state hard drives. They're still expensive--but they've crossed into "attainable" prices, and they don't suffer from shock damage the way real drives will.
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post #14 of 19 Old 10-12-2008
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Thanks, all! I'll take a look at the demo software you suggest.

Omatako - So I'll know approximately when and at what bearing a given light should become visible.
OK, fair enough. Your OP sort of gave me the impression that you wanted your course to take you to the periphery of the light.

I do it a little differently. I wait until I see a light then I identify and react to it. I never thought about using it's characteristics for pilotage in that way. Interesting point.


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post #15 of 19 Old 10-12-2008
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Quote:
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A pegboard and a length of Dyneema would do it. Countersink four holes in your nav station top and put in pegs. Lash the unit across the hinge to hooks or grommets. Cover pegholes with plastic plugs when not in use.
Where do you put the paper chart?

I'm busy with an upgrade to my nav station with a flat screen monitor built into the fascia, the notebook lives inside the chart table and a wireless keyboard and mouse are velcroed to the bulkhead when not in use. That way I can keep the appropriate paper chart functionally on the desk and still use the nav software.

I'll post some pics when it's all done just for interest.


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post #16 of 19 Old 10-12-2008
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There is this:

Portwell Embedded System Board - PCS-8230 - Intel Atom Processor Z510 based 1-DIN In-Vehicle Infotainment Platform Care PC, Box PC


More info here:

Car PC puts Atom in single DIN slot

BTW, the Atom processor is new from Intel. Designed for ultra portables, it is a power miser but still performs. My MSI Wind has one and I am very impressed.

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post #17 of 19 Old 10-12-2008
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I'm curious. Has anyone tried the NavGator software sold in the SailNet store? It runs on Linux and Windows and uses NOAA charts.

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post #18 of 19 Old 10-13-2008
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Originally Posted by Rickm505 View Post
Next, If your GPS came with a USB output, it doesn't help as SeaClear won't look at the USB ports for a GPS. Unless the GPS came with emulating software, in order to emulate a serial port. If it did, you're done.
The GPSes are USBs, they have emulating software (the Prolific driver) and Seaclear "could not open the comport 4".

This emulator works evidently for you, and for some others, but not for everyone. I am using USB GPS because of ease of use and because the newer models with the SiRF III chipset all seem to be USB.

The GPSes work properly and I've fiddled directly with the port settings in the emulator, but no dice. I will attempt to find a USB-serial port female-female adapter.

I realize it's freeware and am not ungrateful. But I am not used to being challenged by a port configuration in this way...it's annoying.
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-13-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
Where do you put the paper chart?

I'm busy with an upgrade to my nav station with a flat screen monitor built into the fascia, the notebook lives inside the chart table and a wireless keyboard and mouse are velcroed to the bulkhead when not in use. That way I can keep the appropriate paper chart functionally on the desk and still use the nav software.

I'll post some pics when it's all done just for interest.
There was a guy here posting mini-ITX and pico-ITX motherboards a while back that were smaller than a paperback, ran flash drives instead of the usual spinning hard drives, and were fanless. They used an amp or less of power and were essentially built into the cabinetry.

Nav software doesn't need a load of processor or storage space, so it can make sense to have something small and dedicated (like the new Asus PCeee mini-notebooks on which to run software...if you hook them to nice big monitors and have wireless keyboards for big sailor fingers...

I look forward to the pictures, though.
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