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  #1  
Old 01-04-2010
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Using Seaclear II with a netbook

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience using SeaClear II on a 10" or 12" netbook. I'm new to the software and wondering if a netbook with the long battery life would be a good thing or if I should just stick with my older laptop. Also, I'm wondering if anyone in the Seattle area is familiar with using SeaClear II and would provide a lesson or two. I'm fairly computer literate, just not with navigational software. Thanks, Carol
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Old 01-04-2010
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i have it on both acer 10 inch netbook and a asus 9 inch. the asus is a slower computer and it works fine.

as for learning the best thing you can do is dream... make a plan for a dream trip and try to plot the course you want. when dome do it again for another dream trip.
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Old 01-05-2010
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I also use SeaClear II on an Acer netbook and it works really well (Windows XP). I have it attached to a handheld Garmin and it has been a thoroughly practical and effective navigational tool. The netbook is so portable and easy to handle that I just wouldn't go back to using a big laptop.

The best way to become proficient at using the software is to practice. The manual that comes with it as a download covers the basics and that really is all you need to make it work for you.

Happy navigating!

Stuart
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Leith (rhymes with teeth) is the port of the City of Edinburgh in Scotland. A Leither is someone who comes from that area.

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky - I left my shoes and socks there, I wonder if they're dry?
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Old 01-06-2010
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Carol
I have a Acer netbook with SeaclearII works great, I do use an inverter to run the netbook but I never go out with out it. As stated BO's as with any electronics or any other nav tools you need to use them even on the perfect day when you have Crystal clear visability. Enjoy!!!
Peter
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Old 01-07-2010
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Hi Carol,
I use an MSI Wind with SeaClear and a handheld GPS tied in with a USB cord, also hooked to the inverter from time to time. I get about 4 hours of life from my 6-cell battery when I'm navigating, which is plenty considering you only need to check it every once and a while once you're underway. It was a huge help this past summer when we were heading up to the San Juans and got ambushed by a fog bank. It helped us know when we were getting too close to land and needed to tack back out in the open.

The real trick is keeping it dry and from sliding around. I put mine on the first stair inside the companionway with the screen tilted up, so I can see it when I'm standing at the tiller. One of these days I'll take the time to saran wrap it or something and put some nonskid pads on the bottom, but alas I am lazy.

I'm in Seattle (work in Belltown, moored at Lake Union) and would love to give you a quick tutorial if you still need it. Thing is, I'm moving down to Portland tomorrow and will only be popping up here sporadically. I might be around next week though; I'll give you a shout if so and maybe we can meet at a coffee shop to try out the basics. Heck, we could even setup a GoTo Meeting and share screens remotely if you're really itching to learn.

As the others said, the best route may be to go download maps from NOAA, import them in with MapCal, and just start playing with the menus and the right/left/double clicks.

Take care,
Jeff
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Old 02-17-2010
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I've been using SeaClear for a few months to plot "dream trips" on my MSI Wind, and am starting to also get familiar with OpenCPN. I've successfully interfaced with both a DeLorme LT-20 puck ($18 on Amazon) and a Garmin Oregon 400c. So for I've bought everything I need except the boat. But that's for another thread...

I've tested the Wind in full daylight, and its extraordinarily bright screen works quite well. I also got a polyurethane membrane keyboard cover that will protect from occasional light spray, but certainly not a deluge. I plan to buy a small cockpit table with edge guards to mount on the pedestal stand and bungee the netbook to it. I'm looking forward to trying this out once I take possession of my boat.

I do have a comment about powering netbooks/laptops and Garmin. Why in the world would you use an inverter? The netbooks need DC power, and the boat's battery provides DC power. There's no reason to convert to AC and then back to DC again - that's doubly wasteful. If your netbook needs 12vDC you can just use a direct adapter cable. If it needs 19-20vDC like the MSI, there are adapters that will step up to that directly in DC without the wasteful converting to AC. You can get cheap no-name adapters for this, or use a nicer one one made for Compaq laptops. My biggest challenge right now is that my Compaq adapter can put out a whopping 90w, and I only need 20-30w, so I'm hunting for a smaller one that won't drain the battery as much.

Last edited by TakeFive; 02-18-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 02-18-2010
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Hello

I have played around with SeaClear II on a 10 inch asus 1000he, interfacing with a garmin 60c gps. It works great. There are a couple of things to keep in mind;
- The asus 1000he while a great netbook has on flaw where boats are concerned, it has a glossy screen making it very hard to see anything in direct sun light. I will be ordering a matte film to apply to the screen hopefully it helps. If I were to do it over again I would look at a netbook with a matte finish.
- When plugging in my garmin 60c I need to run a piece of software that "converts" a usb port to a serial port, if I don't do this the netbook will not "see" the gps. Sorry I can't provide more details right now as I am at work and the netbook is at home but if interested I will follow-up with more details tonight.
- Netbooks are great for this type of work in that they are low in power usage, my 6 cell battery can easily go 7 hours between charge, but more importantly, as mentioned, many run off 12 volt so no need for an inverter.
- Where SeaClear II is concerned keep in mind that it will not work with charts made in Canada(published by CHS) as they are produced in a format that is proprietary. Probably not an issue for you but it is worth mentioning I think


John
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Old 02-18-2010
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Thought I'd add my two cents. New member - first post, new boater - first boat. This setup isn't what I have but what I'm moving towards. Raymarine ST40 instruments (depth speed/log...) daisy chained together using SeaTalk tied into a muliplexer with a SeaTalk input (i.e. Shipmodule USB), handheld GPS and VHF on the NMEA ports of the multiplexer, usb to the laptop. With this setup the laptop can be left at home and the system still functions as designed. I currently have an Autohelm ST-1000 not the newer plus model that will take commands from the GPS; that is a hoped for upgrade. As for a laptop my preference is a Panasonic Toughbook CF-18 or CF-19. These are ruggedised, dust-proof, splash-proof convertable tablet computers (touch screen) and most likely will stand up to the harsh environment. They are for these reasons used by the military, police and fire. They are expensive new but can be found on Craigslist and eBay for reasonable prices. My software choices are either PolarView or openCPN both which are free.
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Old 02-21-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
...My biggest challenge right now is that my Compaq adapter can put out a whopping 90w, and I only need 20-30w, so I'm hunting for a smaller one that won't drain the battery as much.
I re-did the calculation tonight. My MSI Wind netbook gets 4 hours on a battery charge. I checked the battery label, and its capacity if 4400 mAh @ 11.1V. So average amperage is 1.1, and average watts is 11.1 x 1.1 = 12.2w. If I can find an efficient step-up converter to 19-20V, then the power draw would be tiny. I just bought a 18w solar panel, so in theory I could drive the netbook with that.
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Old 04-12-2010
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Hi all

Noticed your comments on sailnet.com.

Just downloaded and unzipped. onto my Acer one netbook.

Is anyone using Linux operating system?

Not got gps linked in so your comments about serial to usb ports would be appreciated.

I do not understand how you launch the system. I have tried just after unzipping and creating waypts, routes etc. but it just stops. Any ideas?

Regards
Keith
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