Which Laptops Has Survived Life Onboard? - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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I had a Toshiba satellite A200 k0 it did well until it was put into a plastic zip lock bag while damp and warm. It did not respond to resuscitation, but he memory RAM and hard drive are good. I then went with the Acer Aspire that cost $650 from walmart and it is going strong although the USB ports have some rust spots forming. The computer guy near my marina says he will not sell laptops and advises all yachties to go with a small footprint desk top.

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post #52 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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I used a Toshiba Satellite laptop last year, and it worked fine, but, when you're cruising, you carry your laptop with you frequently, to find an internet cafe, or a hot spot where you can connect to the internet. Therefore, small size, light weight and easy portability is a really big deal. Carrying a 7 lb. full size laptop while you sightsee can be a real nuisance, and you can't always go back and forth between the shore and the boat, to get rid of gear. Likewise, because you often don't have an opportunity to connect it to a 110 electric outlet, long battery life is a really big deal.

I just bought an Acer Aspire One AOA150-1126 8.9-Inch Netbook (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) for $369. It has an 8.9" screen and only weighs about 2.2 lbs. The operating system is Windows XP, instead of Vista, so it doesn't need so much memory to run fast. In fact, it's at least as fast as, or faster than, my Toshiba full-size laptop with Vista and 2 GB of memory. The part you're not going to believe is that a full charge of the 6 cell battery lasts well over four hours! This mini notebook is usually sold with only a 3 cell battery, which I am told is not very long lasting, but I found the one with the 6 cell battery on Amazon. Also, many of these minis are sold with a very small flash drive memory, and I have a feeling that they would fill up very quickly, but they are available with bigger, conventional hard drives. I got the 160 GB hard drive.

The main difference between the mini and a full sized laptop is that the mini doesn't have a CD/DVD drive (probably because it's just too small to fit a CD drive into the case), but I have an external CD/DVD drive that I can use if I want to load software from a disk. If you don't have one, you can buy the software and download it online. The mini's keyboard is slightly smaller than a conventional keyboard, but not so much that it will be difficult for us fat-fingered folks to operate.

I can't speak to the mini's ability to survive in the salt air environment, but I'll find out next summer. I've been using it for about 3 weeks in my home, and it appears to be extremely well suited to the needs of a cruiser or live-aboard.
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post #53 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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I have a Nokia N810 and a 770 prior to that. They are a linux based touchscreen and easily small enough to fit in a cargo pocket(3x6x.5 or so). The 810 has a slide out keyboard that is much better than the 770s screen based keyboard. It has wifi built in and I use it when I am traveling to check mail and what not at hotspots. I have also paired it with my phone via bluetooth for dialup. It does not have a hard drive and uses sd cards for memory.

It is a little bit smaller than the Asus eepc. I have been considering picking up one of those as well but the 810 works fine for now.

Another option may be one of those one laptop per child computers. I had a co-worker with one of those and they are built to withstand some harsh treatment if you don't mind have a goofy looking computer. It looks like of like a speak and spell when folded up. Sounds like they have options for solar and dynamo charging as well. Not sure but I think it is available with linux or a stripped down windows. I know it will do a version of linux and I think MS made a version of xp for it.

I have no idea how any of these devices will react to a marine environment but I have dropped my 810 on concrete floors and besides scratches it survived. Never gotten it wet but I doubt it would handle that very well either. Rain maybe but a good dunking is likely to kill it.
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post #54 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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If you ever have a computer get damp, put it in a plastic bag with a handful of rice, as the rice will absorb the moisture and help prevent it from causign problems.
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I had a Toshiba satellite A200 k0 it did well until it was put into a plastic zip lock bag while damp and warm. It did not respond to resuscitation, but he memory RAM and hard drive are good. I then went with the Acer Aspire that cost $650 from walmart and it is going strong although the USB ports have some rust spots forming. The computer guy near my marina says he will not sell laptops and advises all yachties to go with a small footprint desk top.

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post #55 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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Be sure that your laptop is secured to the desk or console. Be cause they don't fly very well and lands hard. This is why I always lash my computer down where I want it to be and stay.

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post #56 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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Boasun--

I'd love to hear the story behind you learning this...
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Be sure that your laptop is secured to the desk or console. Be cause they don't fly very well and lands hard. This is why I always lash my computer down where I want it to be and stay.

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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)

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post #57 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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Boasun--

I'd love to hear the story behind you learning this...
Inquiring minds want to know

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post #58 of 89 Old 01-16-2009
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Mac works well

For the past 2 years of living aboard and cruising ive had a macbook
works great, only had one problem when a window leaked one night directly above computer, had to replace the keyboard, no other parts we damaged, ive seen other macbooks have cups of coffee and bottles of water spilled on them and work fine the next day, good battery life too 5hrs or so
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post #59 of 89 Old 01-18-2009
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My Powerbook G4 has survived a very wet transatlantic + coast of Europe + Caribbean + NYC voyage spanning nearly a year. The USB ports might have rusty tint, but otherwise, no problems!
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post #60 of 89 Old 01-18-2009
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I dont know about you, but these Asus EEE pc netbooks are looking more and more attractive. They have external VGA ports to plug into a monitor at the nav station...otherwise, they're small, cheap, and expendable. I've seen 19" widescreen analog lcd's for as low as $100 as well over the christmas season.

You can find one of these netbooks for $250 online with a 8" screen. Thats enough for email, browsing, and the occasional charting. If you need to do major planning, hook it up to the monitor at the nav station (could double as your TV/DVD station) and you're set. Also, it seems like ASUS is coming out with a 10.1" touch screen version for a few hundred more...so that would be an excellent navigation station at the helm as long as you dont need to read in the sun.

Not waterproof by any means, but for $250 - $400....buy 3 or 4 and throw 'em away at the end of the year. For $1200, you'll have 4 years of workstations

****EDIT****

All of these netbooks are about the same...Intel Atom processors, SSDs, etc. Here's a refurb Acer (not ASUS) with a true 8" screen:
Acer Aspire One AOA110-1722 Refurbished Netbook - Intel Atom™ Pocessor N270 1.6GHz, 512MB DDR2, 8GB SSD, 8.9" WSVGA, Linux, Sapphire Blue RB-LU.S030A.014 at TigerDirect.com

$250!

Last edited by night0wl; 01-18-2009 at 11:44 PM.
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