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post #11 of 44 Old 07-06-2007
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Don't use a standard laptop bag, unless you're using fully ruggedized laptops. You need to use a waterproof case, like a Pelican case, and have dessicant packs inside the case.

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post #12 of 44 Old 07-06-2007
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I wonder about the idea of the Apple Mini. It's fanless!!! I really don't intend to switch to a Mac, but you can use BootCamp to run Windows. Also, I hear that similar PC designs will soon be popping up. These little things are pretty powerful proportionally (both in dollars and size), and I think that they would be strong enough to handle all a ship's systems pretty well. Next, choose any screen you want, and any keyboard/mouse combo (wireless?) as well.

I wonder if they're able to power from 12v?
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post #13 of 44 Old 07-06-2007
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SuperDave-

No, the Mac Minis can't power from 12 VDC without a DC-to-DC converter. IIRC, the power supply for the Mac Mini is rated at 18.5 VDC, not 12 VDC.

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post #14 of 44 Old 07-06-2007
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Dawg...big ziplocs inside the standard case work too!
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post #15 of 44 Old 07-07-2007
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Cam-

You said nothing about big plastic baggies... I just like the protection and waterproof qualities of a good Pelican case... I've used the for photo equipment for years, and a laptop is part of my photo kit, having gone mostly digital a while back.

Dessicant packets, like silica gel, really need an airtight environment in order to function properly. Otherwise, their limited ability to draw moisture out of the air is easily overwhelmed, and then they're effectively doing nothing.

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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
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #16 of 44 Old 07-07-2007
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Yep Dawg...I did not mention it. I don't feel any need for the waterproofing from the Pelican case (and they are expensive) but the zip lock works at keeping the salt air out and letting the gel do its work. If I was carrying the laptop to shore on my dinghy I'd go with the Pelican! (g)
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post #17 of 44 Old 07-07-2007 Thread Starter
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Decision on using the tower case

I have made a decision for now anyways to go ahead and keep using the desktop tower case setup. I am currently running 10 websites with 20 more under construction and have so many programs running on this one that changing for me right now would be a giant headache. Especially with the limited expandability of laptops.

Came up with an idea tho.
I could take a U2 rack mount system and make the boards waterproof as much as possible and test it out to se how it stands up then possibly make those available to the sailing community. They would be far less expensive than the laptops with the draw back of not being portable. Have to do soem r&d on that but i think it might be a worth while project.

Too many things to think about lol super multi-tasking going on here.

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post #18 of 44 Old 07-07-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
BTW, one of the things that will prolong the life of the computers more than anything else is keeping them running and on all the time. While this can be a problem for your boat's electrical system, by doing so, you cook off the humidity and moisture that leads to corrosion and keep the system's internal components in better shape by doing so.
I suspect that might argue for a micro-ITX or non-fan laptop, because they could be put in the sort of standby mode that would comsume the same power as a handful of LEDs, but which would keep their motherboards and/or cases warm enough to cook off moisture.

Strangely, one of the reasons I am wanting a large battery bank (three to four 8D AGMs) is so I can have the luxury not of running a bigger fridge, but to handle the "phantom power" requirements of running small electronics draws (SSB in receive mode, AIS, radar in "guard" mode, laptop), assuming I've made my amps via solar, wind and occasional alternator charge-ups.
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post #19 of 44 Old 07-08-2007
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I have had computers on my boat for 10 years, onto my third desktop now, None have ever failed. The only reason was to replace was to keep up the speed and processor requirements. I must say the equipment is in the lounge (oops, saloon), and run from either shorepower or inverter.
I have now a Shuttle system with widescreen LCD. Still a lot cheaper than laptops, with similar specs.

I agree for navigation one does not need to have the latest and fastest, but most of us have now digital camera and videos, we are on the internet (wireless), we download music, and we use the computer for entertainment. I have a TV card (alhtough seldom watch TV). Therefore system requirements are simliar as to a normal 'home/business' environment.

If one wants a screen outside or at the helm, why no buy a second one?
I guess to bring a laptop or any computer outside is not advisable.

I like the idea some of the previous posts to invest in 2 or more identical computers, but that is driven by the expectation that they will fail, rather sooner than later.

The best prevention would be to keep the moisture out!!! In the past I had only one problem: the computer would not boot on very cold mornings (with a lot of dew outside). If I left my computer switched on on the previous night, then there was never a problem! I agree with Valiente.

Leaving the computer on, may be only problematic with a limited supply of current, when under way. I read somewhere that cruisers spend 90% of their time in harbour where supply of electricity is not a problem.

Why would one invest in mulitple computers, or in high priced mil spec laptops when a normal desktop would do? It only means that the desktop takes up more space, and uses a bit more electrical juice whilst sailing.
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post #20 of 44 Old 07-08-2007
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Hank-

The new, small form factor desktops make much more sense on a boat. They draw much less power and take up considerably less space, and can often be left on with less problems than a full-size desktop would encounter, since they have many of the power-saving features found in laptops.

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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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