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post #11 of 24 Old 09-28-2017
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

Most laptops seem to run on 18volts dc. I'm not sure about desk tops, though I'm sure they also run on dc power after the power supply.
We've been running our computers directly off the vessel's 12 volt dc system, using a 'converter' (not an inverter) that takes the 12 vdc up to the requisite 18 vdc, without any problems at all. However, if you are using your computer professionally for many hours a day, solar might not be enough to keep up with your consumption, so a small generator may be a necessary back up.
For a laptop you can find the proper (auto) converters quite easily, priced from a dozen dollars to about $75.00. I have had quality issues with the lower end models. For a desk top unit there are plenty of commercial converters (not built specifically for computers) available and most will give you several voltage options.

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post #12 of 24 Old 09-28-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

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Originally Posted by snokid View Post
You said you retired!!! I was a truck driver for 32 years no way in heck I want anything to do with trucks ever again!!! You also said it was going to be a live aboard/cruiser and talked about RV's... Do you want to spend your time in beautiful places playing on a PC? why retire? I know it sounds harsh but time for a change, enjoy the retirement!!!

That picosupply has a petty low output seems like you want a higher end desktop don't think it's enough power to run a system like that.

Nice looking boat btw....

Bob

You have a point! Though everyone's retirement is relative and it's slightly misleading for me to use the word at all I guess. I'm 36 and using the word as in - i'm done working for corporate America in the sense of the large public companies putting in 80 hours a week (I started that at 17 years old), selling my soul to Evil Corp. Ya, whatever you pictured about guys like me from watching "The Intership" it's somewhere between that, Wolf of Wallstreet and Mr. Robot in reality. A lot of us quit in our late 30s with enough investments to sustain us. Some of us got fired with multi-million dollar termination packages, bought a ranch, vinyard or something and never looked back. I'm somewhere in the middle. I will always be a software engineer at some level. Just hoping to find peace in it without all of the negative, soul killing influence of being part of the big machine. Sailing over the last few years has become a passion, something my wife and I have decided to spend at least a few years doing while the kids are still young. Even so, maybe you're right though. And I'm not 100% sure how busy my new full time cruising life is going to be with just taking it all in. Even so... I have some apps I've written which are going to partially support the sailing budget. I have to continue supporting those when it comes up.
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

An Intel nuc skull canyon. A four core i7 that will take two m2 Ssd's and up to 32 Gb RAM. Normal power supply is a 19vdc brick but 12 to 19 v converter are readily available. The computer itself is about the size of an old school video cassette. Did I mention these can run up to 3 monitors and have, I believe, up to 4 K video resolution?

You may lose the portability of the laptop, but it is more power efficient and is less likely to fly around the cabin in the rough stuff - especially if screwed to a shelf.

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post #14 of 24 Old 09-28-2017
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

32 gb ram not much on cpu video also not great, but I agree less power needs than a laptop....

I do envy you 36 and going on a partial retirement.

Looks like you have done some sailing, have you owned a big boat before?

Seems like there's always something to do/fix....

I know when I go out I'm not bored for sure!!!

Sitting on the hook at night I can see some down time to play on the pc though.

If you are just supporting some apps pretty much any pc will do and the nuc would be a good choice, otherwise I stand by what I said about high end gaming laptops. The type of photography I did/do I shot the event and while at the event an assistant would cull and do quick edits to get the story up, then after the event I would sit on the laptop for a few hours and continue the story, wash and repeat for the week 14 hour days not fun!!! (Detroit auto show, no not weddings those don't pay well) I don't have time for photoshop to sit around and render photo's need speed and memory for that.

I have pretty much giving up on the photo gig as well do some small jobs here and there but it better pay well otherwise it's not worth my time...But when this laptop dies I will replace it with another top of the line gaming laptop, that's how I feel about it....

At your age i'm sure you have watched a bunch of sailing youtubers not one I can think of has a desktop, maybe they are on to something?

Really enjoy your time there's always time to make more money if your running low....

Bob
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post #15 of 24 Old 09-28-2017
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

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And I'm not 100% sure how busy my new full time cruising life is going to be with just taking it all in. Even so... I have some apps I've written which are going to partially support the sailing budget. I have to continue supporting those when it comes up.
Trust me, unless you are buying a million dollar gold plater and have the big bucks rolling in every month, you are probably going to be plenty busy learning the skills it takes to keep a family cruising boat going. Incompetence is the watchword for the majority of the yacht/boat maintenance and repair people, and if you can afford the good ones (once you have found them), you still have to get slotted into their busy schedule.
The sailing is the easy part. Even the navigating, anchoring and docking are kindergarten level education nowadays. If you are anything like most of us out here, you'll be a diesel engine mechanic, electrician, plumber, rigger, fiberglass/steel/alloy technician and possibly a refrigeration/A/C technician in a few short years. Then there's the pumps; bilge, fresh water, toilet, sewage, engine sea water cooling, engine fresh water cooling, generator sea water cooling, generator fresh water cooling, deck wash down, sea water supply and high pressure if you have a watermaker. Whoda thunk there were so many pumps in the life of a modern cruiser? They all need maintenance.
So anyway, un-busy? One can only hope. lol
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post #16 of 24 Old 09-29-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

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Originally Posted by snokid View Post
32 gb ram not much on cpu video also not great, but I agree less power needs than a laptop....

I do envy you 36 and going on a partial retirement.

Bob

Don't envy me too much... my theme song is Garth Brooks - Much Too Young. I'm probably going to die before 60 and I'm only half joking. lol


Anyway, all good points! And I get why a lot of folks especially in the videography industry need a beefier machine. Like you said, I don't need anything insane to support the couple of business websites, databases and mobile apps people have purchased from me / pay me to support etc. I really am liking the NUC idea.

To answer your question. No, not really - I owned a Catalina 27, sailed it in Yaquina and just sold it. Biggest boat sailed was a J30 and it was just on lakes. My broker tries to convince me I should jump to a Catalina 34 or something and get experience first. Got 2 kids and a wife. Just not enough living space. Honestly, the idea of piloting something 40 - 50ft doesn't bother me. I've driven things almost twice that length in horrid conditions.


Quote:
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Trust me, unless you are buying a million dollar gold plater and have the [B]big[B] bucks rolling in every month, you are probably going to be plenty busy learning the skills it takes to keep a family cruising boat going. Incompetence is the watchword for the majority of the yacht/boat maintenance and repair people, and if you can afford the good ones (once you have found them), you still have to get slotted into their busy schedule.

So anyway, un-busy? One can only hope. lol

I'm sure you're 100% correct. And, ya our budget isn't going to include things like paying for oil changes, or installation of standing / running rigging, fixing a porthole leak, installing new equipment, replacing or rebuilding a pump - hell I've rebuilt pumps before. Even things like a cutlass bearing, I think I could do myself. I'd pay for bottom paint/repair. I've done my own auto maintenance and my main vehicle has been a diesel truck for the last few years. I've replaced almost everything on my diesel truck including injectors myself - so i should be good here. I guess what you're saying though is these things break especially when you actually sail and aren't just sitting in a marina. I'm rethinking the built myself idea and thinking I'll find the NUC I want and buy 2 of them. ie. giving myself another project of PC tinkering might be more or less, not a great idea.


We are trying to buy a more recently cruised boat that was meticulously maintained to at least give us a head start. Originally we were set on grabbing something like a Valiant 40 and knowing it was a bit of project boat. I was on that Gold Wave last week... man she seemed pretty pristine!

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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

So... just a general FYI reply in case not everyone has thought about this:


Your average PC runs at 80% efficiency - laptops often worse. Your PC uses DC power. So, for example a 200watt usage on your computer will be 240watts of draw. The numbers often get worse at higher power draws. I knew all this before, but was unaware of the next part.


Inverters have similar issues, but beyond that, there is a certain amount of power used to keep the inverter running typically in the 10-25 watt range. And another loss of efficiency in the conversion which very much depends on the size, draw, quality and other factors of your inverter. As an easy rule, I'm told asume 80% efficiency. And my understanding is it's compounding.


Example:
Let's say you have a laptop (and you're using an AC brick) pulling 40 watts. It's actually pulling 48. Then an inverter has to take that power from DC and switch to AC so now you're at about 58 watts. That sucks... but here's the really bad part: Your inverter needs a certain amount of power just to run. So, let's say you have a laptop that you swear is only pulling 10 watts at idle. You're now at something like 30% efficiency because your inverter is using say 20 watts + 12watts at best for the laptop. That's 32watts for a 10 watt device due to bad setup! 70% is completely unnecessary if we just bought a DC power adapter for the laptop and left the inverter turned off.
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post #18 of 24 Old 09-29-2017
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

One of the more important aspects for any computer on board, especially for long distance sailing is to consider 'marinizing' (potting, etc.) all the internals of the computer. Marinizing 'seals' all the internal components against salt and humidity/internal condensation.

With long distance sailing, you'll soon find out that the microscopic airborne salt crystals will penetrate 'everything', including your computer. Even if 'marinized', its a good idea to either keep the computer 'always on' or sealed in a plastic bag to prevent the micro-salt intrusion, especially when your crossing a weather front which can bring severe and sudden humidity changes inside a boat (condensation inside .... everything).
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post #19 of 24 Old 09-29-2017
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

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One of the more important aspects for any computer on board, especially for long distance sailing is to consider 'marinizing' (potting, etc.) all the internals of the computer. Marinizing 'seals' all the internal components against salt and humidity/internal condensation.

With long distance sailing, you'll soon find out that the microscopic airborne salt crystals will penetrate 'everything', including your computer. Even if 'marinized', its a good idea to either keep the computer 'always on' or sealed in a plastic bag to prevent the micro-salt intrusion, especially when your crossing a weather front which can bring severe and sudden humidity changes inside a boat (condensation inside .... everything).
Good point. NUCS are easy to access internally and use solid state drives. The majority are fan-less and those that aren't use heat exchangers. Much simpler to marinise than a laptop. And you don't have to throw the monitor away when the cpu dies and vice versa!
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post #20 of 24 Old 09-29-2017
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Re: Custom Built On-board PC / Boatputer Advice

Think about internet connectivity. Maybe you'll use cellular or wifi. Cellular data can be expensive and only available at any reasonable speed in very civilized, populated areas. Free open wifi is disappearing fast. If you cruise and must work occasionally, you may find yourself needing to take your computer off the boat to obtain a wifi connection at a shop, who gives you the password for the price of a coffee/beer. I think portable matters in your situation.
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