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Old 25-03-2013, 15:44   #46
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Thanks, thanks, thanks! This thread is allowing me to discover a few new apps, and learn a few things, and hopefully I also allowed others to get interesting information concentrated in one place. Going through Navigatrix right now, looks good so far.

The technicalities of the NMEA are a little bit above my head. I know that tablets can talk to other instruments using NMEA through certain apps, or be used as repeaters. Isn't it just a matter of programming the right app to have it controlling the whole show like a star trek fan suggested it? I admit my total ignorance in this regard, so if someone could provide us/me with a clear "NMEA for dummies" explanation I would be the first one to be grateful. Goboatingnow, I understand from what you say that there are limitations, but I don't really understand which ones and what would be needed to overcome them. Can you explain more in details?

On the $$$$$$$ side : It seems that many of you consider only the top end solutions, including when it comes to tablets. I want to reassure the people who like me don't have thousands to spend there:
You can get a used android tablet for around $100, and for using it as a GPS / marine electronics, no need to get better (of course if it's an iPad needed, it's already $300... and it seems that the iPad might - might! - be the best option, but...) A bulletproof case in reinforced fiberglass or polycarbonate with a screen cover that still allows you to use the touchscreen can be found or made under $100 as well (someone said that you cannot cover a touchscreen and use it: not true. You can. Again, see the waterproof case "andres"). I spotted one that sells for $88 without the fancy waterproof charging. Not a problem, you can do that yourself with waterproof cable pass-through connectors - meant for ocean use if you wish - and a drill, it's just a few bucks. And mounting options are easily homemade for under 100, even with nice 316 SS material. Result: under $300, and your tablet won't even know she left the living-room. For the record, my sailing experience isn't that much but I did a similar case for an iPod touch 5 years ago: I did everything you can possibly think of with it: spent years in the warmest, coldest, sandiest, driest, most humid, toughest places of the planet (afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, DRC, the cordillera in south america, ...), took it sailing in the Med (very salty), surfing, snowbording, rockclimbing, trekking, sandsurfing, you name it. After 5 years, the case turned kind of ugly (scratches, some plastic discoloration) but that's about it. The phone was still a happy phone like day 1. So honestly, I'm not too worried about taking a tablet on a boat to seat in a case in a cockpit under a bimini. That's like Costa Cruises for the tablet according to my standards . She will do just fine. And if, if, if, you're so worried it might let you down during your Atlantic crossing, get a cheap backup option (and here I second ol'timer jmackay : just paper charts and a simple positioning GPS with no screen ($50) running on 2 AAA batteries will do the backup job beautifully, until you get back to civilization and get another $100 tablet on ebay.
You know what I think? I think that exactly like when discussing boats capabilities, discussing cars, discussing tools, discussing anything that is labelled as "manly", most of men seems to think that if it cannot withstand a nuclear apocalypse, it is not worth of being Theirs, and they can spend a ridiculous amount of energy and money to be able to one day look at it and say: it will never let me down. And then, they go drill a hole in 1/4" plywood, drive to the closest walmart, or cruise for an evening with the family, filled with pride.

Of course, agreed with Dockhead, I'll keep the magnetic compass, I love simple things that cannot fail and don't need electricity and cost close to nothing.
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Old 25-03-2013, 16:06   #47
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

decca, I think you have some misimpressions or have been misinformed on a couple of points.

"However, for instant speed display, it is to say to get immediate result for trimming changes, it would be nice to have 5hz or even 10hz. ...isn't too fast at all for the human brain to process). "

Yes, actually, it IS too fast to process. It takes about 1/4 second for you eyes to tell your brain "Step on the brakes" when the car in front of you shows their brake lights. Total reaction time to SEE the change and RESPOND? Will be 1/2 second to one second, even for the fastest driver with the best reflexes. So supplying data and changing the speed display 10x per second is just going to give you blurry numbers that are shifting up and down. Is that 6.34 knots? Or 6.43? Or 6.39? Wait, it just changed again.

There is plenty of information (some of it came out after Three Mile Island) about how humans perceive and process information, and every study in every field says that all you are going to do is increase the background noise, wipe out the signal, and fatigue the poor SOB trying to misinterpret the information overload.

Every study, every source.

Wherever you got this idea that 10Hz display updates serve any purpose, IT IS WRONG.


"a GPS chip is "calling" the satellites every so often"
No, it is not. A GPS chip NEVER calls the satellites, never transmits to the satellites. The GPS chips polls the radio frequencies that the satellites broadcast on, and when it receives data strings that can be authenticated as GPS signals, it processes them. A GPS chip that is designed for low power consumption polls those frequencies serially, one after the other, for perhaps 39 satellites. Then it checks the ephemeris and almanc data, compares signals, and drops backs to polling 4 (or slightly more) frequencies, one at a time.
A GPS chip which is designed for higher speed may poll 12 frequencies at once, which also means it uses 12x more power. The GPS chip in your cell phone? Is designed for low power, not high speed.
The GPS chips also do not all use the same algorithms to process the signal strings. Some algorithms are quick and dirty, requiring a low power processor and producing slow results. That's what is in your cell phone or tablet. Others use more sophisticated algorithms and compute position entirely differently--and that's what is in a commercial grade GPS.
Almost all GPSes today also use the ENOS/WAAS system, which requires more power and more computing in order to produce a more accurate result as well.
Which chip is in your phone? Ah, you'll find that information can be very hard to obtain. Trade secrets, proprietary, few makers want to discuss it with you.

"1- this speed can be regulated through software "
Only if the hardware allows it and supports it! You will find many of the low-power low-price chipsets simply will not accept a command to "do it faster" because they simply CAN'T. It takes a discrete amount of time to listen for one satellite on one frequency, then shift to the next, and poll at least four satellites, computer a position, and start all over again.
If you know every GPS can run at 10Hz, then you also surely must know how long the polling and computing process takes, right? And that would be?

"Conclusion: 1hz could do it, 5hz would be better"
Invalid assumption. No helmsman can respond 5x per second, therefore, you are only going to HURT the helmsman.

" and this is why the specific GPS coming out right now for the purpose of speed recording are ranging between 5hz and 10 hz."
What GPSes are those? Purpose built for recording the speed of what exactly?

A Ferrari is faster than a Jeep. that doesn't make it a BETTER anything.
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Old 25-03-2013, 16:15   #48
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

"(someone said that you cannot cover a touchscreen and use it: not true. You can. Again, see the waterproof case "andres"). "
I think you are misquoting me, who said you can't ARMOR the screen and still use it. I also said you CAN cover and protect it and use it, but that's usually something like a vinyl cover that offers limited protection, not the industrial grade ARMOR that you see on commercial products.
These may appear to be small differences to you but when it comes to design, especialyl the design of marine electronics, the devil is in the details.
I've used ziploc bags to waterproof electronics. And I've also seen a whole box of them all leak from bad seals. Caveat cheap emptor. I'll spend $20 on an EWA pouch.

Both Bluetooth and NMEA have bandwidth limits, which is another reason your chatterbox GPS scheme is a bad idea. You can find out about the limits on both, and about why "standard" Bluetooth may not have enough range, on the web. Consumer electronics use type2 Bluetooth, which typically starts dropping out and going intermittent by 25 feet. That's also what will be in every (every) consumer grade tablet or phone. You need Type1 with better range to cover even a slightly larger boat.
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Old 25-03-2013, 16:32   #49
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

I wouldn't want to use anything other than iPad to keep things happy and free of troublesome viruses, spyware etc. It is also what I know. Then, these are available now:

1. Apple Airport Extreme 2.4 + 5 GHz wifi access point. The iPads will pick the rock stable 5 GHz band.

2. If iPad is used in locations with bad GPS reception, I would add a Dual Bluetooth GPS mounted in a good fixed position.

3. Vesper Marine black box AIS with wifi. This box will connect to your wifi and give you full functionality on an iPad with their free app.

4. Maretron IPG100 gateway with N2KView app on the iPad. This gives you full NMEA2000 instrumentation on the iPad.

5. Soon we will have MaxSea for iPad but we know for now there are at least two good navigation programs. These do not give advanced features so I would always also have the next one:

6. Splashtop2 app for remote desktop of navstation Mac (or PC) with advanced software. I use Maxsea TimeZero which even gives me real time radar images on my iPad, wireless!

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Old 26-03-2013, 03:32   #50
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

I'm going along pretty much the same path as Jedi here, a black box VHF/AIS combo, not cheap but bargains often come up on ebay. Coupled with a small eeePC like laptop, SSD only with an external HDD for extra storage, opencpn or whatever software suites you and all the instruments you wish plugged in via NMEA.

Not an Apple fun though, at the bottom line it all comes down to proprietary vs. open-source in my opinion. Not a NMEA expert myself but there are 2 versions: 0183 - older, slower but fast enough and open-source hence free ; 2000 - proprietary, very expensive on a small market, not an environment that encourages innovations.

Why one would pay big bucks to Bill Gates for Win 7 is beyond my understanding, just because his name says so? More and more people are finding that Gnu/Linux is easier to work with, at NO cost, when will you? Who can't tap his way around in an Android tablet? That's GNU/Linux based. I know many professional applications are only available on Windows/Mac but do you need those? 70% of internet servers are running on GNU/Linux, I'd say that's stable enough. I haven't open the door of my servers chamber in 2 years

A very nice FG cover for a tablet should cost just a few bucks if custom built, a few tens if you find someone local to make it for you. A small extendable sun shading would be neat. I'm thinking of including an iMon display, plug it into my laptop's usb and I have a TV-like remote at the helm that includes mouse and keyboard. How nice is that! Still looking for a rugged alternative, though..

Technology wise, we are way more advanced then we think we are. The time needed to turn all that into money is what's keeping as back. But there is also the habit, the known path is the easiest and we keep doing things the known way. Nothing wrong with that but tends to make the process of turning technology into money slower.

Hell yeah, I'll have a tablet in my cockpit!
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Old 26-03-2013, 03:44   #51
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Forgot the GPS part, I have a RoyalTek dongle that's going into a custom built mushroom like case. Has a cheap nokia battery, 5V plug and is bluetooth capable. Both dongle and batteries cheap and small enough to have spares on board.
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Old 26-03-2013, 04:08   #52
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This is a great option for making your iPad waterproof and shock proof. I. Own one and so far it's great. http://www.lifeproof.com/en/ipad/
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Old 26-03-2013, 06:01   #53
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob30 View Post
This is a great option for making your iPad waterproof and shock proof. I. Own one and so far it's great. Apple iPad Case | LifeProof
VERY VERY expensive plastic mold, gasket and switches
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:32   #54
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Ehrm.. most of what I listed earlier does NOT need a PC. So, the AIS does not need anything extra, it has internal wifi and an app for the iPad. The Maretron IPG100 does not need a PC and also comes with an app for the iPad. The only thing that needs a PC is MaxSea or other advanced nav software. When you choose for budget you can leave that out and just get a navigation app for the iPad too.

NMEA2000 is not expensive at all; what is expensive is to have all instrument displayed on the iPad. I have this using the MaxSea software but then you need a Navnet3D plotter again. I would just pop a B&G Triton display into the cockpit and be done with it.

cheers,
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:37   #55
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

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VERY VERY expensive plastic mold, gasket and switches
I find $130 to make an iPad a fully waterproof chart plotter a steal. I don't understand how you can find that "VERY VERY expensive"?!
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:38   #56
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

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I find $130 to make an iPad a fully waterproof chart plotter a steal. I don't understand how you can find that "VERY VERY expensive"?!
must be because I'm from a different system
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Old 26-03-2013, 10:27   #57
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Paradise vs Bucharest?
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:00   #58
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

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Paradise vs Bucharest?
Paradise versus (former) Little Paris

To not let this turn into a total drift, let me explain myself.

If one sees value in functionality, that's what it's worth for him, subjective.

I see two pieces of plastic neatly jointed with a gasket and a few precisely positioned controls. Apple could be that kind and offer such a thing as an accessory at a much much lower price. What would cost to mass produce it, 40 cents?

I was speaking of the exact same concept a little earlier in the thread, you can use your tablet as a mold and make a custom fiberglass front case attached to the bulkhead.
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:14   #59
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

$130 for a durable waterproof case is dirt cheap, if that case requires any ports or fittings besides the one sealing lip. Anyone can easily build a waterproof case, but once you have actually tried to build one, and use it for a year, anyone will understand why it is not as simple as it seems.

"Why one would pay big bucks to Bill Gates for Win 7 is beyond my understanding,"
You understand why some people prefer to buy a Mercedes instead of a Lada? Okay, just refine that concept a bit more.

"More and more people are finding that Gnu/Linux is easier to work with, at NO cost, ...70% of internet servers are running on GNU/Linux, " And most of the *nix servers that are in commerical service, have a dedicated system administrator who knows how to write and debug code, because there is no support for their hardware or custom software.
*nix has been threatening to take over the world for 40? 50? years now and it still hasn't quite happened. It is great for some things, useless for others. Windows2000 shipped with over 10,000 hardware drivers in the OS, the next year XP shipped with over 50,000. Don't even ask how many Win7 ships with. *nix? Or, no problem, you are expected to write your own drivers and since you are running *Nix servers, obvisouly you are in the minority who can do that. Or don't need to.

Yes, Android has been a great success for *nix. Although, Android still has a reputation for having issues with drivers (can't upgrade a phone because each new version doesn't have driver support and no one wants to write it) and anyone who actually uses Android will tell you it sometimes just "goes out to lunch". Every Android phone running more than a couple of apps, just sometimes pauses, freezes up, doesn't come back for a while. Maybe five seconds, maybe 30, but they all go out to lunch. Hopefully that won't happen on your dedicated nav system.

Would I use a tablet for one? Sure, there's no need to use a more complex system like Win7 there. But then again, are there any Android navigation apps that will factor in weather, tides, currents, and give me routing with all the complexity that some of the Windows apps have?

Horses for courses, some sailors will want or need more than what is available on those wonderful cheap Android systems.

And in case you've never noticed, Google doesnt' respond to bug reports about Android. Got a bug? TFB, deal with it yourself. Report it to your device maker, they'll blame it on someone else. Report it to Google...no wait, you can't do that, they've got no point of contact. Microsoft may be a bit aloof, but bug information is indeed collected and every month, fixes issued. Of course you don't need that, you're a *nix administrator and can fix things yourself!

Your servers have been running for two years untouched? Great, I know a faxback server that has been running on a 386sx/16 under a Microsoft OS for almost 20 years now. It just sits there, and runs. One-trick ponies are good at that!

"make a custom fiberglass front case attached to the bulkhead. " I hope you mean REAR CASE because fiberglass over the front, over the screen, might make it difficult to use the tablet.<G>
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:21   #60
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Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

I was sold on chartplotters with a PC back up at the nav desk until my friend Tucker broke it all down for me....

Crossing an Ocean with iNavX

Now we are giving serious thought to going with the tablet options.
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