Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 22-03-2013, 21:39   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Tampa, FL
Boat: Catalina 30
Posts: 35
A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

I know, I know. I can already hear the thunder upon my head. It's not safe, it's only a backup, it will break, get wet, etc.

Well, with all due respect, if this reflects somehow what you think, if you belong to the category that has a backup of the backup of the backup of the GPS just in case, please do not bother reading this thread. Cause whether you think it's a good idea or not, that's my plan. A tablet to replace it ALL: GPS, knotmeter, windvane indicator, you name it.

This said, despite being completely irresponsible, I still could take some advice. But only on the choice of the tablet and the apps.

So here is my situation, and my expectations, and also some information collected through hours of research that maybe others will be interested in getting. I don't believe in all the "fancy" marine electronics. I tried it and I'm not impressed. Much more impressed by an iPad. So, as time has come to replace most of mine, I decided that 2013 would be the year of a total revolution for my boat, with 3 goals.
1- no more thru-hulls
2- simple, simplistic, minimum setup. This is worth GOLD to me. Being able to regroup 3 to 5 instruments in one cheap device easily replaceable, anywhere, is invaluable. Not having cables everywhere is invaluable. Not having always something to repair is invaluable. Plus, it looks sleek and neat. And it evolves lightning-fast. New apps, improved performance, lower prices. So it not lasting 10 years is almost better.
3- I'm done paying more because it's written "marine" on it.

In order to achieve these goals, I'll try to have everything except for the autopilot and the depth measurements handled by a tablet(s).
actually, the autopilot could technically be handled by a tablet for everything but the drive unit and they are ripping us off with the prices of marine autopilots but let's not go there)

- For the depth, an in-hull transducer and a cheap display seems to be still the most simple and reversible setup (all in all, achievable for under $200, with NASA clipper, shopping directly in UK, if you are interested in avoiding thru-hulls and ridiculously expensive transducers and displays. When you think about it, the raymarine display at $400 works as a big analog watch, $10 at walmart, so they are really pushing it)

- For the autopilot, there is no cheap alternative here unless you are an extremely skilled and smart and well equipped DIY. I wish I could have gone for a windvane, but 7 grand to feel one with the wind feels like too much to me. therefore, SPX-5 by raymarine, ($1,200).

- A tablet for everything else. It's actually packed with more features than most marine electronics. Almost all tablet (except the iPad in versions other than a 3G) have a GPS, that works without coverage, without contract, anywhere. On top of that, many tablets have a gyro, an accelerometer, a compass, and tons of fancy sensors that can provide useful information on a boat, like the speed, the heading, the heeling angle, even the wind direction and speed. Of course, not precise enough to participate to the America's cup, but for the others, it will do.

However, 3 questions are essentials to make the use of a tablet worth.
1/ will it withstand the harsh marine environment?
2/ will it be accurate enough to provide useful data?
3/ display> what apps?

1/ I'm confident that it is. Making a waterproof, shockproof, sunproof and allowing permanent charge (essential!) housing for the tablet is doable for less than $200 (or can be purchased for between $150 for a simple waterproof hardcase and $420 for the fully ready Andres case by DND allowing charge and mounting) . waterproof cases in treated polycarbonate meant to be in a marine environment are available for under $50 (why are the navpods $400 remains a metaphysical question to me) and adapting them to the ipad cant be that hard.The tablet would still be removable, and if I do it well, will turn upside down and 360. Then, I have a screen that is bigger than most GPS/ chartplotters, with a lot more capabilities. The quality of the screen for outdoor viewing is questionable with some tablets, but so it is with some marine GPS. Any experience with tablets screens? any better than others, any to avoid?

2/ accuracy. Here it gets more complicated. it seems that all sensors are pretty accurate in iPads for example, and are used extensively by pilots in small planes. However, GPS chips in tablets have an unknown update rate. It *seems* that most have an 1hz, which means if I get it right that they update the information every second. This is ok for holding a course, but not very good for speed indication, and especially for recording changes in speed as a transducer would. There are some external devices that allow to enhance the GPS refresh rate up to 10hz, which becomes serious stuff (bad elf pro, emprum GPS, about $150). The best I found were aimed at the apple market exclusively, unfortunately for androids (but maybe they don't need it?). This makes it fast enough to record the effect of a change in trim sails. However, it adds a layer of complexity, and most of these device work on rechargeable battery, which I don't personally like. I was hoping for a tablet with a better GPS than 1hz. Anyone?
However and FYI, it seems that marine GPS are not any better at refreshing data. Very few GPS are above 1hz. There are examples of GPS used for recording speed and changes in speed aimed at boaters, the best being the speedpuck by Velocitek, that does it perfectly well (but is handheld, and battery powered, and ridiculously expensive). Therefore, there is absolutely no point in having a transducer for speed now that GPS are accurate enough to get the instant speed, except for deducing the strenght of the current (Speed over ground minus speed through water), which can also be deduced otherwise easily if you know a little your boat (SOG vs usual SOG in similar conditions + course deviation on the GPS).
So, GPS are almost there, but still, I can't find the tablet's GPS refresh rates, and I doubt any of them is above 1hz. Anybody? And what is the experience of instant speed recording with a 1hz?

3/ Last but not least, display. The goal is not to have 3 tablets (each one for a different information), and neither do I want to switch from one gadget app to another. It means that I need an app that would allow me to get all the information I need on a customizable screen (basically, all GPS information and map + wind, heading, and speed). I know that tons of app do part of it, but is there one that do it all? Which one? So far it seems that most people use navionics for the charts, and that iNavX is the closest to what I'm asking for the apps. Anything else? Any good match to iNavX in the android market?

That's about it, I tried to summarize what I know and what I'd like to know, feel free to add information, mainly about accuracy and display options (apps).
So far, my best guess setup is an iPad with iNavX and Navionics AND a GPS enhancer for the speed records (as only the 3G able version of iPad has a GPS, and it is a 1hz). I hope that people here can help me find alternative setup, and tell me what were their experience with a tablet or another. Also, if anyone knows where to get the exact GPS chip information for the tablet market, I am interested.
__________________

__________________
decca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 10:48   #2
Registered User

Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Maybe this :h**p://
__________________

__________________
kaeri2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 11:28   #3
Ram
Registered User
 
Ram's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Cruising Greece
Boat: Cat in the med & Trawler in Florida
Posts: 2,298
Images: 27
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

If im not mistaken-Tablet GPS are only good for near shore use, offshore they do not work, thay don’t work around mountains, and are limited by cell coverage -so if your going to use it more than a few miles offshore I don’t think its going to work, of corse ive was wrong once before so i may be wrong again?
__________________
Ram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 11:34   #4
Registered User
 
TeddyDiver's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arctic Ocean
Boat: Under construction 35' ketch
Posts: 1,826
Images: 2
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram View Post
Tablet GPS are only good for near shore use, offshore they do not work, thay donít work around mountains, and are limited by cel coverage -so if your going to use it more than a few miles offshore I donít think its going to work
Ou yes they do work perfectly well offshore, you just need a tablet with inbuilt gps which is any tablet with mobile net (ie not wlan only).
__________________
TeddyDiver is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 11:35   #5
Registered User
 
Hermanns's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 91
That's correct - I bought a Bluetooth GPS puck with multiple satellite tracks. Also saves on the battery drain.
__________________
Jer & Erika
S/V Cerulean
Hermanns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 11:55   #6
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto
Boat: Sandpiper 565
Posts: 2,942
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Quote:
However, 3 questions are essentials to make the use of a tablet worth.
1/ will it withstand the harsh marine environment?
2/ will it be accurate enough to provide useful data?
3/ display> what apps?
No, actually there s only that ONE essential question - is there a waterproof, sunlight-visible, physically robust tablet that's up to the rigours of cockpit or binnacle use? Will the touch-screen work when you touch with soaking wet gloves in near-freezing conditions, or with sunscreen-oily hands while becalmed in the tropics?

Accuracy, display, applications - they're all software, and if you don't see suitable apps right now. wait 5 min and someone else will have made one. Or program it yourself.

So - does that marine tablet exist yet? I've seen a few waterproof Android tablets, but they still aren't sunlight visible, and I haven't yet seen reports of touch responsiveness in adverse conditions.

No bulletproof tablet, no system, as far as I'm concerned.
__________________
Lake-Effect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 12:13   #7
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,029
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

"No, actually there s only that ONE essential question - is there a waterproof, sunlight-visible, physically robust tablet that's up to the rigours of cockpit or binnacle use?"

That would be the Panasonic ToughPad. Supposedly available in 7" and 10" sizes but IIRC only one of those actually exists, in very limited supply, a year after the original vaporware shipping date.

And there's no excuse for oily sunscreen these days, the old Ban d'Soleil is totally obsolete.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 12:40   #8
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Of course tablets work offshore. Their GPS is real not fake.


I bought an IPad and its a kids toy for the YouTube generation.

Much better value would be a small laptop for $299 new.

I run OpenCpn and AIS on my laptop and its great. iPad is far behind... Far, far.
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 13:15   #9
Registered User
 
BlackOak's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Key West, Fl. Memphis, Tn.
Boat: Seafarer 34 Sloop
Posts: 353
Images: 12
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Of course tablets work offshore. Their GPS is real not fake.


I bought an IPad and its a kids toy for the YouTube generation.

Much better value would be a small laptop for $299 new.

I run OpenCpn and AIS on my laptop and its great. iPad is far behind... Far, far.
I would like a Ipad, but I can use this setup very well. Worked great for me on my trip out to Dry Tortugas on Rocketman's Oceanis. Was also able to hook it up to his mounted lcd tv. That was cool. On the right of photo is an old IBM T40 laptop (which i have had for years) a GPS usb puck, and OpenCPN using both CM93 & Noaa charts. Nice little chart plotter for about 30 bucks.

PS. On the ride down from Marathon with endoftheroad, he used his Ipad2 with a nav ap, and it was great as well! I kept askin him...hey let me see where we are! I had been using paper charts before this. what a difference!!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00016.jpg
Views:	324
Size:	377.4 KB
ID:	57694  
__________________
BlackOak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 14:54   #10
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto
Boat: Sandpiper 565
Posts: 2,942
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"No, actually there s only that ONE essential question - is there a waterproof, sunlight-visible, physically robust tablet that's up to the rigours of cockpit or binnacle use?"

That would be the Panasonic ToughPad. Supposedly available in 7" and 10" sizes but IIRC only one of those actually exists, in very limited supply, a year after the original vaporware shipping date.

And there's no excuse for oily sunscreen these days, the old Ban d'Soleil is totally obsolete.
There you have it. No marine-grade tablet, no system.

And, if you invite the Brazilian women's volleyball team aboard, and help them oil up for some suntanning, the ideal touch-screen must survive that.

Broaden your horizons, man.
__________________
Lake-Effect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 15:38   #11
Registered User
 
Ryan H's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Massachusetts
Boat: Grampian 26, Mercury 15, Formosa 41
Posts: 264
Images: 3
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

I usually use a Kyocera Hydro Smartphone running Marine Navigator. The Kyocera is waterproof, shock proof, etc. Costs about 100$ and for the past year it hasn't failed in any way even once. When I'm not using it as a GPS, I have two anchor watch apps, sailgrib, marine traffic, about 5G of music, 15G of movies and a Super Nintendo emulator to keep me occupied on rainy days. Battery life runs between 6 and 10 hours depending on what I'm using it for. Its been awesome.

I tried the Archos G9 series a few months ago. I thought it might be worth it to have the mini HDMI (you could leave the tablet in the cabin and run it to a screen on deck) full size usb hosting in the back for programming, moving waypoints to a handheld, expanding the memory with flash/portable hard drive, etc, miniSD memory expandable to 64G, etc. Total fail. Apparently they've got a huge problem with their battery circuit. I tried two different tablets from separate retailers and wound up with paper weights after just a couple of months. Supposedly the G10 series is out now and works better but I won't get one given how badly archos burned me with the other two. Their warrantee department wouldn't even return my emails.

I would wait for the next gen tablets to start rolling out. Sonyís promised to release the Xperia Z waterproof tablet sometime in May, it'll supposedly have GSM, quad core, and full GPS with assist. Might be worth the wait.
__________________
Ryan H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 16:59   #12
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,949
Images: 6
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

I think you are going to find that a tablet with a truly viable, daylight-readable screen is going to be very, very expensive.
__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 17:22   #13
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by decca View Post
I know, I know. I can already hear the thunder upon my head. It's not safe, it's only a backup, it will break, get wet, etc.

Well, with all due respect, if this reflects somehow what you think, if you belong to the category that has a backup of the backup of the backup of the GPS just in case, please do not bother reading this thread. Cause whether you think it's a good idea or not, that's my plan. A tablet to replace it ALL: GPS, knotmeter, windvane indicator, you name it.
There is a lot of good advice following your OP, however, Please consider getting a handheld GPS with charts. We have Garmin OREGON. Take it on shore if you go exploring and set the boat as home. They are really durable and water-proof. In good weather, its all I turn on other than AIS. Get a self-contained AIS so nothing else needs to consume power for it to be on. Watchmate 850 AIS also does a great job as anchor watch and uses only 3 watts.

If you google waterproof tablets you will find at least one with a demo clip of people using it under water.

You intuition on the Marine stuff was confirmed for me at the boat show a few years ago. We bought a Simrad NSE8 and broadband radar etc. The sales techy told me the computers of ALL nave equipment were at least 6-10 years old by the time they were marketed. At the time, Simrad was the only maker with LED monitor and only used 25 watts to the 50 or so of most of the others. Figure out the watts of a tablet. The low cost and low power should worry marine supplier guys a lot. All the tablet guys have to do is make them durable and the marine suppliers are in trouble. Add to that - downlodable charts at 1/10 the price.
__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 17:52   #14
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: A tablet to replace it ALL: how, which one, which apps?

BTW - I installed the Simrad below deck in order to keep it away from the compass. I later added a Xenarc repeater run by the Simrad. Last summer it was on a RAM mount with wires dangling. We bagged it to keep the water off. I made a Lexan box for it for this winter and routed the cables through the binacle. Xenarc is low power, small LED monitor, outdoor visible. Flux is low enough it does not bother the compass. Touch screen is available and blue-tooth so you could link to your less durable pad or computer below. Also, perhaps build a water-tight hard case on RAM mount for the tablet.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCF2487.jpg
Views:	305
Size:	423.0 KB
ID:	57720   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCF2488.jpg
Views:	274
Size:	391.1 KB
ID:	57721  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCF4308 REPEATER.jpg
Views:	264
Size:	440.4 KB
ID:	57722   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCF4309 REPEATER.jpg
Views:	261
Size:	418.6 KB
ID:	57723  

__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2013, 18:52   #15
Registered User
 
Normanby's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 312
I'll be following this thread with interest.


Like some here on CF, my sell-up-and-sail plan will most likely see me fitting out a boat that was formerly a day sailer.
There are very few boats under 35 foot around here that are all fitted out for voyaging.

So a simple and cheap 21st century navigation solution is needed.

It's not always about replacing chart plotters, the refit of some boats in my size and price range won't have many instruments at all.
__________________

__________________
Normanby is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:42.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.