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Old 06-02-2015, 15:51   #241
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
And without those electronic devices do you trust you really know where you are on those charts at 3pm.
Well, in the event of the aforementioned worst cast hypothetical, I'd still rather not know where I am on the relevant paper chart spread out before me, than to not know where I am on a blank electronic display ...

;-)
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Old 06-02-2015, 15:54   #242
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Well, in the event of the aforementioned worst cast hypothetical, I'd still rather not know where I am on the relevant paper chart spread out before me, than to not know where I am on a blank electronic display ...

;-)
Well put.
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Old 06-02-2015, 17:49   #243
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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These are not 'claims' they are facts.

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Jammer Six, you are more than welcome to try it for yourself. Go out of cell range and see how long it takes to get a solid GPS signal.
Thanks for the cite.

I was hoping for a citation for your claims that the GPS in phones or tablets "is not a very good GPS", a citation about poor software implementations (particularly if you have such a citation about either SeaIQ or iNavX) or a citation about an iPhone taking ten minutes to obtain a fix.

Taking my phone and iPad out of cell range and using it for navigation is precisely why I believe they are perfectly acceptable for navigation, as is the software-- I've done exactly that, and been completely satisfied with the results.

I've had more trouble with movement of the phone in the cockpit than I have with obtaining a fix.

However, I remain willing to accept evidence that iPhones, (iPhone 6 Plus, in particular) iPads, (iPad mini, in particular) iNavX or SeaIQ's software implementation are less than optimal.

Do you use iPhones, iPads, SeaIQ or iNavX?
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Old 06-02-2015, 18:48   #244
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Thanks for the cite.

I was hoping for a citation for your claims that the GPS in phones or tablets "is not a very good GPS", a citation about poor software implementations (particularly if you have such a citation about either SeaIQ or iNavX) or a citation about an iPhone taking ten minutes to obtain a fix.

Taking my phone and iPad out of cell range and using it for navigation is precisely why I believe they are perfectly acceptable for navigation, as is the software-- I've done exactly that, and been completely satisfied with the results.

I've had more trouble with movement of the phone in the cockpit than I have with obtaining a fix.

However, I remain willing to accept evidence that iPhones, (iPhone 6 Plus, in particular) iPads, (iPad mini, in particular) iNavX or SeaIQ's software implementation are less than optimal.

Do you use iPhones, iPads, SeaIQ or iNavX?
Here you go... this gives a good explanation of why the iphone is not optimal but still works. This guy is a defacto expert in this technology.

How the iPhone knows where you are | Macworld

Yes, we use my iPad but I have a garmin chartplotter so it works well with teh Garmin Bluecharts and we like the garmin helm app. If I were to go again, I might forgo the Garmin and just go with the iPad. Its been that good.

The reality is that I like the idea of having paper charts on board but we simply do not have the space. Which is completely moronic design for a blue water cruiser. We have the smallest interior of just about any 38 foot boat.

When we left Annapolis we had a complete set of charts for the east coast and for the Bahamas (we still have our explorer chart books). However, between the guide books we have - that have charts and details in them - and the likelihood of some electronic catastrophe befalling us, we had to choose between those charts and space for beer. Guess which won out.
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Old 06-02-2015, 19:34   #245
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Well put.

Good grief!
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Old 06-02-2015, 21:23   #246
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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For an example, my iPad is both out of cell range, and has the cellular radio turned off anyway.

I just turned on a program that accessed the GPS and it took 3 seconds to obtain a fix - and that fix was dead-accurate to any reasonable expectation of GPS.

As I understand it, the specification is that it could take up to 12.5 minutes to obtain a first fix if it has not been used in a long time and/or has moved to a sufficiently different location that it needs to re-acquire the satellite almanac again.

If the above has not occurred (ie, the GPS has been used relatively recently and has not been moved far away from its previous fix), then a fix acquisition should take ------ about 3 seconds or so.

I have a handheld dedicated marine GPS with no cell capability that acts the same way as my iPad in this regard.

Is this incorrect? Or is my experience unusual?

Mark
This is consistent with my experience thus far Mark, with an iPad2 running the Garmin Bluechart app, iNavX & Navionics. My iPad seems to acquire a GPS signal quickly, and when I'm offshore there is no need to have either the wifi or cellular activated. It also works fine anywhere belowdecks which is quite handy for monitoring course while getting some rest, as well as at anchor with various anchor alarms. This is unlike my old Garmin 376c whose antenna has to have a clear view of the sky, and I believe the iPad acquires a signal faster than even my dedicated primary plotter. I'd say the only drawbacks are it's prone to getting hot when out on deck, and the screen can be hard to see in bright sunlight. But overall I'd say it's been a brilliant & robust tool.

Like many, I use electronics as my primary nav tool, but whenever out of sight of land I plot my GPS-derived position on a paper chart at regular intervals. If all else failed, I feel I have the DR skills & pilot charts to hopefully get me safely back to land. My only concern is not any sort of doomsday scenario, but rather a lightening strike that could take out every electronics device onboard. To that end, I am curious why your backup handheld GPS's survived but your main plotter (and maybe PC) did not. Am I remembering that right from another thread? Maybe you had the handhelds stashed in some sort of Faraday cage?

I do have a "starter" plastic sextant onboard and one of these days I'd like to actually learn how to use it. Not so much as a backup really, but more out of curiosity. Besides, I think it could be wonderfully satisfying to learn this skill and practice it on long passages. Other than that, it's really only that big lightening strike which keeps my paper charts onboard. Or maybe that is one of the doomsday scenarios I need not worry about?
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Old 06-02-2015, 21:35   #247
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Here you go... this gives a good explanation of why the iphone is not optimal but still works. This guy is a defacto expert in this technology.
Thanks again.

The first thing I notice is that the article is from 2006.

I'm going to google his name and see if he's written anything about phone GPS lately.
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Old 07-02-2015, 06:21   #248
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Originally Posted by Exile View Post
To that end, I am curious why your backup handheld GPS's survived but your main plotter (and maybe PC) did not. Am I remembering that right from another thread? Maybe you had the handhelds stashed in some sort of Faraday cage?
I certainly can't answer the "why" question, but can relate the conditions and results.

Nothing was in an oven or any other type of supposed Faraday cage. The strike literally blew up the VHF - its face shot across the cabin, the inverter poured out heavy smoke and had damaged internals, the windlass motor windings melted and all connected electronics and some electrics were completely taken out with the exception of the SSB radio (which is wired to a separate electrical system), the reefer (go figure) and one fixed GPS receiver antenna (but all the instrumentation it fed were damaged). Upon opening some of the electronics, they had burned components and holes in boards.

We have 4 computers on board - two were in a cabinet and two were plugged into the inverter being charged at the time. None were damaged even though the inverter turned into a slag pile. The other two were in a cabinet directly underneath the three damaged radios and right next to the electrical panel that suffered damage. The HH and other portables were scattered around the boat - some in cabinets, one directly underneath and next to the mast, a couple laying about the cabin - none were damaged.

Two iPods in a cabinet that is mostly lined with metal (but not grounded or meeting any definition of Faraday cage) were lost. One seemed to have corrupted software and the other had a physical pinhole burned through its screen. There was a HH GPS sitting right next to these two iPods and it works to this day.

So there it is. Personally, I think the entire danger of an EMP pulse from a lightning strike taking out portable electronics is over-stated. Mainsail has related a story in another thread of a strike taking out almost all portable electronics, but this is the only one I have heard out of many, many direct stories of lightning strikes.

I also am skeptical about using an oven as a Faraday cage - or even a microwave. A lightning strike has a broad band of frequencies in it, and I'm not sure either of those two are up to the task. Maybe the microwave more than the oven.

We have friends who always put their stuff in the oven during lightning storms. They ended up melting two computers and a phone when they forgot to take them out once!

Mark
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Old 07-02-2015, 10:27   #249
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I certainly can't answer the "why" question, but can relate the conditions and results.

Nothing was in an oven or any other type of supposed Faraday cage. The strike literally blew up the VHF - its face shot across the cabin, the inverter poured out heavy smoke and had damaged internals, the windlass motor windings melted and all connected electronics and some electrics were completely taken out with the exception of the SSB radio (which is wired to a separate electrical system), the reefer (go figure) and one fixed GPS receiver antenna (but all the instrumentation it fed were damaged). Upon opening some of the electronics, they had burned components and holes in boards.

We have 4 computers on board - two were in a cabinet and two were plugged into the inverter being charged at the time. None were damaged even though the inverter turned into a slag pile. The other two were in a cabinet directly underneath the three damaged radios and right next to the electrical panel that suffered damage. The HH and other portables were scattered around the boat - some in cabinets, one directly underneath and next to the mast, a couple laying about the cabin - none were damaged.

Two iPods in a cabinet that is mostly lined with metal (but not grounded or meeting any definition of Faraday cage) were lost. One seemed to have corrupted software and the other had a physical pinhole burned through its screen. There was a HH GPS sitting right next to these two iPods and it works to this day.

So there it is. Personally, I think the entire danger of an EMP pulse from a lightning strike taking out portable electronics is over-stated. Mainsail has related a story in another thread of a strike taking out almost all portable electronics, but this is the only one I have heard out of many, many direct stories of lightning strikes.

I also am skeptical about using an oven as a Faraday cage - or even a microwave. A lightning strike has a broad band of frequencies in it, and I'm not sure either of those two are up to the task. Maybe the microwave more than the oven.

We have friends who always put their stuff in the oven during lightning storms. They ended up melting two computers and a phone when they forgot to take them out once!

Mark
Wow! Now that's a fascinating story, and certainly emphasizes why the "why" is unanswerable. It's not unlike an incident I heard where one boat at a crowded anchorage took a direct hit, suffered no damage, but the strike apparently traveled underwater and took out an alternator on another boat! Strange how your windlass windings of all things got taken out.

This is an area where a little knowledge can definitely be dangerous, but I'm also dubious about ovens & microwaves as a refuge for electronics. Apparently it's critical that the metal box being used as a Faraday cage not have any seams or gaskets. Sealing up devices in those purpose-built anti-static pouches first can apparently help, but not so sure about the aluminum foil trick. Also not sure if it makes any difference whether devices are plugged in or not, but can't hurt to unplug if you can I suppose.

Excuse the thread drift, but this is the no. 1 reason why, for me thus far, I continue to feel it may be necessary to keep using paper charts as a backup. I may or may not continue to use them for reasons other than need, of course, but lightening is the only variable preventing me from being completely in your camp on this. As you point out, the risk is probably overstated with suitable electronic backups.

Btw, I recently ran across a note while reading the OpenCPN manual that ECDIS was approved as a substitute for paper charts on commercial vessels as far back as 2001. Didn't realize how far back this went. Makes me wonder what it is about the ECDIS system that presumably makes it more robust than what typical recreational vessels are outfitted with? Or is the difference related to that much more robust & standardized lightening grounding systems on commercial vessels?
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Old 07-02-2015, 13:29   #250
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Strange how your windlass windings of all things got taken out.
...
this is the no. 1 reason why, for me thus far, I continue to feel it may be necessary to keep using paper charts as a backup.
...
Makes me wonder what it is about the ECDIS system that presumably makes it more robust than what typical recreational vessels are outfitted with? Or is the difference related to that much more robust & standardized lightening grounding systems on commercial vessels?
The windlass motor windings don't seem so strange when you consider that we have a 4/0 cable bolted to the mast, running over the windlass motor and ending in the water at an electrode containing 18' of edge surface. The purpose of this is to hopefully direct most of a lightning strike to water in lieu of having it find its way out by punching holes in the hulls.

It seems to have worked since there was physical evidence that it took a large current. Passing it over the windlass motor may not have been the best idea in hindsight.

Funny, this strike was the no. 1 reason I truly felt comfortable giving up paper charts. There were several components that firmed my reasoning:

1. 2 of the 6 of our house batteries shorted and boiled dry in the strike, but we still had remaining good batteries in it. Had they all shorted, we had two starting batteries that could be used. Had those gone, we had the dinghy battery. This was for main house electrics - we have alkaline batteries in our HH GPS's and VHF's.

2. Although we lost our main battery charger, the solar regulator and one alternator, we still had a small portable charger, the solar panels worked great simply connected straight to the battery, and the other alternator still worked (and we had a spare one anyway).

3. More than enough of our computers, consumer electronics, etc survived to suggest that a total catastrophic loss of every single item is probably a lower probability than most people fear. We lost none of the 9 GPS's on board at that time - although we lost all of the main nav instruments connected to the primary GPS. We retained the ability to use our entire library of electronic charts on three computers, along with the charts on one handheld GPS, and the "world map" on another.

4. I realized that without any type of GPS, paper charts were pretty much useless to me. We will never be carrying a sextant and its required peripherals. Despite other's belief here, we are perfectly capable of navigating toward land without any type of navigation tools other than our eyes and brains. And when we close land, we typically have cruising guides that pick up the slack there.

As for ECDIS systems, others that know more will need to discuss those. Of what I have read, one aspect of them is similar to something like a hospital's backup generator versus a generator on a recreational boat - one HAS to never fail, while the other does not have the fail-safes in place.

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Old 07-02-2015, 13:50   #251
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Or is the difference related to that much more robust & standardized lightening grounding systems on commercial vessels?
Oh, big ships still get hit by lightning.... whether your ecdis is working or not tends to be the least of your worries.....
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Old 07-02-2015, 14:27   #252
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Oh, big ships still get hit by lightning.... whether your ecdis is working or not tends to be the least of your worries.....
Yeah, no kidding! Holy moly!
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Old 07-02-2015, 14:37   #253
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Good grief!
Mark, I think there are two schools of thought. Dinosaurs like me that grew up with paper and the younger generation that understand all of the bells and whistles. Being a dinosaur I have never seen paper take a crap unless on fire. I guess both satisfy those using them,

I'm pre loran A or Pop having a RDF, I have made a living in electronics haven't for 30 years so am a dinosaur.

I just hope those that rely on electronics know how to get home when they take a ****.

Someone made a statement of the cost being $15,000 for world wide paper, I'll bet that is low.

Most readers are not world wide sailors so I hope they have the one chart they need and know how to use it should the one haloed chart plotter goes down.
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Old 07-02-2015, 15:01   #254
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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The windlass motor windings don't seem so strange when you consider that we have a 4/0 cable bolted to the mast, running over the windlass motor and ending in the water at an electrode containing 18' of edge surface. The purpose of this is to hopefully direct most of a lightning strike to water in lieu of having it find its way out by punching holes in the hulls.

It seems to have worked since there was physical evidence that it took a large current. Passing it over the windlass motor may not have been the best idea in hindsight.

Funny, this strike was the no. 1 reason I truly felt comfortable giving up paper charts. There were several components that firmed my reasoning:

1. 2 of the 6 of our house batteries shorted and boiled dry in the strike, but we still had remaining good batteries in it. Had they all shorted, we had two starting batteries that could be used. Had those gone, we had the dinghy battery. This was for main house electrics - we have alkaline batteries in our HH GPS's and VHF's.

2. Although we lost our main battery charger, the solar regulator and one alternator, we still had a small portable charger, the solar panels worked great simply connected straight to the battery, and the other alternator still worked (and we had a spare one anyway).

3. More than enough of our computers, consumer electronics, etc survived to suggest that a total catastrophic loss of every single item is probably a lower probability than most people fear. We lost none of the 9 GPS's on board at that time - although we lost all of the main nav instruments connected to the primary GPS. We retained the ability to use our entire library of electronic charts on three computers, along with the charts on one handheld GPS, and the "world map" on another.

4. I realized that without any type of GPS, paper charts were pretty much useless to me. We will never be carrying a sextant and its required peripherals. Despite other's belief here, we are perfectly capable of navigating toward land without any type of navigation tools other than our eyes and brains. And when we close land, we typically have cruising guides that pick up the slack there.

As for ECDIS systems, others that know more will need to discuss those. Of what I have read, one aspect of them is similar to something like a hospital's backup generator versus a generator on a recreational boat - one HAS to never fail, while the other does not have the fail-safes in place.

Mark
Very interesting to hear about the nature of the damage as well as all the redundancy you had in place. I forgot for a moment that you are on a multi-hull and the windlass is presumably closer to midships as opposed to near the bow. Hindsight is always genius, but why route a lightening protection cable via another electrical device on its way from the mast to a grounding plate affixed to the hull? Not challenging it, just don't know. In general, and to the extent there is any "consensus" on a viable protection/mitigation system, your set-up seems to be it. Who knows, it could be why more of your electronics didn't get damaged, but of course impossible to say with any certainty.

This probably isn't news to you or many others, but I recently ran across a lithium battery pack the size of a small notebook that claimed it had the capacity to start a pickup truck diesel engine. Also had USB & other ports for charging devices, as well as large batt. cables/clamps. I was actually considering a portable solar panel but thought this might be more useful. Apparently this battery pack, like anything lithium, can go a long time w/o recharging. Your story of losing several of your house batts. reminded me of this.

Although these paper vs. electronic nav threads come up quite often, there's usually new info & perspectives in them that I find useful. Thanks.
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Old 07-02-2015, 15:18   #255
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Re: Are paper charts a dinosaur?

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Dinosaurs like me that grew up with paper and the younger generation that understand all of the bells and whistles.

I just hope those that rely on electronics know how to get home when they take a ****.
For the record - and perspective on my posts - personal computers came out when I was in college, and I have never used a smart phone, so I am not of the "younger generation". I, too, grew up with paper charts and DR navigation, and boated like that for several decades (I did get a 2-line TD display Loran during that time).

As for the second thing - I have attempted to put real-life experience in providing a perspective on just that point - what the real probability is of a properly redundant system taking a **** - even in a direct lightning strike, as well as how one may still get home without paper charts.

BTW, I seriously doubt many people out there with paper charts on board know how to get home should their electronics go down. I don't mean anybody here, of course.

Mark
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