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Old 31-08-2009, 17:59   #31
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
OK, and the Argonaut price how does it stand up against a thing like Garmin 620 (which I believe is about 750 USD) ? BTW are the connectors (power and data) fully waterproof (IPX7)?

I love the idea of having only "household' electronics onboard - hate to pay for things that are supposed to do only one thing, cost me loads, and then they are often the first to break.

b.
B.

You have to do an apples to apples comparison. The Garmin 620 has a 5" screen. The Argonaut is 15"! A better comparison is the Garmin 5208 which sells at discount houses for $4700 + chart chips! The system I'm suggesting is a better alternative is about $350 for the computer, $200 for the operating system (assuming Windows, the most expensive option), $1000 for the screen. $1550 Vs $5000. Pretty simple math to me. As to to the connections and cables they're sealed into the back of the unit and are long enough that it is easy to protect the connections from the elements. I'm still a little old fashioned so I also keep paper charts as well. I think the day will come when this isn't even necessary for me. Some are already getting rid of them. And we could run the computer system on either of the laptops for additional redundancy.

Last point in favor is the quality of the charts. There are several sources of excellent charts for the Bahamas. None are available to Raymarine users (the most popular chart plotter). Several are available to run on the computer systems.

I guess the only concern I can voice about computer based systems is the reliability of the operating system and the hardware itself. Laptop back up and a properly marinized computer address this to me. Our last trip to the Bahamas we used the laptop with the Argonaut displaying Explorer digitized charts the entire time even though we have a Raymarine E120 at the helm. The Raymarine charts just aren't usable at all.

Regards,
Chris
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:29   #32
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" the reliability of the operating system"

isn't that a fact.
DO NOT use for mission critical applications.... lol.
What about linux?
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:58   #33
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" the reliability of the operating system"

isn't that a fact.
DO NOT use for mission critical applications.... lol.
What about linux?
Linux is OK for people that know it. Certainly seems to be more reliable but for us the switch would require massive change and isn't something we want to do while underway. Next time we're "in port" at the condo I may play with it. But we do everything online when we're on the boat from taxes to bills, to emails, mail drops, blog updates when we're on the boat (about 9 months per year). And we go to some very remote places with no infrastructure I don't know if we'll be in for that much change. Ironically, my laptop and onboard computer have proven more reliable than my chart plotter even though I'm running windows. And when the chart plotter fails we're talking about a 3 week turn around! I'm getting more and more convinced a redundant Windows system (the computer part is only $350) is cheaper, more reliable, and way more flexible than my $5000 Raymarine E-120. The $50 Globalstar USB GPS puck is definitely more reliable than the $250 Raystar GPS... it loses signal when there are heavy storms quite often. It doesn't last long but can be scary when you're in crowded areas or close to navigation hazards. Radar helps but when you're "white outed" with driving rain it is hard to "see" anything else but rain. Thankfully this too only usually lasts a few minutes.

Regards,
Chris
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:22   #34
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Can I suggest Ubuntu as a version of Linux worth trying. It's totally free, runs on low-spec computers, is generally faster than Windows (especially Vista) and has a look and feel more like Windows than the Linux of old. You can also install it on the same hard drive as Windows, if required, to give you a dual-boot machine - when you power up you are given the option of booting into Windows or Ubuntu. You can do all your browsing, blogging and emailing and OpenPCN runs on it too.

All you need to know is here: Ubuntu Home Page | Ubuntu

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Old 01-09-2009, 10:37   #35
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Thanks! I'll give it a whirl nxt time we're back.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:28   #36
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I have wanted to play with linux and its varieties for a while now.
The only thing stopping me really is the thought of getting drivers for things like printers, and such and the possible problems of software compatability.
Other than that, what I know about linux (not to much but some) is that it is a much more robust system with broad user support and its free, or next to it. But the software issue is one that is hard to overcome. Most software written is made for windows. But a dual boot option is considering.
Bob
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Old 01-09-2009, 18:02   #37
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Great thread thank you for starting it. I am not to the stage of a cpu install yet. It will be a good resource when I am ready.
Thanks back to you! It wasn't my idea but it has turned out well. Somebody on the opncpn thread suggested I do this. When you do get ready for the cpu look at the Intel Atom line. They're plenty powerful for audio and navigation plus they're pretty cheap. Several mini-itx boards are available for less than $100 including processor! At this price the processor is soldered in but that works better in marine environment anyway.
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Old 01-09-2009, 19:28   #38
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Reading every post Chris.
Thanks for sharing!

Extemp.
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Old 02-09-2009, 14:07   #39
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- I agree for all you power assumptions except that you tend to omit the case of an LCD screen - they take 100-150 Watts !!! Beware! and to get an IPX7, preferably touch-sensitive and sunlight viewable ... not easy,


b.
If you set the pc power settings so that the screen turns off after say 2 minutes of idle, its stated power consumption becomes a minor issue. Or are you really watching the screen all the time?


Klaas
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:28   #40
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Acer Aspire Timeline AS4810T-6937 Notebook PC

The Acer Timeline was mentioned earlier in the thread and I've had a look at it. I need a laptop now and although this may not be my final computer system on the boat, I think it will do in the interim and will always be a reasonably viable carry-on for the boat. It comes will different processor options and I'm thinking of going with the Intel® Core™2 Duo processor SU9400. It's my compromise between computing power and power usage.
Have a look and tell me what you think.
Buy the Acer Aspire Timeline AS4810T-6937 Notebook PC at TigerDirect.ca

Products

It gets quite good reviews.
I think I have an option as far as Operating system goes and am leaning toward XP Pro, Any comments or other suggestions?

Let me know.

Regards,
Extemp.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:37   #41
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Thanks for starting this thread....I'm hanging on every post!!
Just got the electrical system done and now have to figure out what to do with the nav stuff.
Dealing with opening and posting on this forum is the full extent of my tech savvy.
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Old 04-10-2009, 18:00   #42
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Just got the electrical system done and now have to figure out what to do with the nav stuff.
Dealing with opening and posting on this forum is the full extent of my tech savvy.
Well James, here's a bit of sage (I think) advice. Just buy a regular, good quality laptop and have it run the regular, good quality Microsft vista. Don't play with weird operating systems like Linux, Ubantu ect, don't do backwards and buy an old version of Windows etc thinking it will be better than a new version.

Back up the computer onto DVD often.

Replace, or be ready to replace, the computer every 2 years.

We keep the laptop in its bag at sea so most moisture misses it.


Ahhhhhh, everything is then easy


Anyone can help you, your computer will be compatable with most everyones. You will be able to use all the worlds real nav programs, the weather programs, everything
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Old 04-10-2009, 20:18   #43
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Originally Posted by Extemporaneous View Post
The Acer Timeline was mentioned earlier in the thread and I've had a look at it. I need a laptop now and although this may not be my final computer system on the boat, I think it will do in the interim and will always be a reasonably viable carry-on for the boat. It comes will different processor options and I'm thinking of going with the Intel® Core™2 Duo processor SU9400. It's my compromise between computing power and power usage.
Have a look and tell me what you think.
Buy the Acer Aspire Timeline AS4810T-6937 Notebook PC at TigerDirect.ca

Products

It gets quite good reviews.
I think I have an option as far as Operating system goes and am leaning toward XP Pro, Any comments or other suggestions?

Let me know.

Regards,
Extemp.
Extemp you can do better than that. Here is a link for what i feel is a better system. Not sure though if your are from the great white north, might not work for you.
Acer is not a computer I would buy.
Vista is a good OS, and windows 7 will be as well. As long as there are device drivers out for the hardware you have like printers and scanners I say go with windows 7.
Bob

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...tCode=10011208
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Old 04-10-2009, 20:20   #44
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OH btw, I would only use a Pelican case for a expensive laptop at sea when not using the computer... but if your using it for navigation.. its a moot point. But for bringing it ashore... hard to beat a waterproof, crush proof, floating hard pelican laptop case.
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Old 04-10-2009, 21:46   #45
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extemp, if you are looking to buy a modern computer, especially a new laptop or netbook, and you are concerned with power consumption, then XP should be a mistake.

I say "should be" because Vista has the ability to power down sub-sections of the hardware that are not being used, so that a motherboard which has been "built for Vista" and implements the hooks for the OS, should be shutting things down and consuming less power than the identical system running any version of XP.

You'd have to contact the manufacturer or run some tests to find out what any particular system does. If the system is "Atom" or "Centrino" branded, the folks at Intel with their fine 800-number and native English tech support may be able to tell you more.

XP is a great OS, Vista certainly has been problematic (often because of poor communications), and if you buy a Vista machine now, you qualify for a free upgrade to NT6.1, which is what they are selling as "Windows7". I'd go for the Vista machine, there are a number of subtle (poor communications) changes that affect many things including the audio system. XP does CD-quality audio with one mix of all sources. Vista does DVD+ quality audio, with separate controls for each application. Then there are the various security changes, which are harder to prove exist. (G)

Remember that XP is Windows2000 "dot one" and the core code was released nearly ten years ago. Sure, that makes it stable and well-documented...but also, a bit long in the tooth. Vista is like a spider bite, from a radioactive spider. First it hurts, but then you get great super-powers and a neat lycra suit and mask so you can crawl around skyscrapers in the dark. (G)
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