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Old 14-10-2009, 13:20   #106
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I picked up an old Panasonic Toughbook (CF-38) on Ebay without RAM, HDD or OS. The idea was to use this in the cockpit, but I jumped in at the last minute and didn't get the part about the missing parts I mentioned above. I was wondering if there's anyway to a) slave it to another laptop down below or b) install HDD, RAM and Windows XP for a reasonable price.

I got it cheaply, so if it was just a bonehead move on my part, I can eat it.
Why not just retrofit it with an SSD drive, some RAM, and an OS? (Assuming that the rest of the toughbook hasn't already been beaten to death.) Panasonic Toughbooks are able to use regular harddrives because they use proprietary designs to cushion and shock-protect the drives inside, much like they did back in the day with the first portable/lugable 286's. Anyone remember the Compaq 286 lugable computers? LOL!
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Old 14-10-2009, 13:29   #107
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I think the question may need asking is "How many times did it hit the deck by dropping or sliding off the table?" I've trashed 2 laptop HDDs in exactly this fashion, and the 2nd time trashed the laptop. By using SSDs you eliminate some of the "sh*t happens" factor. In a PC tho, it's not a great problem, but the life expectancy of the HDD may be shortened and rate of bad sectors may increase.
The problem appears to be unsecured laptops rather than hard drive reliability. My experience with laptop hard drives in a number of computers on various boats has been positive. Of course all those computers are securely attached to the boat. SSD's remain expensive compared to hard drives. You can put 3, 320 Gb hard drives on board for about $180. That's one for the computer one for back ups and one for a spare at a cost of less than 1 quality SSD.

I'm not against using SSD's but you need to know what you're getting for your money. If we're taking bets on whether a hard drive or an SSD will last longer in a laptop that is repeatedly pushed off a table my money will always be on the SSD.

On the question of efficiency, read this Tom's Hardware Report for some insight into SSD power consumption versus hard drives. At best you can save about 1.8 watts and at worst you can use more power.
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Old 14-10-2009, 13:42   #108
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They have a mobile micro PC that runs off 12v dc, look at all their micro computers, they even have a waterprof one. Lots of options to configure them.

stealth computer - Mobile / Vehicle Mini PCs, small form factor and fanless computers
I have the impression that Stealth Computers is buying from Sumicom. See Home of SUMICOM, King Young Technology Co., Ltd.
I still own one of their older designs (S625F), very reliable and frugal with power. The recent S645 is a great little pc, unfortunately with rather mediocre graphics.

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Old 14-10-2009, 13:54   #109
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Here's a list of currently available lcd's that use a 12 volt power brick. I found these at Newegg.com. I know a number of people with the Viewera's onboard. I don't know anyone using the Samsung.

ViewEra V151BN-B Black 15"
ViewEra V151HV-B Black 15"
ViewEra V172SV-B Black 17"
ViewEra V172BN-B Black 17"
ViewEra V191BN-B Black 19"
ViewEra V191HV-B Black 19"
SAMSUNG P2070 High glossy black 20" DVI
SAMSUNG P2370 High glossy black 23" DVI
SAMSUNG P2570 glossy black 24.6" DVI
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Old 14-10-2009, 14:45   #110
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I have a PicoITX based computer that idles at 7W, great! But now, I am looking at buying the new MaxSea TimeZero Explorer for full integration in Furuno Navnet 3D. The most obvious computer requirements are:

- dual core 2 GHz CPU
- NVIDIA or ATI video with min. 256 MByte RAM

This means more muscle is needed. It also means that the netbooks are (mostly?) not enough. The smallest system I found that complies with these new requirements is the Apple Mac Mini.

cheers,
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Old 14-10-2009, 14:49   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
I picked up an old Panasonic Toughbook (CF-38) on Ebay without RAM, HDD or OS. The idea was to use this in the cockpit, but I jumped in at the last minute and didn't get the part about the missing parts I mentioned above. I was wondering if there's anyway to a) slave it to another laptop down below or b) install HDD, RAM and Windows XP for a reasonable price.

I got it cheaply, so if it was just a bonehead move on my part, I can eat it.
If you can get an inexpensive copy of Windows CE, you could use remote desktop to connect to a computer below wirelessly. The computer below is then completely controllable and displayed from above. That is what we do with our Panasonic CF-08 tablet. You will need the "professional" version of Windows on the below deck computer, as this is the only version with remote desktop control.

Mark
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Old 14-10-2009, 19:56   #112
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laptops and inverters

I have heard that using an el-cheapo modified sine wave inverter to charge your laptop batteries will significantly reduce their (the batteries)useful life. My batteries never seem to do well after the first year but as I have been a live-aboard for 20 yrs I have nothing with which to make the comparison. Any thoughts on this? Cheers
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Old 14-10-2009, 20:10   #113
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I have heard that using an el-cheapo modified sine wave inverter to charge your laptop batteries will significantly reduce their (the batteries)useful life. My batteries never seem to do well after the first year but as I have been a live-aboard for 20 yrs I have nothing with which to make the comparison. Any thoughts on this? Cheers
Interesting, I use a cheap 75w inverter in my car to charge / power my laptop, I have never thought to pay attention, I'll start to keep an eye on battery run time.
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Old 14-10-2009, 20:12   #114
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" b) install HDD, RAM and Windows XP for a reasonable price."
Well, HDs are cheap, the only question is does it need PATA or SATA and how much drive you want. $50-100 will buy 120 up to 500GB depending on the details.

RAM, again depends on the details. If it takes modern DDR2 SODIMM, they're also cheap, but older RAM is often more expensive. Go to Kingston Memory online, then shop around if you want. But Kingston direct is competitive and backs their selection & product 100%+.

XP...That's gonna hurt the most since it is no longer generally for sale. If you can find a used legal "OEM retail" version (as opposed to an OEM version that only works on one machine) it still will cost you 2-3x what the OS supplied originally with the computer did. You MIGHT be able to get replacement media from Panasonic for $45, if the activation key is still on the machine. On OEM versions, the OS is licensed to that machine--and usually can't be transferred, so you can probably activate it IF you have the COA label still on the machine.

caribcraig-
The typical LiOn battery pack in a laptop is good for 500 total charge cycles under the best conditions. Run it down most or all the way, once per day for one full year, and you've consumed what, 80% of the capacity? And that's assuming optimum charging, which apparently means letting it run down to 85% and recharging it to 95% and never bringing it back up to 100% and floating it. Or other stories, depending on who you ask. But the quality of the sine wave shouldn't matter much once it gets into the power brick, which is converting it to DC before the batteries see the power anyway.
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Old 14-10-2009, 20:18   #115
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Check eBay for a NEW leftover version of XP Pro, I have bought several versions unopened in the box from left over surplus for $50ish each. Some computer stores still have a few coppies but I think they want something like $200+.
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Old 14-10-2009, 20:22   #116
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Here ya go, a just listed version for $55, others have it for $250.

Windows XP Pro Professional SP2 w/COA - eBay (item 270469888925 end time Nov-12-09 17:32:27 PST)

I'm going to roll the dice and go with the new windows 7, from beta testers I know they are saying it is THE most stable windows operating system ever made, programs are running 30%+ faster with it due to better allocation of ram and cpu usage.
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Old 14-10-2009, 20:23   #117
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I just use a copy I got from another cruiser when I couldn't activate my official version after re-install (no internet, phone disconnects etc.) My idea is that as long as you have that Windows license-sticker on the computer, you have a license, it was paid for, and can morally, and probably legally, install any version you can get your hands on. Those special copies must be everywhere.

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Old 15-10-2009, 06:05   #118
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I just use a copy I got from another cruiser when I couldn't activate my official version after re-install (no internet, phone disconnects etc.) My idea is that as long as you have that Windows license-sticker on the computer, you have a license, it was paid for, and can morally, and probably legally, install any version you can get your hands on. Those special copies must be everywhere.

cheers,
Nick.
I feel the same way, but......
Nope. Sorry, each "disk" has a limited number of uses allowed for "online" activation. Afterwards, you must call in to Microsoft to get it activated and then put in the code manually. Of course, it helps to have a phone or internet. If your copy won't activate, you've probably reinstalled it too many times or installed it into a completely different machine or both. Each time you activate your XP, your complete hardware spec is sent to Microsoft for tracking. I have a couple of licensed XP pro retail versions that have reached their limit and I've had to call in. BIG PITA and I had to play "20 questions" with the rep as to why I had so many activations. Basically, I told them it's none of their business what I do to my machine. They wanted specifics and I upgrade hardware and change things up regularly. I understand the need to eliminate piracy, but it sometmes gets ridiculous and I'm not a fan of "Big Brother" tactics.
As for the licenses, a whole series of XP licenses have been revoked because they were "Student Media" (xp pro)versions and were very inexpensive ($25) at the University bookstore. Microsoft didn't like this loss of revenue because the copies were passed around. Some of the revoked were corporate versions.
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Old 15-10-2009, 07:09   #119
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Fish,

I understand that but the copy I have is a somewhat altered version so that it doesn't need activation while at the same time allows windows updates, passes authenticity tests and can be installed as often as needed. I know whole islands in the Caribbean where they use that copy. And, with the sticker on my computer or a original CD (non-OEM) I have no problem with that.

I did the same with MaxSea: I had the version with the USB dongle. I hated that dongle so much that I installed an "open copy". But I have the license and can show the dongle... I just don't have to stick it into my computer anymore.

cheers,
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Old 15-10-2009, 09:10   #120
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Fish,

I understand that but the copy I have is a somewhat altered version so that it doesn't need activation while at the same time allows windows updates, passes authenticity tests and can be installed as often as needed. I know whole islands in the Caribbean where they use that copy. And, with the sticker on my computer or a original CD (non-OEM) I have no problem with that.

I did the same with MaxSea: I had the version with the USB dongle. I hated that dongle so much that I installed an "open copy". But I have the license and can show the dongle... I just don't have to stick it into my computer anymore.

cheers,
Nick.


Understood. Was dropping that info more for the FYI deal than anything else. Yes, I hate those dongle keys as well. I have a recording studio and a lot of the software I use requires the dongle keys. (Where the hell am supposed to put them all? I only have so many USB ports! )
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