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Old 02-09-2010, 13:48   #31
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there are lots of sites that will sell you a movie for download. or a tv show. or just about anything you can imagine. no need to assume it has to be pirated - my point was that in the modern age there really is less and less need for a dvd reader. also, downloaded movies use less battery power than dvd's do.
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Old 02-09-2010, 15:10   #32
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I use both AND paper charts as well

Hi, on my 40 fot yacht, I have a Raytheon Plotter with a Repeater topside and a linked in yet fully independant Navman plotter topside which can be run if the Raytheon were to fail. I use OpenCPN on my laptop for plotting initial courses at home then transfer the data to my Raytheon when on-board. I then check my completed route against the paper charts to spot any obvious errors and then, whenever I'm someplace I'm not familiar with, I seek local advice. Call me a nervous nelly if you wish but with almost 50 years of sailing behind me, I'm still sailing on top of the waves, a lot of less cautious folks are not with us anymore...James
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:14   #33
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amen to the paper charts. what you see on the electronic ones depends what zoom level you are at. the paper ones show ALL the hazards all the time. what looks good on the screen isnt always good.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:03   #34
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Nicely phrased but you are talking about vector charts. Vector charts are interpretations of a real chart. Raster electronics charts are actual scans of a paper chart and if it is on the paper chart it is on the raster e-chart. Even the borders and legends are there.
- - With PC navigation systems you can print out what is on the screen using your inkjet printer. So prior to your voyage you can make a little booklet of paper charts of the harbors and bays, etc. on "hard copy." These you can use should the PC computer system go down for some reason. With chart plotters you cannot do this.
- - The main advantage of either system over paper charts is storage space. I have a hard drive with virtually all of the world's charts in raster format - over 14,000 charts. I do not think you can store 14,000 printed paper charts on board your boat without serious affecting the waterline.
- - Those that have both Chart Plotters and a comprehensive library of PC navigation programs and charts have the best of both worlds. If the main chart plotter goes down you can run your PC system off the batteries or the PC's own battery. And you can store and print on demand paper charts right in the comfort of your own salon.
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:52   #35
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amen to the paper charts. what you see on the electronic ones depends what zoom level you are at. the paper ones show ALL the hazards all the time. what looks good on the screen isnt always good.
I have posted this before, but here is my take on paper vs electronic charts, and raster vs vector.

Inland Waters Resources - Chart Errors

It agrees what you (and osirissail) mentioned, but goes a little more in depth.

Any suggestions on how to improve this page are welcome.

-dan
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Old 09-09-2010, 14:20   #36
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Why steal copywritten material and take a (miniscule I know) chance of getting in trouble. Snag a copy of Seaclear(free) and get ALL the US charts from NOAA (free) and they are updated regularly(free). I use my old HP laptop with SeaClear with an AIS showing me the biggies. Works great, the price is way right, and even a ludite like me can figure out how to make it tick. I still lug around the paper but as things get more solidly built I find them more of a nuisance than they used to be.......m
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Old 09-09-2010, 15:26   #37
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What a great response andrsn has had to his question.
I would add just a few more words to all that has been said;
When you are out there in any of the world's seas or oceans, you are all by yourself. There are no hard shoulders or service stations out there.
You rely on YOU to be able to fix anything that goes wrong, solve any problem that pops up, react to any emergency etc.
It's all about getting there safely and as far as possible, with the minimum of hassle.
Ergo, PLANNING your voyage in the greatest level of detail you can get is the way to go. I also copy my route Raster charts just in case both my plotters and PC crash. That's a very wise thing to do because if you are "Out There" during a period of intense solar activity, your GPS will crash and you will have only your compass and paper charts to steer her by. It only happens every ten years but it does happen so be prepared. Nervous Nelly?, Yep, that's me but with almost 50 years of sailing the world's oceans behind me, I'm still sailing on top of the waves whilst many others, sadly, are not.
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Old 09-09-2010, 16:04   #38
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I'd take the laptop, but not a netbook. I don't think the netbooks have the performance a navcomp requires for fast operation, especially when you integrate multiple NMEA instruments. I don't want to be forced to buy electronic charts from one manufacturer. Chart quality for a given area seems to vary between manufacturers. The laptop can do other tasks beside navigation.

The only reason I'd get a chart plotter is if I needed it in the cockpit or location that was susceptible to water. You can buy government surplus waterproof laptops for a reasonable price and with the falling prices of laptops, probably 2 laptops for the cost of a similar sized plotter. Add in some good software and you're probably set.
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Old 09-09-2010, 23:47   #39
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so true I really want to learn all forms of navigation ,, so much can go wrong with electronics from lightning strike to reversal of the magnetic poles and computers are not like diesel engines or winches ..
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Old 10-09-2010, 05:54   #40
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Good thread, I have a laptop tying in my gps, nexus and Nobeltec.

I was just going to add radar to the mix interfacing the Nobeltec overlays etc.

Nobeltec is upgrading from my V-8 now to V-10 they want $180 and you have to use C maps rather than the Passport charts another $$$$.

Now only Nobeltec radar will interface, their little one is $2K. I can but a Furuno 1623 with display for $1200.

THen I see Si-tex is doing something with their radar for $900 and a cmap interface need to talk to them today.

The thing that is making me think twice about this is the fact that if my laptop crashes, I loose radar and nav. (I would have gps)

So now I'm not sure I want to limit myself with the radar into the laptop.


Any suggestions?


Jim
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Old 10-09-2010, 07:55   #41
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VERY long response to PC vs Chart plotter

My priorities in designing a navigation system are
1. Reliability
2. Redundancy
3. Accuracy
4. Economy
Experience has taught me some valuable lessons. Reliability is highest when you are using a device as it was designed to be used. I can’t make a piece of equipment as water proof as the original designer. So if it’s going to be exposed to saltwater and reliability is the first priority, after-market cures are out.
If the cockpit is open, and you can get a face-full of wind whipped spray, so can any instrument. If the helm is not completely shaded from sunlight (as in fully enclosed with tinted windows, not curtains or blinds) you must be able to read the information AT A GLANCE in all conditions. This rules out getting your head at a certain angle, taking off your polarized sunglasses, letting your eyes adapt, then reading the screen. That takes time you don’t have in a stressful situation.
A cockpit is cluttered with lines and paraphernalia. Additional wires and mounts are ill advised.
So from a viewpoint of reliability, a laptop does not work as your primary navigation source in the cockpit. Even the most robust, weatherized laptops fail when compared to the readability of a good chart plotter, which meets all of the requirements except economy.
Redundancy means there is a backup system that will survive whatever takes out the primary system, and provide sufficient information to continue the voyage as planned. What are the threats to your system? We spend a lot of time talking about lightning strikes, but there are others. A cocked bilge pump float switch can deplete batteries enough to create a distraction. Errant feet can break wires, and whipping sheets can take out an instrument pod. A fire in the engine room can really mess things up. In almost all cases, a redundant Nav system will be independent of the primary’s power supply, antennas, and data. For me that suggests competent handhelds in a protected enclosure, with sufficient long-shelf-life batteries to get through a 48 hour period, and then a solar charger and rechargeable batteries for after that. A backup that uses part of the primary’s life support stuff isn’t redundant.
Accuracy is relative. In the open ocean, all you really need is a good heading and distance to a destination. After an emergency has thoroughly messed things up, you might not want to thread your way between rocks at night in a blinding rain storm, if you have a choice. So your backup could reasonably be a $100 non charting handheld GPS and paper charts. If you add a functioning depth sounder you have it better than most sailors in the 1970’s! So since anything more is a luxury expense, we turn to my last priority:
Economy: Or sailing on a shoe string. What do you tell someone who can’t afford to be safe? “Don’t go.” If you do go, don’t take anyone with you who doesn’t understand the risks. That leaves the question “What is enough stuff to be safe?” That will take a whole new thread, with pro’s and con’s for every scenario. But for the sake of finishing this opus, let me suggest that for the average boat sailing the Coasts and Islands, the typical navigation equipment will be a reliable compass and depth sounder, and charts on paper, chart plotter, and or computer. Charts fall short in complicated areas, so additional information in the form of Coastal Pilot books, references like Eldridge’s, and cruising guides are important. There should be a 25 Watt fixed VHF radio with DSC wired to a GPS aboard, proper lights, and a pair of binoculars on board
Are laptops cheaper than Chart plotters? Not necessarily. A small fixed mount GPS, for less than $500 on the street, will provide updatable preloaded charts, AIS display, DSC display, tides and currents, and the ability to be submerged in salt water for 30 minutes and continue working. You just have to sit a bit closer to it than a larger one, and they are typically very readable in direct sunlight. Can you get the same in a laptop for $500? I say no.. If you forego readability and survivability, yes. If you can enter a strange twisting Channel (like Savannah, GA) with someone giving you directions from below, then the answer is “Yes, but what the heck were you thinking?”
Does this mean there is no reason for a PC on a Boat? Absolutely not. I can’t live without one, and I fret any time I can’t get on the Internet. I carry a 17” laptop with Navsea, and at least a netbook and Driod, but when it comes to dealing with Mother Nature’s little surprises on a boat a long way from land, I rely on the real McCoy.
And if someone suggests that a laptop, netbook, data pad, or telephone is better, give them a barrel full of saltwater and a stop watch.
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:09   #42
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And how does anyone get around the fact that you need a display for a radar unit. AFAICT manufacturers only push chartplotters as the main interface to these units.
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Old 10-09-2010, 09:24   #43
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And how does anyone get around the fact that you need a display for a radar unit. AFAICT manufacturers only push chartplotters as the main interface to these units.
Nobeltec, for one, has radar units that work only with a PC. Then there is more than one manufacturer that makes a "black box" to interface radars with PCs.

But, I am with Jimbo2010 - I don't want my radar limited to only being used with a PC.

Ultimately I'd want two radars. One long range with a dedicated display, not networked at all. Then a short range high-def radar hooked to the PC to use overlayed on charts (or in a separate window). Second best would be a single radar with standalone display, and a black box that also sends the info to the PC.

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Old 10-09-2010, 09:35   #44
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...

So from a viewpoint of reliability, a laptop does not work as your primary navigation source in the cockpit. Even the most robust, weatherized laptops fail when compared to the readability of a good chart plotter, which meets all of the requirements except economy.

...
It's nice reading a well organized, well written, detailed post like that. Especially when I agree with everything you've said.

Only thing I'd add is that you can get a LITTLE of that reliability and usability back, albeit with added expense. Get a sunlight viewable marinized touchscreen for the cockpit. As small or big as you want (or can afford).

-dan
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:16   #45
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Sandy Daugherty and James Baines have it right in my opinion. I have used chartplotters, integrated laptops loaded with raster charts, both fixed and hand held GPS, high def long range radar and in the old days, loran, along with any other electronic gizmo that was either aboard or I could carry on many deliveries. But I never left port without a set of up to date paper charts, an old hand bearing compass, my sextant and reduction tables if the delivery was off shore. When things go bad out there, which they will, a belt and suspenders approach is the most comforting thing to have besides reliable, experienced crew.
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