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Old 10-09-2010, 10:25   #46
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You show me an affordable radar interface to a PC that takes one of the more affordable mainline radar manufacturers such as Furuno, RayMarine, or Simrad. I don't see it.


Nobeltec??? Their 20" dome is discontinued. Their 24" dome is around 3.5k$. Hardly a low cost solution when I can get a chartplotter + radar from another manufacturer for less
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:28   #47
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Thanks, Dan. I had been watching the market very closely for a drop in price (from around $K) for such a screen, but there has been very little movement at that price point. I believe its a question of demand, and something of an elitist acquisition. The size of the market can't apply any downward pressure.

On a more interesting note, I just put a Pixel Qi screen in my Lenovo S-10 netbook. In full sunlight I turn off the back-light (greatly extending battery run time) and read a perfectly visible monochrome screen. It's still not going to stand a drop of salt spray in the wrong place, but it can be used for cruising the 'net from outside that cozy internet palace, or for checking charts in the cockpit on a nice day. I'm waiting to see if that screen will fit in any of the current USB monitor frames. With no back-light on, it won't need cooling vents, so it might be a solution for embedded Boat PC's with multiple screens. Such a combination could mean a 10.1" WVGA sunlight readable splash-proof PC monitor for about $400.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:43   #48
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Until someone steps up with actual experience and gives us a complete cost breakdown of building a laptop system with integrated radar (which I believe is a necessary peripheral these days), as well any other side costs such as monitors, cables, additional laptops as backup etc to get the whole package working, I still believe you are forced to purchase a stand alone chart plotter + radar. I would also conclude as a backup system you would still need to purchase this stand alone unit anyway.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:13   #49
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With all the discussion of chartplotter vs. laptop, remember, they are BOTH computers.

The Chartplotter, behind all the curtains, has a processor, maybe a RISC / motorola chip instead of an Intel one, but it's still a processor. It has some memory in it, RAM and probably some type of flash. A screen, and something for input of some sort. And it runs software.

The software it's running is provided by the manufacture, and is usually a large amount of the cost of developing the device. Also something the manufacturers hold near and dear, not wanting it to fall off the backs of any trucks so people can run around installing it on laptops. But it's generally all setup ready to go out of the box, with a support staff prepared to assist you if it's not working correctly (at least for a while, to some degree).

And the chartplotters are designed to be waterproof, rugged, and viewable in daylight and at odd angles.

Laptops, well, you can watch movies, collect photo's do your email, and there cheaper, and they break easier, and setting them up with charts takes at least a little knowledge.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:23   #50
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Yes lets not forget the software you would need to buy to also run integrated radar on a laptop such as Max$ea. I just don't technically see a one stop fully integrated affordable solution when you add up all the costs. We are too focused on charts and OpenCPN. When you look at the whole picture you should probably have:

1) a PC networked solution well you need one anyway for email, SSB etc.

2) a chartplotter for the radar unit(s) and as a backup.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:28   #51
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With all the discussion of chartplotter vs. laptop, remember, they are BOTH computers.

The Chartplotter, behind all the curtains, has a processor, maybe a RISC / motorola chip instead of an Intel one, but it's still a processor. It has some memory in it, RAM and probably some type of flash. A screen, and something for input of some sort. And it runs software.

The software it's running is provided by the manufacture, and is usually a large amount of the cost of developing the device. Also something the manufacturers hold near and dear, not wanting it to fall off the backs of any trucks so people can run around installing it on laptops. But it's generally all setup ready to go out of the box, with a support staff prepared to assist you if it's not working correctly (at least for a while, to some degree).

And the chartplotters are designed to be waterproof, rugged, and viewable in daylight and at odd angles.

Laptops, well, you can watch movies, collect photo's do your email, and there cheaper, and they break easier, and setting them up with charts takes at least a little knowledge.
That is true, but a chartplotter is not the same as a PC. As you say, the software is written by the manufacturer. They write and test it specifically on that exact hardware and OS. The chartplotter doesn't get 3rd party software loaded on it that can monkey around with the registry and possible load incompatible DLLs.

And of course, the chartplotter is specifically designed for outside, saltwater use. And, as you point out, a support staff. This staff supports the hardward, OS and software, all. No pointing fingers.

Basically, the chartplotter will be much more dependable for multiple reasons.

So, I definitely want a chartplotter as a backup for the PC.

And paper charts to back that up.

-dan
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Old 10-09-2010, 12:54   #52
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........ a laptop system with integrated radar (which I believe is a necessary peripheral these days),...... .
Edited your full quote (I hope, fairly obviously) but why do you consider radar to be necessary these days? apart from Fog, if anything is over your approx 4 mile horizon, it aint a problem. Ever heard of radar-assisted collision? Tony
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Old 10-09-2010, 13:18   #53
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Fog, ships, sailing solo, rain, general visibility, navigation.

radar-assisted collision? What are you talking about? Instrument Myopia?

4 mile horizon? Are you kidding me??? WTF. A tanker would be on you in 10 minutes. You would not have much time to avoid even on a clear day you'd not be lucky to see him before he was on you.

Radar reflectors? Other guy needs to have radar.
CARD alarm? Other guy needs to have radar.
Depending on someone else to see you? Never.
Depending on someone else having running lights? Never.
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Old 12-09-2010, 16:21   #54
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I thank you Capt Phil for your kind comment and I will reiterate as I'm sure you would do, that safety comes first. As I have said before, when you are out there, you are all by yourself, no hard shoulders, no service stations, you are totally alone so you need to be prepared for any and all eventualities. When the electronic systems go offline as they will from time to time, you need your compass, a reasonable estimate of the compass deviation, and some good old paper charts to steer her by. If you want to go further down the road of navigation safety, the ancient mariner's system of navigating by the stars is yet another option for you to learn.
Overkill?, perhaps it is if you are just a coastal sailor, but if you want to cruise the world's oceans safely, there is simply no way to go other than planning for every conceivable eventuality.
I have been sailing around the world for almost 50 years, I'm still doing it on my 40 foot Jenneau, and every time I leave port, I have every conceibable option mapped out, written down, and within easy reach if or when the brown stuff hits the fan.
Trust me, after almost 50 years of wonderful sailing, I have learned a lot and since I always put safety first, and since I'm still here to talk to you, maybe my safety first advice is worth reading. James
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Old 12-09-2010, 16:34   #55
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I would go with a plotter if I could afford one and all the charts I need - a plotter is waterproof, daylight-readable, uses little electricity and plugs directly into 12 or 24 Volt.

Going with a PC is cheaper, but a PC is not waterproof, is more difficult to read in the sun, uses more energy, takes more time to start up, needs an inverter, is easier to break down ....

but it is the cheaper way to go.

So, while I cannot afford every gizmo I love, we have a netbook (200USD) down below and a handheld in the cockpit (connected to the PC). Cheap and works for us very well.

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Old 12-09-2010, 16:51   #56
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Arrow

Decision made, I'll keep the PC for Nobeltec, will not upgrade to their version 10 requiring C-map and tossing all the Passport charts. When that software can't be supported by them in the future, I'll make the switch to the real PC based Nav software IExpedition.........hands down the best.

My current setup will continue to interface with my Nexus instruments, Nobletec and GPS.

Now for the new radar setup I'm putting a pole on the stern it will be 9' off the water with the dome and I'll move my GPS up there as well.

Now I agree with what was said now about having the info at my finger tips.
Now if I want to see where I am someone has to go below to the chart table and get the info.

I want to place the plotter in the cockpit.

The bulkheads always have lines in the way or someone is leaning on them no good there.

I have a large bulkhead type wheel pedestal with a compass on top.

Today while on the boat the best place to put the plotter is above and slightly in front of the compass. I can build a nice mounting stand to hold it.

Question I know I'll need to check but how much would these units throw off the compass?

Any other issues?




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Old 12-09-2010, 17:36   #57
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I would go with a plotter if I could afford one and all the charts I need - a plotter is waterproof, daylight-readable, uses little electricity and plugs directly into 12 or 24 Volt.

Going with a PC is cheaper, but a PC is not waterproof, is more difficult to read in the sun, uses more energy, takes more time to start up, needs an inverter, is easier to break down ....

but it is the cheaper way to go.

So, while I cannot afford every gizmo I love, we have a netbook (200USD) down below and a handheld in the cockpit (connected to the PC). Cheap and works for us very well.

b.
I agree. Except you don't necessarily need an inverter. You can build a carputer with a small form factor board and use a 12v power supply. Those power supplies are wide range voltage input and very efficient.

-dan
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Old 12-09-2010, 18:08   #58
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I agree. Except you don't necessarily need an inverter. You can build a carputer with a small form factor board and use a 12v power supply. Those power supplies are wide range voltage input and very efficient.

-dan
I agree.

EXCEPT anything apart from a laptop will call for a couple of voltages - note the PC power source will have 3 (so I remember it was back in 2003) different voltages. (As I remember the CD drive has a different voltage from the board and there was one more outlet - was it 12, 5, 3 Volts?)

Now a 3 voltages power source is neither nor readily available when the input is 12 Volt. AND the screen will more often than not ask for 110 or 220 Volts anyway.

You can get such a power source if you contact the ambulance people.

Believe me, it is not all that easy to build an onboard PC.

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Old 12-09-2010, 18:12   #59
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I have a tiny inverter running my PC bought it at Wall Mart $15, been running 5 years.
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Old 12-09-2010, 18:36   #60
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I agree.

EXCEPT anything apart from a laptop will call for a couple of voltages - note the PC power source will have 3 (so I remember it was back in 2003) different voltages. (As I remember the CD drive has a different voltage from the board and there was one more outlet - was it 12, 5, 3 Volts?)

Now a 3 voltages power source is neither nor readily available when the input is 12 Volt. AND the screen will more often than not ask for 110 or 220 Volts anyway.

You can get such a power source if you contact the ambulance people.

Believe me, it is not all that easy to build an onboard PC.

b.
How 'bout 15 to choose from - $25-$70.

--> DC-DC ATX PSUs

Believe me, it IS that easy to build an onboard computer.

-dan
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