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Old 12-08-2008, 11:48   #136
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Just read the long list of posts here and thought I'd add a little info based on my experiences.

I've used SeaClear for a couple years. I've found it to be extremely accurate and not difficult to use. Just takes a few hours of playing with the program to figure out how it works and playing with configuration settings in preferrences.

I use this on a tablet computer that has a sunlight readable screen and a USB GPS. I also use this tablet and GPS with Microsoft Streets & Trips for road travel, and with Jeppesen FlightMap for navigation while flying.

The tablet with the sunlight readable screen is a must. (Tablet computers have touch sensitive screens and no keyboards, about the size of a tablet of paper.) I'm using a Fujutsu ST4121. The screen is reflective; i.e. it uses sunlight to increase the visibility. The display is actually much better in direct sunlight than inside. The colors are a little washed out compared to a regular monitor, but it's a great display for sunlight. There are also Otter cases for these tablet computers that make them waterproof.

The GPS is a GlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS. I just did a Google search and found it for sale at http://www.buygpsnow.com for $36.95. This will come with all the GPS drivers needed to connect it to a PC via a USB port. This is a WAAS enabled GPS. (Wide Area Augmentation System) WAAS improves the accuracy down to about 20 feet, both horizontally and vertically. (Important for flying.) The GPS drivers take care of any interface issues to the PC & SeaClear. Just select the correct Com Port number in SeaClear for the USB port used on the PC. Once selected, use the same USB port for the GPS and it will come up anytime the GPS is plugged in. This GPS also starts-up from a cold start in a minute or less.

I also have an older Holux GM 210 USB GPS that I got on EBay. This one works fine, but can take quite a while to start-up, (several minutes) especially if moved a few hundred miles between power-ups. (60+ minutes) Also, it is not WAAS enabled, so its accuracy is not as good. I like having the second GPS; I connect it to another computer inside the boat and have SeaClear running on it for a back-up.
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Old 01-09-2008, 15:25   #137
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Unhappy Seaclear help PLEASE with loading charts

I hope some one here can be of help. I have tried, but to no
avail I can NOT get Seaclear to load up the down loaded
noaa charts. What I’ve done:

*downloaded the noaa charts into a folder on my desktop,
mapcal would not find using “search for charts”, after
trying a lot of things I dragged one of the charts out
of its folder and into the “charts” folder INSIDE the
program files for Seaclear. Wouldn’t find it, right
clicked on the chart choosing mapcal to open it,
wouldn’t open.

*sent all charts to recycle bin, emptied it. Re-downoaded
charts into another folder, unzipped charts into the program’s
folder called “charts” mapcal doesn’t find. even right clicking
on chart and choosing “open with” and selecting mapcal.
Nope.

I am anxious to start using the program, but
cant get the charts loaded! Please help!!

Thanks,
Marshall
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Old 01-09-2008, 20:55   #138
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Hard to tell what may be causing your problem. As I understand it, Mapcal only mates the map file with the calibration files for each chart, and then registers them in SeaClear. I don't think right-clicking and trying to open a map file with Mapcal will result in SeaClear displaying the map.

I've successfully downloaded all the NOAA charts for the entire US and used Mapcal so they work fine in SeaClear. What I've done is to download the charts, then unzip them all into one file. Then copy all the map files into the Charts folder under SeaClear in the program files. (There are three or four files for each NOAA raster chart; all files for each chart need to be copied into the Charts folder.) Then, using Mapcal, select Tools, under the Autoload List, select Scan for New Charts. Mapcal should then scan the Charts folder for the charts if the path is set correctly. It will then open up a window that lists the number of charts it has found and registered for SeaClear. Then, close Mapcal, open SeaClear, and click Files, Charts, and List All. This should list all the charts registered into SeaClear. From this list you can select whichever chart you wish to open.

The only other thing I can think of that may be messing you up is to be sure you are copying all the files for each raster chart into the Charts folder. As an example, the NOAA raster chart for MATAGORDA LIGHT TO ARANSAS PASS (chart #11313) when un-zipped results in four files. One .BSB file. two .ptc files, and one .KAP file.
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:10   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Olson View Post
Hard to tell what may be causing your problem. As I understand it, Mapcal only mates the map file with the calibration files for each chart, and then registers them in SeaClear. I don't think right-clicking and trying to open a map file with Mapcal will result in SeaClear displaying the map.

I've successfully downloaded all the NOAA charts for the entire US and used Mapcal so they work fine in SeaClear. What I've done is to download the charts, then unzip them all into one file. Then copy all the map files into the Charts folder under SeaClear in the program files. (There are three or four files for each NOAA raster chart; all files for each chart need to be copied into the Charts folder.) Then, using Mapcal, select Tools, under the Autoload List, select Scan for New Charts. Mapcal should then scan the Charts folder for the charts if the path is set correctly. It will then open up a window that lists the number of charts it has found and registered for SeaClear. Then, close Mapcal, open SeaClear, and click Files, Charts, and List All. This should list all the charts registered into SeaClear. From this list you can select whichever chart you wish to open.

The only other thing I can think of that may be messing you up is to be sure you are copying all the files for each raster chart into the Charts folder. As an example, the NOAA raster chart for MATAGORDA LIGHT TO ARANSAS PASS (chart #11313) when un-zipped results in four files. One .BSB file. two .ptc files, and one .KAP file.
I had a heckofa time doing it also and ended up doing as you say except I think I only selected the .BSB and the .KAP files.
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:29   #140
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Maybe this is a dumb question and can't be done anyway:
We will be bringing our Ingrid down from Olympia, WA to Winchester Bay, OR in a few weeks weather permitting.
Has anyone saved this route in SeaClear? If so, is it possible to export it?
Just curious.
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Old 02-09-2008, 13:23   #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswkickdrum View Post
I hope some one here can be of help. I have tried, but to no
avail I can NOT get Seaclear to load up the down loaded
noaa charts. What I’ve done:
Marshall

Marshall, I apologize in advance if I suggest steps you've already tried.

NOAA zips the files up. Did you unzip them?

Seaclear looks for the files in the "charts" folder which is directly below the Seaclear program directory. Put the unzipped files in there, then run MapCal_2.exe and auto scan for charts. It has never not found them on any of my computers.

I've been using Seaclear for a while now. The software is a home run.
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:58   #142
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Using Downloaded Charts in SeaClear

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswkickdrum View Post
I hope some one here can be of help. I have tried, but to no
avail I can NOT get Seaclear to load up the down loaded
noaa charts. What I’ve done:

*downloaded the noaa charts into a folder on my desktop,
mapcal would not find using “search for charts”, after
trying a lot of things I dragged one of the charts out
of its folder and into the “charts” folder INSIDE the
program files for Seaclear. Wouldn’t find it, right
clicked on the chart choosing mapcal to open it,
wouldn’t open.

*sent all charts to recycle bin, emptied it. Re-downoaded
charts into another folder, unzipped charts into the program’s
folder called “charts” mapcal doesn’t find. even right clicking
on chart and choosing “open with” and selecting mapcal.
Nope.

I am anxious to start using the program, but
cant get the charts loaded! Please help!!

Thanks,
Marshall
----------------------------------------
1. After downloading the zip file, unzip it
2. open the unzipped folder( It will have the same name but will not be "Chained")
3. move down into the folder with the chart name you want.
4. copy the KAP file you want (i.e... 411_1.kap) into the Seaclear\Charts folder
5. open mapcal II
6. select "Tools" dropdown
7. Select "Autoload List"
8. select "Scan for New Charts"
9. When this is done, select OK
10 Open Seaclear II
11 select "File"
12. Select "Chart"
13. Select "List All"
14. You should soon see the Chart listed
15. Click on file and it should display.

All of these steps must be done in the proper order!
Good Luck,
Gene1234
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:21   #143
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I have several files that I think would be of help to others.
I would be glad to share them, But, I realize no one wants to give out their email address.

Does cruisersforum have an area where they can be posted where users can safely download them?

1. A list of over 1000 NOAA charts with Chart Number, Description and Scale.

2. How to download and use NOAA Charts in SeaClear. (Heavily documented with screen-shots) Clear step-by-step.

3. And others

I will gladly share these free of charge But I don't want to put them on a for-profit site.
Gene1234
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Old 09-09-2008, 22:45   #144
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Jerry, rckm, gene,

I followed those steps to a "t". Even before that, I deleted ALL the previous
charts I had downloaded and tried, so all that was left is those 4 charts
that aren't really charts but continental maps that come with seaclear.
after I unziped the newly downloaded charts, I copied the files in one
folder (a chart) to the charts folder in Seaclear. Before I did this I right
clicked on each file and selected properties, from that window I selected
to unblock each file in case my computer was unwilling to allow it in.
After I copied to charts folder in seaclear i tried to auto load in mapcal.
Nope. still only found the 4 maps seaclear comes with.

Is Norton stopping the copy to program files?

I'm so sorry to seem computer dumb but this is making me crazy.
I tried everything I could think of many times before posting here.
Any other ideas? I even bought some file off ebay purporting to
show me how to download charts and use seaclear etc. Nothing,
wasted $5 on that. Told / showed me NOTHING I didn't already
know, AND didn't even show the steps mentioned here. Is there
ANY sort of tech help for Seaclear? I'd be happy to pay if anyone
knows where to call. Even if someone knew how to get a hold
of the programmer. Is there a online class somewhere?

Any other steps I should try?

thanks,
Marshall
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:32   #145
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mswkickdrum
Funny I woke up in the middle of the night last night and started thinking about my upcoming trip and for some reason I thought about your problem and wondered if you had fixed it. Couldn't sleep so I got up and signed on and saw your latest message.

Let me see if I can help you. Please answer these questions

1. In what directory have you put your new charts?

2. Is that directory set in MapCal? Go to Tools.. Set Directories and look in the Chart Directories. If not there add it by clicking on the << button.

3. Have you tried to recreate the list? Go to Tools...Autoload List..Recreate

4. What operating system are you using?

Paul
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:59   #146
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Marshall BTW...when you do step 3 above and it asks whether you want to delete SCANINDEX.BIN, reply yes

Paul
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:10   #147
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Some possibilities

I know that it is very aggravating for you to have this happen.

Forgive me if I ask questions that seem to be reviewing things you have already done.
I will try to cover some things I can think of.

CORRECT DOWNLOAD FILES:

When you copy files to the Seaclear\charts directory , only copy files ending in ".KAP"
Do not copy directories.

If you cannot find files ending in ".KAP" you may have initially downloaded the wrong type of files.

If filenames are like US1AK90M, then you have downloaded the wrong charts.

Charts should be in the format 411_1.KAP

The proper location is:

http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/download.htm

A NOTE ON UNZIPPED FILES:

When you download the files they are zipped.
The folder for these has a graphic of a chain across them.
When you unzip them, a new folder of the same name is created. This folder does not have a chain on it.

This is very important!

Use this folder. Go down to the BSB folder and open it.
Open the folder for your chart.
Only copy the ".KAP" chart to Seaclear\charts folder.

Go to the SeaClear Charts folder and see if you have charts with a suffix of ".KAP"
Probably; C:\Program Files\SeaClear\charts

These are the two most likely errors.
I hope this helps, if not let me know.

Gene

PS: Do the charts that came with SeaClear work?
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:18   #148
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clausant: I hope you make that trip without throwing the laptop overboard! As Pblaise and others have pointed out, there are no laptops (toughbooks included) that are useable in an open cockpit. A few transflective screens are legible, but they have to be wiggled around a bit to be legible. Most current chartplotters are designed for the job. The screen on Garmin's 500 series is the best in the business. The 400 series is a bit small, but can be mounted close enough to the helm to be perfectly useable, and can be bough on the street WITH AN XM WEATHER ANTENNA for $505. It can talk nmea to whatever laptop or household computer you want to use below. No, it will not let you use its built in charts or weather tracking features on the laptop, but you can plan your trips in the PC and transfer them to the GPS. It can talk to your VHF and even with your AIS receiver.

There is nothing wrong with laptops, and free is free whether its lunch or charts, but PCs need to be adapted to run in a marine environment (for the most part; your expenses may vary) and Dr. Kluge leaves the building any time the weather gets messy!

Just get a Garmin 440 with the XM antenna, get all the wires connected permanently, subscribe to the Weather, and go safely on your way!
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:52   #149
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More on the 440 solution. It has two bidirectional serial ports, either of which can be set to high speed for AIS, with a selection of communication protocols. It is extremely frugal with electricity, has a build in antenna, and a comprehensive set of high quality marine charts that can be inexpensively updated. Mounted at the helm, it has a wide range of brightness settings. It can be easily removed and locked up. Its list of capabilities is pretty long. It can drive an autopilot, display AIS, run all DSC class D functions including a library of mmsi's, as well as plot and follow routes, store way-points and MOBs, display tides and currents, display a phenomenal amount of current meteorological data including thunderstorms, wind and wave data, lightning activity, and a few aerial photos of ports and marinas.

Put Map Source on your laptop with the $130 bluchart CD and you can plot your trips on the same chart you see on the GPS, exchange routes, way-points and tracks back and forth and more. Plus it will run on almost any old laptop.

All that for the price of a run-of-the-mill new laptop that you can't use in the cockpit and requires a lot of fuss to navigate with. Does this make sense?
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:37   #150

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Marshall-
Avoid the urge to punch out the computer, or toss it out the window. I can tell you from experience that this will not make it work any better.[g]

When you say "Before I did this I right
clicked on each file and selected properties, from that window I selected
to unblock each file in case my computer was unwilling to allow it in. " that sounds like something to do with Norton software that might be getting in the way.

I have said to myself many times "Its something simple, stupid" and with the most puzzling computer problems it often is a Homer Simpson Moment when you figure out just what the problem was. I would suggest disabling the entire Norton suite that you have, so we know it is not part of the problem. (Files from the NOAA site should be reasonably trustworthy.)

With that disabled, try to download one chart--and make sure it is from the raster, not vector, download group. Also make sure that your computer is set up so that you are viewing complete file names, including extensions--just in case that's a source of error.

Then try to unzip that one file. Unzipping will vary, depending on your OS and any 3rd-party software you have installed. But you should be able to click on the zip file to "open" a view of the contents, and then drag out the actual chart files to another location, preferably your SeaClearII charts folder.

If that works, and you can see the actual chart files in the SeaClearII charts folder (post the file names back here to confirm). That should give us the first "break point" in troubleshooting, to make sure that the charts are in the right place, in the right form. Once you get that far, the only other question would be telling SeaClear to find the charts and make them useable.

One bite at a time. (Kenyan proverb as to how to eat an elephant.)

Oh, and get a box of fresh donuts, in case you feel a sudden success when that Homer Simpson Moment happens.[g]
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