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Old 13-02-2011, 10:17   #61
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Thanks for the feedback, Jedi, on the keyboard and other things.

The Morningstar 300w pure sine wave is only 250 dollars (still a lot to me) and a MacMini or EeePC mini might be the way to go for me. I don't like the way a power brick buzzes on a cheap inverter.

The price would add up to about the same as a dedicated 4 or 5 inch color chartplotter that could be at the helm though, but that's not what this thread is about.

The former would have added functionality for the same price.
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Old 13-02-2011, 10:37   #62
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A $400-$500 netbook outperforms them at lower cost.

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Nick, thanks for this. Because I could build one of these things (they aren't much more than snap-together and a few solder points, after all), I had considered this, but as I said before, ghosting a bunch of netbooks seems cheaper and smarter. There are ways for the unhesitating to corrosion-proof any laptop/netbook, and that and a bead of silicone/some kind of gasketing and some sort of cover would go a long way to "splash/humidity proofing" these devices.

If you don't need to watch DVDs on the 'puter, and you don't need to store 20,000 MP3s, the options are many and getting cheaper. I have already put every manual and exploded parts diagram I can think of on my netbook in PDF form (with an SD card backup, naturally), and while I keep the paper originals aboard, sometimes I get good ideas just peering at the diagrams at the breakfast table.
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Old 13-02-2011, 10:54   #63
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I put ammeter in series with laptops aboard.here's some data:

Panasonic CF47 (aPII ! )Observed power consumption when plugged into 12v....given that nothing else is running+
"x" is "step up" in brightness from lowest.Values in Amps.
x1=.85 x2=.94 x3=1.03 x4=1.12 x5=1.29
cdrom running hard brings it up to about 2 amps occassionally while usb hdd =less than 1.5

PII IBM power used per ammeter at 12volts direct to battery slot.with no cd rom and mouse plugged in:x=lowest=.71,x1/2=.80,x=max=.90

with x=1 and cd rom spinning up =max 1.9 momentarily then <1.5 usually 1.12 and dropping back to .91
"no mouse "is about 3ma less
with x=1/2 (it's a brightness slider on this model),visnav running,=.80 (but opening the prgrm =1.5 momentarily)

with backup usb hdd plugged ,x=1/2,=1.07

Panasonic CF48 (a PIII)
at medium screen-brightness....
Standby 100 milli-amps!
a text file.. 1.38 amps
Nobletec 1.38-1.4 amp
at max brightness....
Nobletec 1.6 amps
at minimum brightness....
Nobletec 1.25 amps
observed max 3.0(approx) amps

IBM T42 startup max=2.7max
idle lobrite=1.6
idle hibrite=1.8
suspend=0.04
game=2.75-max3.25 with no fan started yet!...

more notes:
BOOTUP Desktop or app running Standby
Fujitsuceleron500mhz 2.35amp 1.50amp .22amp
PanaCF48(1ghzP3) 3.75 2.20 .22amp

My conclusions from these for consumption::get a good but not overpowerful processor (not celeron,etc)
You can look up processor power consumption on web.The old PIIs use less than PM or PIII.Screen and DVDrom are the next considerations.

Inverters:cheap ones 175 to 250 watts Brandname only ,30$
idling nothing plugged in .06amp
laptop power supply only .20 amp
(no laptop plugged)

Take the battery out of laptop when using inverter unless you ARE charging it.Do not start motor with battery in.I did this in a car once.Bad move.
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Old 13-02-2011, 11:29   #64
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i fried the mother board with too little electricity using a 1000 wttt invertor after 1 yr if service, mebbe a tad longer. more than 10 amps to boot and 5-6amps per hour to run. was pavillions 7010. bought for way too much money used.
dellfrom hell-- from nov 2008-sent it to my son last month--still in use..lol hated it. 8 amps to boot, 3-4 to run(traded van for this one--van blew up after 1 month, dell is still good..)(travwlled gulf of mexico with this one)
compaq--nov 2008--still functions but i have to change out platform. dont know numbers --is more than dell and less than hp pavilions.is presario(parking lot, 450 dollars, us)(took this one to caribean,dec 2008)
netbook, almost 1 yr old-- added an extra gb ram is still slow but is better than was. use it most. uses hardly any juice. acer aspire. lol.wallys. 285.usd plus 80usd for 2 gb chip.


my favorite was pavilion hp--had everything needed for everything. compaq is next.
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Old 13-02-2011, 12:01   #65
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We've been living on board for about 6 months with a Panasonic Toughbook CF-52, an older HP Pavillion DV-1000, and a Lenovo Ideapad (a netbook). I think when the time comes to replace any of them, I'm going to Walmart and buying whatever they have on the shelf that will do the job. The Toughbook just really hasn't been any better than the other two.
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Old 13-02-2011, 12:43   #66
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On power consumption figures: when you let a machine "work" and measure amps, indeed, the newer the PC, the higher value on the amp meter. However, this is a flawed test The reason is that the newer PC is much more powerful and can do the same job in less time. When you couple that with the power saving features of the new PC's, you will find that you actually use less energy for completing the same task.

In case you test laptops, you must also put them on the same graphics resolution and the same brightness level. This alone will make sure a modern one with LED LCD will win.

To test this, you will need an Ah (amp-hour) meter. You can rig a battery monitor to do this if you have an extra shunt. It can measure the Amp-hours consumed by the PC/laptop that way.

While testing, you should do the following: find and download a PC performance test. Now, reset the Ah meter to 0 while you start a stop-watch. Startup the laptop (slowest one first). When the stopwatch shows 5 minutes, start the performance test and let it run until completed. Now, wait until the stopwatch shows a nice round number and take the Ah reading from the meter.

Repeat this with the faster laptop, making sure the test runs as long as the previous one (less time in performance test, more time idle). Take the Ah reading again.

Now you can compare the readings. I think a PII will win from a PIII but you will get dramatic different results when you use a laptop with a modern CPU with power saving features, even if it's just a $300 netbook.

In real life you don't run performance tests, but you are now reading this post while the computer is idle and hopefully has a modern CPU that limits power consumption drastically

cheers,
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Old 13-02-2011, 13:23   #67
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Anything in sound working condition and below 300USD is a good deal. Take two and duplicate all essential software to have a plug'n play at hand.

OS is important. We use Windows as there is a lot of goodies. Other people use Mac but I found fewer free programs for Mac so we went with Windows. I also found Mac hardware twice as expensive (we are in the EU).

BTW No longer use laptops here - now we use a netbook for all nav needs - less power hungry (by approx. a half). However the next step will be a tablet - just waiting for a decently priced one with Windows or a good nav application for Android to crop up.

barnie
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Old 13-02-2011, 15:55   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
On power consumption figures: when you let a machine "work" and measure amps, indeed, the newer the PC, the higher value on the amp meter. However, this is a flawed test The reason is that the newer PC is much more powerful and can do the same job in less time. When you couple that with the power saving features of the new PC's, you will find that you actually use less energy for completing the same task.

In case you test laptops, you must also put them on the same graphics resolution and the same brightness level. This alone will make sure a modern one with LED LCD will win.

To test this, you will need an Ah (amp-hour) meter. You can rig a battery monitor to do this if you have an extra shunt. It can measure the Amp-hours consumed by the PC/laptop that way.

While testing, you should do the following: find and download a PC performance test. Now, reset the Ah meter to 0 while you start a stop-watch. Startup the laptop (slowest one first). When the stopwatch shows 5 minutes, start the performance test and let it run until completed. Now, wait until the stopwatch shows a nice round number and take the Ah reading from the meter.

Repeat this with the faster laptop, making sure the test runs as long as the previous one (less time in performance test, more time idle). Take the Ah reading again.

Now you can compare the readings. I think a PII will win from a PIII but you will get dramatic different results when you use a laptop with a modern CPU with power saving features, even if it's just a $300 netbook.

In real life you don't run performance tests, but you are now reading this post while the computer is idle and hopefully has a modern CPU that limits power consumption drastically

cheers,
Nick.
i watched my ammeter i had built into the ericson show me numbers, i know to subtract 0.2 from total as that is what my panel eats per hour. i watched as my former cappucino maker used 78 amps to get going-- is not mine anymore. gave it to a landlubber. i watched each puter do its thing except the netbook and the compaq. my numbers i posted were frm the gauge mounted in my ericson. is fairly accurate gauge.
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Old 13-02-2011, 16:45   #69
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There is no such thing as a 12V computer. All computers convert whatever voltage they get to the several that they need. The brains tend to run at only 1.4V or whatever the chip technology needs. So you might as well start at 120V or whatever the charger produces.
FWIW, the old G4 Powerbooks could take 24V right into their power plugs with no adaptor. I had mine wired that way and never had a problem even though I was probably giving it more like 26V most of the time. Sadly, the newer Macbooks want something like 17V so that won't work anymore.

The newer Mac Minis have overheating problems, or at least that's what I've heard.

As already stated here, keyboard covers are a great idea since even a splash of water onto an "unhardened" laptop's keyboard can kill it.
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Old 13-02-2011, 16:57   #70
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i watched my ammeter i had built into the ericson show me numbers, i know to subtract 0.2 from total as that is what my panel eats per hour. i watched as my former cappucino maker used 78 amps to get going-- is not mine anymore. gave it to a landlubber. i watched each puter do its thing except the netbook and the compaq. my numbers i posted were frm the gauge mounted in my ericson. is fairly accurate gauge.
Sounds like you used an amp-hour meter which is good. So it's just about the way you tested: max. usage & minimum usage basically I think. The new computers will have a better minimum usage and spend less time at maximum usage than older computers during normal usage. If I'm correct the Intel Centrino was the first CPU with energy efficient design (for laptops) in mind. Before that, they would only look at power consumption when the CPU would run too hot to improve performance.

The Intel Core 2 Duo slashed power consumption by 50% ! See Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor: Upgrade Today

In this graph you can see it is more than 4x as power efficient as the old Pentium 4. It's just the way it is

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 13-02-2011, 17:35   #71
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Centrino was the first Intel processor really suited for use in a laptop. When they came out people heard Celeron every time I said Centrino. Made me with they had chosen a different name.

By the time P4s were out they ran so hot in laptops the system would throttle back to prevent meltdown and performance tanked. And users dare not place them in their laps at all, for fear of burns.

At this time I was heavy into 3d modeling and rendering and it took some "real world" demonstrations to show what was up to some stubborn users. Rendering a still image or especially an animation was so processor intensive a P4 would go about 2 minutes before it was stepped back to save it. A Centrino machine would start at a slower pace than the P4 but 2 minutes later would be rendering 3 times faster than a P4. This was significant considering the operation would sometimes take hours to complete. Of course the new processors would put the smack down on any P4 from the start.

Not boat navigation, etc, but still I think the point is valid overall the modern machines would be more energy efficient in the long run for the reasons mentioned already.

I think the Centrino technology is still the heart of Intel processors. I believe they just put more than one "core" in them now. I'm out of the field now so it doesn't take long to get out of date if one doesn't stay knee deep in it at all times.
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Old 13-02-2011, 18:50   #72
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Intel's chips from anything after the P4d series owns the field in power savings with it's Speed Step technology. To really squeeze the crap out of your battery you really need Linux ... but I digress.

Amd no doubt was my favorite for the last decade, but Intel has really stepped up it's game in the laptop CPU field.

Another thing I have not see mentioned here is the fact that you can go into your BIOS settings and turn off cores in multi core chips. To run XP/MaxSea 10, and the inputs/outputs to external navigation hardware, one 1.6ghz core is plenty.
Yes the computer is slower, but you can sqeeze almost 15% more battery life per full charge. Though your milage may vary.
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Old 13-02-2011, 19:00   #73
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Well,my Fluke ammeter stays in the circuit while the laptop is used.It doesn't vary much unless I brighten the screen or watch a dvd at the same time...I get the point per new is more efficient per processor power but Navigation apps don't need processor power-It's just an autonomous mouse cursor on a graphic....and the New most "efficient ones" cost $$$.But whatever,I won't buy a new laptop or netbook,ever.This stuff gets OLD quick.I remember when PIII's WERE the "Most Efficient and Powerful" and very pricey.Now, they are out on a yard sale table...

I like my Dells,my Ibms,my Panas-all second hand- but my brother's old Celeron HP is still humming along too,last I heard.At the price,try a bunch-get all the ones you couldn't ever afford or risk aboard three years ago....it's like getting a "used" dog from the Shelter!They're grateful.
Anyways my (old)cell phone can do this too, gps and all....
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Old 13-02-2011, 19:01   #74
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Another thing I have not see mentioned here is the fact that you can go into your BIOS settings and turn off cores in multi core chips. To run XP/MaxSea 10, and the inputs/outputs to external navigation hardware, one 1.6ghz core is plenty.
Yes the computer is slower, but you can sqeeze almost 15% more battery life per full charge. Though your milage may vary.
Since I'm always surprised folks aren't aware of this nifty piece of freeware, I'll Link it here: Notebook Hardware Control

Notebook Hardware Control (NHC) - Homepage, Downloads, Help, Docu, FAQ, News - www.NotebookHardwareControl.net
Allows you to control the cpu, including dethrottling for more battery life. You can customize the ACPI control system for more efficiency.
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Old 13-02-2011, 19:25   #75
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Well,my Fluke ammeter stays in the circuit while the laptop is used.It doesn't vary much unless I brighten the screen or watch a dvd at the same time...I get the point per new is more efficient per processor power but Navigation apps don't need processor power-It's just an autonomous mouse cursor on a graphic....and the New most "efficient ones" cost $$$.But whatever,I won't buy a new laptop or netbook,ever.This stuff gets OLD quick.I remember when PIII's WERE the "Most Efficient and Powerful" and very pricey.Now, they are out on a yard sale table...

I like my Dells,my Ibms,my Panas-all second hand- but my brother's old Celeron HP is still humming along too,last I heard.At the price,try a bunch-get all the ones you couldn't ever afford or risk aboard three years ago....it's like getting a "used" dog from the Shelter!They're grateful.
Anyways my (old)cell phone can do this too, gps and all....
No, you won't see much change on the amp meter at all because your CPU's are the ancient kind that eat amps even when idle. To do the same job, your CPU will use about 4 times as much energy... we're not talking about little differences here.

Actually, this is the reason that Apple switched to Intel CPU's in 2006 (yes, it's been 5 years already). It was Intel's "Roadmap to performance per Watt" that made the difference for Apple. They even let AMD's 64 bit CPU pass and went for Intel 32 bit knowing they would have to change to 64 bit very soon. It's the reason my MacBook Pro can go without power cord for 8 hours while I surf the net using wifi...

cheers,
Nick.
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