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Old 20-08-2018, 17:34   #1
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Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

...an i3 with 500gb of storage and 16gb of RAM. Installed Windows 10. Installed OpenCPN with a bunch of charts, Google Earth Pro, Vesper Marine's XB8000 PC App, Acrobat Reader, Libre Office. Downloaded a bunch of manuals in PDF format to one folder, some free PDF books to another.

Any other recommendations on what to install?
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Old 20-08-2018, 17:52   #2
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Do you have equipment on board that has serial control? I recommend using PUTTY and a USB to serial adapter. If they're network attached they might have some dedicated software, or a web interface, or possibly telnet or SSH access.
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Old 20-08-2018, 18:02   #3
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

If this is critical equipment for safety, buy an exact spare of the whole NUC ready to swap in, kept in a watertight case safer place, away from the one in use.

Drive imaging backup software that you boot from a USB flash drive, and an external HDD to store images on.

Keep the "original virgin" image, but otherwise, as it fills delete the older ones.

Keep the HDD and thumb drive in the waterproof case with the backup NUC.

Take a snapshot before any major upgrades.

Should be able to recover from disaster in well under an hour. Practice and test doing so once in a while.
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Old 20-08-2018, 18:19   #4
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Be sure you are using an SSD drive and you have a backup drive and a regular backup routine.
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Old 21-08-2018, 06:57   #5
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
If this is critical equipment for safety, buy an exact spare of the whole NUC ready to swap in, kept in a watertight case safer place, away from the one in use.
I thought about doing that, but the result would have been that not only would I have to build and configure a second NUC, but have a backup for the external USB powered screen, keyboard, mouse, and power supply as well. I ended up deciding to use a laptop as a backup. This seems to give the best combination of utility/unobtrusiveness when in use while minimizing the amount of space I need to store backup gear. If we had a bit more storage I probably would have gone with the plug and play duplicates you suggest.

We have four GPS receivers on the boat, the one built in to the chartplotter, a separate GPS on the NEMA, a glo, and a portable that can be used on the dinghy.

We have six ways to display navigation information - the NUC, the backup laptop, the chartplotter, an iPad with Navionics, a smartphone with Navionics, and the portable. All are easy to power or recharge off 12V DC except the laptop which requires an inverter.

Anything else in terms of software that might be helpful on the NUC and laptop?
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Old 21-08-2018, 09:03   #6
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloroxbottle View Post
Any other recommendations on what to install?
Signalk is really powerful and getting better every day, plus a long way to go to plug and play but programs for the likes of esp8266 microcontrollers already let you add sensors over wifi like temp/voltage/barometer for very little cost, straight into signalk over wifi.
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Old 21-08-2018, 09:20   #7
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloroxbottle View Post
I thought about doing that, but the result would have been that not only would I have to build and configure a second NUC, but have a backup for the external USB powered screen, keyboard, mouse, and power supply as well. I ended up deciding to use a laptop as a backup. This seems to give the best combination of utility/unobtrusiveness when in use while minimizing the amount of space I need to store backup gear. If we had a bit more storage I probably would have gone with the plug and play duplicates you suggest.

We have four GPS receivers on the boat, the one built in to the chartplotter, a separate GPS on the NEMA, a glo, and a portable that can be used on the dinghy.

We have six ways to display navigation information - the NUC, the backup laptop, the chartplotter, an iPad with Navionics, a smartphone with Navionics, and the portable. All are easy to power or recharge off 12V DC except the laptop which requires an inverter.

Anything else in terms of software that might be helpful on the NUC and laptop?

If you have a normal chart plotter, then I doubt that the boat computer is mission critical.


I wouldn't bother with a backup boat computer (and I have the same setup and don't). More important is installing it carefully -- no splashes and no breathing salt air, really good power supply, out of the way of stuff crashing into it in a seaway (or in a knockdown), etc.



There is no end of useful software you can run on a PC. The main ones I use are OpenCPN, ZyGrib, Neptune Planner + (course to steer calculator for tidal waters), Iridium utility programs, Wefax decoders (connected to Pactor), propagation programs, it goes on and on.
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Old 21-08-2018, 09:35   #8
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
If this is critical equipment for safety, buy an exact spare of the whole NUC ready to swap in, kept in a watertight case safer place, away from the one in use.

Drive imaging backup software that you boot from a USB flash drive, and an external HDD to store images on.

Keep the "original virgin" image, but otherwise, as it fills delete the older ones.

Keep the HDD and thumb drive in the waterproof case with the backup NUC.

Take a snapshot before any major upgrades.

Should be able to recover from disaster in well under an hour. Practice and test doing so once in a while.

"Ghost" machines are a very good idea, as are mirrored SSDs.
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Old 21-08-2018, 09:46   #9
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

If you will be using that NUC to access radio or satellite email, install a photo editing program such as Paint.Net (free), so you can crop and compress any photos you want to send.

For radio receiver backup you might want to use a SDR such as the "SDRplay RSP1A" (about $120) and a RFAX decoder, such as the OpenCPN plug-in (free). Plan to spend some time getting your computer audio paths working -- it can be complicated at first.
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Old 21-08-2018, 10:02   #10
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

What are you using for a monitor?
Bill





Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloroxbottle View Post
...an i3 with 500gb of storage and 16gb of RAM. Installed Windows 10. Installed OpenCPN with a bunch of charts, Google Earth Pro, Vesper Marine's XB8000 PC App, Acrobat Reader, Libre Office. Downloaded a bunch of manuals in PDF format to one folder, some free PDF books to another.

Any other recommendations on what to install?
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Old 21-08-2018, 10:28   #11
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Excel
I keep all my maint logs and service scheduals on it. Simple and easy.

M
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Old 21-08-2018, 11:16   #12
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

Lately I've been using the free OpenOffice suite for spreadsheet, word processing, etc. It's pretty good.
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Old 21-08-2018, 11:17   #13
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

+1 For Open Office
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Old 21-08-2018, 14:21   #14
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

If you have any essential equipment spares, as well as anything that can be quickly unplugged in the event of a severe electrical storm, a handy safe made from Mu-metal is a good idea.

My boat suffered a magnetic pulse when a nearby steel trawler was struck by lightning. It was not a heavy strike either, just blew off a little paint on the trawl superstructure, but it fried a lot of my equipment including my isolation transformer. its windings must have been perfectly aligned with the direction of the pulse to do that.

The rest of my nav equipment, wind instruments autopilot sensing and control and my depth sounder, pretty much toasted. Had I been at sea, a nearby discharge would have seen me back in the age of wooden ships and hearts of oak.

Power companies use Mu-metal boxes to house sensitive relays. They can be bought or sometimes had from military surplus, as they are used in aircraft to screen vital equipment.
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Old 24-08-2018, 11:05   #15
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Re: Built Boat Computer from Intel NUC

I am still curious about the monitor ? What size ?

Also, what is the overall power consumption ?
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