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Old 21-10-2007, 14:45   #31
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Laptop for Navigation

I'll add my 2C here. After buying a C&C Landfall 43 earlier this year I did a lot of investigating on this issue. I've sailed thousands of miles on friend's boats with laptops doing the chartplotting with much success and few problems. The previous owner also used a laptop with cmaps, but didn't include them in the sale.

After comparing prices of multifunction displays to my budget I decided to stick with the laptop. I bought MapTech's Offshore Navigator software which came with all US maps. I used the previous owner's setup of a 17" flat screen monitor under the dodger in the cockpit plugged into the laptop at the nav station. The laptop uses a 12v car charger for power, the flat screen uses 120v AC from the inverter. A wireless remote handheld mouse allows me to change screens as needed from the wheel. The laptop drives the autopilot if I want. I take the laptop home with me to plan my next cruise.

I'm delighted with the setup. My radar is too old to overlay on the screen but the software is capable of various overlays.

My costs:
Used laptop on e-bay: $420 (Dell Latitude D600, Pentium M, XP)
MapTech O.N. software: $300
Flatscreen monitor: $170

My backup is one of 3 GPS's and paper charts. If (when) the laptop fails during a voyage, I'll manually enter waypoints on the autopilot &/or GPS and track my progress on the paper charts.

The laptop and flatscreen are disposables as far as I'm concerned, and will have to be replaced some day. But what electronics doesn't??

Steve
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Old 22-10-2007, 11:13   #32
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sdcornwell, I too decided on the laptop method. However, I have tried several flat screens and they are all not bright enough to see in the cockpit when the sun is shining. I have been searching for either a small (8-12") flat screen to mount at the wheel or a larger flat screen with 500 or so nits that can be seen at the companionway. Any suggestions?

Forrest
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Old 22-10-2007, 16:28   #33
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Funny you say that. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdcornwell View Post
I'll add my 2C here. After buying a C&C Landfall 43 earlier this year I did a lot of investigating on this issue. I've sailed thousands of miles on friend's boats with laptops doing the chartplotting with much success and few problems. The previous owner also used a laptop with cmaps, but didn't include them in the sale.

After comparing prices of multifunction displays to my budget I decided to stick with the laptop. I bought MapTech's Offshore Navigator software which came with all US maps. I used the previous owner's setup of a 17" flat screen monitor under the dodger in the cockpit plugged into the laptop at the nav station. The laptop uses a 12v car charger for power, the flat screen uses 120v AC from the inverter. A wireless remote handheld mouse allows me to change screens as needed from the wheel. The laptop drives the autopilot if I want. I take the laptop home with me to plan my next cruise.

I'm delighted with the setup. My radar is too old to overlay on the screen but the software is capable of various overlays.

My costs:
Used laptop on e-bay: $420 (Dell Latitude D600, Pentium M, XP)
MapTech O.N. software: $300
Flatscreen monitor: $170

My backup is one of 3 GPS's and paper charts. If (when) the laptop fails during a voyage, I'll manually enter waypoints on the autopilot &/or GPS and track my progress on the paper charts.

The laptop and flatscreen are disposables as far as I'm concerned, and will have to be replaced some day. But what electronics doesn't??

Steve
I have finally decided on what I want to do. . . (no really this time) I am buying a new laptop, I need one anyway. . .but it has Vista are there any of these Nav. programs that will run on Vista? If not my friend has a program that will allow me to Run XP inside of Vista. . .sort of the way macs can run XP. . . anyway. . .I havn't narrowed it down to what software I want. . . I have been looking at CAPN and Nobeltec, both of which are about $500. . .Are these any better than the MapTech O.N. software? I have heard that certain "charts" arent as accurate. . . So my set-up will be very simiar to yours. I have found 8-12" 12V LCDs on e bay that will accept a VGA signal. I will mount one of these at the cockpit and also have the ability to toggle to my 32" Hi Def LCD TV below that also has a VGA input. . .so with wireless keyboard and mouse I can plot on the 32" when I have shore power, etc. and to sweeten the deal I found a wireless mouse that runs up to 30' away from the source that you can grip in your hand it is controled by some sort of gyro. . . so you can adjust it's sensitivity when you are at the wheel (looking at the small screen) and you just move it around (sort of like a sword) and you can point and click all you would like. . . it is about $100 at circuit city. . .mabye less on the internet. . . so if I have all of that flexability the only downside to this setup may be that the screen may get damaged from the elements right? ? ?
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Old 22-10-2007, 17:03   #34
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Displays, software & such

To keep costs low I decided to get a flat screen display off the shelf at CompUSA, just looked for the best contrast ratio and blackest screen to start. It has worked remarkably well as long as it's under the dodger. I strap it in with some velcro mounts, and move it down below at night or to watch DVDs from the laptop. I figure in violent weather we'll leave it in the cabin.

I've seen posts that say you can buy a weatherproof flat panel to put at the helm but they were very expensive when I looked at them, so decided on the "disposable" under the dodger instead.

I've been extremely happy with the NavTech Offshore Navigator Pro. It's very flexible, has easy zoom, simple route plotting and editing, 3D bottom views, photos, etc. and all the US charts. Lot of bang for the buck.

But when I spoke with NavTech earlier this year they weren't doing Vista yet, which is one reason I decided not to go with a new laptop. My $420 special from e-bay works great. In fact I'm using it now at home.

Good luck with that "final" decision;-)
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Old 22-10-2007, 17:08   #35
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...and

I forgot to mention that I had much prior experience with Cap'n so that was my 1st choice. But NavTech bought Cap'n a while ago and when I spoke with them they said it was headed for the commercial market and that O.N. Pro was the future for sailors like us. I'd suggest calling them.
-steve
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Old 22-10-2007, 17:38   #36
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Thanks. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdcornwell View Post
I forgot to mention that I had much prior experience with Cap'n so that was my 1st choice. But NavTech bought Cap'n a while ago and when I spoke with them they said it was headed for the commercial market and that O.N. Pro was the future for sailors like us. I'd suggest calling them.
-steve
Thanks for the info. . .but now I have one better yet. . . I was looking on e bay. . .you can buy a 10.4 inch LCD touch screen that has high res and will work with all operating sys. (other than Vista) and comes w/ the drivers so you can operate your laptop or PC with your finger on the screen. . . it costs about $250 and is 12 V. . . still doesn't solve the weather problem but I was thinking of building a plexiglass "box" for it that could flip up and down and latch closed. . . that way you could still view your heading if the waves kick up. . .
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Old 24-12-2007, 13:15   #37
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Aloha All,
I'd like to revive this thread and ask if anyone has used the Garmin 72 (handheld) integrated with a laptop? I've got Cap'n and will install it when I find an old beater laptop for cheap.
All my other sailing has been done the old way with charts and sextant so bear with me on all these dumb questions. For me this is all new and experimental so I don't want to invest a lot of cash in something I won't like to use in the future.
Regards,
JohnL
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Old 24-12-2007, 13:24   #38
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Have a look at my website, ARCHER - MARINE
i use all this gear myself so it is boat proven
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Old 24-12-2007, 13:27   #39
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Before you lay out the cash for the garman look into a USB GPS. They run about $50 - $70 and at least the one I got works great.

The one I have PN : BU-353

Put that in google and get 1,000 links to it.

-jim lee
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Old 24-12-2007, 15:47   #40
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Thanks Jim. I already have the Garmin 72 from Sean's yard sale. It was to my post box for $71. Another $20 for USB cable and I should be all set once I get the beater laptop.

JohnL
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Old 24-12-2007, 15:51   #41
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Archer,
The concept looks interesting.
JohnL
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Old 24-12-2007, 18:47   #42
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I had capn on my old laptop. my new one has vista and so far i have not been able to get it to run but i am still trying.
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Old 24-12-2007, 18:51   #43
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"I had capn on my old laptop. my new one has vista and so far i have not been able to get it to run but i am still trying."

I'm going to try to find a laptop that isn't new enough to have Vista. I understand they have problems with Cap'n.

JohnL
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Old 27-12-2007, 09:31   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustinp View Post
I have finally decided on what I want to do. . . (no really this time) I am buying a new laptop, I need one anyway. . .but it has Vista are there any of these Nav. programs that will run on Vista? If not my friend has a program that will allow me to Run XP inside of Vista. . .sort of the way macs can run XP. . . anyway. . .I havn't narrowed it down to what software I want. . . I have been looking at CAPN and Nobeltec, both of which are about $500. . .Are these any better than the MapTech O.N. software? I have heard that certain "charts" arent as accurate. . . So my set-up will be very simiar to yours. I have found 8-12" 12V LCDs on e bay that will accept a VGA signal. I will mount one of these at the cockpit and also have the ability to toggle to my 32" Hi Def LCD TV below that also has a VGA input. . .so with wireless keyboard and mouse I can plot on the 32" when I have shore power, etc. and to sweeten the deal I found a wireless mouse that runs up to 30' away from the source that you can grip in your hand it is controled by some sort of gyro. . . so you can adjust it's sensitivity when you are at the wheel (looking at the small screen) and you just move it around (sort of like a sword) and you can point and click all you would like. . . it is about $100 at circuit city. . .mabye less on the internet. . . so if I have all of that flexability the only downside to this setup may be that the screen may get damaged from the elements right? ? ?
Dustin,

You can get XP instead of Vista on your new laptop - most vendors are offering it, as Microsoft has been "forced" to extend support for it since many, many major enterprise customers are refusing to migrate to Vista before it's ready (i.e., they're waiting until the bug fix Service Pack 1 has all its bugs worked out. My company won't move until summer 2008 or later).

And yes, you can run virtualization software like VMWare so you can run XP as a guest OS under Vista, but you'll need a license for XP also to be legal. As far as I know, Maptech's Chart Navigator Pro runs fine under Vista (I'm running it under XP now, and am testing it under Wine on Linux). Most of the other vendors' most recent versions of their nav software run on Vista now. I just wish someone would support Linux natively (GPSNavX - are you listening? OSX is BSD - porting to Linux would be trivial, and it could double your marketshare!!!).

And your 8-12" LCD for the cockpit? I'd say don't skimp - get a waterproof, sunlight viewable one for that application - but it seems that such an animal is just as expensive as getting a chartplotter from Garmin or Raymarine. Since the guts of a high-powered PC nowadays retail for only $100-200, you can see that the majority of the cost of a dedicated chartplotter is the weatherproofing and the sunlight-viewable display. What a drag...
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Old 27-12-2007, 09:54   #45
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Why not Google Earth?

In playing with the latest google earth on the laptop yesterday, it occurred to me that since it displays overlays of practically any info you could imagine; and, that it is composed of sat photos and not hundred year old charts....seems to me that perhaps it would be possible to pull up the required screens of your proposed trip, overlay the gps coords, then print out the screens and make your own very visibly detailed charts.

Called up northeast florida last night and I'll be damned, there was my boat in the yard

seer

Oh, and tho I havn't tried it, I understand you can interface google earth with several gps's tho I havn't checked which ones. In any event, gives you a helluva view of what you're sailing thru.
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