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Old 03-05-2014, 05:23   #1
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Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

I recently bought (3 months ago) a 42ft sloop.The previous owner was whining about how he wanted his old nobeltec charts for reminisce sake. SO I allowed him to remove the computer where they were stored. Now I cant work the monitor-the AIS or the wifi antenna! Im so stupid! Somehow I thought I could replace the old computer easily. Now he has moved to Germany (Im in florida) and he does not respond to emails. The wires left are 1.wifi antenna -a little coax.. 2. VGA connecter. 3. 12volt spade plus and minus spade connectors . 4.AIS connector. HELP PLEASE> boat is in Clearwater. Thanks, George
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:44   #2
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Re: HELP! boats computer missing!

Without pictures and more information, it sounds like you need:

1. A VGA/HDMI adapter:

StarTech HD2VGAE HDMI to VGA Adapter Converter for Desktop PC / Laptop / Ultrabook - 1920x1080 - Newegg.com

2. A coax to USB adapter. Not sure exactly what you need based on your description, but the input to your new computer is going to have to be USB.

3. A cannibalized power cord adapted for your hardwired 12v power supply.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:14   #3
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

Unfortunately there's no plug an play drop in for this sort of stuff. Most boat computers are built over time from various bits that are found to work together.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:31   #4
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Re: HELP! boats computer missing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
Without pictures and more information, it sounds like you need:

1. A VGA/HDMI adapter:

StarTech HD2VGAE HDMI to VGA Adapter Converter for Desktop PC / Laptop / Ultrabook - 1920x1080 - Newegg.com

2. A coax to USB adapter. Not sure exactly what you need based on your description, but the input to your new computer is going to have to be USB.

3. A cannibalized power cord adapted for your hardwired 12v power supply.
Actually I bought a Dell OptiPlex 780 SSF refurished that is supposed to be wifi compatible-however it does not have a place for coax-but came with a small disc marked "WIFI". and on the back it has a VGA place to plug in. Can I presume that this will run the monitor? I was figuring to run this off the boats 1800 watt Inverter. There are also 6 USB plug places on the Dell s back. The Dell was built in 2005 in USA. Would you proceed with the Dell ? Thanks, George
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:50   #5
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

Wifi does not use coax. Either the laptop has a built in wifi card, or you add wifi through a USB adapter dongle or plug an external wifi adapter into your ethernet port. Not sure what you mean by "small disk." Is it a CD/DVD disc? If so it's probably the drivers for an internal wifi card. If it's a small disk with a USB cable, then it's potentially an external wifi adapter/antenna.

Yes, your laptop will run an external monitor through the VGA port on the back. If the monitor does not have a VGA input, and is DVI or HTMI only, you'll need an adapter plug to convert your VGA output on your laptop to whatever the plug is on the end of the cable to the monitor. Or, if there is no existing cable, you can buy a cable with the right plugs at either end and dispense with the adapter.

Laptops and most LCD monitors are 12v. Running them off an inverter is a very inefficient way to go.

If it were me, I would buy a new inexpensive laptop. Refurbs can be fine or they can be pieces of junk...it's a crapshoot. An 8 year old refurbed business laptop running charting software is going to be a bit of a dog performance wise. And, you'll burn time sorting out issues like the one you're facing that will soon make what looked like a good deal a lose-lose proposition.
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:00   #6
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
Wifi does not use coax. Either the laptop has a built in wifi card, or you add wifi through a USB adapter dongle or plug an external wifi adapter into your ethernet port. Not sure what you mean by "small disk." Is it a CD/DVD disc? If so it's probably the drivers for an internal wifi card. If it's a small disk with a USB cable, then it's potentially an external wifi adapter/antenna.

Yes, your laptop will run an external monitor through the VGA port on the back. If the monitor does not have a VGA input, and is DVI or HTMI only, you'll need an adapter plug to convert your VGA output on your laptop to whatever the plug is on the end of the cable to the monitor. Or, if there is no existing cable, you can buy a cable with the right plugs at either end and dispense with the adapter.

Laptops and most LCD monitors are 12v. Running them off an inverter is a very inefficient way to go.

If it were me, I would buy a new inexpensive laptop. Refurbs can be fine or they can be pieces of junk...it's a crapshoot. An 8 year old refurbed business laptop running charting software is going to be a bit of a dog performance wise. And, you'll burn time sorting out issues like the one you're facing that will soon make what looked like a good deal a lose-lose proposition.
The Dell OptiPlex 780 is a desktop-not a laptop.
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:00   #7
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

Sounds like good advice.

Would it not be a good idea to determine if the software needs to be compatable with a certain OS?
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:10   #8
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by georgetheleo View Post
I recently bought (3 months ago) a 42ft sloop.The previous owner was whining about how he wanted his old nobeltec charts for reminisce sake. SO I allowed him to remove the computer where they were stored. Now I cant work the monitor-the AIS or the wifi antenna! Im so stupid! Somehow I thought I could replace the old computer easily. Now he has moved to Germany (Im in florida) and he does not respond to emails. The wires left are 1.wifi antenna -a little coax.. 2. VGA connecter. 3. 12volt spade plus and minus spade connectors . 4.AIS connector. HELP PLEASE> boat is in Clearwater. Thanks, George
May I suggest you post pictures of the various connections, and specifics of what is connected. What model AIS? Is there a multiplexer or do the individual inputs come to the PC?
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:15   #9
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

"small coax" - maybe you mean RP-SMA. Ebay has pictures, suggest you search "wi-fi antenna" too. OP's laptop might have used a separate wi-fi on, say, a PC-card.
The plug you called "VGA" might be a serial connector which looks similar. Most laptops these days don't come with serial ports but you can get usb/serial converters.
Most laptops use 19Volts not 12. Panasonics use 16Volts. Ebay search "laptop car charger" will find you an adapter to charge your laptop from 12Volts.
"AIS" connector do you mean VHF antenna connector?

edit: sorry, didn't look up the Dell, wrong info.
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:19   #10
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

The fact that you have now lost the computer and probably the Nobletec Navigation software you are at an upgrade point. You would probably be better off getting a laptop, loading OPCN and all the free NOAA charts you need.
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Old 03-05-2014, 13:08   #11
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

he probably had a wifi card with external antenna. you could probably find a usb one with a coax connector for external anteana

you'll need a usb to serial adapter for the ais.

I would buy a small pure sine wave inverter to power the laptop 300w?. no point having the 1800w on all the time. waste of power.

how was it getting gps? probably a serial plug for that too? if so you'll need 2 usb to serial adapters.
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Old 03-05-2014, 13:23   #12
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

George, you CAN easily replace the old computer. The problem is, as Bogart said in Casablanca, you've been misinformed.

"The wires left are 1.wifi antenna -a little coax.. 2. VGA connecter. 3. 12volt spade plus and minus spade connectors . 4.AIS connector."

1. Wifi antennas are quite uncommon. If it is an antenna, it will work with a limited number of Wifi cards or adapters. This is the same difference as that between a TV antenna and a TV set. So, you need to start peeking and poking and find out exactly what you've got, by brand name and model. If you can't find that, you'll need to post pictures, good clear close pictures, to get some help.
The odds are that any electronics five years old can be better replaced by something newer which does a better job than fixing up the old stuff would.

2. VGA connecter
Unlikely, all that would do is allow you to plug in a VGA monitor. Do you need a second monitor for anything? Did he have one?
A standard "VGA" cord was usually a DB-15 high density cord, it was never specific to VGA monitors. It simply has 3 rows of 5 pins each and was used for many things. If you don't know what it connected to, forget it and move on.

3. 12volt spade plus and minus spade connectors .
That sounds like it has nothing to do with the computer. Unless his old computer ran directly from a 12 volt power connection (possible) that was a power supply for something else, possibly the WiFi adapter or AIS. What are you trying to power? If you don't know, again, forget about it and move on.

4.AIS connector.
You may only have an AIS antenna, which is essentially a duplicate VHF antenna. Again, you need to find out what you have. If there is an AIS receiver or transponder, you need to find out what it is and how it connects to a computer. What software it needs to run, what interface cable it uses.

If this is all too technical for you, then you need to hire a Sparky to set it all up for you. With computer electronics, the details are all critical, and you can't just make assumptions from pieces.
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Old 03-05-2014, 14:35   #13
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

If you already have a Dell 780, that's a functional machine and you don't need to go buy a laptop. I think you can replace the internal power supply with a 12V version and skip the inverter. Google it and find out.
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Old 03-05-2014, 15:30   #14
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Re: Help! Boat's Computer Missing!

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If you already have a Dell 780, that's a functional machine and you don't need to go buy a laptop. I think you can replace the internal power supply with a 12V version and skip the inverter. Google it and find out.
Even if you can you still need to power the monitor, a Dull is still a Dull and a desktop on a boat is still going overboard
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