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Old 04-04-2006, 20:49   #16
Kai Nui
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Very good point, however, my 7 year old toughbook has had no problem with any of the software I want to run. That aside, The size of the desktop has been a problem for me on a 40' boat. Not sure what I would do with one on a 30 footer. I do agree with the advantages of seperate components, but I have had such great reliability from my laptop, I am not concerned. Replacing a computer every year or two is a rea PITA as well. You always end up losing something, and it will usually fail on a sunday in the middle of nowhere while downloading photos from your last trip, or right when you hit save on your tax returns. Believe me when I say I have added to the English language when that happened. I have just found laptops to be far more reliable for the buck. At least, for my application.
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Old 04-04-2006, 20:50   #17
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I should add that I have been knocking on the wood saloon table the whole time I was posting this
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Old 04-04-2006, 20:55   #18
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Solid!!!

Solid as a rock!!!

Well Kai. At least you could mark yourself down in the history book of laptops. That you "did this". And you "did that" corner? Right?
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Old 04-04-2006, 20:59   #19
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Yea, K, I guess you could say I have made more mistakes than many, but the end result seems to be I get something that works for me.
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Old 04-04-2006, 21:07   #20
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Yeah......buddy!!!
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Old 04-04-2006, 22:18   #21
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I am biased cos I build and sell a very small 12 volt PC with 12 volt 15 or 17 inch LCD screen and wireless keyboard and mouse. I use one and have a laptop as a backup.

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Old 05-04-2006, 00:34   #22
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No reason you can not use the peripheral toys with the laptop. So, how small is "small"?
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Old 05-04-2006, 03:37   #23
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Laptop prices have fallen so much in the last couple of years (OK not as much as desktops), that the size and convenience of having a normal laptop, plus a complete spare and even another spare harddriveis still a lot cheaper than buying a single ruggedised laptop. It doesnt matter how ruggedised they are if subjected to the "correct" forces they will stilll break. I would rather have the redundancy and extra cash. -- but a wet boat would be a different matter.
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Old 03-05-2006, 08:47   #24
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Anyone have trouble running their computer using an inverter? I hear tales about pure sine waves, etc.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:09   #25
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Why would you want to run a laptop using an inverter. DC/DC converters will do this easily, without the problems of sine waves, and without the danger of high voltage, and at less power loss! Some laptops will run direct from boat power without needing the dc/dc converter.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:09   #26
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I would not use an inverter. Seems silly to take 12 volts DC to make 120 volts AC then turn around and converet it back to DC. I use an auotmotive style 12 volt adapter.

Pure sine wave power is better for computers - period. I used to work with computers in a van that had two installed with some other equipment. The non sine wave power we started with was breaking computers left and right and then we went with pure sine wave power and the repairs were cut to almost nothing.

Most inexpensive inverters generate square waves. And while that alone is not the serious pronblme the trouble comes from the fact that the poor inverter square wave transitions always tend to shoot high and low. So on the scope it is not just a sharp square edge at the square points. Instead you see spikes at the leading edge of the top of the square wave.

This means you are getting radical spikes in voltages constantly. Pure sine wave power is much better for sensitive electronics. Stepping DC voltage is more efficent than converting DC to AC then back to DC. You'll use a lot less actual battery power going DC to DC. Yoiu can get good power supplies made for automotive use and just skip the inverter (at least for the computer) completly.

For a laptop you can find sources on the internet for about $50 or so. Adding 12 volt automotive sockets is a pretty easy project you can do yourself.
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Old 03-05-2006, 18:37   #27
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THANKS!

I understand the point as it relates to notebooks, kinda silly to convert dc to ac then to dc. I wasn't actually thinking about running the notebook -- I know most people here have taken that path -- I was thinking about powering a small desktop (I have about half a dozen older P3s sitting around, so I have plenty of spares and they work fine for the apps I need to run onboard) amd LCD monitor, ounted to the bulkheads with mounts similar -- but lighter -- to the ones I use for my medical/dental clients' monitors. With the articulating arm, etc. Then I could run the computer, use the net, run a TV card and at least catch some TV or play DVDs, and run a Vonage or Skype IP phone. A wireless combo mouse-keyboard, again like I install for my doctors, would be a good thing. Mounted right, the arm could swing out the hatch partways so I could see my charting software/GPS while at the helm.

What do you guys think???
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Old 03-05-2006, 19:13   #28
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Old 04-05-2006, 04:21   #29
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Here is a site that sells 12 volt power supplies that are small and could connect from the 12 volt battery bank directly to your motherboard:

http://www.mini-box.com

They also sell compact PC's should you choose to build your own PC and install it on the boat. Several cruisers from my other list have used these products for boat computer systems. This site is mostly about builing auto embedded computer systems. They make some pretty ting power supplies but can out put something that should work for your older P3 computers.

If you stick with raster based charting tools you'll find that your computers will hold up better. Mini-box also seels some nice small footptint mother boards too. This stuff isn't very expensive, but it won't deal with the new Intel / AMD chip power rerquirements.
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:19   #30
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Desktop Systems

I think that power consumption would be a major concern with the desktop systems.

They would also require that they be powered via an inverter unless they had the power supply replaced with a 12V one. On the other hand a 12V charger is available for most (all?) laptops.
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