Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-03-2018, 07:45   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 68
Laptop computer aboard

We're full-time, and use laptop computers for navigation, communication and entertainment. They seem to be nearing their replacement time. Any recommendations for what's working well for people, and is available now?
Thanks
__________________

briblack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 07:57   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Everywhere
Boat: 2011 FP Orana 44 M
Posts: 562
Re: Laptop computer aboard

I'm curious about this as well, and if anyone bothers with 12vDC adapters rather than the included clunky AC adapter.
__________________

LoudMusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 08:16   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 68
Re: Laptop computer aboard

We do use dedicated 12V chargers. From Lind Electronics, they've been great! Good tech support, and the guarantee actually works!
briblack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 08:47   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Colorado, Annapolis, FL, Bahamas
Boat: Tartan 4100
Posts: 61
Re: Laptop computer aboard

+1 on a 12V charger.

I use a previous generation MacBook Pro. 90% of the computing horsepower at 50% of the cost. You can find them refurbished with a warranty. Also have a recycled linux laptop that we leave aboard for a backup.
dougweibel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 08:59   #5
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Grenada
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 2,293
Re: Laptop computer aboard

We have 3 Dell laptops aboard. They are second hand "corporate" laptops purchased from a company with a 3 year evergreen policy. This is our second round of them as they only seem to last about 2 years in full time cruising (making the laptop 5 years old by then). We got super lucky this time and each laptop came with a standard battery and 2 extended batteries. Its super nice to charge batteries during the day when we have excess solar and not have them plugged in at night. Anyway, we found ours through contacts I had in the industry, but I have seen the same models selling on Ebay.

As to the 12V chargers. We initially used cheap ones from Amazon (PWR+ brand), but found them unsatisfactory. They charged the batteries at a much slower rate, got WAY WAY hotter and had a fairly high failure rate. Not only that, they were not much smaller than the original 120V ones. Now we just use the 120V ones off the inverter.

Maybe I will look into the Lind Electronic ones.
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:03   #6
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: The boat: Cowes (Winter), Above 60N (Summer); me: somewhere in the air!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 22,753
Re: Laptop computer aboard

Pick your poison. AFAIK all of the modern Windows laptops work fine. I use a Dell XPS13 for my work, and I'm very happy with it. It was fairly expensive, however.

For navigation and ship's computer work, however, I would suggest not using a laptop at all. A laptop can easily be smashed or splashed in rough weather and get knocked out of commission. It's also not the most convenient thing to use at the nav table especially if you are doing any paper chart work at the same time.

I would suggest using a cheap tiny ultra low power media computer type of device, fixed installed out of the way of splashes and knocks. I use a Bqeel mini pc, but there are lots of other choices. You can wire it directly to 12v -- no power supply required. Use it with a wireless keyboard and trackpad, and whatever monitor you want. You can buy a waterproof even daylight visible monitor if you want.
__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-Ítre pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:12   #7
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 22,306
Images: 2
pirate Re: Laptop computer aboard

My mobile tool of choice is an ASUS 10" Notebook.. preloaded Nimble Nav program and a GPS puck with 2metre lead and USB plug.
For my own boat I've a 15" laptop.. same setup.. but better for movies etc..
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:14   #8
Registered User
 
Colin A's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: East of the river CT
Boat: Oday Mariner 19 , Four Winns Marquis 16 OB, Kingfisher III
Posts: 655
Send a message via Skype™ to Colin A
Re: Laptop computer aboard

I have had good luck with Dell and Lenovo, at least durability wise. much better then the HP's before.
On the 12V changers I will have to try the LIND my previous experience with Targus and other 12V chargers from Amazon has been disappointing lots of failure and poor efficiency even compared to inverter. I used to work for a company with several thousand field workers with laptops. They ended up giving up on 12V chargers and giving every one 500W inverters.
__________________
mysite: Colinism.com
Colin A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:23   #9
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 14,586
Re: Laptop computer aboard

A 12vDC adapter for a laptop typically still has to convert the 12VDC to 19VDC, so it will wind up being just as bulky as the AC adapter IF it is the same wattage. Most laptops can run with a smaller than OEM adapter, but they will be limited as to what they can do, i.e. run or charge but not both unless they have full rated power.

Why laptops need 19 volts, when nothing in them runs on more than 5 volts, has baffled me for years. No one seems able to respond with any certain reasons.
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:24   #10
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto
Boat: Sandpiper 565
Posts: 3,155
Re: Laptop computer aboard

+1 on ASUS - I have a couple of their eee netbooks running Linux and they've been solid. The smallest is now 10 years old. My main home PC is a Lenovo multimedia notebook and it's given 3 good years of daily service so far. Honestly I suspect that just about any laptop from a major brand will do the job.

I am still on the lookout for an affordable modern laptop or tablet that's splashproof, shock-resistant and sunlight-readable, so any tips on those would be appreciated. Until then, I regard most laptops and tablets as navigation backups only.

Quote:
Why laptops need 19 volts, when nothing in them runs on more than 5 volts, has baffled me for years. No one seems able to respond with any certain reasons.
I believe that laptops still may have devices (eg harddrives, sound processors, displays and backlights) that require higher than +5 V. And it's easier to regulate down voltage than to step it up. So you get:

19V supply -> 12 to 14v Li batteries -> laptop internals

Yes it would be cool if someone released a laptop intended for use in vehicles, boats, RVs that can be plugged into the typical 12v system.

It's still more efficient to use a GOOD 12v to 19v DC-DC step-up converter than the whole inverter + regular power supply arrangement. Key word being GOOD, of course.

Some year I might try something like this to run/charge a laptop in a car or boat.
Lake-Effect is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:47   #11
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: The boat: Cowes (Winter), Above 60N (Summer); me: somewhere in the air!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 22,753
Re: Laptop computer aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
. . .

Some year I might try something like this to run/charge a laptop.
I have a box of those, branded DROK. The ones I've had work perfectly, but some of those make a lot of RF noise, for those who care about that.
__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-Ítre pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:53   #12
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Grenada
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 2,293
Re: Laptop computer aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
A 12vDC adapter for a laptop typically still has to convert the 12VDC to 19VDC, so it will wind up being just as bulky as the AC adapter IF it is the same wattage. Most laptops can run with a smaller than OEM adapter, but they will be limited as to what they can do, i.e. run or charge but not both unless they have full rated power.

Why laptops need 19 volts, when nothing in them runs on more than 5 volts, has baffled me for years. No one seems able to respond with any certain reasons.
I won't go into extended technical details but I will give you the main 2 reasons.

1. Cable size/power delivery. A modern medium sized laptop can consume 100W when running at full power and charging the battery. At 19V that means the cables will need to handle 5 1/4 amps. If the supply was at 5V then the cables would need to handle 20A (big giant cables). Even the new USB Type C standard is running at 20V to avoid this issue.

2. Lithium Ion battery charging. 19V is a multiple of 4X lithium cells in series, with some extra to allow use while charging.

More technical details can be found in this post.

https://electronics.stackexchange.co...un-on-19-volts
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:55   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Florida - for now
Boat: Lagoon 450 Sportop
Posts: 41
Re: Laptop computer aboard

+1 on the 12 volt charger.

Most laptops/tablet/phones have auto charging power adapters available. It will convert your boat's 12V DC supply to the required DC voltage directly. Since automotive batteries exhibit the same voltage fluctuations we see on-board, the adapters are able to compensate.

Using your on-board inverter to convert house battery power to your house AC voltage (115 or 220), then an AC power brick to convert back to DC is just wasting valuable energy.

Buy a decent brand since you will want it to be of reasonable quality. You do not need to buy name brand.

I bought one for my Microsoft Surface on Amazon for $39. Input is 12-24V DC and output is 5V DC for USB and 15V DC for the Surface. I can charge my Surface and two phones at a time, plugged into a 12V DC car "cigarette lighter" outlet on Meraki.

I purchased: GISSARAL GISCCS-SP4 110W Laptop Car Charger for 15V Surface Pro 4 Surface Book; Dual USB Quick Charge for Surface 3 Apple or Android Smartphones and Tablets. There are many to choose from. I wanted a decent cable length and this one was 1 metre.
geekoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 09:58   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Probably in an anchorage or a boatyard..
Boat: Ebbtide 33' steel cutter
Posts: 4,156
Re: Laptop computer aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I have a box of those, branded DROK. The ones I've had work perfectly, but some of those make a lot of RF noise, for those who care about that.
Mains supplies can be just as noisy, back before switching to a raspberry pi i would always run the laptop on internal batteries when getting a weatherfax.

Back to the OP - 'what do you think is best?' will get mostly the same answers as 'what to you have?'

If you're full time then might be worth having a think about a raspberry pi running openplotter, very powerful boat monitoring/nav capabilities for not much power or money.
Sailing with free hardware | Sailoog
conachair is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2018, 10:02   #15
Moderator
 
sailorchic34's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Boat: Islander 34
Posts: 5,175
Re: Laptop computer aboard

The higher voltage 18-19V is required only by the battery. I've started using the laptop without the battery. Reason being is the battery charging circuits use lots of watts. By removing the battery I remove the 8-9 amp charge rate first thing in the morning, and the draw drops to about 1-1.2 amp.

I use an older hp probook6460b (2012) First because it's designed for easy use access to the guts (allows for rebuilding which makes the engineer happy) has a splash resistant keyboard (Da blonde dropped a glass of water over it..twice.. doh) and the 14" screen and case fit the salon table better then the larger newer units.
__________________

sailorchic34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
laptop

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer Dockhead Marine Electronics 56 08-06-2017 06:17
Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC? Onemoreproject Marine Electronics 31 12-02-2015 18:03
Wanted Raymarina Type 300 Course computer or S3 Course computer Plukky Marine Electronics 0 09-05-2014 00:20
For Sale: Sony Laptop (Navigational Computer) with Full World Digital Charts ajmbwas Classifieds Archive 0 29-04-2012 05:51
Using a desktop computer aboard an offshore boat Euro Cruiser General Sailing Forum 28 18-08-2005 23:55



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:02.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.