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Old 30-11-2012, 06:49   #16
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

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Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post
We will be standardizing in order to share software and parts. I suspect my partner will choose and we will build, while I whine about it not being Mac.
I don't understand the sharing parts thing - sharing peripherals between any two computers of any make is easy, but sharing critical parts like memory and internal hard drives doesn't make sense because only one computer can run at a time that way - you may as well only have one computer. If you are concerned about stocking spare parts, most of them are common between macs and pcs - like memory, hard drives, dvd drives, etc.

Software can be tricky as a lot of it gets registered to the computer it is on and cannot be installed on another without deactivation (photoshop, office, some common navigation programs, etc). It is actually easier on the mac side to share software because a lot of it does not have registration or activation like on the pc.

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Old 30-11-2012, 06:53   #17
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Most personal software licenses can be applied to multiple computers, as long as they are within the same household.
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Old 30-11-2012, 07:14   #18
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

WE opened up our wiring harness, radar, GPS, autopilot, laptop and everything else electric and electronic and sprayed the circuitry and contacts with Boeshields T-9. We also sprayed our injection pump, injectors, throttle/shift linkage, stuffing box and every piece of unpainted metal in the engine compartment. Cruised two years in salt water and not a spot of corrosion on any metal. Boeing uses it on their planes.
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Old 30-11-2012, 07:38   #19
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

After doing the laptop thing for years, I'm looking at a custom PC for boat use...focusing on keeping the damp & salt out, and making sure to feed it nice clean stable voltages, and faraday protection built in. The internals can be any old common generic PC stuff, to keep costs down and availability up. It doesn't have to be a throwback to the room-sized machines either, but it doesn't have to be portable since the netbook does that already. Best of all....built into the boat so it is less likely to grow legs and hop in a passing dinghy. Might leave a boobytrapped laptop laying about for anyone stupid enough to rob me; spark that up on your lap and you'll soon regret it....once the burns heal, putative thieves might decide cruisers aren't worth picking on....
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Old 30-11-2012, 08:16   #20
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

My son's $1000 Toshiba laptop was ruined in less than a year on his boat.

My Panasonic Toughbook CF-29 is ten years old, the last 4 years being dedicated solely to the boat and it's still going strong. It has been soaked, dropped, stepped on and generally abused but refuses to give up.

Unless you actually need the latest and greatest mega-memory & CPU speed laptop, a used Toughbook can be had at a very reasonable price on ebay.

Even though I have the greatest admiration for this old workhorse it still lives in a Pelican case when not in use.

Perhaps a Pelican case is the secret to a laptop's longevity aboard a boat.
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Old 30-11-2012, 08:17   #21
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Another alternative: buy a cheap, used laptop off Craigslist and install Ubuntu Linux on it. This is a very robust operating system that uses a lot less memory, etc., than recent Windows versions. So it runs well on older laptops.

Open CPN also runs very well on this system. I've got two laptops on my boat, and I use them for navigation, as well as surfing the Internet, teaching online courses, etc. I paid $90 for one on Craigslist, then added a new hard drive for $30. The other laptop I got for free. It was bogging down with Windows, so the owner considered it kaput. With Linux, it runs like a charm.

If (when) the salt air gets them, who cares?
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Old 30-11-2012, 08:27   #22
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Agree on the small second note book. We keep one just to pay bills etc. We never never never do anything but go to our secure banking sites no email no cruising the web no buying anything and we have a good firewall and anti virus. You still take a risk going to unprotected sites. We got a trojan down in the Bahamas but it was caught before it could do anything. As far as duribility we have never had any problems with either one. The nav one runs 24 7 when underway and net flix when anchored and can find a hot spot.
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Old 30-11-2012, 08:33   #23
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

If it's a component of the nav system, you don't want it conking out...you can replace bits easier on a pc, and compartmentalise and have doubles so you don't lose the whole lot in one go.
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Old 30-11-2012, 08:42   #24
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Oh, and Linux is not nearly as susceptible to viruses. We've never worried about them at all. (Furiously knocking wood.)
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Old 30-11-2012, 08:52   #25
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http://technabob.com/blog/2008/05/28...-laptop-cheap/

I found this interesting. When I bought my toshiba a few years ago the company sold something similar but I can't find it now.
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Old 30-11-2012, 09:01   #26
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

We carry 2 netbooks and a laptop, and the next computer will probably be another netbook, for cost, ease of carrying, and power consumption.

The computers have lasted an average of 5 years, with no correlation to what we paid for the computer.
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Old 30-11-2012, 09:05   #27
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This is interesting!

http://m.aliexpress.com/item/655299642.html

Cheers!
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Old 30-11-2012, 10:06   #28
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

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Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
Oh, and Linux is not nearly as susceptible to viruses. We've never worried about them at all. (Furiously knocking wood.)
Been using Linux (ubuntu) for years. Bonus is that all software is open source and free. More secure, and only cost has been my laptop.
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Old 30-11-2012, 11:45   #29
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

When I was a cop we were using Toughbooks in the Patrol Cars, until we realized you could buy two or three regular laptops for the cost of one Tough Book. The they started using regular Laptops.

I would not buy a Tough Book unless you were regularly exposing it to the elements like going back and forth to shore in the dinghy and you couldn't back up the hard drive.

Our Nav Station Laptop has lasted three years, 2.5 of that fulltime cruising. It is starting to get rust on some of the usb ports and I have had to replace the battery once. We using the Norton Back UP System, which has all our files on a Norton Server.

Our Back Up comuputer, lasted 4 years (rusted USB Ports) and we just bought a new one to replace it for about $600 US in Panama... The problem was a Spanish Keyboard, but my wife has adopted it like a new puppy.
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:09   #30
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

My laptops had a very short life until I learned to tuck them safely away inside a cabinet and use them through an external monitor and keyboard. The keyboards die about as often as the laptop used to, from typing with wet fingers, or getting spilled on, or sliding off the nav table and onto the floor, but are easier and less expensive to replace.

I think we are especially hard on laptops on passage since we sometimes have a habit of playing computer to pass the time on night watch.
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