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Old 30-11-2012, 13:59   #31
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Did not notice any difference against landlife.

Alas, old one was good for nearly 10 years (Dell), newer one for hardly 3 (Acer) and the one right now is still alive (Asus, 2+).

I think nowadays they are built to last only 2 - 3 years of regular abusive cruising lifestyle.

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Old 30-11-2012, 14:03   #32
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

PS Perhaps someone can chuck in some advice on basic marine-proofing of an off the shelf laptop? I mean there must be some tricks to get more life out of them.

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Old 30-11-2012, 17:38   #33
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

+1 on the ASUS.

In particular their Ultrabook range. Nearly as thin as tablets but with full fuctionality and practicality of a PC.

They also offer them with Solid State Drives (SSD). Hard Drives with no moving parts (in case you didnt know) which is perfect for unstable environment.

And for what its worth, Im told ASUS are the only laptops made in Japan. In case you use this to judge quality.

I hope that helps.
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Old 30-11-2012, 18:13   #34
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

I agree with msponer that the achilles heel for most laptops is salt water entering the internals via the keyboard. Either directly (from deck or port leaks, or even the odd stray wave crest via the main hatch) or indirectly from the watchkeeper's fingers when ducking below to check the position

If using the laptop's own display in the nav station, I reckon it pays to wrap the body including keyboard in cling-film, and use an exernal keyboard. I have a submersible USB keyboard (molded in urethane elastomer, and which can be rolled up), but it's too clunky for use in anything short of gale conditions.
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Old 30-11-2012, 18:19   #35
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Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Quote:
PS Perhaps someone can chuck in some advice on basic marine-proofing of an off the shelf laptop? I mean there must be some tricks to get more life out of them.
I kept mine stored in large, heavy-duty 2-gallon zip-loc style bags whenever not in use. Never had any corrosion issues. I tried to use them sparingly offshore. Tried not to leave them just running plotting my course. The main issues I have had, and heard about amongst other cruisers, were the hard drives going. They don't seem to like motion while running. Met a guy in Colombia who had four laptops onboard and they all needed repair.
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Old 30-11-2012, 22:41   #36
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Re: Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

I did what Kettlewell did. Keep it in a bag and bring it out on passage only to connect with sailmail via the SSB. I think if you take any computer into the cockpit whie sailing it wont last long. My Toshiba toughbook lasted through sailing to the caribbean and back. Then it got stolen from my house. So I am a convert to netbooks - They do everything the laptop did except they cost around $200. Cheap enough to just bring a spare and toss the old one when it starts acting like its dying
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:28   #37
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Re: Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

We are on Asus (netbook) too but (surprisingly?) ours was NOT built in Japan (PRC). Quality seems fine, no issues this far.

I did not notice the newer netbook any less powerful than our older laptop. We are not limited anyhow (much as the bigger toys are better for all and any design job where there are many details or plenty of calculations/rendering/etc.)

When not in use, we store ours in a neoprene sleeve. So they never cool down in salty air. Perhaps this helps a bit.

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Old 01-12-2012, 05:26   #38
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Re: Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

Those posters who are showing interest in wrapping a laptop in plastic or clear envelops should consider that most require free air circulation in operation, to dissipate heat. If you cook a laptop it will not last.

SSD drives are statistically more reliable than mechanical spinning drives.

As for the corrosion issues, rusting USB connectors etc. this is the most problematic, as salt air is the enemy and it's difficult to deal with -- even if you never take the machine outside the cabin. Conformal coating (boesheild) works but will attack LCD displays, so keep it away from those components. You can reduce condensation if you put the machine into a padded sealed case immediately after shutting it down (while still warm). Don't leave it sitting on a table or shelf in the open air, especially when dew is forming.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:50   #39
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Re: Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

My boat computer is a six year old Thinkpad. Water and even moisture has not been a problem. Dust is a problem. Every six or eight months I have to take it apart and vacuum everything out. I'm on my third fan. I now carry a spare fan and buy a new one when I have to swap it out.

I've been looking at Mac Air since it has no fan at all.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:25   #40
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Re: Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

Kept inside laptops will be fine. I had an old laptop on the research boat that was there for 8 years. If you are considering bringing it outside you want a ruggedized and waterproof laptop. You can't put laptops in plastic bags while they are running because they then have no way of dissipating heat. High heat will cause a laptop to shut down if not destroy it. Intel processors will throttle back first and then shut down when they reach specific temperature thresholds.
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Old 02-12-2012, 19:05   #41
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Re: Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

Thanks all. We are leaning toward buying a Macbook Air because it is light enough to tote around the world and has a solid state drive. We also like the functionality of the new Macs. We will also be buying a waterproof, padded case for it and plan on it spending most of its time in there when not in use. The discussion has been helpful.

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Old 02-12-2012, 19:16   #42
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Re: Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

Make sure your laptop is sandwiched in a plush 100% cotton towel. The thicker the towel, the more absorbency you will get. Have a spare towel, just in case there's an accident. These towels should only be used for the laptop's protection.
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