Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 29-11-2012, 15:14   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Missoula, Montana
Boat: Custom 26
Posts: 4
Laptop Durability in Marine Environment

Hi all,

We are currently looking to buy a laptop for the next couple years of cruising and are looking for any advice people have on the durability and maintenance of laptops (mac or pc). Taking into account the fact that the laptop would be carefully protected from splash or immersion, of particular interest would be knowledge of corrosion problems, effectiveness of warranties, or other issues that affect computers in the humid, salty environments. Thank you.
__________________

__________________
horizonline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 15:37   #2
Moderator
 
Seaworthy Lass's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2008
Boat: Aluminium cutter rigged sloop
Posts: 12,819
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Haven't had any problems with any laptops during 5+ years of full time cruising.
They have never been sprayed with salt, but have been used in the cockpit at anchor. In the cabin they are always placed on non skid stuff (sold by chandleries and carpet places), as even in quiet anchorages unexpected wakes can send things sliding. Some hard drives don't like to be jolted while in use, so take this into account as well.
__________________

__________________
"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." Isak Dinesen
"To me the simple act of tying a knot is an adventure in unlimited space." Clifford Ashley
Seaworthy Lass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 15:45   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Waiheke Island
Boat: Searunner 37 Aroha
Posts: 390
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Hi horizonline
I reckon the i pad is better because it has better water proof cases and is proven to be more dependable to other pads or touchscreens or laptops which are less reliable.
Laptops are multi functional but are so easily salt effected.
I have gone through 3 laptops and now have reliability with a Garmin Chart plotter.
when you really need a position in dire straights you gotta have the best.
Other wise you might loose your boat or you life.
Laptops are good back up and multi functional
All good brand laptops will do the job. Newer the better
__________________
rossad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 15:49   #4
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

I guessed a laptop would last 2 years on a boat cruising when only in the nav station.

I was right...

By the end of 2 years the corrosion in the USB ports and HDMi etc ports was beginning to creat connection problems.... You gotta remember that there's lots of USB hookups with modems, AIS, mouses, cameras etc.... Oh and the million times it gets stuffed into a backpack, into the dinghy for a ride to a bar with beer sodden tables for wifi!

At the 2 year mark I was plugging it into the 12 volt system... And did it incorrectly... I normally plug the computer end in first then the 12 volt end, but I did it the other way around and missed the hole and shorted the mother board. So it wasn't really a boat error, but it kinda was too, if you know what I mean.

Some people go with tough book style very expensive laptops, but I prefer the cheap ones with good batteries....
But I buy on the knowledge it will last about 2 years.

The big one I have now is... Well, it's not on the way out, but.... Well, touch wood.... I wouldn't mind buying a small $400 back up.

Ad I have an iPad too... Stupid kids toy.... But great battery life.


So 2 years! Buy accordingly!


Mark
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 16:00   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Somewhere in the South Pacific
Boat: 1984 CS 36
Posts: 238
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Our laptops have been working after 2 years out. That said, if you're worried about it, and have money to spend, overkill is available:

Toughbook computers, fully rugged, shock proof laptop, outdoors computer, rugged tablet, rugged notebook reviews
kb79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 16:02   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

In my experience Mark is about right for fulltime use onboard--two years or so. In the future I will try to have several onboard of the same type, or very similar, in order to be able to either switch computers or cannibalize parts. I had two hard drives go and a motherboard on an HP and an Apple when down in the Caribbean. A generic PC laptop is much easier to get fixed, upgraded, software for, etc. in out of the way places in the world--Apples not so much. I'm thinking solid state memory is the way to go, as the hard drives do fail when used underway.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 16:07   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Diego
Boat: Pearson 39-2 "Sea Story"
Posts: 1,109
I think one of the hardest decisions for us is going to be whether to go all Mac or all PC so that we can share bits.
__________________
SV Sea Story adventures
Greenhand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 16:11   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Very tough to get Apple parts in many places, so you have to order and shipping is usually very expensive and iffy in any place it is hard to get the parts in the first place. On the other hand, if they have electricity there is someone around who can work on PCs and has parts. Learned that the hard way. Also, apples tend to be built so they are very hard to repair yourself. Get a big clunky laptop that you can take apart with screw drivers.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 16:26   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,365
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

I would focus on battery cost (they seem to go fast on a boat for some reason) and getting a water tight case to store it in when not using it. Should help prevent the corrosion issues vs just sitting on the nav station all the time, or going ashore with a moist environment on the dingy ride.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 16:35   #10
Registered User
 
klubko's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: aboard, Borneo
Boat: Hallberg-Rassy 31 Monsun, 30'9"
Posts: 97
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Two years as others say. Three year warranty really pays off (at least it did for me several times, I always buy Thinkpads). The best thing that can happen to you is corroded USB ports, because that requires replacing the whole mother board.
Buy cheap and light unless you require large screen, install 64bit Windows (better battery life, Mac service problematic at many places as others pointed out). Get compressed air cleaner to get rid of the moisture keeping dust.
Get some water proof bag for transport in a dinghy. Three ziplocks or just three layers of plastic bags are great too.
__________________
Petr & Jana
s/y Janna, http://www.klubko.net
klubko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 16:39   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Use a netbook to take ashore, and leave the big laptop on the boat. No need to carry your main navigation computer around with you in the dink.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 18:03   #12
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,576
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

I agree with laptop aboard/netbook ashore. You don't need computing power ashore, and the smaller size is less obviously something worth stealing. Also, they cost about $300 each, even tricked out.

I already run OpenCPN on my Asus eeePC and expect I will just bring a few of the latest version when we leave and ghost a couple and seal them in bags with silica gel.
__________________
Can't sleep? Read www.alchemy2009.blogspot.com for fast relief. Can't read? Avoid www.volumesofsalt.blogspot.com, because it's just personal reviews of sea books.
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-2012, 23:23   #13
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,751
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post
I think one of the hardest decisions for us is going to be whether to go all Mac or all PC so that we can share bits.
Data sharing between Mac and PC is generally not a problem these days. I'm not an Apple person, but do use an IPad. For computing, all PC.

I have had problems with condensation inside laptops kept onboard in winter. Went away when the air got dryer. Otherwise never a problem.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2012, 05:32   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Laptop durability in marine environment

Wait! Who was that in post #4?

My Macbook pro motherboard just failed after 5 years. It was rode hard and put away wet during its life. Michele's Macbook pro is still in perfect shape at 6 years.

Opening up my Mac to have a look see, I noticed that all the circuit boards have conformal coatings and are in perfect shape (other than the motherboard is dead as a doornail).

Other than something as catastrophic as a motherboard, Mac standard parts are the same as PC standard parts - drives, memory, bluetooth modules, wireless modules, peripherals etc. There is nothing at all special or rare about most Mac "parts". There is no problem getting those anywhere computer stuff is sold. More model-specific parts, like the motherboard and display, are more difficult to replace, but that is also true for PC's too (PC's are not generic - if you have a HP, you will need to find an HP dealer for parts and hope he has parts for your specific model). Most likely, you will also be waiting as the part is shipped in at extra cost. Besides, once you blow something like a motherboard or display, you are 3/4 of the cost into a new computer.

Having to use a big, clunky heavy laptop out of the 90's just out of fear of needing to cut into it is a non-starter for me.

Software is also a red herring. Pretty much all software is available for purchase and download off the internet. A lot of software is sold only in this manner.

While PC and Mac cannot share software applications (perhaps that was the concern?), there is absolutely no problem sharing data, pictures, movies, etc. Most common software itself comes in both flavors. If the sharing concern was add-on hardware, any peripheral will work with both.

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2012, 05:41   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Diego
Boat: Pearson 39-2 "Sea Story"
Posts: 1,109
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.
__________________

__________________
SV Sea Story adventures
Greenhand is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
environment, laptop, marine

Thread Tools
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
Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio Capt.Don Marine Electronics 48 16-01-2014 08:52
Is this a marine SSB or ham radio Billlion Marine Electronics 21 02-10-2012 17:36
Satphone & HF for Ocean Crossings? Sabbatical II Marine Electronics 106 08-07-2012 01:43
GRIB Weather Mark Ward OpenCPN 26 12-02-2012 22:33
Vendor Space Still Available: Florida Marine Flea Market and Seafood Festival LarryBu Commercial Posts 0 22-08-2011 08:03



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:01.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.