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Old 28-04-2010, 14:57   #31
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LED monitor?

Is anyone finding a LED TV / monitor that runs on 12 volts? It seems that this would be a great solution with the lower power usage.

I did a search on DC-DC ATX PSUs and found a place that has most of the stuff you would need to build your own. Another plus with these systems is that you can build them with serial ports.
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Old 28-04-2010, 15:03   #32
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We got two of these
ITRONIX IX260+ GoBook III RUGGED LAPTOP TOUCHSCREEN GPS - Bay Liquidation Inc.

We have SeaClear and Open CPN loaded on them plus some other stuff. We got them on eBay for a little less than the price shown on the website. WE bought the docking stations and have those permanently attached to the flybridge helm station and the inside helm to keep the laptops stable while underway. The laptops themselves can be dismounted from the docking stations and can be taken ashore in the dinghy or wherever. They have internal GPS already installed. Supposedly, they can withstand rain and cold, etc. WE are very happy with them so far.
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Old 28-04-2010, 19:42   #33
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There's no magic in building it yourself. If you are using less power, you are either running fewer systems or using a lower power CPU. Odds are there's a lower-power laptop optimized to do the same thing. Build it yourself with no expensive case and bulkier generic parts, and sure, you can lower the cost again. But for the average SAILOR that also means no warranty, no service, no support. All of which might be worth the extra hundred bucks. And no operating system. (Which costs less than half of whatever you paid, when a manufacturer buys it and bundles it.)
Actually I could buy a laptop for less than what it will cost to build the whole computer system, but for us that isn't the point. This one will run the same chip set as in the ASUS Eee, so it has the same computing power, which isn't as powerful as most other laptops, but I don't see where that is needed for what we are doing. What we gain and is also the reason an Eee will run so long on batteries is that this chip set is very low power. Is this setup for everyone?? Absolutely not and I'm not saying that it is. I'm just putting an alternative out there for anyone who might want to think about it. It will do more than most laptops that I'm aware of since it can be configured with serial ports and not have to use USB/serial adapters.

It has 12 volt power and low wattage like the Eee, but a lot more features than an Eee. If I wanted a low power laptop it would be the Eee.

It is more compact than a laptop and if you don't want to build one yourself I gave the link to a supplier that will build one and "support it" just as he does for his long distance WiFi solutions.

You can also build a computer with more power if you feel you need it that will still use considerably less electricity than the typical laptop.....

How to build a plug 'n play 12 volt mini computer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinkerer007 View Post
Is anyone finding a LED TV / monitor that runs on 12 volts? It seems that this would be a great solution with the lower power usage.

I did a search on DC-DC ATX PSUs and found a place that has most of the stuff you would need to build your own. Another plus with these systems is that you can build them with serial ports.
We got our 12 volt 10 inch monitor that uses less than 10 watts from here....

new 10.4 Desktop TFT LCD Monitor w Touch Screen + VGA

...it won't work in the cockpit in direct sun, but we will have it mounted just inside the cabin where I can see it from the cockpit. Of course we only have a little sailboat so someones else results will vary. We are happy with it and the quality of the picture...



If you haven't found them here is a good place for power supplies and a lot of other items.....

small PC ATX power supplies with 12V or 6-24V input

.....and I'll sooner or later have a complete listing of parts and where I got them on my site.

Good luck,

Sum
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Old 28-04-2010, 20:56   #34
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Another vote here for the fully rugerized Panasonic Toughbooks. Although a new CF-30 will set you back over $3k, a P4 model CF-29 can be had used in good shape for about $500. If you want smaller, the CF-18 is a good choice at about the same price. I've had my CF29 for about four years now and it is bulletproof. All the bells and whistles of newer laptops are useless when the thing packs up from the harsh marine envirionment. Oh, and I'd always budget and extra $100 for a Pelican case to store it in.
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Old 29-04-2010, 06:48   #35
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The problem with Toughbooks is the expense added to the fact that Panasonic are very conservative with component specs. This means that the unit soon becomes slow and outdated when running the latest processor hungry programs. I know I had one for five years - for the same price I could have bought a state of the art new laptop every couple of years.

For the record now on my second Acer. The first one (TravelMate 8600LMi) is still in everyday use by my partner having previously been used on my sailboat for three years and 15,000nm including Atlantic crossing. Despite being six years old and only having single core processor it's now running Windows 7 very smoothly. I haven't found a single program that can't be made to run on this OS yet.

My ideal future laptop for use on board boat would need as a minimum:

15" screen with 1680 x 1050 WSXGA display from dedicated graphics card
Low power but fast dual core processor - maybe Intel i7-620M - 2 x 2.66Ghz for 35 watts
4MB DDR3 RAM on 1066Mhz bus
Large battery - maybe 6 cell 5200ma/h
Large partitioned hard drive ideally solid state >= 250GB
At least three USB 2.0 ports
WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth adaptors
Built-in webcam & microphone
DMI digital video output
Option for custom expansion box/dock so connections to boat systems remain whilst laptop is removed for use ashore.
Multi-type memory card read/writer
Blue Ray disc drive with at least DVD/CD write capabilities.
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Old 29-04-2010, 07:54   #36
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The problem with Toughbooks is the expense added to the fact that Panasonic are very conservative with component specs. This means that the unit soon becomes slow and outdated when running the latest processor hungry programs. I know I had one for five years - for the same price I could have bought a state of the art new laptop every couple of years.
The Acer is a fine machine representing good value for the money, yet the fact remains that the "sea is a harsh mistress" and in my experience she has a particular distaste of all things electronic - especially consumer grade electronics. The bottom line is that whatever computer is chosen for a boat, the limitations of each brand must be respected and performance weighed against reliability. Toughbooks are big, heavy, inferior in performance and expensive. Yet in the places many of us travel - or plan to travel - buying a new laptop and recovering all the data on a dead one, is not an option ever year or two.
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Old 29-04-2010, 08:57   #37
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Originally Posted by rover88 View Post
The Acer is a fine machine representing good value for the money, yet the fact remains that the "sea is a harsh mistress" and in my experience she has a particular distaste of all things electronic - especially consumer grade electronics. The bottom line is that whatever computer is chosen for a boat, the limitations of each brand must be respected and performance weighed against reliability. Toughbooks are big, heavy, inferior in performance and expensive. Yet in the places many of us travel - or plan to travel - buying a new laptop and recovering all the data on a dead one, is not an option ever year or two.
I agree with your comments but was relating my own experience with several laptops. The Toughbooks only advantage was when I spilt beer on the keyboard. The Toughbook survived, the Acer required new keyboard although it still worked minus a couple of keys, also the events happened ashore.

Data transfer and recovery is not the daunting experience most people think. Windows 7 installs on a modern machine in less than 30 minutes. Add MS Office & your favourite progs & you are almost back to normal on a new machine within a couple of hours. Changing your machine regularly keeps you up to speed on OS and program installation.

I regularly copy my whole system partition to one on an external drive (takes about 70 minutes for 50GB). In the event of internal drive failure I simply slip in the external drive which having a bootable copy of my OS instantly gives me a working machine again.

BTW I use Outlook as my main email client as this uses just one folder to contain all email data. I set up the folder on separate partition so I have quick and simple access to backup & restore.
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Old 29-04-2010, 09:07   #38
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" Then buy the best amplified external WiFi antenna system you can afford, preferably 1 watt (1000mW)."
Gotta watch that too. Legal max power in the US, is illegal high power in some other places. There was a small brouhaha in the papers last week when Israel started banning iPads arriving at the airport--because they exceed WiFi power limits and as such trash other WiFi devices and users. (Didn't see specifics about power levels mentioned.)

Somewhere, some clever soul is going to figure out what a Ubiquiti Bullet looks like, and just how much mordida they can collect by asking to ignore them on incoming boats. "Si, you must place all your guns, liquor, money, and WiFi adapters in bonded storage until the morning of your departure." !
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Old 29-04-2010, 09:16   #39
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............Despite being six years old and only having single core processor it's now running Windows 7 very smoothly. I haven't found a single program that can't be made to run on this OS yet..........
Are you or anyone else running SeaClear on Windows 7? I have Vista on two computers and 7 on the latest. I don't like Vista and on the new boat computer was going to put XP, but am considering 7. I think with the Intel® Atom™ Processor N270 the XP might be better (faster).

On the dual core vs. single core there are still some single core processors (AMD Sempron single-core) that will really run fast and usually if you software doesn't support dual core it will run faster on the single core machine.

Thanks,

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Old 29-04-2010, 09:30   #40
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Are you or anyone else running SeaClear on Windows 7? I have Vista on two computers and 7 on the latest. I don't like Vista and on the new boat computer was going to put XP, but am considering 7. I think with the Intel® Atom™ Processor N270 the XP might be better (faster).

On the dual core vs. single core there are still some single core processors (AMD Sempron single-core) that will really run fast and usually if you software doesn't support dual core it will run faster on the single core machine.

Thanks,

Sum
Yes Seaclear runs fine under Windows 7.

Dual core processor allows 64 bit OS to be installed which in turn makes full use of the 4Mb of RAM I have. 32 bit programs in general install & run fine on 64 bit OS. They reside in separate "Program Files (x86)" folder.
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Old 29-04-2010, 09:57   #41
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XP, Vista, and Windows7 are all "just" WindowsNT. Versions 5.1, 6, and 6.1. (That's right, the all-new Windows7 is just a "dot one" fix of Vista.) So what you do when you want to know if any computer, or any program, can run any recent version of NT, is to run the NT Compatibility Test Tool that can be downloaded free from MS, or run from the OS distribution disks. (Which you don't get with a preloaded system.)

The test tool will check every application and all hardware on a computer, inclduing the drivers, to see if they are known to work with the OS that you have installed, or are planning to install. Larger applications and hardware are often submitted to MS for the "HQL", hardware qualification list, and if they pass that test and are listed on it, they generally work very well under a specific OS. But I doubt the guys at SeaClear would want to pay for that testing, like a UL approval test, it COSTS.

Multi-core CPUs can make sense even if your applications are all dumb old "single threaded" ones. Especially with a new OS, like Vista or Win7, which is capable of shutting down unused hardware subsystems (i.e. shut the audio, network, and hard drive when not needed by the navigation app) to conserve power. XP can't do that! Nor will Linux, as far as I know. These OSes will also run your application on "one core" while running anything else--like OS background tasks, drive indexing, antivirus scans, internet browsing or email fetching, on the other core.

If all you really are doing is one task, a single-core CPU is good enough. But these days, there's almost always something else going on in the background. Ever let the computer play tunes while you're at the nav station? Bingo, dual tasking! <G>

Computers are almost as subtly complicated as....sailing!
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Old 29-04-2010, 09:57   #42
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I don't like Vista and on the new boat computer was going to put XP, but am considering 7. ,

Sum
I don't use Seaclear. We got our new laptop (the old one is still fine) with Windows 7 and its quite sensational for me.

Why one would opt for a 10 year old thing for a computer? Technology has changed so much in a decade.
Further I note that XP will be unsuported, either this year for SP2 or a couple of years time for SP3.

Quote:
October 2001Windows XPNT 5.1.2600Extended Support until July 13, 2010 for SP2 and April 8, 2014 for SP3. (RTM and SP1 unsupported).
Microsoft Windows - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The above article does say lots of computers still have XP, but I wonder how many would put it on a new computer?
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Old 29-04-2010, 10:13   #43
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. These OSes will also run your application on "one core" while running anything else--like OS background tasks, drive indexing, antivirus scans, internet browsing or email fetching, on the other core.
Hellosailor,

How do you do that? I would like to dedicate a core to OpenCpn when at sea. Or does that happen automaticaly?

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Old 29-04-2010, 13:15   #44
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You go to the Task Mangler (Control+Shift+Escape) and select the application. Right-click on it and select "Go to the process" which takes you over one to the "Processes" tab and the active process for that application. Then right-click on the process and select "Set Affinity" which should give you a choice showing each CPU/CORE, with a check mark listed in one or more of them.

If everything supports multiple cores, everything should be checked. But you can also, for instance, go to every process that is part of the OS and set it to "core0" and then set your other application to "Core1".

Nav software probably is such a low-intensity task on a modern computer that it makes little to no difference versus letting the system manage it automatically.

Now, if there's a nav package with a professional price out there that I have been afraid to look for....something that does routing based on live feeds of wx information, live recalculations from tide tables, live charting, radar integration, and feedback from performance (roll, tilt, VMG, wave state) on the boat...THAT would probably eat CPU power.

Know of any that are in the clearance aisle? (VBG)
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Old 29-04-2010, 23:02   #45
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Know of any that are in the clearance aisle? (VBG)
Ho, Ho, not a chance!

Thanks for that. I never knew that! Great stuff
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