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Old 11-09-2004, 11:06   #1
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laptop gps

Hi-all
Dose anyone here use their laptop for there gps, The one that the antenna hooks up to the computer. If so how do you like it?
Cheers
Dustin
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Old 12-09-2004, 04:23   #2
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My wife has an HP IPaq with a Navman GPS. It's a backup on our boat. It requires 12 volt to run more tha a few hours. It's got a nice small color screen so it is really a mini chart plotter.

Since we had the IPaq to start with it was not very expensive since my PC software can upload charts to it.

Normally I use a fixed mounted GPS with a serial cable to the laptop I used to use for work. I also run charting software on it and can upload to the GPS. It does real time display and other stuff too. It is not at the helm though.

In the end the quality of the GPS is less of an issue these days. Most all of them use a single chip so that leaves the antenna. Persoanlly to do it over I would get a fixed GPS with a USB interface plus a fixed mounted antenna and use that on the computer then have a small hand held GPS as a backup.

Computers on the water are a problem I think unless you pay big money for a marinized computer. Keeping the GPS out of the computer seems more reliable in that case. I can use the computer for lots of cool stuff, but once I load way points to the GPS I don't have to have it any more. I like that better<g>.

The IPaq is actually pretty cute but it is not marinized at all. It's more for fun than serious use.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:15   #3
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earthmate

I think you are talking about the earthmate. It's a gps that has bo display, just the basic gps hardware. It connects to your pc or laptop via usb cable. They're all over e-bay for about $100.00. I've seen reviews giving them pretty good ratings, but I bet you could get some testimonials from sailing groups/bulletin boards. I think it's a great sounding idea. I was thinking of using as an onboard gps but it would need some sort of transparent (plexiglass) cover as it needs protection from the elements. Good Luck
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:55   #4
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I have one of those. I also have a Garmin 76. Both work great with Offshore Navigator software and charts.
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:29   #5
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There is a lot of discussion about the use of a laptop or a dedicated plotter. . IMHO both are of use for different things:

The laptop provides a much larger display (especially if you have it set up to a large LCD panel for DVDs) and is thus much better for planning . However, the laptop is vulnerable to banging around and to salt water, it can realistically only be used below, and it is greedy for power.
The plotter can be waterproof, and thus is very useful sited where the helm can see it (especially if short handed in pilotage waters). It is miserly in its use of power, but has a relatively small display that makes planning more difficult.

If you can afford it, have both. I reckon the plotter is the greatest device I have ever bought for my boat, but then I frequently go out on my own or at least short handed.
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Old 12-09-2004, 12:42   #6
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without doing my reasearch, Do most gps systems have the option of connecting to a pc, or is that just the really exspencive ones?
cheers
dustin
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Old 12-09-2004, 13:53   #7
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Most GPS have a data out cable, which then needs to be wired into a serial connector for connection to the laptop, or you can get a dedicated aerial. Most programmes that use the GPS are expecting the NMEA to be supplied via COMM 1,2,3, or 4(i.e. from the serial port) The problem with modern laptops is that they dont have a serial port only a USB one. Now you can get a USB to serial converter, but the problem then is that the laptop allocates a much higher Comm Port number. The easiest solution (and one that gives you additional redundancy) is to get a dedicated aerial for the laptop that is designed to use the USB connector (e.g. a USB GPS Mouse ) This will interface with your programmes and provide the functionality you need (You can also use it in your car with Autoroute - I was today!)
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Old 14-12-2004, 09:09   #8
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USB GPS

I have a dedicated color chartplotter for the helm, which uses CMAP chips. However, there are times when you really want the laptop with a charting program like Captain (or similar) and the best raster chart you can get--at the helm. Like when running a reef in the Caribbean or whereever. Sometimes the CMAP is off. At those times, the laptop with attached GPS is ideal.
I have the little GPS's that look like a miniature mouse, mentioned previously. They are WAAP enabled and work just great. USB or serial connection--I use USB because my laptop has USB input instead of serial. I got mine for about $80 on Ebay from China. Arrived in just a few days by mail. Nice software to interface with it and monitor performance, since the GPS has no display. I liked the first one so much I bought a second as a spare. To use it, I just stick the GPS antenna somewhere it can see the sky. It generally can shoot through a bimini, or be stuck through a port.
I use it mostly when trying to enter or leave a port. So, conditions are generally not that boistrous. We also have a full enclosure bimini, so we do not get spray or rain into the cockpit. So I occasionally pull the laptop into the cockpit, attach the GPS, "throw" the GPS through the bimini on deck, use a charting program to help navigate into a new port or through some tricky navigation.
I would strongly recommend this $80 GPS. I have tons of other GPS's, both handheld and fixed, (Garmin 76, 162, RM 530, etc) and they do interface to the PC, but the convenience and ease of use of the mouse-type GPS is far greater, and it gives an excellent backup for low cost.
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Old 15-12-2004, 06:38   #9
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I agree with both Talbot & MLC101. I have that "mouse" antenna with the USB and run the Captain charts and Fugawi moving map software. Mine is a trawler with a high and dry flybridge so moisture and power weren't a problem. That little $30.00 ebay GPS got me from lake MIchigan south. Plus it was just another fun toy to help pass the time.

A word of caution: Sometimes it showed that I was sailing on shore when I could clearly see water on both sides. I think that may have been due to some variations in the calibration of the charts because when it would automatically advance to the next chart, it would self correct. I have 3 GPS's and they all agreed on my location. When I would check my location manually the old fashioned way - I would generally agree that, yes indeed, I was still in the river. (Once it was just to shallow but technically I WAS still in the river and the GPS WAS accurate in it's report that I WAS no longer moving). That data is however, unreliable because I only ran one such test. Mostly I found it reassuring that it kept me from losing my place on the paper charts as we sometimes tend to do after a few hours. There is still no substitute for good old paper chart backups.
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Old 04-04-2006, 22:11   #10
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Question USB GPS's and CMAP etc

Hi there,

I am trying to work out if it is technically possible to get one of these USB GPS's to work with Maxsea or C-Map. The C-Map and Maxsea work fine with a "normal" GPs via a serial port, any ideas? Email appreciated. david.tuff@bigpond.com

Regards,
David.
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Old 05-04-2006, 04:02   #11
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Dont know about maxsea, but I use my usb/GPS/mouse with C Map ECS and a number of other programmes. All seem to have a config file that allows you to nominate the port that has the GPS. you just need to establish which one it is, then normally it is easier to connect than a serial system. Dont forget (like I did) that the first programme to address the GPS will lock the port until that programme is shut down - so if you are using a small prog to establish which port is in use, your plotter will not see the GPS until you shut the other programme down!
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Old 05-04-2006, 18:21   #12
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I have the GMouse USB GPS BU-353 (Waterproof, 20 Channel SiRF III, WAAS). It seems to work very well, but I use it with MacENC on the Macintosh. Gave up PCs years ago.

Price? $87 - not too bad.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:16   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssullivan
I have the GMouse USB GPS BU-353 (Waterproof, 20 Channel SiRF III, WAAS). It seems to work very well, but I use it with MacENC on the Macintosh. Gave up PCs years ago.

Price? $87 - not too bad.
Where did you mount it? I'm wondering if inside the cabin works, or did you need to locate it outside?
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:29   #14
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my USB/GPS/Mouse was inside the cabin (on top of the VHF radio) and worked fine. My other GPS aerials are inside the wheelhouse and also dont seem to have a problem.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:31   #15
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There is no reason why you cant try the receiver in situ, and if it neeeds to be moved, then use a USB extender cable. However dont mount the receiver to close to the compass, as most gps/mouse have a powerful magnet in them!
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