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Old 24-04-2013, 09:14   #1
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Navigation PC

First time for me posting here, but there has to be a first time.

I'm in the process building a navigation computer/media system on my dad's and mum's to be build 40 foot motor yacht.

Im quite experienced with connecting all sorts of navigation equipment to computers and using loads of different navigational software (ECDIS) so that will be not an issue.

My plan:

-Intel NUC with a 128 gb ssd and 4 GB (or 8GB) ram as computer. Running Windows 7 (Software for navigation is just better supported under Windows then Mac) specs

-A 10.4 inch touch input daylight readable 1000nits HDMI display in the wheel stand. ( I think this a real beauty and affordable read here the specs)

-TV in the salon connected via HDMI to the Intel NUC (just a normal HD TV with hdmi)

-GPS and AIS input in the Intel NUC nmea in a ShipModul lite multiplexer. specs

-DSC VHF connected to the Multiplexer out.

Network:

-UBNT Nanostation M2 for WiFi connection in marina's specs

-Gigabit switch and AP for connection of iPad's, iPhone, MacBooks

Most of all stuff is pretty well thought off and I'm sure that it will work just fine.

The only thing I'm not quite sure about is the Intel NUC. The specs are just great, low power consumption, high performance 2x hdmi ethernet port. SSD so vibration should not be a problem.

But I'd like to hear from people if they have used the Intel NUC or people can point me to alternative PC's which would do this job fine too? Or just share your experience? I'm looking if I can build a 24V power supply for this baby.

Also if people are looking for a powerful chartplotter alternative which is also very usable as a board PC I'm quite happy to help out!
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Old 24-04-2013, 17:31   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeroenimo View Post
First time for me posting here, but there has to be a first time.

I'm in the process building a navigation computer/media system on my dad's and mum's to be build 40 foot motor yacht.

Im quite experienced with connecting all sorts of navigation equipment to computers and using loads of different navigational software (ECDIS) so that will be not an issue.

My plan:
-A 10.4 inch touch input daylight readable 1000nits HDMI display in the wheel stand. ( I think this a real beauty and affordable read here the specs)
Sounds like solid plan overall. A few questions crossed my mind:

Is the display water/salt proof? (if i understand correctly it will be topsides though I guess less of an issue with a motor yacht)

Also, are you installing long distance comms? (for weather)

Any autopilot?
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Old 24-04-2013, 20:30   #3
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Something else to consider...how much do all these toys draw?

Also how will all this be powered? Going through inverters and power supplies can result in a lot of energy loss (do the math and you may be shocked. And some small power supplies are very inneficient). The more you can drive directly from 12V or at least direct DC, the more efficient.
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Old 24-04-2013, 23:25   #4
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Re: Navigation PC

There are a number of commercial low powered PCs available. Most of them draw about 1a at 12v, which is less your average tablet when it's charging, though more than it actually takes to run (eg if you keep it plugged in full time). The power usage I'm talking about is without a display, which you can do for another 6-10 watts.

Here are a couple:
- Low Power PC | Solar 2 Africa|Aleutia
- The Impossibly Small, Quiet, Fanless, Ultra Low Power PC | Tiny Green PC

Display example: http://store.tinygreenpc.com/8-hdmi-...n-monitor.html
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Old 25-04-2013, 11:33   #5
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Re: Navigation PC

I built one using an
Intel D510MO Atom Motherboard, tiny bit sluggish with opencpn but not enough to be a problem so the NUC would be very fast. Power I used one of these..
Mini-ITX M2 ATX Power PSU 12V Car PC DC-DC 160W 8V-28V | eBay

Big advantage of the motherboard is that there are 2 x com ports for AIS & GPS inputs. i haven't used the multiplexer you linked to but have never had a happy time with USB/Com adapters, and never had a hitch with dedicated com ports.

If power is an issue then for media the Raspberry Pi might be worth having a look at, works fine using Raspbmc, draws under 0.5A on 12v.
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Old 25-04-2013, 12:04   #6
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Re: Navigation PC

A couple of comments:

1. A little off topic, and the point is hotly debated, but I will still not miss the opportunity to say that you need a real chart plotter/radar display in addition to the PC.

2. I like your display ideas, which are similar to mine -- 23" monitor on a stalk at the nav table, and 32" HDMI tv on the saloon bulkhead. I will show all kinds of navigation information on the TV (which is capable of split screens), so that you can keep an eye on things while messing around the salon, or cooking. I can also show imagery from a PTZ night vision camera on the mast -- simultaneously with navigation information. So crew off watch below will have very good information about what is going on, and can meaningfully support crew on watch in the cockpit.

3. The easiest computer installation by far is a laptop, which is designed for low power operation out of the box. I have a Sony Z something with a docking station. The docking station is permanently installed in my instrument panel and hardwired for power with a 24v power supply. So all I have to do is connect the docking station cable and throw the laptop in the laptop drawer in my nav table. Operate the computer with a wireless keyboard and mouse. It is much, much simpler to install than some kind of car/marine computer, and is very well suited to purpose -- powerful enough but very low power draw. Plus you just take it with you when you leave instead of having to transfer files, etc. When it gets obsolete, it is simple to change out. In my opinion, by far the best boat computer.
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Old 25-04-2013, 13:05   #7
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Re: Navigation PC

-1 on the need for a chartplotter :-)

+1 on a laptop being a good option.

Also, you might consider a Linux operating system. I've used one for three or four years. It is more robust than Windows when you're running chartplotting software. It also is pretty immune to viruses and other nasties that people seem to pick up while cruising. OpenCPN chartplotting software works great.
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Old 25-04-2013, 14:16   #8
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Re: Navigation PC

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Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
-1 on the need for a chartplotter :-)

+1 on a laptop being a good option.

Also, you might consider a Linux operating system. I've used one for three or four years. It is more robust than Windows when you're running chartplotting software. It also is pretty immune to viruses and other nasties that people seem to pick up while cruising. OpenCPN chartplotting software works great.


Laptop is certainly easy but I don't regret going to the bother of installing a mini itx. Gets the chart table back and no more usb/com port hassles.
Drop box solves any file sharing stuff, wifi is almost everywhere so usually keeps in sync.
Linux is certainly stable but dual boot with XP is also easy, there always seem to be one or two progs you want which Linux can't provide.
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Old 27-04-2013, 06:14   #9
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Re: Navigation PC

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Originally Posted by galacticair View Post
Sounds like solid plan overall. A few questions crossed my mind:

Is the display water/salt proof? (if i understand correctly it will be topsides though I guess less of an issue with a motor yacht)

Also, are you installing long distance comms? (for weather)

Any autopilot?
Does not need to be (salt)waterproof, the display is inside the ship.

No plans for long distance comms, I looked at the Airmar 150WX which seems like an awesome product, but still quite expensive for our budget system. This we can always add later if we wanted to.
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Old 27-04-2013, 06:15   #10
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Re: Navigation PC

Second issue I have ran into:

Since there is an DSC GMDSS VHF on board I might as well get a the GPS connected to the system. Now the issue: The AIS will put out its AIS data including the ships position, but that will be understood by chart plotting software, but I'm pretty sure that the DSC GMDSS VHF will not understand AIS nmea 0183 data.

My plan for the secondary GPS is this:

I have ordered a rs232 serial GPS GlobalSat BR-355 (which is dirt cheap IMHO) and I'm going to connect this to the multiplexer so The navigation computer will receive both AIS and GPS data, and the multiplexer out will send the GPS nmea 0183 to the VHF so it can keep its position up to date, even when the computer is off.
My idea is to connect the Ps2 cable and open it, carefully measure the pin layout and connect this to one of the multiplexer in ports. Then connect 5V from a USB port to get power to the mini GPS.
Anyone of you people have done this before?

It would make a very nice failover system. And we will still be on the cheap!
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Old 27-04-2013, 06:29   #11
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Re: Navigation PC

And thanks for all your input!

@Tommy0 The Africa one does not give me a price, and the green PC' are a LOT more expensive the the intel NUC when you compare specs.

@Tia Bu: My experience with Linux is quite extensive, and that made me decide for Windows 7.
Windows 7 is very stable IMHO (this coming from a hardcore Mac OSX user with loads of linux experience) and the inland waters chartplotter software we use is windows only, and is so good that Linux is not an option.
It has to be a KISS system for my parents, not a tinkering system for me!

@Dockhead: I choose that screen because it is specially for vehicles and other mobile applications that is specially made to be able to overcome strong sunlight glare and also is "dimmable" to a very low night vision still readable level. And a laptop would not be my choice, I have all the room for a brand spanking new build in the dashboard system, why would I bother even looking at a laptop ;-)
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Old 28-04-2013, 01:38   #12
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[QUOTE="jeroenimo;1219100"]First time for me posting here, but there has to be a first time.

I have navigated from the Carribean to the Phillipines using a 12V gateway computer no chart plotter. After over10 years it finally needed replacement. I built a mini itx based 12v car computer running windows7 and a 17in usb powered monitor. Very low power consumption, with daughterboard for the itx motherboard I have 4 comports. I also use a multiplexer so no problem with serial data. I also run bluetooth and waiting for Opencpn for android for tablet in the cockpit when necessary. I must say that rarely do I find a real need for chart display in the cockpit but have linked a small netbook for entering some ports.
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