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Old 16-11-2012, 12:33   #1
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Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Hi,
I'm in the process of releasing FreeBoard as open source. Its provides marine instruments via web browser to PC's, tablets, and smart phones, over wifi.

Freeboard uses cheap commodity hardware and interfaces to NMEA and physical hardware like anemometers.

Please have a look, I welcome your feedback.

You can see it at Freeboard [MeshCMS]

Robert
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Old 16-11-2012, 13:12   #2
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

So this is a set of instruments, along with a web/display center that can display similar information from other NMEA instruments?
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Old 16-11-2012, 13:44   #3
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

The traditional way:
Buy brandname wind instruments, log, etc and fit to boat. Buy chartplotter and charts and fit to boat. Have one set of dials and a screen fixed to the helm. Go to the nav station...oh sad...no instruments.

Freeboard way:
Fit Freeboard in you boat.
Use a PC. tablet or smart phone to connect over wireless to Freeboard, and see virtual instruments and a chartplotter in the web browser. Take the tablet to the helm, or nav station, or whereever you want. Or use several at once. Obviously you need to think about waterproofing etc on the helm:-)

Rob
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Old 16-11-2012, 13:52   #4
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Raymatheon, whatever they are called this week, has already gone the new route with WiFi netoworked heads and displays.

The question with any open-sourced solution is the quality of the components, i.e. how rugged and reliable and expensive the instruments will all be, as well as how well the integration is done (the software) and the display.

And of course how nicely the kids all play in the same sandbox, or if they like to spit and toss sand, the NMEA2000 way.<G>
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Old 16-11-2012, 14:12   #5
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Quality and reliability are important. The good news is that FreeBoard uses well known commodity hardware, and the hardware is very cheap, <$50-100 per item. So you can actually afford spares for a decent voyage!

The user display is just your favourite laptop/tablet/smartphone. There are no physical instruments as such.

The software and integration will be judged by the users in due course I guess. At least the source is available, so no lock in.

Rob
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Old 16-11-2012, 15:52   #6
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Always nice to see new ideas and approaches come to the boating community. :Thumb

Don
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Old 16-11-2012, 17:10   #7
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Well done, Motu42!! Excellent idea.
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Old 17-11-2012, 15:10   #8
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Well, an interesting first day!

About 50 people tried the demo during the day, so the little Raspberry Pi got a thrashing. It was unresponsive this morning (not dead, just not talking!). Logs showed syn flooding errors, so a comms problem, possibly a hack attempt.

If you can take 50 users on your boat, you can probably afford two anyway!

Ive updated configs now and it should be back shortly. Lets see what another day brings.
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Old 18-11-2012, 16:43   #9
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Ive released a new version of Freeboard today at Freeboard [MeshCMS]

* First page is now a menu, with screen choices
* Lots more screens, mainly subsets of the full floating screen
* Toolbar down the bottom.
* Help screens - with minimal content for now!

Note: When you measure on the chart, the distance shows in the extreme lower right of the toolbar. Not proving to be a good place :-(

Enjoy, and please give feedback, it helps to know what users think - good or bad!

Robert
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Old 13-02-2013, 14:14   #10
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

The project is finally bedded in at github! http://github.com/rob42
Ive done a lot of work over the last 2 months, and its developing well. Its stable, and quite useable now, with waypoints, tracks, wind and log etc. Still a lot to do, particularly a simple way to install and setup.
Comments welcome
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Old 17-02-2013, 19:58   #11
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Successfully imported US NOAA free raster charts today!
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Old 04-05-2013, 22:39   #12
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Been quite busy with work so not much time of Freeboard lately, however I have just uploaded mods to output NMEA data over wifi or ethernet.

Basically FreeBoard now outputs a stream of NMEA strings (one per line) over TCPIP port 5555. (Freeboard also acts as a NMEA multiplexor.)

This allows OpenCPN or similar to listen to that port over Wifi (or ethernet) and receive NMEA data.
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Old 28-11-2013, 19:31   #13
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

We are always fighting flat batteries on our boat. Can you say how much is the power consumption of an arduino/raspi/hub/wifi setup running freeboard? Your software looks like a fun way to play with the raspberry pi and the boat at the same time!

Thanks
Peter
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Old 28-11-2013, 20:34   #14
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Re: Open source FreeBoard nav instruments

Nibj,

Running the full set (RPi, Arduino Mega, ArduIMU, GPS, WiFi, hub, anemometer, etc) I measured 0.4A at 12V. That was measured going into the USB power supply for the hub, which was runnning everything else. eg its using about 6W max.

If you were after very low consumption there are some power saving options for RPi and Arduino which I havent tried, and its possible to only run the Arduino at night on anchor/wind watch. That assumes you attach a beeper to the arduino so it can alert you. That would take consumption down to 25% or less.
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