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Old 31-01-2017, 18:16   #1
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Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

While thinking about some more personal tinkering projects, the same question keeps popping up in my head. What kind of an onboard computer, if any, do people have?

Let me provide some context. I have a personal need, that is introducing more sensors to my boat, from temperature, humidity and pressure sensors to tank monitors, maybe bilge pump monitors etc. I know there are a million ways to do it but that is not the point of this post. I am not a cruiser, in fact a live aboard, so my boat is mostly sitting at the marina with a reliable broadband connection. I already have plenty of electronics on the boat: cable modem, multiple routers, multiple Raspberry Pis, an Intel Edison, a couple of Arduinos here and there, iPhone/iPad, Android phone, computers and probably some other stuff that I forgot. This is partly my job, so I use them for all sorts of different things.

For my DIY projects, Raspberry Pi is my go-to platform. I am thinking of building the sensors on top of Raspberry Pi with some direct connections to GPIO pins. At some point, I want to share what I create (the maker in me) so I want to build something that is re-usable by others.

That brings me to the original question. What do people use onboard? Do any or many people have Raspberry Pis? I know a lot of people run OpenCPN, do you run it on laptop computers or is Raspberry Pi also a preferred platform for it? For those who have Raspberry Pis, do you add stuff to it using GPIO pins, HATs etc or solely use extensions connecting to USB? Again for those who have Raspberry Pis, do you use them as an access point as well or keep an additional access point and connect Raspberry Pi to it via a wired or wireless connection?

Excuse the broadness of the question but this has been in my mind for quite a while now, and I wasn't sure how else to put it
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Old 31-01-2017, 18:53   #2
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

Ive got a pi with opencpn, ssh and vnc installed. With this setup i can replicate the chart plotting function of my Zeus including remote display on a pc or tablet. Performance is a little sluggish, but acceptable. I'll be sticking with the Zeus though bedside it solves the exposed helm water resistance issue. However, I'm in the process of setting up the pi as an ais receiver using a usb radio station reciever. I've also got a usb to serial adapter so i can turn it into a multifunction display that sources it's data from the nmea network. Seems a perfect device for these latter applications.
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Old 31-01-2017, 19:11   #3
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

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Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
That brings me to the original question. What do people use onboard? Do any or many people have Raspberry Pis? I know a lot of people run OpenCPN, do you run it on laptop computers or is Raspberry Pi also a preferred platform for it?
===

OpenCPN on multiple laptops which also display weather data, AIS info, Active Captain data, SSB WEFAX, Gribs, EMAIL, etc.
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Old 31-01-2017, 20:34   #4
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

Thanks. How do you get AIS data to multiple laptops?

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===

OpenCPN on multiple laptops which also display weather data, AIS info, Active Captain data, SSB WEFAX, Gribs, EMAIL, etc.
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Old 31-01-2017, 21:02   #5
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

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Thanks. How do you get AIS data to multiple laptops?
===

Use OpenCPN to broadcast it on the wireless LAN. That makes it accessible anywhere on the boat.
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Old 31-01-2017, 21:58   #6
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

Pi3 is the main nav computer. All the hard work programming has been done for you with openplotter.
Blog | Sailoog

I have ais /gps going in on usb/serial adaptors. Also thermometers on the engine head, exhaust bend and alternator. These are DS18B20 and cost very little, openplotter has a table to set them up then they are turned into nmea and signalk, and sent out along with everything else over wifi as nmea and signalk. Xperia in the cockpit is the norm on passage, running the Opencpn android app getting all the data over wifi from the Pi.

Also have a transistor attached to a gpio pin which control a diesel pump, either pumping into the engine day tank or drip feed heater header tank. This is controlled either by openplotter or node-red.


Node red is becoming a main part of the system, as a display and control, the Pi monitor isn't use so often, mostly a Xperia tablet or the laptop. With Opencpn the different machines can be kept in sync by copying over the navobj.xml files, I use filezilla over wifi on the laptop usually.
The past couple of days excitement have been playing with a esp8266 microprocessor, like, e a little arduino with wifi. This has been measuring battery voltage a spitting it out over wifi, so should be easy to get it straight into openplotter and nmea/signalk. Only costs a few dollars. So far talking to it using node-red.


So programming wise all the hard work has been done for you with openplotter, the latest raspian has node-red already installed which makes it quick and easy to add your own controls and monitoring of pretty much anything going on, in or out of the Pi. Also, the hardware video drivers are coming of age so it's plenty fast enough.

Happy tinkering.
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:06   #7
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
While thinking about some more personal tinkering projects, the same question keeps popping up in my head. What kind of an onboard computer, if any, do people have?

Let me provide some context. I have a personal need, that is introducing more sensors to my boat, from temperature, humidity and pressure sensors to tank monitors, maybe bilge pump monitors etc. I know there are a million ways to do it but that is not the point of this post. I am not a cruiser, in fact a live aboard, so my boat is mostly sitting at the marina with a reliable broadband connection. I already have plenty of electronics on the boat: cable modem, multiple routers, multiple Raspberry Pis, an Intel Edison, a couple of Arduinos here and there, iPhone/iPad, Android phone, computers and probably some other stuff that I forgot. This is partly my job, so I use them for all sorts of different things.

For my DIY projects, Raspberry Pi is my go-to platform. I am thinking of building the sensors on top of Raspberry Pi with some direct connections to GPIO pins. At some point, I want to share what I create (the maker in me) so I want to build something that is re-usable by others.

That brings me to the original question. What do people use onboard? Do any or many people have Raspberry Pis? I know a lot of people run OpenCPN, do you run it on laptop computers or is Raspberry Pi also a preferred platform for it? For those who have Raspberry Pis, do you add stuff to it using GPIO pins, HATs etc or solely use extensions connecting to USB? Again for those who have Raspberry Pis, do you use them as an access point as well or keep an additional access point and connect Raspberry Pi to it via a wired or wireless connection?

Excuse the broadness of the question but this has been in my mind for quite a while now, and I wasn't sure how else to put it
We use a Raspberry Pi3B running Raspbian as the main platform and have everything accessible via browser. This provides us with cameras (inc motion detection), PIR, and a range of sensors (hatch, bilge, voltage, temp/humid/dewpt) - plus email/SMS alerts and the ability to "visit the boat" remotely.

We run sensors using the Arduino Uno rather than adding hats. The Arduino has built-in A-D and they are very cheap We can site the Arduinos pretty much where we want around the boat using Bluetooth comms to talk to the main RPi. We also have relay servers which can be operated remotely via browser or automatically (e.g. PIR triggering light/siren/strobe). For the relay servers we use RPi again and wireless comms back to the main server.

All the software is free and Open Source (and we would love others to contribute !). If you would like a link to the software downloads then please send me a message. Last time I mentioned the site here I got my knuckles rapped because we also sell the software fully installed with the hardware. All the software is available for the boat and also for the Internet server if you want to visit your boat remotely without any recourse to us or our server.

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Old 02-02-2017, 12:54   #8
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

I'm old fashioned running OpenCPN on a Win10 Notebook with touch screen.

I'd love to know more about Raspberry PI and Arduinos etc. Do we have a group/thread on the topic.
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Old 02-02-2017, 20:07   #9
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

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Old 03-02-2017, 07:07   #10
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

I tried for a couple of years with various ARM based boards including Rpi, had some sucess and they were usable, but there were always little unresolvable problems:

.Graphics problems
.sound problems
.printer driver problems
.device driver problems
.programs I wanted to use that were windows only

Every problem would require a lot of research to try and resolve. Some could not be resolved.

When we needed to use Winlink more often, I switched to an x86 based system with win10 (Minix).
I can not beleive how much easier it has made my life.

I still have a Rpi3, and hope to run OpenPlotter on it someday, but don't think it's quite ready yet.
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:23   #11
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

I'm not a geek. I'm adding a small form factor Dell Win10 machine and monitor and a Signal K box to my Ray plotter. I've got a Daisy AIS that I will run to the Signal K instead of the computer. OpenCPN on the PC. Not sexy, but should all work.
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Old 03-02-2017, 10:21   #12
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

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I'd love to know more about Raspberry PI and Arduinos etc. Do we have a group/thread on the topic.
We can make this one that thread ;-) I am thinking of developing a series of utilities and how-to style guides on this over time as (and if) time permits. Help me understand what you be interested in learning and maybe there will be intersections.

I don't prefer to use GUIs on Linux (not to open a religious war here...), so I use Raspberry Pis for their functionality as a sensor platform, hub, network server etc. For me the best GUI is either a phone/tablet app or a Web Page that I can access from my computer of choice, which is mostly a MacBook.
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Old 03-02-2017, 10:26   #13
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

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I'm not a geek. I'm adding a small form factor Dell Win10 machine and monitor and a Signal K box to my Ray plotter. I've got a Daisy AIS that I will run to the Signal K instead of the computer. OpenCPN on the PC. Not sexy, but should all work.
I had a write-up on integrating dAISy or other serial USB AIS receivers to a Signal K network. It might be helpful.
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Old 03-02-2017, 10:34   #14
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

Speaking of which, does anyone use vYacht router or iKommunicate? How common are they?
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:12   #15
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Re: Raspberry Pi or ... for onboard computer

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We can make this one that thread ;-) I am thinking of developing a series of utilities and how-to style guides on this over time as (and if) time permits. Help me understand what you be interested in learning and maybe there will be intersections.

I don't prefer to use GUIs on Linux (not to open a religious war here...), so I use Raspberry Pis for their functionality as a sensor platform, hub, network server etc. For me the best GUI is either a phone/tablet app or a Web Page that I can access from my computer of choice, which is mostly a MacBook.
Hi Tenedos - would be happy to contribute to, or to contribute separate, how-to guides if it would be helpful. Working on doing some of that on a blog, as and when things occur to me - it's such a great platform it deserves documentation, IMHO.

Happy to start a religious war though (our boat has been unsullied by Microsoft for many years ) - OK, not really war-like - girls don't generally go to war !
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