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Old 02-05-2007, 10:55   #1
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Remote display for laptop?

Want to add a remote flat panel display to my nav laptop so I can view when in the cockpit and have a few questions:

Has anyone done this? Caveats?

Any problems with video sync when running off an inverter?

interference problems?

TIA
Forrest
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Old 02-05-2007, 11:21   #2
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I know of a few boats with dual monitors. They've all worked out fine. A couple are simply using a VGA AB switch to manually switch between their chart table and the pilot house. Another has a waterproof, sunlight readable monitor at the helm and an office monitor at the nav table. He feeds them from a DVI and VGA output on his computer. These are all using SFF, 12 vdc computers but it should work out the same with a laptop.

Keep your cable run under 15 feet and use "high quality" VGA cable unless you plan to use a VGA amplifier. The actual distance you can place your 2nd monitor will depend on the strength of the signal from the graphics section of your laptop. You will get ghosting when the cable gets too long.

Most office grade monitors won't provide adequate brightness for use in direct sunlight although they can usually be used in a shaded location such as a pilot house or under a dodger.

There shouldn't be any problems running the monitor off an inverter but you can get 12 vdc monitors that can be connected directly to your 12 volt system.

I'm not sure what kind of interference you are concerned about but if you run your video cable parallel to your SSB antenna cable you will probably get interference when you transmit.

Bob Stewart
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Old 02-05-2007, 11:24   #3
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Check out these guys. I saw their displays at the Boat Show and was impressed.
Big Bay Technologies - Displays
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Old 02-05-2007, 15:18   #4
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Thanks Bob, I plan to have it swing out into the companionway where it will have some shade except when sun is aft.

I will try my 19" flat panel that I have here at my desktop before I invest in another display and find out if I can get by with a standard office unit.

Thanks again for info
Forrest
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Old 02-05-2007, 16:03   #5
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I'm running VGA cable from my E80 to my 32" LCD in the Salon this weekend. I let you know how it works. I'm looking at about 20' of cable to get the job done.
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Old 02-05-2007, 16:56   #6
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I installed a 10.2 Xenarc touchscreen LCD at the helm and am happy with it's performance. The laptop at the nav station feeds the LCD via VGA cable and USB (for touchscreen) cable. The USB has a 15 ft length limit unless it's an active cable. The touchscreen feature works well and brightness is just as good as the Raymarine radar/plotter sitting next to it.


Xenarc Technologies - 1020TSV - 10.2" Touchscreen TFT LCD Monitor with VGA and AV inputs
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Old 02-05-2007, 17:41   #7
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Most laptops can easily drive an external screen in addition to the built-in LCD, so most setups won't need an A-B switch. You just need to be able to run a VGA cable from your nav station to your preferred external screen location.

Those Xenarc screens look very interesting, especially since they are *way* more affordable than the full-on marine grade hibrite screen out there. From the specs I see, though, they are not waterproof, so avoid splashing them!

I see that Xenarc sells them direct, and Captn Jack's is carrying them, too (other neat products, like inexpensive AIS on that website).
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Old 03-05-2007, 07:48   #8
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Aaron,
You're right, the Xenarc's aren't waterproof but they're enclosed in a substantial aluminum housing and use only 8 watts at 12v - heat appears to dissipate well. I've sealed the grill with matching plastic tape and even in 95 degree ambient temperature it's barely warm to the touch. At $600 (less for non-touchscreen) they do what Garmin's $4000 touchscreen models do.
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:41   #9
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Instead of cable runs, I'm planning to use a Mac mini running GPS NavX at the nav station and then just remote into it from laptops anywhere on the boat using remote desktop and wifi.
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Old 03-05-2007, 22:28   #10
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Mac minis are pretty neat, though I notice Xenarc also has a bunch of micro PC models
with an eye towards in-car installation and 12 volt power supplies. However, I'm strongly of the opinion that laptops are preferable to fixed mount PCs onboard. You can take them ashore for internet cafe access. They can easily be packed away to avoid corrosion problems...and they are a tad easier to ship off for repairs.
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