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Old 07-06-2017, 05:13   #46
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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Very interesting box. Have you explored getting Win 7 Pro on it? Win 10 has proved problematic aboard--at least on cruising boats--and I try to avoid it. I don't turn customers away, but I do have a surcharge for Win 10.
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Old 07-06-2017, 13:50   #47
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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I can see Raspberry PI for a fixed computer that runs OpenCPN and takes input from a navigation network. Maybe for cellular network connection but the UI could be a problem.

I don't see the horsepower for two SDR threads. Airmail and Excel are problematic.
Keep coming back to this and just can't figure it out - why would you be running 2 SDR threads on a boat nav computer?

Libreoffice works OK.

RMS express - no and presumably airmail won't work either, There was talk of porting RMS to linux but seems unlikely in the near future if at all.

FLdigi works well for receiving wfax from ham radio/degen 1103.
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Old 07-06-2017, 14:07   #48
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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Keep coming back to this and just can't figure it out - why would you be running 2 SDR threads on a boat nav computer
One for AIS on VHF and one for WEFAX on HF.

Today I run a Kaito KA-1103 into JVCOMM32. Two SDR sticks mean less stuff to haul on delivery. KA and DE radios have inconvenient power supplies.
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Old 07-06-2017, 14:09   #49
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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Very interesting box. Have you explored getting Win 7 Pro on it? Win 10 has proved problematic aboard--at least on cruising boats--and I try to avoid it. I don't turn customers away, but I do have a surcharge for Win 10.
I like 8.1 actually. First (and so far last) Win GUI which I don't hate. Of course it's less stable than 7.
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Old 07-06-2017, 14:14   #50
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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I like 8.1 actually. First (and so far last) Win GUI which I don't hate. Of course it's less stable than 7.
Which is part of my attraction toward 7. I think 7 will be the new XP. Stable, robust (more or less - it is Windows) and supported for a long time. 8.1 is not bad. 10 is a pain.
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Old 07-06-2017, 14:42   #51
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

One thing that I've found is I often need to take the "boat's computer" ashore to a local wifi-hotspot for reliable internet. Does this put this debate back to smaller, inexpensive netbooks? I've been using a Gateway LT2104u with a SSD (Atom N450, 1.66Ghz, 2GB RAM), running Windows 7. It is a bit slow, but easily supports OpenCPN, Coastal Explorer, WL2K Airmail, qtvlm, Google Earth/GE2KAP, MS Word & Excel, iTunes,.... and other Windows programs. The only driver issue I've had is with the Victron MPPT controller program (works w/laptop Windows 10).

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Old 07-06-2017, 14:51   #52
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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One thing that I've found is I often need to take the "boat's computer" ashore to a local wifi-hotspot for reliable internet. Does this put this debate back to smaller, inexpensive netbooks? I've been using a Gateway LT2104u with a SSD (Atom N450, 1.66Ghz, 2GB RAM), running Windows 7. It is a bit slow, but easily supports OpenCPN, Coastal Explorer, WL2K Airmail, qtvlm, Google Earth/GE2KAP, MS Word & Excel, iTunes,.... and other Windows programs. The only driver issue I've had is with the Victron MPPT controller program (works w/laptop Windows 10).

Don
Different people will have different views on this. I don't use ship's computer for general Internet stuff; I have laptop and tablets for that.

And I can't remember the last time I went roaming ashore looking for a connection. If I can't get a wifi connection via Microtik Groove on the first spreader, then I use mobile telephone data.


That is going to get dramatically easier in about a week, over here -- all roaming fees inside Europe are being abolished. Hurrah! It means I can use my 25 gigabytes for 20 euros Estonian plan anywhere in Europe!

Or my truly unlimited 0.80 per day Finnish plan.

That's going to change the game over here, where 4g mobile coverage is just about seamless.
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Old 07-06-2017, 15:55   #53
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

Dockhead-
Operating System Installation for Intel® NUC
Intel provides support for installing Win7 on the NUCs. Presumably for Win8.x as well, although I never found a use for Win8.x.
The problem with Win7 is of course end of life, and while Win10 is much better when it is manually groomed during and after installation, it still can be a bit of rough trade. In theory there are benefits like continuing security and support, and these days?
Unless your machine is kept off the web, or set up with security settings that outright break most web sites (including this one), and your email is set for plain text only, with all html blocked...let's face it, there are security warnings out now that condemn options and settings that were considered totally safe five years ago.
So there are NUCs and there are finger-sized computers, all viable options. Plenty of OS options. Requiring 19vdc input seems ludicrous for a machine that only uses 5vdc internally, as fas as anyone has been able to tell, but there are plenty of "car and plane" 12v to 19v direct dc-dc converters for that too.
"You pays your money, you takes your choices" as they say at the track.
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Old 07-06-2017, 16:55   #54
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

I'm using this dinosaur as the ship's computer. Got it 4-5 years ago for $40 with all the peripheral wires, almost new case, etc. It was previously used as a small plane's computer for GPS related aerial photos. It had XP which I upgraded to Win7 which it doesn't really like but still works well enough. With XP it would not upgrade to the programs I wanted/needed other than my old Cap'n, etc. Anyway I wish they retailed something like that for a reasonable price. Back in its heyday in the early-mid 2000s they were going for up to $4,000 loaded. And it really lives up to "tough" in it's name.

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Old 08-06-2017, 03:28   #55
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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One for AIS on VHF and one for WEFAX on HF.

Today I run a Kaito KA-1103 into JVCOMM32. Two SDR sticks mean less stuff to haul on delivery. KA and DE radios have inconvenient power supplies.
Can't be many boats around running 2 SDR's

Not sure I'd trust RTL for ais but they seem to work OK, almost plug and play with openplotter on the Pi.

I run a degen 1103 on ebay DC buck power supply, costs next to nothing but one more thing to wire.

What sdr receiver for WFAX do you use?

I have a fun cube dongle waiting to be introduced to the Pi, though sounds like it might be bit stuttery .

With logging - is graphing your fridge 2h duty cycle maybe going a little too far...

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Old 08-06-2017, 05:50   #56
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

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The problem with Win7 is of course end of life,
I don't expect that to be a problem. I think it will be extended. Win 7 is being used for too many POS and other embedded applications (silly on the face of it but that is a different matter) and--like XP--will be supported because there is a demand. I even have an old XP machine that I still get support for (*cough*) under the terms of a client's support contract with Microsoft.

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Win10 is much better when it is manually groomed during and after installation, it still can be a bit of rough trade.
Rough is right. My biggest issue is how much work it is to set policy to keep Win 10 from phoning home whenever it wants to for updates. There are just too many things built into Win 10 that show Microsoft thinks they know what I should do better than I do.

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Unless your machine is kept off the web, or set up with security settings that outright break most web sites (including this one), and your email is set for plain text only, with all html blocked...
Doesn't everyone block HTML email? *grin* Remember someone who wants to plug a memory stick into your computer with pictures or other files to share is a threat. I spent four days helping clean up computers in one cruising anchorage. There was so much sharing and swapping going on we never did figure out who "patient zero" was.

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Can't be many boats around running 2 SDR's

Not sure I'd trust RTL for ais but they seem to work OK, almost plug and play with openplotter on the Pi.

I run a degen 1103 on ebay DC buck power supply, costs next to nothing but one more thing to wire.

What sdr receiver for WFAX do you use?
The RTL-SDR is my first toe in the water of SDR. The stick works but I'm still working on getting it to play nicely with OpenCPN on Windows. Right now the calibrate function is hanging up. I haven't had time to figure out why or do any research. Maybe after my upcoming delivery I'll have more time.

At the moment I still use a KA-1103 (exactly the same radio as your Degen). The current RTL-SDR V3 supports direct sampling HF and I'm going to try to get it to work for WEFAX. Upconverters are a non-starter - I might as well stay with my KA-1103. If the RTL-SDR doesn't work for WEFAX there is another device almost in production (name and link buried in my notes somewhere) that has HF coverage. Ultimately I'd like the same stick for both AIS and WEFAX for redundancy.

Most people aren't as sensitive to SWAP (size, weight, and power) and portability as I am. I have to get the size of my delivery go-kit down. *grin*
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:17   #57
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Re: Repurposing Old Laptop for Ship's Computer

I have a Nuc and use winPro7. The issue with software arises with new versions and upgrades which often are not supported on older operating systems. And the software company stops supporting older versions of their software.

I have found that virtually every software that I have used has WAY more features, buttons and whistles than I need or can even use. I have found this with MsWord, ExCel, Adobe and the CAD software I use which is 95% of the software I use...

For net browsers seem to work with my operating system. On the other hand when I have tried a new operating system.... I find I have to upgrade my productivity software... learn their more complex set of tools and interface. Every time I went to upgade I lost time and productivity...

So, while I may be stuck in time... I am productive and content with the tools I have to work with a PC. I don't use one for "navigation".... In fact navigation these days is so simple and available on multiple platforms I see no reason to use my computer this. I have 3 independent fixed mount GPS plotters, smart phone and table, AIS and GPS enabled VHF... I don't need to turn my sailing experience into a video game with scores of data feed to a program on a PC.

All I really need for nav is to see my position on a chart... selecting a waypoint, mark or destination is a no brainer... route planning is simply a waste of time... or better put I have more than enough time when sailing to make heading decisions...based on observed and forecast conditions.

KISS... My on board computer is for occasional work and as an entertainment center... YouTubes, netflix and so on... For me being coastal a mobile hotspot with my phone is all I need. I don't go to shore and sit in a cafe with a lop stop... stay in marinas with WiFi...

Really guys... SAIL and get into the EXPERIENCE of sea and wind... and scenery... get your eyes off all those screens!
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