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Old 14-12-2012, 08:36   #1
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Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

I have been skeptical about touchscreen MFD's in the cockpit -- surely they can't be used in the rain, and you're in trouble with gloves on, too.

But it seems more and more people are using them. The manufacturers claim they work in all conditions now. Is that true?

I am in the process of buying some B&G Zeus MFD's and have to choose between touchscreen and non-touchscreen versions. The hardware is the same as Simrad NSE and NSS. Has anyone got any experience of using the NSS in inclement weather? I note that the NSS has got a number of hardware buttons; seems to give up only the keypad. Maybe the touchscreen version really is progress, and I shouldn't be such an old stick-in-the-mud?
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Old 14-12-2012, 08:42   #2
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

I'm curious too.....the Iphone doesn't behave well with wet hands........
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Old 14-12-2012, 09:56   #3
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

The iPhone and most smartphones use capacitive sensing screens, which allow for multi-touch gestures. The older resistive screen technology, as Palm used, does not work with multi-touch but doesn't need gloves, doesn't care about rain, just responds to the pressure on the screen.

I don't know if someone has figured out a "best of both worlds" screen yet, but if you don't need multi-touch, the old technology would work 100%, wet or dry, gloves or not.
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Old 14-12-2012, 10:15   #4
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Short answer...no the IOS family, iPhone, iPad, etc. will not work with gloves. As hello sailor mentioned it is capacitive. You can use a store bought stylus with gloves but that defeats the purpose.

I went through a period using my iPhone while racing in a waterproof sleeve on my foulies. Some parts of my experience:

1. The GPS refresh rate is useless for racing info it updates 5x more slowly than a furlong GPS for example, about .5 to 1x per second.
2. No real issues with water, the cover is thin enough to allow the capacitive nature of the screen to work, but may have influence on the water issue? Methinks the multi touch capability helps in this regard

Can't speak for other touch screen devices. But it is not difficult, programmatically, to enable to device to respond more to touch than water. Depends on the device. Might be worth going on site with a cup of water to a dealer and asking if you can "road test" a floor model...
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Old 14-12-2012, 10:17   #5
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

OK, so now we know about IThings. How about the Simrad NSS and other touchscreen MFD's?
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Old 14-12-2012, 10:22   #6
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
Short answer...no the IOS family, iPhone, iPad, etc. will not work with gloves.
I actually have a pair of gloves that work on my iPhone just fine (and given the current weather here in the Alps they are great to have). I'd guess that it's just a matter of time till someone brings out touch screen compatible sailing gloves...
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Old 14-12-2012, 10:23   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead
OK, so now we know about IThings. How about the Simrad NSS and other touchscreen MFD's?
I wasn't clear. I meant to go to a dealer for those products with a glass of water to test them to see how they work.
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Old 14-12-2012, 10:25   #8
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

There are special gloves to work with capactivie screens. Heck, there's even a glove with a bluetooth headset built into the thumb (speaker) and index finger (mic) so you hold your hand up to your face and really talk to the hand.

And there are some web articles showing how to stitch a little star of conductive metallized thread onto your glove finger, to use any gloves with any screen. YMMV.

Dockhead, surely you can check out which technology those guys are using as quickly as anyone else can?
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Old 14-12-2012, 10:44   #9
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post

Dockhead, surely you can check out which technology those guys are using as quickly as anyone else can?
I wasn't so much interested in the theory as in people's real life experience. I'm absolutely sure that in theory all the big makers are using absolutely perfect technology ````````` . . . . . .
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Old 14-12-2012, 11:00   #10
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

Reality is vastly overrated. This one comes down to physics, there are only so many ways to skin the cat, and fewer that can be used in a small product.
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Old 14-12-2012, 11:03   #11
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

The bigger market for MFD touchscreens is in power boats where they are often secure in a warm .wheelhouse. I would not mount a touchscreen in an exposed area.
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Old 14-12-2012, 11:27   #12
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

I love touch screens in a sailboat cockpit. NOT!

It's like playing pinball in the rain. I refuse to buy a touchscreen anything that needs to be used underway. At least with a pendant/button one can rest their hand on the backside of the unit while operating the direction button. I have enough trouble with the iPad not working or popping up stuff that I didn't know I touched. And in-public units are disgusting with all the greasy fingerprints and .....
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Old 14-12-2012, 11:41   #13
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

The NSS can be used without the touchscreen. It's much faster with the touchscreen though. I have used the touchscreen in the rain and it works fine. Haven't tried it with gloves though.
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Old 14-12-2012, 12:51   #14
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

my understanding is that the NSS and Garmin detect differences in heat. My little Garmin Montana handheld works fine when wet and with a screen protector on it, and I also had a Garmin Zumo on my motorcycle that worked fine with gloves or when wet but it was a little jumpy when it was raining AND I had thick leather gloves on. It still worked but it just wasn't as precise. My dirtbike jumped around a hell of a lot more than a sailboat too I live in Seattle btw so the older Zumo got a lot of use in the rain.
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Old 14-12-2012, 12:53   #15
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Re: Touchscreen MFD in the Rain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug1957 View Post
The NSS can be used without the touchscreen. It's much faster with the touchscreen though. I have used the touchscreen in the rain and it works fine. Haven't tried it with gloves though.
A couple of people have said this here. My question is HOW? I've read and re-read the manual, and as far as I can see, there is NO WAY you can use the NSS without using the touch screen. Not for navigating, not for moving the cursor, not for scrolling the maps, you couldn't even select a different mode on the autopilot without using the touch screen.

Once again, where in the manual is operation without the touch screen described?
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