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Old 27-03-2012, 01:44   #136
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

Great thread to read, interesting to see what you all are and have been doing for your marine computer setups. As I'm still looking for a boat I can only give a rough idea of the setup I would do since It's hard to give an exact setup.

Most likely would use a mil-specs ASRock 990 motherboard with an AMD 8 core Zambezi and 4 x 4 Gb 2000 Adata Memory with a sealed liquid cooled system. I figure might as well make it one computer that can be use for media center for movies, books, music, etc. Tie whatever system I add into it and scale back the system to use about as much energy as a laptop. Toss on Gentoo and Lunar Linux and wait for the system to die because at some point I left out the ruggedizing the system part.

As a side note to anyone that wants to use their system for reading they make large E-ink displays now according to the website I just can't seem to figure out how they go about selling them.

Side note #2.... A few of the displays can have the refresh rate dropped down significantly to where they will draw allot less power since most of what has been talked about doesn't require the system to be writing the same picture to the display 30-60 times a second.

Still stuck on this smiley....
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:46   #137
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

Just ordered the Mag Innovision monitor found here:

PROVANTAGE: MAG InnoVision GML1920 MAG Innovision 19W LED GML1920 Ultra Slim

Was a little tricky finding info on it on the web but I think this monitor will do the trick. I ordered a very simple 75mm vesa bracket that I can modify if need be or simply mount on a stand off if need be. Monitor was pretty cheap at $120 so Im not expecting the moon. With resolution of 1440 x 900 it should be suitable for navigation software and basic computing. Im not looking for an HD screen. I couldnt confirm the DC input voltage on this model but other GML series monitors were 12v so I suspect this one will be too so hopefully no need for a converter.

With any luck I should have my nav station up and running in a week or so and will follow up with results.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:24   #138
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

I'm sure the Mag monitor will serve you well.

But for others reading the thread, I have the 19" Visio that Tripod listed at the top of this page.

It has the VESA mounting holes and I've had it mounted on a swing arm at the companionway. The holes are visible in the pic posted.

About $180 at Target if I recall. A TV/monitor, 1366 by something resolution, HDMI, VGA, USB for photo viewing.

Viewed under the dodger on the "vivid" setting using the graphics provided by PolarView I can see it fine from the helm.

good 12v tv/monitor in my opinion.
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Old 12-04-2012, 21:06   #139
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Monitor mounted. Need to do some wiring as its still running on shore power but so far so good. Laptop will live inside chart table with vents on bottom.
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Old 29-04-2012, 19:28   #140
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

This thread is a couple of years old, but still very helpful. I have several questions:
1. Is OpenCPN more efficient and faster under Linux Ubuntu as compared to Win 7 given the same hardware?
2. Given that power is at a premium at sea in sailboats, what processor, board, hard drive and OS should be used so as not to overpower? -The autopilot seems to be the most important piece of equipment needing limited power resources.
3. Would a Solid State Hard Drive be worthwhile to speed boot up so that one would be inclined to shut of computer and start it up at 3-12 hour intervals for just 5-10 minutes? Would the SSD save power over a disk?
4. To run an optimally configured Nav computer (with good reasonable graphics, but one that conserves on power use) at 12vdc, what should be expected?
Motherboard (say Mini-ITX) and CPU - ______watts
SS Hard Drive - ________watts vs Hard Disk - _____watts
Bluetooth Wireless (for GPS, waterproof keypad & mouse) - ______ watts
Wifi (for internet when in range) - ________watts
Monitor - LED say 10"-12" - _______watts
5. Given that Intel has 3rd Generation processors at 22nmn Quad-Core Ivy Bridge architecture, which saves 20% in power and speeds performance by 20%, would it be smarter to get one of those processors? They also have new faster graphics integrated. If it is the better route to go, which one is probably the most appropriate choice?
5. For other software that will needed in port, what would you use?
Graphic OS interface?
Firefox?
Email? - Thunderbird?
Office Apps - Openoffice?
Wine?
Thanks,
Rick Gleason
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Old 29-04-2012, 20:33   #141
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

I'm in the process of evaluating some different Linux marine distros (Navigatrix, SailPup) and boating software as well as the new Ubuntu. Here's some answers based on my current findings, and my industry experience:

1) the biggest factor driving me to a Linux solution is that you can easily find small distros that will run great on older computers. It's not as easy to do this with Windows, especially as XP is hard to get now.

Plus, it seems easier to get Linux (including Ubuntu) to run light and clean, with less unnecessary cruft than Windows.

2) I'm not yet knowledgeable on what low-power computers are available that would be suitable. I'm currently experimenting with an ASUS eee 701 4GB SSD - a small computer for our small boat. As above, Linux seems to offer the most flexibility when it comes to system efficiency, since it can run well on smaller and older systems.

3) Boot speed is more a function of how little needs to get running before you can log on and get busy. Linux wins here too (see #1). I'm told that current harddrives are quite rugged, so SSDs may be less necessary. I imagine that the power saving isn't that substantial; the CPU is probably the biggest power suck.

4) No clue. Plus anything selected now will be obsolete before tomorrow's breakfast.

5) No idea, sorry.

6) Linux will run on a smaller computer. If you're running a PC big enough for Windows, then I guess the choice is down to what you want to run and if it's restricted to an OS.
Personally, I like and use:
- Thunderbird (I despise Outlook)
- Firefox (but trying Chrome too)
- OpenOffice. Current MS Office is bloatware if you don't need its specific features. Moreover,. MS Office or OO, if you just need a few things (eg word processor and spreadsheet), don't install the whole suite.
- I avoid Wine, unless I absolutely want something specific from the Windows world to run on Linux.

Hope this helps. Please report what you end up doing.
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Old 30-04-2012, 01:02   #142
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

RGLEASON,
1 I would worry more about the availability of drivers for all the stuff beside OpenCPN than the difference in power demand by the 2 OS's.
2 + 3 Sending signals to the autopilot and shutting down the pc generally don't go well together. If you want to safe power by using the pc intermittently, better use the sleep function. This will get the system back to life in 3 seconds.
If you use the computer 10 minutes every 5 hours it runs only 4% of the time. Even a 50W pc + screen consumes a measly 2W in average. For the same 10 minutes every 5 hours reasons you can probably put the screen inside, so no power-hungry daylight screen.
5 Ivy Bridge either saves power or, for the same power consumption, gives better performance. Not both.

To save power I would split the issue: have a low power pc for permanent / no graphics usage (autopilot, position/speed indicator, anchor watch) and a second one for intermittent /port use.
Personally I use an old Simrad plotter for the first and a Zotac mini-ITX with an e7400 for the second.

Success.
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Old 30-04-2012, 07:10   #143
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

Thanks, Lake-effect and Zoef, helpful information.

LINUX
Doesn't Linux / Ubuntu have the necessary drivers?
I've looked over:
Navigatrix Navigatrix.net • The First Linux Distribution for Cruisers
SailPup 5.25 derivative of Puppy 525 Puppy Linux Discussion Forum :: View topic - sailpup
Linux Puppy Forum PuppyLinux: Puppy Versions List (AKA the big list)
Discussion about Puppy Desktop Icon Puppy Linux

While I can handle technical stuff, I am not so sure I want to go down a side path, and would like to stay in the mainstream because it offers common experience and support. Particularly with OS and setup. Without downloading it and experiencing it Navigatrix looks interesting, but how many use it and is it good? Without wanting to offend anyone's hard work and effort, and as a newby here, Sailpup looks to me like it is a side track, am I wrong?

OPERATION - Windows - Linux - Power efficiency

Zeof's suggestion to use "standby" for quick program response (power use during standby?) is good, so the SSHD vs HD question can be answered by power use alone.

Zeof's suggestion to have a lightweight course computer and an intermittently used main computer is good too. I was going to upload a waypoint or route to a plugged in garmin handheld so the autopilot knew where to go.

The Raymarine instruments are all visible anyway. Now I am wondering if I can just upload a single waypoint to the Autohelm Wheelpilot 4000 autopilot and then put the computer on standby. Will the autopilot store that one waypoint? I'll have to try it sometime with the Garmin. I am setting up a Globalstat BR-355 with 5vdc power and Nema 0183 serial connection to VHF/DSC and a connection to the autopilot which uses .5 amp. Perhaps the autopilot will store the waypoint.

I'm realizing that in many ways paper charts are simpler and they use less power! So why am I trying to do this?

Lake-Effect: Do I understand correctly that a lightweight version of Linux (which version?) with a power saving computer would be less of an energy hog than running Windows on the same machine?

If I'm able to put the main computer on standby for long periods, as Zoef points out, it won't use much energy overall and can be pretty fully featured, provided I have a very efficient course computer for the autopilot, and an easy way to upload the route or waypoint. (It goes without saying that running graphics and a screen costs power so that has use must be cut down as well.)

Still have too many questions, but thankyou both for help understanding this.
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Old 30-04-2012, 08:05   #144
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

1 & 2. The Intel Atom Cedarview boards have just come out. These provide a lot of computing power at relatively low power consumption. As already stated driver availability is important when considering linux distro's. The Intel DN2800MT Cedarview board looks like a good low power choice. This review at Linuxtech.net gives some power consumption figures with different OS's.

3. SSD's will generally boot faster than a mechanical HD but power consumption of SSD's is all over the board from higher to lower. You need to pay attention to the spec's of the particular SSD.

4. A computer using a mini-itx board with an Intel H67 chipset, Core i3-2120T CPU, 8 gb memory, laptop hard drive & slim DVD will idle at around 20 watts and use 20-30 watts for most functions. This does not include monitor power which will run in the single digits for small screens to maybe 18 watts for a 24" screen. This system would meet or exceed most high end nav software recomended system specs.

Wifi will use 1-8 watts depending on the type of system you want.

I don't have numbers for bluetooth adapters but standard USB, 2.4Ghz wireless adapters for keyboards and mice and a 6 COM port PCIe adapter are included in power consumption numbers for the Core i3 Sandy Bridge system above.

5. The 20% power savings on the Ivy Bridge CPU's over the Sandy Bridge CPU's is only applies to the high end CPU's. The Ivy Bridge has a 77 watt TDP versus 95 watts for the equivalent Sandy Bridge.

A 35 watt Sandy Bridge is still a better choice for a cruiser wanting low power consumption with higher computing power than the Intel Atom's can offer. If Intel releases a 35 watt Ivy Bridge CPU then that will be the better choice.
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Old 30-04-2012, 08:43   #145
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

Re drivers... make a list of all the things you need drivers for, and then go have a look, or just try it (running a live Linux distro from CD or USB on your windows PC, if necessary). So far, I find that just about every popular add-on has a suitable driver in both Windows and Linux.

I think its safe to say that the most popular Linux distros like Ubuntu are pretty "mainstream" too. They are well-supported by many contributors.

I'm playing with Navigatrix and SailPup. SailPup is based on Puppy Linux, which is a very lean and fast Linux, but the distro, while useful, still has a few rough edges; Puppy itself has a few quirks and while the distro has several "nautical" apps like OpenCpn installed, they haven't yet been put into a menu or desktop icon, meaning you have to launch a terminal and type 'opencpn'.

Navigatrix is based on a stripped-down Ubuntu, making it a hair more mainstream, and all the nautical apps are on a menu. So it is essentially plug'n'play - no futzing to get going. So I have to recommend it over SailPup at this point.

Quote:
Lake-Effect: Do I understand correctly that a lightweight version of Linux (which version?) with a power saving computer would be less of an energy hog than running Windows on the same machine?
No... my point there was that with a lightweight Linux you can get acceptable performance from a smaller or older computer, with less RAM and smaller HD, and that's your energy saving.

(In truth, Windows can be stripped down too, but it's alot harder. I am a big fan of Windows XP by the way. Best OS they ever made. It will run fine on alot of different computers. It's a crying shame that M$ is abandoning it and forcing users into the bloated Windows 7 )

Regarding energy use overall - I haven't yet done the math... but if you replaced all your boat lighting with LED or other efficient light sources, and took other energy-conservation measures, I think you'd have saved more energy than would be consumed by the average laptop or netbook running 15 hours a day.

I've also considered the idea of buying a small 12 gel-cell or two (sufficient to run instruments for a day or more), putting a small cheap solar panel on it, and that's my standby or emergency instrument, VHF and computer power if something ever happens to the main 12v.
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Old 30-04-2012, 12:33   #146
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Regarding energy use overall - I haven't yet done the math... but if you replaced all your boat lighting with LED or other efficient light sources, and took other energy-conservation measures, I think you'd have saved more energy than would be consumed by the average laptop or netbook running 15 hours a day..
Couldn't agree more. Just by switching off the not needed instruments (e.g. echo sounder off-shore), backlights, power supplies and leaving only the necessary on standby I saved 0.7A, 24 hours a day! OK, I had to install a few additional switches.
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Old 01-05-2012, 19:07   #147
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

w32pamela thankyou for mentioning Intel Atom (32nm) Cedarview boards which include better graphics PowerVR and improve energy use (10 watts). These are certainly the next step before 3rd gen (22nm) Ivy Bridge with its 3D layered transistors which save space and energy and speed up processing. Now i7 architecture is 3rd gen (22nm), but in time the i5 and i3 architectures may become available at some point. I wonder if Atom will also follow?
Also thank you for the other good information.

Zeof's point that intermittent use of a laptop computer does not use very much power, lead me to realizew that I have an old unused Win XP Dell Mobile Pentium 4-M with Nvidia Geforce4 440 Go which uses about 3.5 amps max as I recall, which is considerably more than an Atom with a display. However I may take this route for the time being until the mini-itx low power situation matures a little more absorbing some of the recent developments. I may try to get linux on it too as dual boot.

It also appears that the right SSD will consume less power (3w compared to 12w for SATA) due to no moving of mechanical arms and no fans required. That could be a temporary improvement made to the laptop above, saving energy.

I remain very interested in the best approach and agree that there are many ways to save and make power with LED's, solarPV, etc.

Rick Gleason
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Old 01-05-2012, 19:24   #148
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

By the way, Standby mode generally uses about 8w because of listening to wake up, same for hibernation I believe.
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Old 01-05-2012, 19:26   #149
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
It also appears that the right SSD will consume less power (3w compared to 12w for SATA)
Rick Gleason
12 watts would be for a 3.5" drive. A 2.5" laptop drive will use a maximum of 2-3 watts.
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:37   #150
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Re: 12vdc Marine Computers

Thanks Bob. I found this forum thread from your link above on LinuxTech.net
SPCR • View topic - Intel DN2800MT hands on...Single digit world?

"Test series with MeeGo 1.2 (installed on the SSD just like the other OSes). MeeGo with it's binary proprietary xorg driver fore CedarView Atoms draws noticeably less power than the other Linux distros, but still slightly more than Win7. Please see detailed results in the article. I have also added my final conclusions."

...difference between having an ethernet cable plugged in with a gigabit ethernet connection established to unplugging the cable is consistently 1.3/1.4 Watts with every OS I tested. TDP declared by Intel is only 0.727 W.
http://ark.intel.com/products/32209/Int ... Controller ...TDP isn't equal to real life power draw....line filter (which is built into the RJ45 socket on the DN2800MT)...no idea how much those peripheral components add to the power consumption.

"TDP is how much heat a heatsink/cooling solution needs to dissipate. The actual power draw will always be at least the TDP"

Further down..
"Intel Atom users stuck with current PowerVR-based graphics (e.g. Poulsbo, Moorestown, etc) there's some potential good news. Last November I mentioned the state of the open-source GMA500/Poulsbo DRM driver that's still basic and lacks 2D/3D acceleration support, but Intel's Alan Cox mentioned at that point that video acceleration might be possible on open-source.
"There's enough code already out there concerning the Intel PowerVR with the DRM driver and then the VA-API driver found in MeeGo/Tizen and now in a separate Git repository, that the DRM driver might be able to be worked up to handle video acceleration. Nothing solid has been done in this area yet, but Alan Cox mentioned today on the kernel mailing list, "The one for the 3D/2D non-free user space driver. I've been working on Cedartrail primarily at the moment so not had time to dig further into the video playback logic. I did get the decoder detected and mapped happily but haven't yet had time to persuade the firmware to upload. It'll also need the driver extending to support the overlay planes feature in the DRI/DRM layer."

And further down...with some work... "Graphics acceleration and video seem to be working fine."

Not being that technical, I wonder how much the PowerVR and graphics acceleration drivers affect operation of OpenGL which is being worked on for OpenCpn?


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