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Old 28-01-2012, 13:11   #1
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Decent Hardware for OpenCPN to Run On

This is a very preliminary idea based on a cmbination of experience, external input from threads on this board, and inspiration. Please consider it a MAJOR UNDERTAKING which will require the cooperation of many areas of expertise, enthusiasm and funding. Everybody interested are encouraged to contribute in any way in a constructive fashion to realise this potential project!

Much is up for revision except for the fundamentals; the result must be rugged, affordable and VERY functional. The product name "LinCruiser" isn't hewn in stone as such, it's just a working name to get tings started - it may change. Here goes:

*** Specifications for the LinCruiser ***

Summary: LinCruiser is a IP67-compliant navigation/sensor control system primarily made for the <30' sailboat market based on OpenSoftware and OpenHardware.

Key features: Linux OS, GUI-of-choice, OpenCPN navigation software ++, custom-built Beagleboard (?) motherboard, built-in GPS/AIS and USB/NMEA ports, 7" touchscreen - all in a physical abuse- and saltwater-rugged and IP67-verified shell hopefully consuming less than 10W (over 100 hours' use on a single 120Ah battery!).

Rationale: The emergence of Open Hardware to compliment Open Software opens new possibilities to manufacture/mass produce a wide spectrum of low-cost niche products. The LinCruiser initiative can capitalise on this by recruiting competents enthusiasts from the programmer, hardware designer, industrial designer and intrepid sailor communities to make a product which will gain solids market interest and sell accordingly. The LinCruiser can become a salty dog indeed! :-)

Links:
OpenCPN - OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage
Beagleboard - BeagleBoard.org - default
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Old 29-01-2012, 08:03   #2
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Re: Decent hardware for OpenCPN to run on

I've had the exact same thoughts, could be a small business opportunity also
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Old 29-01-2012, 08:38   #3
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Re: Decent hardware for OpenCPN to run on

the business is there but the tablet industry Android os , cotton candy, ice cream sandwich i think is the future, well imo
Im setting mine up with tablet/netbook (OpenCPN, linux) using the two systems as seperate backups for each other.
the only thing not currently available on adroid is NMEA for auto pilot integration
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Old 29-01-2012, 15:47   #4
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Re: Decent hardware for OpenCPN to run on

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I've had the exact same thoughts, could be a small business opportunity also
Nah. Raymarine and/or Simrad will blow you out of the water if you'd try.
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Old 30-01-2012, 03:46   #5
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Re: Decent hardware for OpenCPN to run on

Absolutely not, there are some smaller providers of onboard pcs already. The main weakness of chartplotters (apart from being overpriced and frequently obsolescent) is their uselessness as a general onboard pc.
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Old 30-01-2012, 04:20   #6
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Having rolled out GIS in a utility on $500 laptops, the PC is not the big hurdle. Those devices have had an almost zero failure rate working in an environmentally hostile workplace.

The question is, has anyone found a display that is waterproof enough for the deck, low power draw, and has connections that will take splashes and rain?
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Old 30-01-2012, 05:23   #7
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Re: Decent Hardware for OpenCPN to Run On

I think I have found the ideal computer for OpenCPN and the boat in general.
4 Comports!! Less than an amp draw!! Touchscreen! only problem is its a tad expensive.
Just Google VP7815 I will try to post the spec sheet here
Attached Files
File Type: pdf VIA+VIPRO+VP7815_datasheet_v110515.pdf (276.4 KB, 139 views)
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Old 30-01-2012, 06:50   #8
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Re: Decent Hardware for OpenCPN to Run On

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Originally Posted by sy_gilana View Post
I think I have found the ideal computer for OpenCPN and the boat in general.
4 Comports!! Less than an amp draw!! Touchscreen! only problem is its a tad expensive.
Just Google VP7815 I will try to post the spec sheet here
Looked at the specs online. One problem for me and I think many others, is the screen would not be daylight viewable. Spec for brightness is 350 cd/m2 and as far as I know it takes 1000 cd/m2 minimum to view in daylight.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:13   #9
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Re: Decent Hardware for OpenCPN to Run On

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Having rolled out GIS in a utility on $500 laptops, the PC is not the big hurdle. Those devices have had an almost zero failure rate working in an environmentally hostile workplace.

The question is, has anyone found a display that is waterproof enough for the deck, low power draw, and has connections that will take splashes and rain?
The Pixel Qi screens fits the bill - www.pixelqi.com
Waterproofness is a design issue.

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:20   #10
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Re: Decent Hardware for OpenCPN to Run On

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The Pixel Qi screens fits the bill - www.pixelqi.com
Waterproofness is a design issue.
The Qi is only fully color in tranmission mode - only 265 nits.
For sunlight veiwable, in reflective mode the Qi is black & white.
Might be fine for some applications, but for marine navigation where color is part of the information, I think that would be a deal breaker for me.

As you point out, from the manufacturer it is not waterproof or touchscreen.

So, if the B&W part doesn't kill it for you, now you just have to find someone who takes this screen, adds touchscreen, and makes it waterproof. AND does it in a way to sell it for a reasonable price.

I haven't looked real hard, but so far have not found a price. I found some displays on manufacturer sites, but all were for industrial use (and no prices). None mentioned waterproofing, and none mentioned touchscreen (although the Qi site has a photo of their screens with "various touchscreen technologies installed").

Looks good, but still don't cut it for me.

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:37   #11
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I have been thinking along the same lines for a while. A very interesting board is the RaspberryPi ( http://www.raspberrypi.org/) . Couple that with an expansion board for NMEA/onboard sensors and a PixelQi screen, and I think you would have a really good starting point. At $35 you get very low power draw, can run Linux (or Android), has Ethernet, HDMI , SD Card, audio out, USB and gpio pins. Biggest cost is likely the screen. My first thought was to use is as a central "server", connected to a cheap LCD screen for entertainment/navigation station work, and have it expose/publish data to existing smart phones/tablets either via a web page or dedicated app. I'd also love to take a crack at a ruggedized tablet with it, if I could find an affordable touchscreen that is viewable in daylight.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:25   #12
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Re: Decent Hardware for OpenCPN to Run On

Quote:
Originally Posted by dacust View Post
The Qi is only fully color in tranmission mode - only 265 nits.
For sunlight veiwable, in reflective mode the Qi is black & white.
Might be fine for some applications, but for marine navigation where color is part of the information, I think that would be a deal breaker for me.

As you point out, from the manufacturer it is not waterproof or touchscreen.

So, if the B&W part doesn't kill it for you, now you just have to find someone who takes this screen, adds touchscreen, and makes it waterproof. AND does it in a way to sell it for a reasonable price.

I haven't looked real hard, but so far have not found a price. I found some displays on manufacturer sites, but all were for industrial use (and no prices). None mentioned waterproofing, and none mentioned touchscreen (although the Qi site has a photo of their screens with "various touchscreen technologies installed").

Looks good, but still don't cut it for me.

-dan
Err... two issues: First, colour is primarily important when it's dark, in order to see red/green sector lights on the map for instance. Not a problem in sun/daylight. Second, seeing b/w is obviously better than seeing nothing at all. So what appears to be limitations aren't really factual. Its low power consumption is a huge plus, anyway.
Look at this for an example: 0RChard Startup Unveils Rugged Tablet With Pixel QI Display and Rugged Titanium Case (Video) | Android Tablet Central
550$. Add GPS, AIS receive and NMEA ports, and we have our device for ~800$.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:20   #13
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Re: Decent Hardware for OpenCPN to Run On

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My first thought was to use is as a central "server", connected to a cheap LCD screen for entertainment/navigation station work, and have it expose/publish data to existing smart phones/tablets either via a web page or dedicated app.
exactly my thinking. i use a eur 100 12 volt lcd, non-waterproofed, under my sprayhood. ive got a lovely zipper bag to put over it when its drizzling otherwise, i just operate from main (LED) screen at navstation.

id like to network the navstuff onto a rugged android tablet or so
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