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Old 18-09-2019, 14:52   #1
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Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Hi guys, Im looking for a toughbook for ocpn, something with a built in GPS so I can forgo the PITA puck. If anyone can recommend some hardware please do. also looking for a marine display for the cockpit.
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Old 18-09-2019, 15:00   #2
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

The old Panasonic CF-19 is perfect for the role of a 10" 4:3 ratio screen is ok. Install a small SSD hard disk to replace the old mechanical unit and Linux Mint and a bunch of sailing and navigation related goodies and it makes a pretty good self contained system. Many will have the GPS module included.



With a CF-19 Toughbook, you probably won't need a waterproof screen (which aren't easy to source are are $$$). Invest instead in the waterproof keyboard option (they are a thing) and a mount for the helm. There is an issue with keeping water out if you need to power the unit from a power supply, but they will run for around 6 hours on a full battery and you can easily swap out the cartridge style battery if you have spares.
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Old 18-09-2019, 16:20   #3
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Thanks for the info, i could silicone the ac adapter in place to make it waterproof, or perhaps they make a car adapter? Do you run radar on it, I'm looking at a broadband 3g. Also I think a rubber keyboard upgrade is possible?
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:09   #4
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

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Thanks for the info, i could silicone the ac adapter in place to make it waterproof, or perhaps they make a car adapter? Do you run radar on it, I'm looking at a broadband 3g. Also I think a rubber keyboard upgrade is possible?

You can run a 12 volt adaptor. The units run off 19Vdc which is a fairly typical supply voltage for these things these days. The issue with sealing is that the protective flap door needs to be open when you insert an accessory. I'd probably use something less permanent like a ball of butyl as a sealant, although in normal use in less than severe weather, it's probably not necessary.



Waterproof keyboards are available for the this model Toughbook as an accessory, and there were also some models that were supplied with daylight viewable screens (even though the standard screen is fine in most cases). Because they are a tablet style computer, you can actually flip the screen 180 degrees and use the stylus on the touch screen to control many functions.



You can get radar on them. As long as the radar has in Ethernet connection, it's simply a matter of plugging (or Wifi'ing) it to the PC and using the Radar plugin in OpenCPN to control and display the radar.


As an aside, my faithful cf-19 toughbook, which I've now owned for many years, was drowned about 4 years ago after it sat in a pool of slightly salty water for about 2 hours on a rough trip (with a sealing flap not in position, of course). Because I was away from land, it took three days of drying in the sun before it fired back up again and everything worked except for the battery. I soon discovered that the battery was toast and the new replacement battery wouldn't charge but everything else worked perfectly. Recently, and because I inadvertently blew up a board on my business laptop, I decided to tear down the ToughBook and see if it was repairable. To my surprise, I've never seen a more horribly corroded mainboard in all my days. A fistful of dollars later, I installed a second hand mainboard and it's now as good as new and has taken it's place back on board. These things are truly built tough!
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:52   #5
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Thanks, I'm thinking to keep it inside most of the time and perhaps run it to a secondary monitor and keyboard in the cockpit, still trying to figure the install and how to put it all together. Ill keep my eyes open for a daylight readable one, will start checking ebay.

Cheers

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Old 18-09-2019, 18:01   #6
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Check this out, a 6000 nit screen:

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F253002447683
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Old 18-09-2019, 18:47   #7
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

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Pretty cool, but a little on the pricey side. One note of caution with CF-19's is that there have been a number of "Marks" of them released over the years, and some parts can be very specific to an individual Mark or subset of Marks. Something to keep in mind when chasing parts.
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Old 19-09-2019, 02:07   #8
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

I have a Dell D630ATG that I bought on ebay for about $100 (US) and replaced the HDD with an SSD. It's not waterproof so only suitable for inside/fine days but it does have a transflexive fully sunlight readable display and anti-reflective coating. It runs Windows 10, has GPS and a 3G SIM slot. OCPN runs just fine with Oesenc charts.
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Old 19-09-2019, 07:53   #9
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Thanks hoolie, I'm also looking at some of the rugged dell laptops as they have better and higher res graphics.
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Old 20-09-2019, 02:42   #10
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Do you have a real reason to run a laptop?

Industrial fanless PCs along with a display are a lot cheaper.

I'm currently running an Intel I7 machine.. it does everything I need, powerful good power performance.. it has 6 opto-isolated serial ports that NMEA just connects directly to. I think there are 8 USB ports in total... Logitech unified wireless M570 trackball (almost ubiquitous) and keyboard a 12V monitor (it was sold as a 230Vac monitor but the power pack as actually 12V. I'll add a second circa 10" sunlight viewable monitor one day but really the times when I have found that I need a screen in the cockpit have been few and far between.

In the meantime I have a Raspberry PI in an IP67 box that I use in the cockpit mainly just for kicks and I have some useful hardware buttons on it for making marks, MOB, etc..

The best thing about the first option that it or similar NUC style devices are available everywhere now and all components are off the shelf, plug and play.

I find laptops expensive, repairs are an issue and you generally have to upgrade the whole thing in one big hit. They also have a habit of falling off the chart table

YMMV but I would give the need for a laptop a good hard think.

Always aspired too but could never afford a toughbook

Chris
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Old 20-09-2019, 04:38   #11
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Price is an issue, but not a big issue. I want to run ocpn/radar in the cockpit and need it to work in harsh conditions and be daylight readable and dim very low for night use. The more I think about this project I need to invest in a good monitor and keep the computer/laptop below and run a waterproof keyboard & mouse to the cockpit with a screen. I have a number of chart plotters but have become accustom to planning with ocpn and want to add radar. I'm also getting tired of buying charts and having companies like Navionics tell me I need to buy them again. They did it to me on their app, and I have a bunch of charts on CF cards that are not transferable to SD.

Also the Alarm on consumer radar displays is an issue. Getting them loud enough is difficult at best as nobody seems the have external alarm jacks any more.

I like the toughbook CF19. They are cheap and seem to last forever, parts are also easy to source. The downside being screen resolution. I have an expensive laptop for video editing but want to keep my Ocpn box separate and dedicated for navigation. I'm not so convinced about raspberry pi. I m not interested to embrace the learning curve of a new OS and don't want to put that much time into tinkering with hardware.

Right now I'm trying to find a marine display that won't break the bank, not so easy.
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Old 20-09-2019, 04:56   #12
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

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Originally Posted by bluesphere View Post
Price is an issue, but not a big issue. I want to run ocpn/radar in the cockpit and need it to work in harsh conditions and be daylight readable and dim very low for night use.

Right now I'm trying to find a marine display that won't break the bank, not so easy.
The low-light issue is harder to solve than the daylight one! One trick that I have seen is to get neutral density gels (the ones for photo and stage lighting) and tape them to the top of the screen; flip as many over the screen as needed.

I'm totally get the nit wanting to learn a new OS hence my suggestion of industrial PC or NUC. Run W10, shutdown the network connection with the firewall and it is very happy running off grid.
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Old 20-09-2019, 05:46   #13
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Yeah, the industrial PC may be a good option. I have a editing laptop aboard, as well as my bigger editing station that I built. I also have a few rolls of ND aboard that I use for filming. Im looking at some of the used big bay monitors, daylight viewable and go down to 0.5 nit for night.
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Old 20-09-2019, 15:13   #14
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

For those following this is the sort of industrial PC that I am talking about. There are dozens of choices available just Google but here is one source.. I have installed several of these in the boats that I provide tech support for. These particular ones are not IP rated but installed in a dry space they are fine.

Link to E-Bay page
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Old 20-09-2019, 16:34   #15
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Re: Laptop/Monitor for Ocpn

Nice that it has a mic input for weatherfax so many laptops now don't have one.
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