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Old 07-03-2015, 18:35   #1
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looking for laptop recomendation

Ok i have been working with OpenCPN a little on my home computer and like it enough i would like to bring it onboard. My desk top and monster laptop dont make sense on the boat for size and power issues. I plan to buy an old refurbed laptop off the net to have as a dedicated sailboat puter. so i am looking for recommendations i am prepared to run linux as most of the cheap refurbed laptops dont come with an OS. what i would like to know, is there a linux flavor that is better suited to opencpn or will any old debian be ok. also from those of you that have been running on a smaller laptop what would you suggest for processor and memory and if there are any recommended small low power draw (emphasis on low power draw) that are easy to get linux up and running especially the onboard wireless. a wireless that can be turned off would be nice to save power when no wireless is needed/available.

thanks
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Old 07-03-2015, 19:55   #2
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

Ubuntu works well with O.
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Old 07-03-2015, 20:29   #3
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

Navagatrix (Ubuntu) is a Linux distribution for sailors, including OpenCPN and other useful marine applications. Easy and fast to install.

Many laptops that have a 19V supply will run happily on 12V, only the battery will not charge at the lower voltage.

Cheers,
JM.
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Old 07-03-2015, 20:59   #4
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

Please do not buy a chromebook. I had thought it was such a good deal, for what hardware I got, but in fact, the thing is buggy to start with, and then the keyboard keys stop working then the disk stops and the monitor flashes dots (useless). Now on the second chromebook then smoke comes out of it because the speakers melted inside of the case, and then the realtime clock stopped working, and the keyboard is failing. So I am somewhere in lombok with usb sound card and usb keyboard somehow able to post on this forum but not for much longer.

I think modular is the best so that when something breaks you can replace just that generic part. So no stupid specialized displays batteries, keyboards etc... They have arm boards which charge lithium batteries and can run from 8-30 volts power input. The issue is I didn't have an isolated power supply for the hdmi display, and somehow a ground loop fried the lcd controller so I have no working screen for my cubietruck anymore ;( the good news is at least I can replace just the lcd controller but when and where I can do this.. I have no idea, I'm in indonesia.

Always carry lots of spare parts I guess?
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Old 07-03-2015, 21:32   #5
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

Quote:
Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
Navagatrix (Ubuntu) is a Linux distribution for sailors, including OpenCPN and other useful marine applications. Easy and fast to install.
sweet i will check that out


Quote:
Many laptops that have a 19V supply will run happily on 12V, only the battery will not charge at the lower voltage.

Cheers,
JM.
good to know, i havnt had a functioning battery for years...lol
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Old 07-03-2015, 21:40   #6
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

Quote:
Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
Many laptops that have a 19V supply will run happily on 12V, only the battery will not charge at the lower voltage.

Cheers,
JM.
I'm confused by this, as there are a Large number of laptops for which you can by chargers/power supplies which plug into standard, automobile cigarette lighter sockets. Anyone have some enlightenment on this one for me?
Thanks
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Old 07-03-2015, 21:48   #7
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

I have a 12->19v adaptor that is 90% efficient
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:15   #8
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
I'm confused by this, as there are a Large number of laptops for which you can by chargers/power supplies which plug into standard, automobile cigarette lighter sockets. Anyone have some enlightenment on this one for me?
Thanks
Yes, you can buy adapters.

But, in my experience many older laptops have dead batteries, and the only reason they need a 19V supply is to charge the battery. So, why bother with another converter that adds inefficiency (at least 10% but some much more), the input voltage is already being converted inside the laptop.

Unfortunatly, not all laptops will work on 12V, but it's certainly worth trying on an old castoff.

Cheers,
JM.
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Old 08-03-2015, 13:15   #9
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

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Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
Navagatrix (Ubuntu) is a Linux distribution for sailors, including OpenCPN and other useful marine applications. Easy and fast to install.

Many laptops that have a 19V supply will run happily on 12V, only the battery will not charge at the lower voltage.

.
I Has tried both Navigatrix and Xinutop, both based on Ubuntu. Both comes with OpenCpn and several usefull navigation already installed.

From my point of view, if used for navigation, the computer setup should be keept simple without too many functions in addition to navigation.

If installed on identical hardware, Xinutop is so much lighter and responsive than Navigatrix that it seems like compating a snail and a Ferrari,,, Xinutop runs blistering fast and perfect on a old Thinkpad T42 with 2 gig ram, while Navigatrix on the same hardware feels like "glue"

I recognice that Navigatrix has a lot nice to have programs installed that might be usefull for a sailor, while Xinutop is focused around the core of OpenCpn with some extra support programs.
If you have the luxus of having the ability to have two PC's - I would choose Xinutop for the main navigation computer becauce less hassle often seems to be safer navigation,,, and then use Navigatrix as a pc for all other stuff and emergency backup NAV pc.

the old T42 has more than enough CPU/grapic, a nice 1400x1050 IPS display, will run well on 12 volt ( but no battery charging) , the hardware quality is far beyond what you can buy for US$ 1000 today ( if new pc) and you can buy it on Ebay or other sites for less than US$50.
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Old 08-03-2015, 13:17   #10
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

You can't go wrong with a Dell. There are a million or two out there and parts are readily available on eBay.
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Old 08-03-2015, 14:08   #11
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

Toshiba Satellite laptops are good. I had one that went on forever until I gave it to someone and he still uses it. The laptop is over 8 years old. I've also seen them at customers and they hold up well for them. I sell Dell laptops and if you get their better laptops they tend to last, but the cheaper consumer models don't fare as well as Toshiba in my experience.
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Old 08-03-2015, 14:39   #12
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

For what you describe about your needs, look for a netbook
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Old 08-03-2015, 14:51   #13
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

IIRC, all Toshibas come with the numerical pad on the right side of the keyboard, which makes the rest of keys for typing smaller. Unless you're doing a lot of numerical inputs, I find that feature useless and cumbersome for regular typing.
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Old 08-03-2015, 14:54   #14
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Re: looking for laptop recomendation

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For what you describe about your needs, look for a netbook

yes thanks, i have started looking at the various netbooks. lots of the laptops recommended are certainly strong enough but seam to have shorter battery life so i suspect they use more juice. both of my old laptops run it just fine but they are desktop replacement laptops and only run for about 2 hours on their big batteries. i remember when i was shopping for these back in the day ( my "new"est laptop is from '02 ) i saw laptops with smaller batteries that would run for around 10 hours on smaller batteries. i just need to find a balance decent performance for the OpenCPN and low power draw for the sailboat. while i do have a diesel with a decent charging system i tend to sail on and off the hook and even most moorings only firing up the old volvo when coming and going in a marina and needing to dock. i dont spend much time there and never am i plugged in. i have minimal electrical demands and dont want to have to upgrade the minimal system i have. thanks everyone for the many suggestions and thoughts.
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