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Old 11-09-2016, 08:25   #1
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New System Based on OpenCPN Questions

I am starting to plan a complete upgrade of marine systems and am leaning towards OpenCPN as the backbone of the system. Hoping you all can help me with a few questions.

1. Any big reason to go Linux v Windows v Mac? The downside of Mac is I plan on using 22" touchscreen monitors so it's another almost 200 bucks for the driver. Looking to use a mini PC for this.

2. If I am buying a new Radar, which Radar and Plugin works the best? Likely more concerned about short range definition than long range as I have a class A AIS transceiver. Also should I buy a monitor for the Radar as well as a backup to OpenCPN? I have an old analog radar as a total system backup.

3. Is OpenCPN pretty usable with touch and without a mouse/keyboard once you have your route planned? I'll have them but wondering how front and center of the system they need to be?

Any other initial things to consider as I plan out my system?

Thank you!

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Old 11-09-2016, 11:30   #2
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Re: New System Based on OpenCPN Questions

One thing I should mention before someone jumps on it, the reason I don't care as much about radar range is at 8knots things don't change too fast and AIS lets me see any large vessels around, not to mention if you are class A larger ships don't filter you out like they sometimes do with class B.

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Old 11-09-2016, 11:51   #3
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Re: New System Based on OpenCPN Questions

To operate opencpn on-board a boat, a Logitec Trackball if superb compared to a mouse - no problem to use precise even in bad weather conditions. I Know a lot of professional fishermen using Opencpn, and all of them are using the Logitec trackball -you will rarely need a keyboard, and if so you can enable a "on screen" keyboard and use the trackball.

If your system is for Navigation, my preference is Linux in general and xubuntu as personal preference for a boat computer.

Why ? It will run on "any" hardware, it will leave system resources for doing real jobs like running openCpn, it will not "flash" system messages up your display when you are doing a narrow passage, and using Windows makes me feel like a dinosaur form the past in the Jurassic park movie.

And one thing more - instead of paying money for a windows licence you absolutely doe not need to run Opencpn, you can use that money to buy some nice equipment to your boat,, :-)
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Old 11-09-2016, 11:59   #4
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Re: New System Based on OpenCPN Questions

Thanks, very good to know about the use of a trackball, I was planning on a keyboard with integrated touchpad but trackball would be much easier to mount and use in any sea. I'll keep a keyboard in a drawer just in case.
Also agree on Linux for all of the reasons you listed plus I prefer my navigation systems to not crash or need updates 1-2 times a day. Faster startup times too.

Big question for me now is the Radar, from what I have read the Simrad 4G appears to be the most precise short range radar but since I'll be using OpenCPN as my main display I want to make sure it works well enough to use versus be interesting/cool.

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enc, opencpn

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