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Old 23-02-2014, 11:19   #1
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OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

I am debating whether to use a Windows 8 Laptop or a Windows 8 Tablet (with external keyboard & mouse) as a primary PC/Windows equipment on my boat. That would include personal / business (MS Office, email, etc.) and navigation / route planning (OpenCPN), weatherfax, etc.

I am leaning towards tablet - for reasons of power consumption and touch screen use.

How OpenCPN works on a Win8 tablet? Fully supported, all features? Touch screen use?

Thanks.
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Old 25-02-2014, 00:48   #2
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

I use a HP Omni 10 and OpenCPN works like a charm. I did not see any difference between the PC and the tablet so far.
Right click is an issue in the beginning but you get used to it.
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Old 02-03-2014, 19:43   #3
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

There are other threads that give more details. But, in a nutshell:
  • OpenCPN works surprisingly well.
  • Right-click is emulated by touch-hold. This feature is built into Windows.
  • On-screen button icons may be a little small, depending on your screen resolution and how fat your fingers are. An inexpensive capacitive stylus can help.
  • "Hover" functionality is not emulated well. This is true of all Windows programs and websites that use hover. So the things that you would see by mousing over (without clicking), like route info, waypoint info, AIS target info, are not usable. But in all of those cases, you can touch-hold or double-tap and bring up detailed dialogs with the information.
  • Attaching a mouse eliminates ALL of these deficiencies.
  • The developers are working on tweaking it for touch screen. See the thread on touch-screen optimization.
This season I am moving from a netbook to a Miix2 8" tablet for cockpit use. I've been testing this winter, and it looks to be a great platform for running O.
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:05   #4
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

It will work fine. Add the mouse. Are you going to fix and power the tablet, or use it portable? Normal tablet issues - fragile, not waterproof, can go flat, etc etc... Personally I'm reluctant to use one as the primary nav system, but great as a backup.
If you consider a wifi connection, I'd really recommend the Vesper Marine XB8000 AIS. It will allow you to connect any boat instruments, either nmea 0183 or NMEA 2000, or both, and will multiplex the data to your tablet...
Works great!!!
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:11   #5
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

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Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
It will work fine. Add the mouse. Are you going to fix and power the tablet, or use it portable? Normal tablet issues - fragile, not waterproof, can go flat, etc etc... Personally I'm reluctant to use one as the primary nav system, but great as a backup.
If you consider a wifi connection, I'd really recommend the Vesper Marine XB8000 AIS. It will allow you to connect any boat instruments, either nmea 0183 or NMEA 2000, or both, and will multiplex the data to your tablet...
Works great!!!
I intend on using a couple of of ghosted netbooks with one "transforming" (tablet and keyboard) for nav. The tablet would be handy less for nav use in my mind (too fragile, too dim) but would be very handy indeed for sorting provisions, spares, etc. going around the boat.

Imagine an interactive map of every locker, bin and hidey-hole, with an updated inventory of its contents, linked to an Excel spreadsheet or two (food, spares, clothing, etc.). It sounds very geeky, I know, but where space and money is at a premium, and finding things in a hurry can keep you afloat, such ridiculous levels of computer-aided organization can help the cruiser to run a tighter ship.
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Old 04-03-2014, 17:46   #6
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

If anyone is interested in the Miix 2 8" tablet, I just got a notice that its price has dropped to $200 on Amazon (though it changes daily). With internal GPS, it can make a really great platform for running OpenCPN in cabin or cockpit. Add a 32GB microSD card for extra storage, and an inexpensive waterproof pouch, and you've got a device that beats the crap out of any handheld GPS.

FWIW, it's what I bought, and I have a RAM mount for using it in my cockpit.

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Old 05-03-2014, 08:28   #7
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

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If anyone is interested in the Miix 2 8" tablet
...
With internal GPS, it can make a really great platform for running OpenCPN in cabin or cockpit....
RhythmDoctor,

I have been reading that some Windows 8 tablets do not use COM port for the GPS interface, causing issues with OpenCPN recognizing the GPS.
I assume there is no such issue with Miix 2 tablet - correct?
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:47   #8
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

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RhythmDoctor,

I have been reading that some Windows 8 tablets do not use COM port for the GPS interface, causing issues with OpenCPN recognizing the GPS.
I assume there is no such issue with Miix 2 tablet - correct?
For OpenCPN, the problem is easily solved with petrsimon's GeolocationTCP utility. This directs the all the internal geolocation NMEA sentences onto a TCP port, which OpenCPN supports.

You can search for some other threads where this is also discussed.
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Old 08-03-2014, 21:14   #9
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

What a great forum Wow, I am looking to get a Miix 2 8" tablet to run OpenCPN and connect a handheld VHF HX850S with NMEA output. NMEA connects to the tablet with a serial to USB. I am still trying to get the NMEA to connect to my desktop but I think this is a great system for a 19’ pocket cruiser. Of course we will have paper charts
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Old 08-03-2014, 21:59   #10
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

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What a great forum Wow, I am looking to get a Miix 2 8" tablet to run OpenCPN and connect a handheld VHF HX850S with NMEA output. NMEA connects to the tablet with a serial to USB. I am still trying to get the NMEA to connect to my desktop but I think this is a great system for a 19 pocket cruiser. Of course we will have paper charts
I agree - tablets are great as chartplotters for small boats, as long as you don't need extreme waterproofing. The Miix2 8" has seen frequent price dips to $200 on Amazon, so it's a good time to grab one.

A couple suggestions.

Be VERY careful which USB to serial adapter you buy. Make sure it has drivers that work with Windows 8. There are a lot of legacy adapters out there that do not work with Win 8, and their manufacturers are not updating their drivers. But there are ones out there that do work. You just need to shop carefully.

You will need an adapter to convert from the full size rectangular USB plug to a microUSB plug. You can find them online for around $2.

There is only one microUSB socket for both data and charging, so it's easiest if you run the Miix2 off battery when the GPS is plugged in. If you really want to charge it while connected to the GPS, it can be done, but you need a USB Y-adapter (like used with portable hard drives) with microUSB adapters. It's a little complicated, but it can be done. The single USB tablets are so common that I would expect there ti appear Y-adapter cables specifically for this without any special additional adapters.

If your HX850S is like my Uniden MHS135DSC, the NMEA GPS feed is only available when the handset is sitting in the charging dock. So make sure you have a good, secure place for it near where you plan to use your tablet. And when you pick up your handset, the GPS tracking in OpenCPN will stop temporarily.

Why not just use the internal GPS in the Miix? Then you don't need to worry about connecting the HX850S. You just need to download and configure petrsimon's GeolocationTCP utility to make the GPS viewable in Windows desktop programs. With that, all the complexity of the prior four paragraphs go away.

If you need waterproofing for the Miix 2 8", Travelon sells a waterproof e-reader pouch that is a good fit.
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Old 09-03-2014, 15:16   #11
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

I am still trying to get the NMEA data into my Sony Vaio Windows 8 running OpenCPN.


I am using a ZDIGUSBNMEA Digital Yacht USB to NMEA Serial Adapter cable. The drivers load but I cannot verify signals via OpenCPN NMEA Debug window. In Sony Vaio Windows 8 control panel/device window shows the USB-RS232 and shows that both the USB Serial Converter and USB Serial Port are working properly. I thought I had the input and output wires crossed but when switched it still did not work and showed the same problems. The Standard Horizon HX850S led flashes a steady stream of blinks while connected in either configuration.

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Thanks for a fantastic forum
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Old 09-03-2014, 15:54   #12
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

From your description, my guess is that your baud rates are not matching at every step of the connection. Go to Properties for your COM port. It should be set for 4800 bps, 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit, no flow control. Windows usually defaults to 9600 bps when the COM port initially sets up, and that can cause problems. On some Win8 installs, you need administrator privileges to change the rate. If you don't have the right privileges, you can make a change and it won't "stick" and you won't get a message. This seems to depend on how you get into the dialog. If it does not work the first time, you need to figure out how to run Device Manager as Administrator. I have not figured out how to do this through the Search Charm. Best way is install Classic Shell, search for Device Manager on the Start Menu, right click on it and select "Run as Adminstrator." (Yet another reason to have Classic Shell on every Win 8 machine.) Running in this way will allow changes to the COM port settings to "stick."

I am not familiar with your converter, so it's possible that it will run fine at 9600 baud. If so, you may not need to change the Windows COM port, but you would need to change the receiving software to match whatever baud rate you are running. Your converter might even insist on running at its own baud rate, in which case you need to change everything to match (Windows COM properties, OpenCPN and/or Teraterm, etc.)

I also suggest that you initially take OpenCPN out of the equation. Search for, download, and install the latest version of TeraTerm. Set it up to control the desired COM port, and use it to see what data is transferring. Once again, make sure your baud rate matches whatever the the serial port. Often you will see random characters if the baud rate does not match.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:48   #13
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

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Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
Be VERY careful which USB to serial adapter you buy. Make sure it has drivers that work with Windows 8. There are a lot of legacy adapters out there that do not work with Win 8, and their manufacturers are not updating their drivers.
This is my problem. Bought a cheap USB GPS device some years back that has the USB-Serial adapter built into the device. Uses a Prolific chipset. Worked great for the last several years. But the chipset is old and Prolific will not provide Win-8 drivers for it.

So now it looks like I'm going to have to buy a new GPS device, or wipe my new laptop and install Win-7 on it. What a pain!
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Old 10-03-2014, 13:28   #14
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

Wow, cool, just having the opportunity for a simple coordinated system.

Additional information about the installation:
4800 baud, 8 bits, Parity None, 1 Stop Bit, Flow None set for computer the same protocol for the HX850S and activated the NMEA output sentences. Can surrounding ships sent AIS through the HX850S?
The connection is NMEA 0183 not serial. The cable I have does both but the NMEA 0138 selection is not highlighted in the OpenCPN connections window. The cable is recognized as a serial connection not NMEA 0138.
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Old 10-03-2014, 14:19   #15
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Re: OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

I see there is another thread running currently about Windows 8 and CPN
Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers
When you talk tablets...are you talking apps or PC tablets? It's my understanding that it has to be PC.
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