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Old 26-02-2015, 08:03   #1
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OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Hi there,

I found a new (to me) device, a windows based stick:

Meegopad T01:
This no-name Windows 8 stick PC can be yours now for $100 | Digital Trends

First reviews I have seen are not perfect but really OK. It's not a machine for number crunching or gaming. It's as big as some USB dongles, cost is around 100USD, and its average consumption is said to be 1.5W. It's USB powered and rated 2A@5V, but I read it's consumption is between 1Watt (idle) and 5Watt (full power), normal web browsing around 1.5watt.


I am thinking of using this as an always-on PC aboard, dedicated to and optimized for OpenCPN, multiplexing and recording NMEA data, downloading GRIBs, emailing via my iSatphone, etc.

My intention is to go without a dedicated monitor. Instead I want to use some remote-app like VNC, teamviewer or remote desktop and use my tablet as a cordless 10" full HD monitor.


Primary use will be inside using a normal cordless mouse / keyboard connected to the PC stick. I had a touch PC on my last boat and was not really happy with the useability of touch interface, and mostly used the mouse anyway.
Since the tablet is connected via Wifi this would make OpenCPN somewhat mobile, too. That is including things like AIS and boat instruments, but of course with limited useability due to the touchscreen input via VNC.
If VNC screen updates are fast enough this could bring radar to the tablet, too.

Any thoughts on this? Has someone tried this VNC way already? or has someone experience with these windows sticks?
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Old 26-02-2015, 11:24   #2
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbi View Post
Hi there,

I found a new (to me) device, a windows based stick:

Meegopad T01:
This no-name Windows 8 stick PC can be yours now for $100 | Digital Trends

First reviews I have seen are not perfect but really OK. It's not a machine for number crunching or gaming. It's as big as some USB dongles, cost is around 100USD, and its average consumption is said to be 1.5W. It's USB powered and rated 2A@5V, but I read it's consumption is between 1Watt (idle) and 5Watt (full power), normal web browsing around 1.5watt.


I am thinking of using this as an always-on PC aboard, dedicated to and optimized for OpenCPN, multiplexing and recording NMEA data, downloading GRIBs, emailing via my iSatphone, etc.

My intention is to go without a dedicated monitor. Instead I want to use some remote-app like VNC, teamviewer or remote desktop and use my tablet as a cordless 10" full HD monitor.


Primary use will be inside using a normal cordless mouse / keyboard connected to the PC stick. I had a touch PC on my last boat and was not really happy with the useability of touch interface, and mostly used the mouse anyway.
Since the tablet is connected via Wifi this would make OpenCPN somewhat mobile, too. That is including things like AIS and boat instruments, but of course with limited useability due to the touchscreen input via VNC.
If VNC screen updates are fast enough this could bring radar to the tablet, too.

Any thoughts on this? Has someone tried this VNC way already? or has someone experience with these windows sticks?
My recommendation since you own an android is save yourself the expense and uncertainties using Windows on a stick by following my instructions here: Building on Motorola Xoom | Official OpenCPN Homepage

I'd use a laptop for those infrequent occasions when AIS and display of data from instruments is necessary. In my experience this has been never...

Once you've followed my instructions you'll be able to use OpenCPN on your android independent of a laptop and external wireless schemes.
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Old 26-02-2015, 11:52   #3
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Here is another option.. They also have a cheaper version without 3G
Onda V919 3G Air Windows8 + Android Retina Screen Dual Boot Tablet PC 64GB

I purchased one, and although it was a PAIN IN THE ASS to remove the Chinese from it. Once that was done, its an exceptional tablet. It runs OpenCPN and Polarview NS like a champ and draws about the same as the stick you mentioned above (including screen).

I thought I would only use Windows for OpenCPN, but I find myself using it as much as the Android OS.

More money, yes, but you get a screen and battery as well.
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Old 26-02-2015, 13:04   #4
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Thanks for the resposes, however I don't think any of those would work for me.

First, I do't think using a tablet only solution is an alternative. Most tablets have problems charging while using the USB OTG mode. The tablet would need to be connected to the AIS and NMEA streams. Even if you work around the charging issue, I don't like micro-USB connections for permanent use.

The android tablet solution has a number of other issues, just look at the issues with internal and external GPS. Even though it may work OK this is far from straight forward, and looks pretty fragile to me. My tablet is not ARM based so this will be even more complicated.
Plus I'd still need to lug around my laptop for iSatphone communication and AIS. Going without AIS is to me not an option. That is like switching off ESP in your car and only switch t on when you need it. And radar plugin is impossible, if i'm not mistaken.
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Old 26-02-2015, 14:06   #5
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbi View Post
Thanks for the resposes, however I don't think any of those would work for me.

First, I do't think using a tablet only solution is an alternative. Most tablets have problems charging while using the USB OTG mode. The tablet would need to be connected to the AIS and NMEA streams. Even if you work around the charging issue, I don't like micro-USB connections for permanent use.

The android tablet solution has a number of other issues, just look at the issues with internal and external GPS. Even though it may work OK this is far from straight forward, and looks pretty fragile to me. My tablet is not ARM based so this will be even more complicated.
Plus I'd still need to lug around my laptop for iSatphone communication and AIS. Going without AIS is to me not an option. That is like switching off ESP in your car and only switch t on when you need it. And radar plugin is impossible, if i'm not mistaken.
What architecture is your tablet if it isn't arm using a linux kernel?

Built-in GPS on arm devices works fine when running OpenCPN in a linux chroot environment. No external nmea source involved. An android app called GPS Share WIFI seems to work reliably with both types of built-in GPS, producing positional information or NMEA data. Using external USB GPS isn't a problem either. gpsd handles everything. The exception is if your GPS needs a special driver like Garmins. Then you need to use a custom android ROM where the developers have enabled your driver in the kernel. Cyanogenmod is a good choice. But, why bother using an external GPS when a built in is available?

Most android tablets have a cable separate from the usb for charging. My Xoom does and uses both a.c. and d.c sources for charging.

As for AIS, it may be possible to use with an android tablet but nobody's apparently tried, or at least reported doing so with results.

Your needs are significant in some ways, requiring a good sized battery bank and a laptop. Best you can do is try to achieve a balance, saving amps when you can. Last but least, you want to be careful about investing too much confidence in radar and AIS to keep you out of harms way. These things sometimes fail...
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Old 26-02-2015, 14:28   #6
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbi View Post
Thanks for the resposes, however I don't think any of those would work for me.

First, I do't think using a tablet only solution is an alternative. Most tablets have problems charging while using the USB OTG mode. The tablet would need to be connected to the AIS and NMEA streams. Even if you work around the charging issue, I don't like micro-USB connections for permanent use.

The android tablet solution has a number of other issues, just look at the issues with internal and external GPS. Even though it may work OK this is far from straight forward, and looks pretty fragile to me. My tablet is not ARM based so this will be even more complicated.
Plus I'd still need to lug around my laptop for iSatphone communication and AIS. Going without AIS is to me not an option. That is like switching off ESP in your car and only switch t on when you need it. And radar plugin is impossible, if i'm not mistaken.
You should read the specs more closely.. Its not ARM based(runs and intel processor). It runs both Andriod and Windows Dual boot..

You are correct about OTG but I was able to work around the problem with specific cord.. We will see how well the mini USB stands up.

I do not inject NEMA yet, but I have designed my own NMEA 0183 to WIFI bridge, so it won't be an issue for me.
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:07   #7
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
What architecture is your tablet if it isn't arm using a linux kernel?

Built-in GPS on arm devices works fine when running OpenCPN in a linux chroot environment. No external nmea source involved. An android app called GPS Share WIFI seems to work reliably with both types of built-in GPS, producing positional information or NMEA data. Using external USB GPS isn't a problem either. gpsd handles everything. The exception is if your GPS needs a special driver like Garmins. Then you need to use a custom android ROM where the developers have enabled your driver in the kernel. Cyanogenmod is a good choice. But, why bother using an external GPS when a built in is available?

Most android tablets have a cable separate from the usb for charging. My Xoom does and uses both a.c. and d.c sources for charging.

As for AIS, it may be possible to use with an android tablet but nobody's apparently tried, or at least reported doing so with results.

Your needs are significant in some ways, requiring a good sized battery bank and a laptop. Best you can do is try to achieve a balance, saving amps when you can. Last but least, you want to be careful about investing too much confidence in radar and AIS to keep you out of harms way. These things sometimes fail...
opcorn:
My current tablet is an Asus Memopad FHD 10 and is Intel Atom based. Thats certainly not mainstream, but nothing special either if you look at the galaxy tab 3 for example.
I would like some simple solution, where i don't have to flash, root, compile, etc. I have done all this and can certainly do it but i want it the easy way. So honestly, if i just look at the length of your install guide i don't consider it easy. Plus AIS, radar and instrument data is not even considered yet.

So for me, the android solution doesn't fit the bill. It may be cheaper, or even free as i still have an old Nexus 7 or a Minix NEO5 lying around. But its still means lots of guesswork, trying, playing.

Charging via the micro USB is the norm these days, you will have a hard time finding tablets with a separate charger connection. I don't like that but that's the current reality. Some have workarounds for use in docking stations or via special cords. I hope the next generation will focus more on wireless charging.

I don't think i will need a laptop, as long as i have any sort of windows based system. Battery consumption should not be an issue at 1.5w for the PC. Thats just a small fraction of the amps required for autopilot, instruments, AIS, radio, running lights, etc. However with 480Ah and 560w solar that should be OK, with some recharge requirements expected on longer passages with not much sun.
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:16   #8
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
You should read the specs more closely.. Its not ARM based(runs and intel processor). It runs both Andriod and Windows Dual boot..

You are correct about OTG but I was able to work around the problem with specific cord.. We will see how well the mini USB stands up.

I do not inject NEMA yet, but I have designed my own NMEA 0183 to WIFI bridge, so it won't be an issue for me.
The architecture was mentioned with regard to the android alternative where my atom architecture complicates things quite a bit.
I will look into the windows tablet option again. As long as the tablet has a permanent place in a locker the micro usb may be OK. Its more the physcal stability of moving it around while plugged in that concerns me.

The positive is that this is more mainstream, so the vailable hardware may be not only cheap but also more mature (driver availability, thermal robustness, etc)
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Old 27-02-2015, 12:47   #9
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

The initial subject of this thread regards using Windows 8 "...on a stick with android tablet". Notwithstanding the revelation the tablet in question is not an android ARM device, it's worth mentioning OpenCPN can be run from a "thumb drive", a.k.a "usb stick" and the linux operating system connected with ARM devices. The obvious advantage of using linux is the installed operating system is specific to the ARM architecture. The advantage of using a usb thumb drive is simply a matter of preserving space on the sdcard for other files. Otherwise the linux system would be installed as either a "file" or partition on the sdcard using android apps like Linux Deploy which I recommend. Functionally there is no difference how the GUI side of linux system is accessed and programs like OpenCPN run.

As far as the complexity of my instructions are concerned, they aren't difficult to follow at all. In a nut shell:

*Root device paying close attention to my comments in the instructions pertaining to SuperSu.
*Download from Google Play Linux Deploy, bVNC Free, an Android Terminal, Android FX File Manager + Root Extension and Share GPS WIFI.
*Install linux using Linux Deploy
*Using the Android terminal mount the newly installed linux system by copying this command '/data/local/linux/bin/linuxdeploy shell' into the terminal and press enter.
*Create a root password for use in the linux GUI environment.
*Follow the remaining instructions by copying, pasting and 'entering' the commands in the terminal. This includes either installing OpenCPN 'from source' or a binary I've created and is available for download from 4Share.com.

Installation on a usb thumb drive requires the creation of two partitions on a blank drive. The first primary partition is formatted as vfat. The second as linux ext2, 3 or 4. Follow my instructions and use '/mnt/fuse/sdcard1_real' for the install path in Linux Deploy. A script is created to mount the sdcard1_real at boot time. You're good to go.

Instructions are here: http://opencpn.org/ocpn/node/193

Not hard, and as long as I have internet access and am still breathing will be around to help.
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Old 08-03-2015, 09:42   #10
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Thanks for adding to your already quite detailed installation guide. But this approach conceptually misses my points. I guess I failed to express my needs more clearly.

I want AIS, depth, course and also the option of adding radar (I think the radar plugins are windows only). I need a windows based solution for other tasks like satellite internet or configuring the AIS which are simply not available on anything but linux.
I want an always-on solution that runs in the background 24/7.


My existing android tablet can only serve as a mobile display. So I need a windows based solution. Permanently installed and aways-on.

That's why I asked if someone had experience with this sort of things, running on Windows with VNC.


So here are my experiences.
I ordered the stick, in my case a rebranded version labelled "Orbsmart". It works as advertised but runs quite hot even at ambient temperatures. No idea how well it would survive in a small locker in tropical climates.
It consumes around 1.2-1.5W on idle and never above 8W (that is measured at the mains side of the power plug).

The major bugger is my idea of going headless, without a dedicated monitor. This is a PITA with windows. I managed to set up everything, including Opencpn with Cm93. Works OK but a bit slow. But if anything goes wrong with the remote access you will be left with a device that is useless. You need to have a monitor on board, at least for temporary use when configuring the stick.

I decided to send the stick back to the vendor.

I found a different solution which works for me:
A windows 8.1 tablet, used as a dedicated always-on computer, which will be permanently fixed to the back panel of a locker so the cable and connector mess is not an issue and somewhat fragile connectors are safe from the stress of daily use.
Primary use will be through my tablet and VNC, but in case of trouble it is self sufficient.

The tablet I use is a Trekstor Wintron 10.1, has 2GB Ram and a 32GB SSD HDD. It has two nice features: a dedicated 9V charge connector and a full sized USB port. No messing around with fragile micro USB plugs.
Power consumption is 0.5W idle and 4W at full throttle (screen off, battery fully charged). This is again measured at the mains side of the power plug.

It does not feature a built-in GPS but the point was to connect it to the boat's instruments and GPS so this is not an issue. It runs OpenCPN like a charm, no lagging or anything. Zooming in and out is super smooth.

I played around with it using my RealVNC on my android tablet and wireless keyboard / mouse and this works very well. No smooth zooming in OpenCPN but I guess it's fast enough for radar.

Cost for the tablet (with a broken glass but fully functional touch screen): 56 Euro
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:05   #11
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbi View Post
I need a windows based solution for other tasks like satellite internet or configuring the AIS which are simply not available on anything but linux.
Stupid me, that should read:
I need a windows based solution for other tasks like satellite internet or configuring the AIS which are simply not available on anything else but windows.
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:42   #12
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
My recommendation since you own an android is save yourself the expense and uncertainties using Windows on a stick by following my instructions here: Building on Motorola Xoom | Official OpenCPN Homepage

I'd use a laptop for those infrequent occasions when AIS and display of data from instruments is necessary. In my experience this has been never...

Once you've followed my instructions you'll be able to use OpenCPN on your android independent of a laptop and external wireless schemes.
The link failed for me. Is it OK?
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:46   #13
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

What about the new Raspberry Pi 2? Microsoft has confirmed that they will release a version of Windows 10 for this platform. It has HDMI and 4 USB ports for sensors etc (temp/hum, GPS, 4G dongle, camera).


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Old 08-03-2015, 12:01   #14
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
The link failed for me. Is it OK?
The link is good but it appears the server might be down. I think I saw a thread someone started about this yesterday. OpenCPN.org down???

If anyone wants to install on a thumb drive let me know. I'll provide the script content that automatically mounts the linux partitions on boot so you can create the file.

I recommend that if you are going to install on the thumb drive use one 16 GB or larger. This way you can size the fat partition to the maximum allowable and use it for normal storage of files. The remaining "ext" formatted partition will be large enough for most users needs.
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Old 08-03-2015, 12:18   #15
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Re: OpenCPN on windows stick with android tablet

Your device may need to rooted before you can do this...

Here's the file content for the script. Using an android file manager create an empty file. Copy/paste the contents and save as "userinit.sh" Copy the file to /data/local .

Note that your device external sdcard may be different than mount "/dev/block/mmcblk0p2". You can check by executing this command in an android terminal after typing "su" <enter> .

"df" <enter> which will list your devices, space used and available.

#!/system/bin/sh
REALMNT=/mnt/fuse/sdcard1_real
if ! [ -d "$REALMNT" ]; then
mkdir "$REALMNT" || exit 1
fi
mount -t ext3 /dev/block/mmcblk0p2 "$REALMNT"
sdcard "$REALMNT" /storage/sdcard1 1023 1023 &
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