A quick 3000 miles trip (Baltic to Canaries)... with OpenCPN/Windows as the only tool used... For backup A3 printouts from OpenCPN. A very good experience overall, thanks again to the developers!
A couple of points noted:
1. I really could use lat/lon grid for those printouts :-) Having the A3 printer available for just a couple of hours before departure, I tinkered hastily the grids with many, many simple routes...
2. For night display I used a "SOB Night Mode" Windows Theme left over from SOBvMAX demo (SOB - SoftwareOnBoard from Digiboat) plus setting all fonts color to grey and removing both status- and Windows tool-bar. I use this setup for day and night as it is too much work to switch all fonts. Still, black marks are not visible on night screens.
3. The main practical problem was interfacing to Garmin
over USB (Garmin USB drivers ver. 2.3). Serial
are hard to find now, so direct USB connection seems to be the way, without RS232/USB converter. When GPS loses power and comes back later (cigarette lighter plugs are not really up to rough weather
, especially on a catamaran
...), OCPN not always resynchronizes, even if the log message says it does. The only safe procedure I found was: power down both PC and GPS, start PC and OCPN first, then power up GPS. Probably the worst is that in case of lost
sync OCPN generates tens of megabytes of messages complaining about NULL Garmin
USB handle, overfilling the log file and usually crashing on program exit anyhow. I experienced this often underway in released ver. 2.1, but reproduce it now on every Windows version from 1.3.6 to 2.2-1111.
4. The tracks display dialog uses a long format for time zone name in timestamps, taking up too much space (instead of CEST or GMT2 it says "Środkowoeuropejski Czas Letni"). Probably a minor wx problem.
5. I think the waypoint import
does not work as expected for plain GPX files from other sources or previous OCPN versions, i.e. without proper <extensions>. There are many very useful tools around that assume reasonable defaults about waypoint visibility. I think the default for importing waypoints should be that they are certainly visible, perhaps complete with names. Also, playing with a simple GPX can cause a crash (Vista,CM93):
the attached GPX sample into OCPN, GPSUtility, EasyGPS, GPSBabel, POIEdit
- the single
wpt is visible, as expected, in all programs, except OCPN, late version
- go to Route
Manager, Waypoints, Properties, select this only waypoint, set "show name", "zoom to", move RM window aside
- it is still not visible on the chart... should be somewhere in Central Baltic
- keeping Route
Manager open, Zoom in twice or more with the chart tool...
- while waiting for zoom to take effect, just select RM window again e.g. to move or close it
- watch OCPN crash
The crash will occur only on a fresh installation; once the zoom on this complex charts area is successful the program will no longer crash.
6. It is great that the MOB
Waypoint is protected from accidental moving! I think it should be also protected from deleting too easily, or/and perhaps dropping a MOB
marker might be recorded in the log file as timestamp/position.
7. A cosmetic issue: in OCPN there are two waypoint symbols: "light type A" and "light type B". In the minimal Garmin set the symbol graphically equivalent to "light type A" is called "light". Unfortunately, OCPN interprets "light" as "light type B", calling light type A as "light1". Would be nice to have the simple default equal everywhere, perhaps just interchange icons for light and light1?
8. I miss very much the multiple formats for entering waypoint coordinates (cf. Forums
- Post 416763">this-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-post )! True, my implementation was perhaps a little verbose, but I often do a copy/paste from published Notices to Mariners in .pdf or directly from Web sources to markup a chart... the OCPN technology moves so fast that I fear I will have to quit sailing in order to contribute useful code again .. ;-)
I look forward very much to the next release!