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View Poll Results: What kind of PC are using on board?
Netbook 10 18.87%
Notebook 26 49.06%
Nettop 1 1.89%
All-in-One 3 5.66%
other 13 24.53%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 21-07-2010, 07:09   #1
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What Kind of PC Are You Using on Board ?


I am researching if there could be something like "the ideal Onboard-PC".
Therefor I am interested in what kind of PC you are using for navigation (of course with OpenCPN ) and for what kind of other purposes you are using ( or would like to use it for) your PC?

Please describe your components (CPU, RAM, GPU, HDD/ SSD, CD/ DVD etc.) as precise as possible, especially if you have choosen "other".

What kind of display/ monitor are you using?

And an additional question to all (sailboat) sailors:
How important is the question of power consumption for you?
Or what average energy consumption (Ampere) may a system (we presume a separate display/ monitor which could be switched on and off) have which runs permanently while cruising?
How many Ah do your batteries (or do you have only one?) have?
Do you have any kind of solar panel and/ or wind generator?

Many thanks in advance,


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Old 21-07-2010, 08:50   #2
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I use a small HP CQ 10' with an Atom cpu and 1G ram
It's only what the power available permits ...
Jean Pierre

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Old 21-07-2010, 09:44   #3
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Hi Gunther,

I am very satisfied with the small VIA pc I bought five years ago. 833 mHz, 512 mB ram, fanless (processor is mounted on a large aluminum chassis and gets not more than lukewarm), 40 gB HDU (today I would choose a solid state HD even if the present HD runs ok) and it draws 1A at 12V. I put it in a safe place on some rubber mounts. The screen is a Philips 170S, 17", which draws 3 amps. I switch it off when possible. If you want I can send you more info but I guess after five years there will be more modern pc's nowadays. Take a look here:
Computers for Sailors

-Most of all I love the fact there is no laptop that can fall down or get splashed with coffee. Just a keyboard and a mouse (and yes, I indeed have a few backups for those...)
-The absence of a fan means: no build up of salt, no noise.
-There are two real physical RS232 comports (one for GPS and one for AIS)
-There is the Video-out feature. When I want, I switch on the FLS (Forward Looking Sonar) in the cockpit. The Video-out on the Via PC is connected to the Video-in on the FLS, so I can watch the NAV-program on the (bit small but ok) FLS daylight screen in the cockpit without additional cost.

It's no power-giant, because there is anly so much you can do without forced cooling. For nav programs it's more than strong enough.

> How important is the question of power consumption for you?
I guess this is important for all sailboat owners who are not velcro-ed to the pier...

>Or what average energy consumption (Ampere) may a system (we >presume a separate display/ monitor which could be switched on and off) >have which runs permanently while cruising?
The VIA pc runs constantly during sailing but 90% of the time with the screen switched off. I estimate the power draw on average 30 Ah per 24 hours.
In the anchorages we use the netbook/laptop and they use way more.

How many Ah do your batteries (or do you have only one?) have?
House bank 660 Ah (used to be 1200 but that proved to be unnecessary)

>Do you have any kind of solar panel and/ or wind generator?
2 Kyocera 2x80wW
1 IBC 1x120W
3 Sunware 3x50W
1 Kiss windgenerator.

Your post suggests to me that you are in the planning stage of your electrical system. If so, take a look at Nigel Calder's book about mechanical and electrical systems on a boat.

Cheers, Len.
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Old 21-07-2010, 10:23   #4
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Using a MAC and love every minute of it
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Old 21-07-2010, 11:00   #5
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Panasonic thoughbook cf-28 old and cheap ,
will buy me a used cf-29 for next saeson ~400 euro.
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Old 23-07-2010, 18:01   #6
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hp ipaq rx3417 handheld pocketpc is the computer i have used every day for the last six years, wifi, infra-red & bluetooth to connect to gps. sd card reader and a variety of sd cards which contain garmin pacific charts which are great with bluetooth gps, mp3's via bluetooth headphones, solo yachtie movies, 6000 e-books, games and the usual collection of pocketpc software. connects to the internet via bluetooth mobile phone. I've also bought a small wireless keyboard which makes typing log entries easier.
it lives in a supposedly waterproof pelican case which does become totally waterproof in a grab bag and has survived many thousands of miles of cruising and 1 shipwreck. it recharges from a usb cigarette lighter adapter.
it is without a doubt the greatest way to read books day or night.
brilliant technology damned if i know why they stopped making them.

i use my boring old laptop for work and generally have to replace it each year or two.


CPU+Clock: 400 MHz CPU: Samsung S3C2440
Browse devices based on this microprocessor Memory,;Storage+capacity

RAM;capacity: 64 MiB (accessible: 56.7 MiB) ROM;capacity: 64 MiB (accessible: 36 MiB) Display

Display-Type: color transflective TFT , 65536 scales Display-Diagonal: 3.5 " Display+Resolution: 240 x 320 Sound

Microphone(s): mono Loudspeaker(s): mono Audio:Output: 3.5mm Control:Peripherals

Positioning_Device: Touchscreen Primary:Keyboard: Not supported Directional-Pad: 5 -way Scroll_Wheel: Not supported Interfaces

Expansion-Slots: MMC, SD, SDIO USB: USB 1.1 client, 12Mbit/s
Proprietary Bluetooth: Bluetooth 1.1 Wireless:LAN: 802.11b Infrared;Gate: 115200bit/s (SIR/CIR) Serial: RS-232 Multimedia:Telecommunication

Analog:Radio;Receiver: Not supported Digital+Media:Broadcast;Tuner: Not supported Built-in+Digital;Camera

Main;Camera: 1.2 MP Optical-Zoom: 1 x Additional_Details

Battery: removable Battery_Capacity: 920 mAh
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Old 23-07-2010, 18:15   #7
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Other...three desktops.

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Old 23-07-2010, 18:25   #8
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MacSailing here! (all Apple devices)
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Old 23-07-2010, 18:42   #9
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Love my iPad 3G gps, it's a great little low power consumption weather, radar, navigation and entertainment device. Very portabe to, just Velcro it on the wall in your cabin to watch a movie or take it anywhere, a waterproof bag/case for it costs $30. I do also have a notebook but I now use it about 10 percent of the time, mainly for Photoshop and to edit videos. I did buy the $69 wireless keyboard for my iPad that is great for typing long emails.
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Old 23-07-2010, 19:58   #10
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There's no choice for a Mac, what's up with that?

I need to let Dear Leader (aka Steve Jobs) know about this.
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Old 23-07-2010, 20:18   #11
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I'm using an ASUS netbook running Debian 5.0, very lean on power and functionally complete.

Yet, if I were to prepare for a long trip, I'll probably use a thin-client PC. HP (which bought Neoware) makes some that are 10" x 8" x 1.5", 1GHz CPU, flash disk, no moving parts and run Linux from factory. You screw it on a dry place out of sight, and connect it to a small LCD. Input is 12V AC (I don't know if it would accept DC) from a 120V AC transformer. About $500.

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Old 24-07-2010, 04:38   #12
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one smartphone
one ipad
one dell 15" laptop
one Toshiba 17" laptop
one 17" macbookpro

The dell is collecting dust since getting the ipad. the ipad seems ideal for most typical boat based computer needs
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Old 24-07-2010, 05:13   #13
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MacBook and iPhone. So good to be rid of memories of Windows from work.
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Old 24-07-2010, 11:45   #14
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Originally Posted by Netsurfer View Post

What kind of PC are using on board?

I'm using a laptop. Where the hell is that on this list?
Gunther, this better not be some geek V's the real world thread!

We have 2 LAPTOPS. One is an ASUS which we have found very good but high battery drain. Its 2.5 years old.
Our new computer is an ACER 8 Hour + Battery model
Intel Duo CPU U9400 1.40GHz 64 bit system 4GB RAM

The ACER has worked fine and the battery settings have certainly allowed for constant (or near constant) use whilst the other computer can never hardly been used due to power SUCK.

Some member on this forum slagged me off deeply for buying this brand of computer... I still fail to see why when we bought a computer that has done well and uses a miniscule amount of power comparitavly... and cost far less.

For crusing almost anything new is going to run openCpn and other charting packages. All will run the internet friendly programs.

My thoughts are to buy a LAPTOP and stay well clear of wank and wankers.

Its just a computer. They are expendable and think yourself lucky if they survive 2 years.

I am just thinking of the times my computer has gone ashore in 'Lil Dink and never taken a drink!

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 24-07-2010, 11:56   #15
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i use 2 laptops and a netbook but that option wasnt there..LOL.....i use none for nav programs except to find charts and weather when near cell towers.

dell from hell--around 4 yrs old..LOL--is pos!!!! but works...
compaq--keeps freezing and has issues--is m y fav lappy..i am an hp kinda soul.
acer netbook from wally for when i dont have much juice to spare and (need) to do internetZ....and for taking to beach when i dnt want to wet my compaq or dangdell...

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