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Old 01-11-2014, 21:58   #1
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Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Some of you know that I've been running OpenCPN on a Miix2 8" model for the past year. It's my primary navigation tool in my cockpit:





I've had a look at the online descriptions of the new Windows tablets coming out soon, and I'm not impressed. The trend seems to be to "value engineer" them for a cheaper price point. So we're seeing lower resolution screens, slower processors, and less memory. Both the Lenovo Miix3 8" and the Toshiba Encore 2 are designed to sell at $200. Many reviews are saying that their predecessors are superior machines, and although they previously sold for $300-400, they are now discounted to around the same $200 price point.

Bottom line - if you're interested in an 8" tablet for running OpenCPN, you might want to snatch up one of the older-but-better tablets while you can. I'm sure that a couple years from now there will be a new generation of Windows tablets that are better than you can get now, but for the next 6 months or so the trend appears to be toward cheaper, watered down tablets.

6 Windows 8.1 tablets for $199 or less - Liliputing

Lenovo launches Miix 3 8 inch Windows tablet (in China) - Liliputing
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:02   #2
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Hello Rhythmdoctor,



Thanks for the pictures and the advices.

A question :

how can you get 2 OpenCPN sessions on the same screen ?,
I have been trying with a "normal" and a "portable" one at the same time and I only can get one running at the same time.

XP, OpenCPN3.3.2222

Serge
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:17   #3
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by AISEAG View Post
Hello Rhythmdoctor,



Thanks for the pictures and the advices.

A question :

how can you get 2 OpenCPN sessions on the same screen ?,
I have been trying with a "normal" and a "portable" one at the same time and I only can get one running at the same time.

XP, OpenCPN3.3.2222

Serge
I have two separate portable installations on a microSD card. That way I can just move the card to any tablet or computer.

I believe that one normal and one portable should work, but you may need to make sure the launch the normal one first.

FYI, I have both sessions pointing to the same chart folder. I'd like to have them also point to the same SENC folder, but that feature wasn't working properly last time I tried it. The purpose of all this is to minimize space utilization for these large folders, and to minimize the need to ingest new charts.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:07   #4
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

I read what you wrote earlier about using Windows 8 tablet for OpenCPN and bought Toshiba Encore in June, installed OpenCPN and Geolocation TCP. The GPS in Encore is updating every thirty seconds according to Geolocation TCP, but the GPS symbol in OpenCPN does not turn green and my location is not shown on Cmap, regardless of how I adjust the network or other settings. How do you make the Gps and tablet work with OpenCPN? I am now using the Encore as my silent desktop computer with external monitor and USB hub and it does this well.
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Old 04-11-2014, 18:28   #5
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

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Originally Posted by hughdale View Post
I read what you wrote earlier about using Windows 8 tablet for OpenCPN and bought Toshiba Encore in June, installed OpenCPN and Geolocation TCP. The GPS in Encore is updating every thirty seconds according to Geolocation TCP, but the GPS symbol in OpenCPN does not turn green and my location is not shown on Cmap, regardless of how I adjust the network or other settings. How do you make the Gps and tablet work with OpenCPN? I am now using the Encore as my silent desktop computer with external monitor and USB hub and it does this well.
I have no direct experience with the Encore, but the Windows 8 tablets seem to be configured in a way that only Metro apps can see the built-in GPS. There is a great free utility that solved this on my Miix2, and I believe it will work for yours too:

https://bitbucket.org/petrsimon/geol...ntcp/downloads

There is also at least one other paid app that addresses this issue, but I have not used it because the free one worked for me.

Other prior posts on this subject:

OpenCPN on Windows 8 Tablet?

OpenCPN Optimized for Touch Screen

(Oops, I read your note very sloppily. I dind't see that you already have Geolocation TCP installed.)

It sounds like the Encore is getting its location from a WiFi map, not from the GPS. Windows8 has that capability. I don't know the Encore, but the GPS should be putting out a 1 Hz NMEA feed.

Try downloading the free Sensor Metro app from the Microsoft store. That should tell you whether your GPS has a fix, or whether it's stuck on "Initializing" status.
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Old 04-11-2014, 18:48   #6
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Here's my response to a PM that received today:

Quote:
Hello,

I just bought a Lenovo Mix 2, (actually I bought two!).

I have loaded Open cpn and the charts and now I could use some help figuring out the gps.

Thanks for any tips.
Congratulations. I was so impressed that I picked up a second one also.

Four helpful tips:

  1. The Windows 8 tablets seem to be configured in a way that only Metro apps can see the built-in GPS. There is a great free utility that solved this on my Miix2: https://bitbucket.org/petrsimon/geol...ntcp/downloads Set this utility to launch at bootup so it's always there.
  2. Allow A LOT of time for the GPS to acquire the first fix. It can take 5 minutes or more, especially if you're a long way from where you were when you last powered down. I don't use the internal GPS much, since my boat sends out GPS and AIS via Bluetooth, so I pull those into the tablet. So I really don't know if the initial fix gets faster over time, because I haven't used it that much.
  3. The metal strip at the bottom of the Miix2 (in portrait mode) appears to be where the GPS antenna is located, and if your hand covers it you may lose your signal. So if you're going to hold the Miix2 in portrait mode, you may want to turn it UPSIDE DOWN with the metal strip (and Windows logo) at the top. I used the internal GPS on a 5-day cruise (on a friend's boat) recently, and I found that this made it much more reliable when holding it in your hand.
  4. If you use polarized sunglasses with the Miix2, you will have to orient it in landscape mode or the screen will appear black. That is why most of the pictures you see on my boat are in landscape mode with two instances of OpenCPN running. Portrait mode is real nice, but only on cloudy days or inside the cabin.

Other threads on this topic:

Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

OpenCPN Optimized for Touch Screen

OpenCPN Optimized for Touch Screen

OpenCPN Optimized for Touch Screen
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Old 04-11-2014, 23:23   #7
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

I should have gone through my settings once more before I wrote my message: yes, with the Geolocation TCP the GPS updates once every second when I activate the GPS in Encore (I had it activated in summer; with wifi it seems to update once in thirty seconds). Furthermore when I did my installation in July I followed the instructions on the Wiki page of Geolocation TCP where we are told to install a file with the ending r5, looking around the site I found a more recent file r6. Using this newer file instead, I for the first time had the 'my boat' symbol in my OpenCPN (and in the right place too, I have a vague memory that I saw it last summer also, but at 0 degrees longitude ie thousands of kilometers from where I am). On the dashboard I did not have all the GPS information, but I will take my Toshiba Encore outdoors for better GPS reception and check things out properly later. It now seems that after all the frustration (with the r5 file) last summer I am on the right track with the GeolocationTCP-r6.exe.
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Old 05-11-2014, 20:36   #8
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
Here's my response to a PM that received today:


Congratulations. I was so impressed that I picked up a second one also.

Four helpful tips:

  1. The Windows 8 tablets seem to be configured in a way that only Metro apps can see the built-in GPS. There is a great free utility that solved this on my Miix2: https://bitbucket.org/petrsimon/geol...ntcp/downloads Set this utility to launch at bootup so it's always there.
  2. Allow A LOT of time for the GPS to acquire the first fix. It can take 5 minutes or more, especially if you're a long way from where you were when you last powered down. I don't use the internal GPS much, since my boat sends out GPS and AIS via Bluetooth, so I pull those into the tablet. So I really don't know if the initial fix gets faster over time, because I haven't used it that much.
  3. The metal strip at the bottom of the Miix2 (in portrait mode) appears to be where the GPS antenna is located, and if your hand covers it you may lose your signal. So if you're going to hold the Miix2 in portrait mode, you may want to turn it UPSIDE DOWN with the metal strip (and Windows logo) at the top. I used the internal GPS on a 5-day cruise (on a friend's boat) recently, and I found that this made it much more reliable when holding it in your hand.
  4. If you use polarized sunglasses with the Miix2, you will have to orient it in landscape mode or the screen will appear black. That is why most of the pictures you see on my boat are in landscape mode with two instances of OpenCPN running. Portrait mode is real nice, but only on cloudy days or inside the cabin.

Other threads on this topic:

Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

OpenCPN Optimized for Touch Screen

OpenCPN Optimized for Touch Screen

OpenCPN Optimized for Touch Screen
More helpful tips:

5. Install Classic Shell RIGHT AWAY. You don't want Microsoft's Metro/Modern interface for OpenCPN. You basically want traditional Windows (like XP or 7) running in the tablet form factor. Classic Shell brings back the start menu, and can be configured to make the tablet boot up on the desktop and make the Metro/Modern Start Page disappear until you decide to launch it. Basically it make Windows 8 look and feel a lot more like Windows 7 or XP. There's not need to hate Win8 when there's such an easy fix available.

6. If you want to use the Miix2 in daylight, get a matte finish screen protector. These have worked very well for me:
Amazon.com: MiniGuard Screen Protector for Lenovo IdeaTab Miix 2 8" (3x Pack HD Clear): Computers & Accessories

7. Buy a few inexpensive styluses just in case you need them. I don't like OpenCPN's tablet mode, so I just use it in regular computer mode. I have skinny fingers, but if I need more precise pointing, I keep a stylus in my binnacle organizer:
Amazon.com: Stylus with Ball Point Pen (5 Pack) for iPad Mini, iPad 2/3, new iPad, iPhone 5 4S 4 3GS, iPod Touch, Motorola Xoom, Xyboard, Droid, Samsung Galaxy S IV / S4, Galaxy S III/S3 GT-I9300, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Asus Memo, Asus Padfone , A

8. Buy a Bluetooth mouse and/or keyboard. When you need to do PC stuff that involves precise typing and mousing (like route planning), you can use the tablet like a very small PC. I bought this one on sale for $30 for an Android tablet, but it works fine with Win8. You can find others that may be more to your liking:
Amazon.com: Motorola Wireless Keyboard with Device Stand: Computers & Accessories

9. Buy a flexible microUSB OTG host cable. This will enable you to attach traditional USB devices, including wired mouse, keyboard, USB hub, SD card readers, etc.
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FUNYSA/

10. Get rid of any bloatware that comes with your tablet, especially McAfee. I am told that it slows down the machine, and that Windows firewall and antivirus provides adequate protection. My tablet is almost always disconnected from the internet anyway, so it's less important. YMMV.

11. Buy a good 12v charger so you can keep your tablet on all the time. Get one that can go to 1 or 2 amps (higher than traditional USB spec) to be sure your tablet (and other devices) recognize it as a charger. This one senses your device's preferred amperage rate and adjust accordingly:
Amazon.com: AnkerŪ 24W Dual-Port Rapid USB Car Charger with PowerIQTM Technology + 3ft / 0.9m Micro USB Cable for Samsung Galaxy, Nexus, HTC and More (Black): Cell Phones & Accessories

12. Go into Power Options control panel and create a Chartplotter power plan that keeps the screen on all the time and the device awake all the time when plugged in. Then put a shortcut of this into the Startup folder so that you can have the option to change settings quickly if you boot up for other less power-hungry uses.

13. Put a shortcut of OpenCPN, GeolocationTCP, and all other frequently used programs into the Startup menu. Press the power button and you'll be running OpenCPN in 15 seconds or so. This is also useful if something occasionally hangs - just reboot and you're running again in 15 seconds.

14. Install all your Windows software onto a microSD card (OpenCPN in portable mode) so you can run it on any computer. Maybe you have a laptop or desktop with bigger screen and keyboard. You can do configuration, chart maintenance, etc. just by inserting your card into your other PC. I have also put a bunch of shortcuts on my the desktop that point to the microSD card programs. If so, be sure to map the SD card to the same drive letter on all your machines (I use E:, since DVD drives often use D: ).

15. Get a waterproof pouch to protect your tablet if you use it in wet conditions. This one fits my Miix2 very well, and is reasonably priced:
Amazon.com: Travelon Luggage Waterproof E-Reader Pouch, Clear/Black, One Size: Clothing
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:59   #9
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

RythemDoctor (or anyone else)

Do you think the following Miix2 configuration would work.

1. a microUSB to USB cable, the micro end goes to the Miix2
2. The USB end goes to a USB hub
3. Port 1 of the hub goes to a USB AIS
Port 2 of the hub goes to a USB GPS
Port 3 of the hub goes to a USB cable which is plugged in to a 12V USB charger

I guess the question is will the GPS, the AIS and the Miix2 all be able to get power from the charger? I suppose you could attach a second charger if more power was needed.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:24   #10
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

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Originally Posted by wdkester View Post
RythemDoctor (or anyone else)

Do you think the following Miix2 configuration would work.

1. a microUSB to USB cable, the micro end goes to the Miix2
2. The USB end goes to a USB hub
3. Port 1 of the hub goes to a USB AIS
Port 2 of the hub goes to a USB GPS
Port 3 of the hub goes to a USB cable which is plugged in to a 12V USB charger

I guess the question is will the GPS, the AIS and the Miix2 all be able to get power from the charger? I suppose you could attach a second charger if more power was needed.
The cable arrangement that you cite will probably not work. Port 3 would need a male-male USB cable which would be very hard to find, and I'd be concerned that you would damage something if you tried to build your own custom cable. For a description of a cable arrangement that will do what you want, see my review on Amazon, and scroll down to "Myth 2." Also read ALL the comments, since they have important clarifying information:

Amazon.com: Rick S's review of Lenovo IdeaTab Miix2 8-Inch 32 GB Tablet

The Y-adapter that I referenced is this:
Amazon.com: C2G / Cables to Go 28107 USB 2.0 Mini-B Male to 2 USB A Male Y-Cable (6 Feet, Black): Electronics

You will also need something like this:
Amazon.com: C2G / Cables to Go USB 2.0 Mini-b Female to Micro-USB B Male Adapter(27367): Electronics
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:46   #11
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
The cable arrangement that you cite will probably not work. Port 3 would need a male-male USB cable which would be very hard to find, and I'd be concerned that you would damage something if you tried to build your own custom cable. For a description of a cable arrangement that will do what you want, see my review on Amazon, and scroll down to "Myth 2." Also read ALL the comments, since they have important clarifying information:

Amazon.com: Rick S's review of Lenovo IdeaTab Miix2 8-Inch 32 GB Tablet

The Y-adapter that I referenced is this:
Amazon.com: C2G / Cables to Go 28107 USB 2.0 Mini-B Male to 2 USB A Male Y-Cable (6 Feet, Black): Electronics

You will also need something like this:
Amazon.com: C2G / Cables to Go USB 2.0 Mini-b Female to Micro-USB B Male Adapter(27367): Electronics
The "Y" cable has 3 male connectors, after connecting to a power spurce and the Miix2 you are left with a standard size male USB connector. Not sure, but wouldn't you need a female to female cable in order to connect an AIS or GPS to the system?
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Old 06-11-2014, 13:38   #12
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

There is an error in my prior post. Too bad CF won't allow me to edit it to make it right. The #27367 connector that I mentioned above is not needed. You need the OTG adapter that I listed in suggestion #9 above.

The power-only full-size USB connector goes to the power supply. The other full-size USB connector goes to the OTG adapter, which plugs into the Miix2.

WARNING: This last item may be hard to find
The mini-B male connector plugs into a USB hub that is compatible with that plug, and splits into multiple full-size USB sockets into which you can plug mouse, keyboard, etc. I happened to have one of these lying around. I had purchased it at MicroCenter. I now see that it may be difficult to find that item.

If you have a USB hub with a hardwired USB cable, then I think that this adapter would make it work like the hard-to-find hub that I mentioned above:

Amazon.com: USB A Female to Mini B Female Adapter: Computers & Accessories
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Old 06-11-2014, 16:04   #13
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
There is an error in my prior post. Too bad CF won't allow me to edit it to make it right. The #27367 connector that I mentioned above is not needed. You need the OTG adapter that I listed in suggestion #9 above.

The power-only full-size USB connector goes to the power supply. The other full-size USB connector goes to the OTG adapter, which plugs into the Miix2.

WARNING: This last item may be hard to find
The mini-B male connector plugs into a USB hub that is compatible with that plug, and splits into multiple full-size USB sockets into which you can plug mouse, keyboard, etc. I happened to have one of these lying around. I had purchased it at MicroCenter. I now see that it may be difficult to find that item.

If you have a USB hub with a hardwired USB cable, then I think that this adapter would make it work like the hard-to-find hub that I mentioned above:

Amazon.com: USB A Female to Mini B Female Adapter: Computers & Accessories
Too bad I don't know how to draw pictures. It would be easier.

So I have this Y connector mentioned above
1. The full size Red USB is connected to the power supply
2. The Black full size USB is connected to a OTG which is connected to the Miix2.
3. The male mini USB is connected a converter (mini Female to full size Female) into which you plug a hub.

Will this work?

Will power get to the hub?
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Old 06-11-2014, 16:49   #14
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdkester View Post
Too bad I don't know how to draw pictures. It would be easier.

So I have this Y connector mentioned above
1. The full size Red USB is connected to the power supply
2. The Black full size USB is connected to a OTG which is connected to the Miix2.
3. The male mini USB is connected a converter (mini Female to full size Female) into which you plug a hub.

Will this work?

Will power get to the hub?
Yes, that is what works for me. As you can see in the pic below, the mouse gets power from the hub, which gets it from the power cube and/or the tablet. I unplugged the power cube to fit it in the picture, but as soon as I plug it in, the charging icon comes up in the taskbar. You should also be able to substitute a 12v USB adapter (high amperage model like Anker one I linked above) instead of the 120v cube.

My USB hub also has an input for its own supplemental power supply, which probably allows you to connect more power hungry devices to the hub, but I'm sure it has its limits (at most 500mA per device). This hub I show here is an old Inland MA3303 - no longer available. If you can't find a hub that connects to the computer via USB/Mini-B USB cable, then the adapter should work with a hardwired hub.

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Old 07-11-2014, 06:47   #15
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Re: Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN

Hi there! Great setup! This is what I am going for... I think...
Have you tried to connect an anemometer to your tablet? How did it work out?
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