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Old 11-07-2019, 10:36   #1
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Replace GPS with Tablet + software

My GPS has packed up and I remember I had a crew member who brought along a laptop loaded with Navionics software.

It struck me that rather than replace the GPS I could by a tablet.

I note there are brackets and waterproof casings so it could be mounted easily in the right place.

The Navionics was better than my (rather old) Garmin - which was unrepairable.

Cost of replacement about 800 euro cost of Tablet system about 400.
Anyone comment on doing it this way?

Thanks
Hahser
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:45   #2
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hahser View Post
My GPS has packed up and I remember I had a crew member who brought along a laptop loaded with Navionics software.

It struck me that rather than replace the GPS I could by a tablet.

I note there are brackets and waterproof casings so it could be mounted easily in the right place.

The Navionics was better than my (rather old) Garmin - which was unrepairable.

Cost of replacement about 800 euro cost of Tablet system about 400.
Anyone comment on doing it this way?

Thanks
Hahser
I don't exactly like Navionics for navigating, (weak tools) but it is getting better. Just remember this: If you take that tablet off the brackets and use it for facebook, sooner or later you're going to sit on it and break it.

I'd recommend a PC below decks with OpenCPN and do your basic navigating there, and use a tablet to echo the PC screen on deck. Then you have the best tools and some level of backup.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:28   #3
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

There are a lot of threads on the topic of using an iPad or another tablet for primary navigation; I for one use an iPad and would not consider buying another MFD. But when you say your GPS broke, are you referring to your chart plotter? We use a separate GPS antenna for AIS and iPad - if you don't have a GPS antenna you'll need to make sure your tablet has reliable GPS capability.

Tablets are also far less waterproof than you might think, even with a case. I'm speaking from experience here.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:32   #4
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

I can't see our tablets wellenough in bright sunlight to rely on them. And we're even shaded, under a hardtop, so sunlight isn't actually direct. We use them, but only as backups to our real plotter; takes too long sometimes to puzzle out what we're looking at, whereas with the real plotter I can glance and understand.

-Chris
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Old 11-07-2019, 15:11   #5
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
I'd recommend a PC below decks with OpenCPN and do your basic navigating there, and use a tablet to echo the PC screen on deck. Then you have the best tools and some level of backup.
I've started relying on PC's and tablets more & more as well. OpenCPN and Coastal Explorer for the PC, but I've thus far struck out figuring out to use a tablet to echo these PC programs on deck. There are ruggedized monitors of course, but these are rather expensive and often have no touchscreen capability. There are ruggedized tablets, but I've found these tend to use Android-based operating systems. The only waterproof cover I've found up to the task is made by LifeProof, and they only make them for select iPads. So thus far I've used iNavX & Aquamap apps on my old iPad with a Lifeproof cover, but would love to find a reasonably economical way to display/repeat one of the much more capable PC-based programs in the cockpit. Have you found something that works well for you?
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Old 11-07-2019, 15:14   #6
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
I can't see our tablets wellenough in bright sunlight to rely on them. And we're even shaded, under a hardtop, so sunlight isn't actually direct. We use them, but only as backups to our real plotter; takes too long sometimes to puzzle out what we're looking at, whereas with the real plotter I can glance and understand.

-Chris
The newer tablets are apparently much better resolution-wise, and therefore easier to see in bright sunlight. No first-hand confirmation but I am contemplating buying a new one (iPad Pro or Android equivalent) mainly for this reason (and the reviews I've read).
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Old 11-07-2019, 15:29   #7
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hahser View Post
My GPS has packed up and I remember I had a crew member who brought along a laptop loaded with Navionics software.

It struck me that rather than replace the GPS I could by a tablet.

I note there are brackets and waterproof casings so it could be mounted easily in the right place.

The Navionics was better than my (rather old) Garmin - which was unrepairable.

Cost of replacement about 800 euro cost of Tablet system about 400.
Anyone comment on doing it this way?

Thanks
Hahser
I have two 12 year-old Garmin plotters which continue to work fine, but Garmin has stopped supporting them so if they pack it in they're likely unrepairable. OK with me, as I've grown weary of what seems to be all too frequent model obsolescence, high expense of updating or adding charts, occasional incompatibility with other brands of marine devices, and often limited chart availability (esp. raster charts). And dedicated chartplotters no longer have a monopoly on being ruggedized/waterproof, along with daylight readability. By contrast, PC and device app programs usually provide free, one-click chart updating, and offer less expensive charts when purchasing them is required.
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Old 11-07-2019, 15:47   #8
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

I have a couple of plotters at the helm as well as an iPad and I find myself liking the iPad display better. Is the boating market large enough for someone to offer a hardware device for inputs and software to make tablets as capable as dedicated plotters?

I use my iPhone with traffic apps for car navigation far more than the car's built-in system and I've long ago tossed the dedicated GPS boxes.

Fair winds,
Leo
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Old 11-07-2019, 15:58   #9
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

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Originally Posted by Leo Ticheli View Post
I have a couple of plotters at the helm as well as an iPad and I find myself liking the iPad display better. Is the boating market large enough for someone to offer a hardware device for inputs and software to make tablets as capable as dedicated plotters?

I use my iPhone with traffic apps for car navigation far more than the car's built-in system and I've long ago tossed the dedicated GPS boxes.

Fair winds,
Leo
Fwiw, I did find a couple of apps which allow a device to repeat whatever is displaying on a PC. There are a couple which use Wifi or Bluetooth but reviews are mixed. The most reliable one it seems is called "Duet" but it requires a USB connection. I have an iPad so can't speak to whether it or whatever else may be available for Android, etc. There also appear to be formatting issues when repeating so not sure I would trust it. For a PC-based program to truly repeat onto a device I would think the device would have to be Microsoft (Windows) based, and not iOS or Android. Or a dedicated marine monitor. But I've only recently started looking into this, and am no expert.
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Old 11-07-2019, 16:26   #10
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

Tablet style computers are general-purpose, incredibly adaptable, perfect for crowd-sourcing, and real-time updates. All that's required is an interface box that connects all the data from the boat, radar, wind, speed, engine data, etc. I'm thinking any company that offers such a device will make dedicated plotters as viable as video rental stores.

As long as I'm dreaming of the future, how hard would it be to have satellites beam out weather data along with position data?

When I built my first production studio, an edit suite with three 1" machines, big switcher, DVE, Character Generator, Audio Mixer, Sync Generator, and other terminal equipment, cost a half-million bucks. Today, we have all that on a Mac or PC. Oh, and no 2" tape machines to make dubs that required an air compressor and baby-sitting Engineer. We don't need FedEx to distribute to TV stations either.

Of course, I could be wrong...

Fair winds,
Leo
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Old 11-07-2019, 16:41   #11
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Ticheli View Post
Tablet style computers are general-purpose, incredibly adaptable, perfect for crowd-sourcing, and real-time updates. All that's required is an interface box that connects all the data from the boat, radar, wind, speed, engine data, etc. I'm thinking any company that offers such a device will make dedicated plotters as viable as video rental stores.
Don't you mean multiplexers? They've been around awhile. Some are built into other devices, like the Vesper 8000 AIS transponder which repeats the GPS & instrument data to other devices via Wifi.

This is a pretty good synopsis, along with some helm photos of tablet set-ups. The article is from 2015, so already a bit dated, especially when it comes to the table on page 6 comparing different marine apps. Maybe helpful for the OP and others.

https://www.milltechmarine.com/custo...n_2015-SBS.pdf
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Old 11-07-2019, 16:56   #12
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

I use my laptop for planning and a tablet/phone as a backup, but I wouldn't want to switch out my helm plotter. It works even when it's pouring rain and is visible even in bright sunlight. And I don't have to worry about charging it.
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Old 11-07-2019, 18:26   #13
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

I have a MacBook Pro running openCPN, an iPad running iNavX, and an old Raymarine E120 chart plotter all connected through a Vesper XB8000. The MacBook stays downstairs at the Nav station, the iPad on a mount in the cockpit, and the chart plotter under the dodger.

Beyond a doubt, the E120 is the most worthless piece of equipment on the boat. If it wasn't for my radar I would have removed it already. It is glitchy, has poor resolution, and the charts are outdated. In direct sunlight reading the iPad is undoubtably easier. It doesn't help that the unit is over a decade old and I haven't updated it.

I use the MacBook Pro for passage planning with NOAA charts and sync the .gpx routes with the iPad using Airdrop. The iPad is loaded with Navionics and NOAA charts on iNavX, so I have both in the cockpit. We also keep paper charts at the nav station and on long passages keep a written log.

If I had to go with only one device, I would keep the iPad. In stormy conditions I would rather have the iPad down below and not have navigation in the cockpit than be forced to rely on the E120.
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Old 11-07-2019, 20:12   #14
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

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I have a MacBook Pro running openCPN, an iPad running iNavX, and an old Raymarine E120 chart plotter all connected through a Vesper XB8000. The MacBook stays downstairs at the Nav station, the iPad on a mount in the cockpit, and the chart plotter under the dodger.

Beyond a doubt, the E120 is the most worthless piece of equipment on the boat. If it wasn't for my radar I would have removed it already. It is glitchy, has poor resolution, and the charts are outdated. In direct sunlight reading the iPad is undoubtably easier. It doesn't help that the unit is over a decade old and I haven't updated it.

I use the MacBook Pro for passage planning with NOAA charts and sync the .gpx routes with the iPad using Airdrop. The iPad is loaded with Navionics and NOAA charts on iNavX, so I have both in the cockpit. We also keep paper charts at the nav station and on long passages keep a written log.

If I had to go with only one device, I would keep the iPad. In stormy conditions I would rather have the iPad down below and not have navigation in the cockpit than be forced to rely on the E120.
I'm surprised you got your old E120 to play nice with the Vesper 8000. I never thought to sync routes created on my PC to the iPad via Airdrop. If you're using the same NOAA raster or vector charts on both, then there's no reason it shouldn't work. Great idea, thanks.
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Old 11-07-2019, 22:42   #15
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Re: Replace GPS with Tablet + software

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Ticheli View Post
Tablet style computers are general-purpose, incredibly adaptable, perfect for crowd-sourcing, and real-time updates. All that's required is an interface box that connects all the data from the boat, radar, wind, speed, engine data, etc. I'm thinking any company that offers such a device will make dedicated plotters as viable as video rental stores.

As long as I'm dreaming of the future, how hard would it be to have satellites beam out weather data along with position data?

When I built my first production studio, an edit suite with three 1" machines, big switcher, DVE, Character Generator, Audio Mixer, Sync Generator, and other terminal equipment, cost a half-million bucks. Today, we have all that on a Mac or PC. Oh, and no 2" tape machines to make dubs that required an air compressor and baby-sitting Engineer. We don't need FedEx to distribute to TV stations either.

Of course, I could be wrong...

Fair winds,
Leo
Only 3 1 machines ?? All my studios had 4, A,B, Record & Lay-off
No doubt we can do much more with much less EXCEPT Make Money
In the Golden years 80s 90s big steel post production was a money printer
now back to the topic at hand
Having used a bunch of different plotters Garmin,, Raymarine, B&G as well as All sorts of tablets & Ipads
I am firmly in the camp of Dedicated Purpose built plotters
They just work better and you do t have the issue of powering them with
some jury rigged sceme
cheers
Neil
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