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Old 06-07-2009, 09:04   #1
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Nav Table Laptop Dock

I suspect most would agree, laptops are today “standard equipment” on almost everyone’s off-shore yacht.


I have been thinking for quite some time now, how to secure my laptop to the nav table.

An interesting design, as part of the interior fit-out of a new Catalina 445 appears in the July issue of Sailing Magazine.

Has anyone come up with their own solution?
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:42   #2
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Question This?

The Nav Table setup you're referring to?

(Photos sourced from photo gallery here)
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:56   #3
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I recently set up my new iPhone for internet tethering and brought the laptop aboard. What I find is that there is no comfy location for using it. The large chart table barely gives me room to place arm comfortably for typing... and the fiddles dig into my forearms. The table is a bit better, but wouldn't do in a seaway.

Since I am not using the laptop for any nav functions it's not an issue, but I can see how ergonomics is yet another problem with use of a laptop at sea. I suppose I could adapt to the situation, but the fiddle has to go and the wireless mouse needs to have a parking spot or it will fly off to the sole.
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:20   #4
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A track ball may be a practical permanent mount solution to the mouse problem...
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:29   #5
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I've been looking for something to hold my comp as well. The attached link is for a company that makes vehicle mounts for cops etc. I've been looking at their products figuring they could stand up to a boat being knocked about a bit.

RAM Vehicle Laptop Mounts

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Old 06-07-2009, 11:30   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endojoe View Post
The Nav Table setup you're referring to?
Yep, that's it! Thanks for the great photos I can now provide to my joinery guy!

Does anyone have ideas on how they might modify it to improve its design?
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:40   #7
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Blue-
From the conservative side of things, bear in mind that your laptop's hard drive (even if it has "protection") is NOT DESIGNED TO BE USED WHILE IN MOTION. It can and will eventually be damaged by shocks. So for use in a moving boat, your best best is to replace the hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD) which can be a bit expensive.
Next best option is to make sure the laptop is shock mounted. On rubber isolation feet, on bungee straps, or on a block of medium-density foam rubber. Almost anything is better than simply bolting it down--which only ensures the drive will get shocked every time the boat goes bump.
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:49   #8
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I use one of these:

Jotto Desk | Laptop Mount for Cars - Trucks - Vans - SUV's | JottoDesk.net

Cheers.
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:56   #9
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Good call on the SSD hellosailor, and their prices have really been coming down the last several months. A slide out keyboard drawer would be a good thing to have (with a latch or friction lock of some sort to keep it in it's place when underway), its a little tough to tell from the pictures if they have that or not...otherwise it looks like you'd have to open the table top to actually use the machine. Many wireless mice have a charging dock they snap into which could be used to help keep it in place underway, but then you've got a little extra amp draw (all be it small I'm sure)
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:27   #10
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Would the same shock issue apply

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Blue-
From the conservative side of things, bear in mind that your laptop's hard drive (even if it has "protection") is NOT DESIGNED TO BE USED WHILE IN MOTION. It can and will eventually be damaged by shocks. So for use in a moving boat, your best best is to replace the hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD) which can be a bit expensive.
Next best option is to make sure the laptop is shock mounted. On rubber isolation feet, on bungee straps, or on a block of medium-density foam rubber. Almost anything is better than simply bolting it down--which only ensures the drive will get shocked every time the boat goes bump.
Never even gave the above a thought ... excellent advice!

Assuming I did NOT go with a SSD, how thick a piece of medium density foam would be required? (what would m-d foam be normally used for, so I have an idea what kind of foam you are referring to), and do you think the Catalina 44 installation shown earlier could be modified to compensate for it? (or would the foam be too thick?)

BTW, would the same shock issue apply to a mounted wall mounted LCD TV, or a LCD monitor I wonder???
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:49   #11
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m-d foam....

Foam underneath is not advisable due to the need for cooling the underside of processor heat. You might try what we are doing and that's "building-in" an ITX format "all-in-one" (onboard video & audio)motherboard into a small box attached to the underside of the station or in a nearby cabinet or "stash space". As this format was made for smaller cases and environments(such as automotive) they are well suited for this kind of use. Also, 12v DC-DC power supplies of up to 200w are available from www.mini-box.com as are the motherboards and accessories. Extension cables for video monitor and bluetooth enabled mice and keyboards are available. We plan to use a Multimedia Center variety of keyboard that has a built-in trackball, but there are many other configurations out there as well. When done with it, turn it off and tuck it in a drawer....

http://www.mini-box.com/VoomPC-2-Car...8&category=101

http://www.mini-box.com/VM7000-7-touchscreen

PS: the HDD can be mounted in foam or use rubber grommets. If you use a "mini-box car case" or similar, you can mount the whole thing in foam (allowing for venting of course).

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-07-2009, 15:16   #12
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Fishman, foam has nothing to do with blocking vent ports. You take a block of foam, you glue a piece of sheet metal or formica on top of it, and voila, the foam still works but the vent ports aren't blocked. Among many other ways to do it.

Blue, I have no definitive guide for you as to how firm or thick a foam. You're looking for upholstery foam, more or less. Anything that comes to hand and suits your installation, while allowing the computer to not feel all the jolts that the other side of the mount does. Four springs, four blocks of foam, four heavy rubber loops...a couple of sorbothane pads...Although of course the SSD will be smaller and lighter and that makes the whole boat faster.(G)
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Old 06-07-2009, 15:21   #13
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Re: Block O' Foam....

Sry, misunderstood the intent, but you weren't very detailed.....
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Old 06-07-2009, 15:41   #14
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Not portable but...

I just happened across this interesting potential solution... Although it's suggested as a 'Wall Mount', I suspect it'd be just as happy in a chart table...
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