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Old 15-07-2013, 06:41   #16
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

We have 4 computers on board for the past 5 years. One is 6yrs old and one is 7yrs old. One recently died (motherboard), but do not think it was for corrosion reasons. We have several USB HD we use to clone each computer as a backup strategy. When an internal HD fails or gets too small, we simply open up the USB enclosure, remove the HD and slap it into the computer and start running again like nothing ever happened. Then we get another internal drive when we have the next chance and slap that back into the USB enclosure and start cloning again.

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Old 15-07-2013, 06:49   #17
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

What about the Pantec waterproof tablet. Functional? Worth the purchase? Can it do what the laptop can do?
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Old 15-07-2013, 06:52   #18
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

spray never gets near my machines.
air has salt in it when you reside on ocean
stuff happens to netbooks and notebooks when they are taken from boat to beach and back on a daily or even few times weekly basis.
even in pelican cases puters will fail. seen my compaq destroyed by air even when kept in a pelican case.....oops..how did that happen..lol..is ocean air...
i have not lived on land since 1990.....
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Old 15-07-2013, 07:11   #19
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

Keeping a USB hard-drive (or even a big USB fob) onboard is good insurance, as long as you remember to back up regularly. When you have a backup, computer failure is much less traumatic or disruptive.

If you have his 'n her laptops, buy the same model, at the same time. That way, you have some redundancy, and a source of parts. Sorry, honey...

Budgeting for a new onboard laptop every two years seems like a good policy. If they last longer... bonus.
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Old 15-07-2013, 07:20   #20
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

i have found online storage places....i dont always have a flashdrive--the things ar every pricey here, so online storage works well for me. i have used hard drive, external, and i have used flash drives, and discs. the latest machines of small netbook size havent a disc player, which makes uniformity a lil challenging..online works and makes sense.
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Old 15-07-2013, 07:28   #21
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

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Originally Posted by gts1544 View Post
In the meantime, go to newegg.com or tigerdirect.com and purchase a spare hard drive for your laptop. They are not that expensive and easy to install (plug in). Remember that a back up only backs up your data, but not your programs. It will be necessary to have the original media to reload them or, with some, simply go online to re-install them, but keep a list of what you have installed so that you can replicate it.
If you get cloning software, it will allow you to copy everything, including your installed programs & operating system. I have used EZgig by apricorn. It worked well for about 40 different clones that I made. I only had it fail on 1 machine. That one was a Lenovo S10 running Windows 7. in that case, the OS locked up & would not boot. I never figured out why. In all other cases, I was able to plug in the new (cloned) hard drive & the computer booted up & acted as it always did in the past.

When possible, I try to do a fresh clone of my laptop every 6-months or so. That way, when it crashes, I have a recent back up ready to go & I loose only a limited amount of data & updates. Reconstructing software on a hard drive from original installation disks & then doing all the necessary updates can be a very time consuming process.

Before I found EZgig, I had used a Norton program, perhaps it was Ghost. I had very little success with that. The EZgig software came for free with a $15 SATA wire that I bought from frys electronics.

When buying replacement hard drives to put in a computer, you need to get the right type. There are large ones for desktops & small ones for laptops. Newer machines use Serial ATA drives (SATA) & older machines use Parallel ATA (PATA). In order to make a clone, you also need the correct type of wire or wired enclosure (SATA or PATA) that usually plugs into a USB port.
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Old 15-07-2013, 08:15   #22
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

Computers past 4 years should be taken out to pasture and shot anyway.

I am sure that there are studies on G-Forces and sailboats and lots of info from sail computers such as B&G stress sensors. Most of the hard drives that go into the PC's are not designed for the rigors of heavy vibration and shock loads. The hard drives that go into laptops are cheap cheap cheap anyhow. SSD is the way to go.

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When possible, I try to do a fresh clone of my laptop every 6-months or so.
IMO 6 Months is way to long between major backups. If you used something like Dropbox to store your data you could get 6 months between.

Dropbox (and other services like it) store a local copy of your personal data on your hard drive and syncs it between their cloud storage and your device when it can get a connection. It will also sync over the air to your other devices; if you have a laptop and an (for example) iPhone with 64 GB of space, it'll copy all your docs over to the phone, so you will always have a copy.
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Old 15-07-2013, 08:34   #23
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

You can go for years, and laptops are made much better than they were years ago, but if seawater gets into the electronics or the contacts, they're toast. I've got some dead radios and computers to prove it. Somebody will leave a hatch open, or set your duffel bag in a puddle, or drop your stuff in the water,.. it happens. Don't take anything aboard that isn't backed up, and you're prepared to lose.
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Old 15-07-2013, 08:55   #24
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

My 10 years of experience with onboard laptops is about the same as previous posters, although I typically get about 3 years of service. Like the others corrosion has only been a problem with the external ports (USB, memory cards, video, etc.). I use a USB hub so I can keep at least one port sealed until the other becomes corroded.
For my navigation/email computer I buy often and I buy cheap. I use the Dell Auction site, where I can set my own price (typically $400 or less) and buy identical computers so I have a backup ready to go. The principal reason for replacement is HD failure, but I also have a habit of dropping things on the keyboard, which causes the keys to come loose and they are a bitch to re-connect. By the time I replace a computer it usually has 2 or 3 missing keys.
With my most recent purchase (this year) I gave up on the identical backup. Since I get 3 years out of the primary, by the time I need to use the backup it's time to get a newer computer. So I end up giving away the backup. Now my emergency backup (for failure underway) is a netbook.
I have a personal computer (video editing, website, programming, etc.) on board, which resides in a padded case when underway. I also keep my principle files on this system on an external USB HD, which gets backed up much less often than it should. I've tried Cloud backups with no success as I'm normally using marina or wide area WIFIs, which are subject to interruptions and weak signals.

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Old 15-07-2013, 08:59   #25
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

Just a trick to try if you think your electronic is DBS ( dead by seawater).
Soak in fresh water bucket, place in oven ( off but warmed to 200)or sit it near or over your engine. Do not try to turn on electronic for at least a week or two if you can. then give it a go. Having a dehumidifier would be ideal.
I've revived a handheld that way after a drop from the dinghy. My friend was in the southern Atlantic Ocean and his laptop was completely awash. He rinsed well, placed over his toasty warm inboard engine, and didn't try to turn it on for a week I think. He was able to use this method twice before it finally gave up the ghost. He was attempting a circumnavigation non stop so trying to get it back and running was pretty important.
Some folks have buried the DBS item in rice after the fresh water soak.

Im not living aboard right now, but in the past my laptops seem to last two years onboard. I am very hard on them, and have them out in the cockpit a lot. I now have iPad without cover. It is surprisingly durable. When it comes time for new one will get an otter case.
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Old 15-07-2013, 09:01   #26
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

I've considered protecting my computers with a nano-coating...Leaders in Liquid Repellent Nano-Coating Technology | P2i

Yet to actually do it though. Seems like it could work wonders, as long as the waterproofing doesn't trap too much heat.
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Old 15-07-2013, 09:33   #27
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

I installed my desk top e-machine at my nav station in 2002 when we started our first navigation and after four years at sea , I am still using it in my home office. I cut a hole in my nav station and tightly fit it with some space for air flow. I placed a fan in the area behind the e machine for air circulation and had a filter to help clean the air. I changed the filter at least once a week. The filters I used were the type used in lawn mowers, the very dense type. I purchase a lot of them before we left and cleaned them with fresh soapy water and let them dry. When dry I put them in a plastic bag for use the next time. This computer is a T3104 e-machine and I still use it every day. In fact I am writing this using this same computer. Also, I had a lot of the moisture absorbing packets and placed them in the air cavity behind the computer. I never changed them but the area seemed to be dry all the time. I had a Toshiba laptop with me and it still works fine. My wife used it to write all five of her books. We are leaving again in Oct/Nov 2013 time frame after the hurricane season is over and heading to the Med via the Caribbean and I am installing a new computer in my nav station the same way I did before.

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Old 15-07-2013, 10:20   #28
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

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I've considered protecting my computers with a nano-coating...Leaders in Liquid Repellent Nano-Coating Technology | P2i

Yet to actually do it though. Seems like it could work wonders, as long as the waterproofing doesn't trap too much heat.
I think, if anything, this cool tech could be applied to emergency equipment like sat phones and such. very cool.
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:18   #29
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

Hard drives are actually not supposed to be used while in motion. There are g-force rating for them, and generally they are designed to be used while stationery and not subjected to the changing g-forces of a moving vehicle or vessel. That doesn't mean you can't do it, just that they are more likely to fail. The newer ones have little accelerometers in them and physically lift and park the heads during high g-forces, but that's not perfect either.

And SSD drives just shift the problem, many of them (the common "TLC" type) are actually only good for 1,000 write cycles to any spot, just like flash drives. (MLC, 3,000 and "SLC" 100,000 but you don't want to know the price of SLC memory.) One recommendation for them is to buy way more capacity than you need, so they spread the wear.

The nano-coating stuff is promising but computer circuits are finicky, just try to get someone who makes the coatings to warranty the result. Which, incidentally, also will void the factory warranty.

Pamper it, keep it dry, above all back it up and expect that one day it will die. An extended warranty from the maker usually is a good deal, and much cheaper than from a third-party A few systems like the Toughbooks really are built better, but they're also priced way higher.

Like the punch line of the old joke, the miracle is the dog talks at all. Computers? On small craft? Wouldn't Grace Hopper have loved that.
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Old 15-07-2013, 12:31   #30
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Re: Laptops aboard and corrosoin

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Laptops on my boat last about two years.
That's a good life and I go buy another one.
That long???

I find that the laptop's life depends less on where it's kept, as on how incompatible bloody Microsoft makes the next lot of software.

FWIW I used my old secondhand eePC on the diveboat regularly for three years, and didn't particularly look after it, since everything was in Dropbox and I considered it disposable. It held up awesomely. Died just now at around 6 years when I passed it on to the crew, but it seems her tech geek friend has come good and resurrected it.

Cheaper is better on boats, I think.
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