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Old 28-10-2017, 06:37   #1
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Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

Apologize in advance assuming this has been asked in some fashion on a regular basis, but didn't see a thread.

Chartplotter needs to be replaced. Usually I would just get the newer model and call it a day, but thought I would consider switching over to an ipad or PC with the necessary software.

Questions are as follows:

- what, if any key functionality would be missing going from a 12' commercial chartplotting software to a tablet/PC?
- is there one as easy as install base software and select coverage areas in maps and off you go? (opencpn, navionics, others?).
- any spefic recommended GPS dongles for an ipad or PC that are better than others?
- I assume they also work in an "offline mode" (i.e. no gps, preplanning capacity with charts?).
- while I would necessarily put my trust in autorouting between waypoints, generally speaking how well do these units do?
- any software better than others in terms of overlays with radar, AIS, etc?
- any good beginner setup/install/config type intros online?

Thanks in advance and like I said apologies if someone posed it previously. If so, any link/s would be appreciated and perhaps it should be pinned at the top for all?
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Old 28-10-2017, 07:59   #2
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

This has been discussed a lot, so you will find a search and browse rewarding.

That doesn't mean that people won't want to discuss it all over again.

You'll get all kinds of different opinions. I use BOTH on my boat, so you might be interested in mine.

I use OpenCPN on an ultra cheap media center type fixed installed 12v computer at the nav table, with a large high resolution monitor, also fixed installed, running OpenCPN for chart plotting.

On this system, I use CM93 vector charts plus superb official for navigation raster charts from Visitmyharbour, which cover UK, France, Belgium, and Netherlands, and some other raster and vector charts.

Then I also have two 8" Zeus commercial MFDs, one at the helm and the other at the nav table.

Each system has its own pluses and minuses. If I had to choose only one, I would choose the commercial chart plotter and I would have it at the helm for close pilotage in real time. Commercial chart plotters can't be beat for being rugged, weatherproof, daylight visible, and most of them are pretty crash proof. I would never have a normal PC used for other functions, or any other kind of consumer electronics, as primary navigation -- too much that can go wrong with it.

But OpenCPN is far more powerful and flexible than commercial chart plotters, and with raster charts can do practically anything you can do with paper. So for the serious navigator, this is a real boon. OPenCPN also has the world's best AIS display, and can even operate and display Navico radars.

So I wouldn't want to be with out it, but not INSTEAD of a commercial chart plotter.

Since I have both at the nav table, I often leave the Zeus on radar display with the PC displaying OpenCPN. This is really handy.
Good luck! Others will chime in shortly, I'm sure.
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Old 28-10-2017, 08:10   #3
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

I have an older Garmin with a small screen on my boat that continues to function well. But I also have a 9+” Ipad pro with two chartplotter apps, Navionics which even features currents and another, Skipper which is no longer available for downloading. Both apps are a great substitute for an expensive, dedicated chartplotter at least for me.

My Ipad pro solved the “daylight” problems that plagued my older laptop for use at the helm.
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Old 28-10-2017, 08:25   #4
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

I also recommend having both. The chartplotter viewable in the cockpit and the PC at the Nav station. Since the PC provides capabilities in addition to chart plotting, it would be my choice if only one option is possible.
I like the ability to have two chart sources available when navigating in unfamiliar or difficult areas, such as entering and leaving anchorages/harbors. In the Bahamas I would have the Navionics charts on my chart plotter, but I always double checked those iffy Bahamas charts with the C-Map charts on the PC. On passages up and down the US east coast I run NOAA raster charts on the PC as an alternative view to the chart plotter.
That may be too much belts and suspenders for some, but that is type of navigator I am.

John
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Old 28-10-2017, 08:37   #5
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

if you are talking about Ipad you are talking about boating apps. This guy makes the most sensible conclusions on this matter Ive yet heard. At 46mins it isnt short, but it is worthwhile.

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Old 28-10-2017, 08:38   #6
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandrunner View Post
- what, if any key functionality would be missing going from a 12' commercial chartplotting software to a tablet/PC?

We use both approaches: installed plotter, laptop, two tablets.

One reason is about daylight visibility and waterproof-ness (?) with the installed plotter. Another reason is that planning in the saloon can be more comfortable in rough or cold weather. And we like having oversight while watch-standing using complementary, not identical, charts (a mixture of NOAA raster, NOAA vector, C-Map vector).

Not sure tablet/laptop networking and data integration -- depth? radar? AIS? weather? etc. via wireless? -- is completely possible yet, if that's a goal, especially if working with some mixture of new and old stuff.

-Chris
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Old 28-10-2017, 09:01   #7
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

use a common cheep tablets or notebooks (+backup)
OpenCPN
use
XB-8000 Class B AIS Transponder with WiFi | Vesper Marine



connect your NMEA-Bus to the XB and get all your data, including GPS, Wind, Sounder, Log
at OpenCPN.


For US Waters simply use the offical NOAA charts.


And everything is fine.
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Old 28-10-2017, 09:13   #8
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

Dockhead - sounds like you have it well ironed out, but from my POV, pc, media center, multiple software and map layers, integration leave my head spinning a bit, at the very least it's a lot to figure out for a first timer. Are there simpler options or a concise intro/config guide online somewhere?

doggy - that is my inclination at this point as well; my existing one in the cockpit and ipad at the nav table. Not the best perhaps, but simple and functional.


Ranger - ya, that kind of what I'm wondering/don't have the foggiest idea of (integration).
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Old 28-10-2017, 09:14   #9
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevens View Post
..
I like the ability to have two chart sources available when navigating in unfamiliar or difficult areas, such as entering and leaving anchorages/harbors. In the Bahamas I would have the Navionics charts on my chart plotter, but I always double checked those iffy Bahamas charts with the C-Map charts on the PC. On passages up and down the US east coast I run NOAA raster charts on the PC as an alternative view to the chart plotter.
That may be too much belts and suspenders for some, but that is type of navigator I am.

John
REALLY good advice!
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Old 28-10-2017, 09:17   #10
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
.. .

Not sure tablet/laptop networking and data integration -- depth? radar? AIS? weather? etc. via wireless? -- is completely possible yet, if that's a goal, especially if working with some mixture of new and old stuff.

-Chris
It's no problem these days - various devices distribute this data via Wifi. I use GoFree, but there are many choices.
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Old 28-10-2017, 09:30   #11
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

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It's no problem these days - various devices distribute this data via Wifi. I use GoFree, but there are many choices.
I know of a fellow who uses a 3G Ipad for mapping charting and wirelessly plugs his radar into it. For what he's been doing that seems perfectly ok, but I think that changes when you are attempting even one serious cruise based on my own Ipad use.

The thing rarely locks out like a PC but the charging is primitive, it isn't waterproof and is somewhat delicate to use handheld.
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Old 28-10-2017, 10:35   #12
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

You will find it difficult and expensive to get a laptop or other device that is anywhere near "sun light readable" the way a dedicated marine display is.

Also, if the device is used for anything besides the one task of charting, anything that can crash the system should not be running when that might be inconvenient.

Not to say the PC or tablet isn't the way to go, just that they can't touch the screen brightness or water resistance, unless you buy one of a few very expensive models.
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Old 28-10-2017, 11:01   #13
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

Definitely both for redundancy. I personally have a 12v fanless PC with great specs connected to my 32 inch LCD TV. It has 6 x RS323 Com ports so great for NMEA integration with OpenCPN.. Kingdel Fanless Industrail PC, Windows 10 Home Mini Computer, with Intel i7-5550U Broadwell CPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 2xNICs, 2xHDMI, 4xUSB 3.0, 6xCOM RS232, WiFi https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y4R5YQ5..._yym9zbKYC58MA

And maybe a discontinued Marine unit running current software for a good deal? Garmin 010-01181-01 GPSMAP 840xs Chartplotter/Sonar https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA4VH1Y..._4vm9zbMRE86X3

You'd be done for about a grand :-)
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Old 28-10-2017, 13:14   #14
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandrunner View Post
Dockhead - sounds like you have it well ironed out, but from my POV, pc, media center, multiple software and map layers, integration leave my head spinning a bit, at the very least it's a lot to figure out for a first timer. Are there simpler options or a concise intro/config guide online somewhere?
. .
"Media center" -- it's just a cheap Atom based 12v PC -- like this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bqeel-x5-Z8.../dp/B06XH2CJDL

Costs almost nothing, has no fan, uses almost on power, has Windows 10 -- what is not to like?

So that's your PC -- mount it somewhere behind or under your nav table, hard wire to ship's power, then buy a wireless keyboard/trackpad (like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wireless-Mi...touchpad&psc=1), a monitor, and Bob's your mother's brother.

Download OpenCPN for free, buy some cartography, and you're ready to go.
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Old 28-10-2017, 13:33   #15
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Re: Electronic refit - PC vs Propreitary?

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Costs almost nothing, has no fan, uses almost on power, has Windows 10 -- what is not to like?
No I2C or SPI pins for the plethora of cheap sensors to go, no easy to get st pins to control solenoids etc,

Which is one area a Raspberry Pi running openplotter wins hands down - getting close to plug and play now with signalk built in & easy to set up sections for thermometers, barometer, wifi hotspot/repeater , battery voltage monitor, alarms via email/txt/twitter, MQTT data to the web for offline monitoring - loads of stuff.

PCs/Macs re sadly lacking in a one stop operating system to integrate with sjgnalk/nmea the huge choice in cheap sensors available plus you can't just plug them in without some extra hardware boards.

The Pi really is a viable (cheap & low power) option for a boat nav computer these days.
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