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Old 17-11-2019, 13:10   #1
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Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Posted this question in another section and was asked to post here. I am a trader who would love to do this while chilling on a catamaran in the Caribean.

My questions are not related to trading. I've worked on that for the last 3 years and doing well. I currently have ZERO sailing experience.

What I am interested in is replicating my current setup as much as possible on board.

1. Since I'm land based I have high speed internet and consume quite a lot of data.
2. I have 6 monitors hooked up to a gaming style desktop.
3. Plan is to park and live on the hook while I trade to top off the account and not trade while on the move.
4. Power consumption with this style of rig I assume will be prohibitive.

Obviously I'm going to have to make concessions, but would like to replicate as much as possible.

1. As of now I assume Google Fi is my best choice for internet. Do you agree?
2. I think I am going to have to downsize my rig to a few laptops and external monitors. Anyone run an elaborate monitor or computer set up on a boat?
3. Electronics protection from the sea... expect to repair/replace often?
4. Experience with cell/internet speeds in the Caribean and ABC's (during hurricane season)?
5. Any other experience running fairly large computer systems while onboard is useful.

Thanks again for your time and I look forward to our future conversations!
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Old 17-11-2019, 21:49   #2
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Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Power bagh. Bandwidth no problem. Lag? You can’t buy time. If you’re trading a few milliseconds can cost you.
By the way how many places are you going to post this question?
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Old 18-11-2019, 01:08   #3
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Cut back to two monitors. If you are using a laptop and one of those is the laptop screen, all the better. For a scanner/screener you might even set up a Raspberry Pi and a 7" screen. TradingView is a nice web based scanner that a Raspberry Pi 4 with Raspbian and browser of your choice will run without breaking a sweat. It can even be your navigation Pi. Then figure out what compromises you have to make to run your trading platform on your laptop and how few charts you can live with. You may want to consider dropping intraday trading and switching to swing trading.


Your biggest problem will be your internet connection. ESPECIALLY if you are day trading, you need a reliable connection and a backup connection or it will bite you in the hiney sooner or later.



It is a common dream, living the life of a vagabond trader, working an hour a day on your yacht in the Caribbean and wandering with the wind, Mai Tai in hand, $25 cigar clenched between your grinning teeth, and boat bunnies fawning all over you. I think the smart thing is to trade at home, and make it a full time job every single trading day, then just buy and hold when you want to go sailing for a few days or weeks or months or years.
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Old 18-11-2019, 02:42   #4
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA-None View Post
Power bagh. Bandwidth no problem. Lag? You can’t buy time. If you’re trading a few milliseconds can cost you.
By the way how many places are you going to post this question?
Just two. It was recommended I post here since it was comms based. Didnt mean to flood the forum. My apologies.
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Old 18-11-2019, 03:39   #5
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason575 View Post
1. Since I'm land based I have high speed internet and consume quite a lot of data.
2. I have 6 monitors hooked up to a gaming style desktop.
3. Plan is to park and live on the hook while I trade to top off the account and not trade while on the move.
4. Power consumption with this style of rig I assume will be prohibitive.

Obviously I'm going to have to make concessions, but would like to replicate as much as possible.

1. As of now I assume Google Fi is my best choice for internet. Do you agree?
2. I think I am going to have to downsize my rig to a few laptops and external monitors. Anyone run an elaborate monitor or computer set up on a boat?
3. Electronics protection from the sea... expect to repair/replace often?
4. Experience with cell/internet speeds in the Caribean and ABC's (during hurricane season)?
5. Any other experience running fairly large computer systems while onboard is useful.
In addition to laptops there are a number of small, low power computers available. Six monitors are a lot. I run three screens off my boat computer: two monitors at the nav station and a wall-mounted TV driven by HDMI. For my application I have a work screen, a nav screen, and radar up on the TV all as an extended desktop so I can drag things around as needed. I seem to recall that Mark and Diana Doyle had four screens on Semi-Local. You can do what you feel necessary.

I wouldn't worry about power. For what you describe you could just run a generator during your work time. I have a big enterprise-grade Linux server that I only run on generator. Don't assume anything about power. Run the numbers. Then you will know.

Connectivity is going to be your big issue.

Google Fi terms of use include the requirement that non-US usage not dominate the account. I know cruisers who were cut off halfway through the Pacific. Unless you are flying back to the US quite often you are risking a lot. My recommendation is to get and keep an AT&T account (just works more places than any other) and use local prepaid SIMs for voice and data as soon as you get settled. You'll probably benefit from a real cellular network router like those from Cradlepoint or Wilson Electronics. Definitely an external antenna.

Speeds are reasonable throughout most of the Caribbean. Latency is less than human reaction time. There are more outages than you are used to but not terrible. Local accounts are going to perform better than roaming (e.g. Google Fi).

Check terms of use for any online services including brokers for access from outside the US. You may need a VPN (which will slow things done) to operate and will still be in violation of ToS. The big boys know VPN access points and may push back at trading from outside the US. If you end up having to work through a proxy that adds latency. I know it can be done but I have not myself worked through the details for stock trading.

You have to stay on top of boat leaks. Hair spray, flour, and sealant are your friends. When you find a leak you have to really fix it, not caulk around it. If you keep water out of the boat your two biggest problems with electronics will be corrosion and dust. USB plugs take maintenance - tool of choice is a pencil eraser. Anything with ventilation like computers will need to be opened up and cleaned (both vaccuum and compressed air) once or twice a year. Solid state drives as much as you can.
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Old 18-11-2019, 03:58   #6
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
You have to stay on top of boat leaks. Hair spray, flour, and sealant are your friends.
OK, sealant I get but hair spray and flour? Flour I guess to spread around to show water trails from leaks? Hairspray I haven't a clue.
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Old 18-11-2019, 04:17   #7
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Relying on cell data while at anchor exposes you to usage caps - all US cell providers (at least the Big 4) offer an unlimited data plan, but when you read closely, have a usage threshold that, once exceeded, throttles performance such that data apps cease to function (they all say they reserve the right during times of network congestion, but they will throttle you at the threshold - clever way to be able to advertise "unlimited data"). Last I checked, Google Fi's cap is the lowest of the bunch at 15gb/mo, even lower than the 25gb cap T-Mobile places on their users (T-Mobile is the dominant player in Google Fi's platform of service providers). Internationally, Verizon caps my hi speed data at 0.5gb/day, though I can purchase an additional 0.5gb for $5 USD. I do not know if I can pay a similar amount to keep hi speed data glowing past the 22gb/mo cap Verizon imposes. The 0.5gb of data gets me through noon or so when I'm tethered for work internationally, but thats just normal email and attachments with some browsing.

As mentioned on the parallel thread, as far as I know, what you need is mega-yacht style satellite comms. Whether your work justifies the $30k-$50k in hardware and $8k-$10k usage per month (or more, as of about 2-yrs ago) is a personal decision. The alternative is to change your style of trading to one that is less real-time sensitive, at least when you're not in a marina with known reliable wifi - many marinas do not have high quality wifi, especially in developing or smaller countries that are often interesting cruising grounds.
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Old 18-11-2019, 04:49   #8
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

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OK, sealant I get but hair spray and flour? Flour I guess to spread around to show water trails from leaks? Hairspray I haven't a clue.
You spray the hair spray over the suspect surfaces including bulkheads, hull, and overhead. Palmful of flour you blow onto the sticky hairspray. The water trails get you from the drip back to the leak.

Now about red lipstick in your tool box....
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Old 18-11-2019, 09:57   #9
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

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As mentioned on the parallel thread, as far as I know, what you need is mega-yacht style satellite comms. Whether your work justifies the $30k-$50k in hardware and $8k-$10k usage per month (or more, as of about 2-yrs ago) is a personal decision.
Well, I stand partially corrected. Usage rates have reduced drastically in the past 2-years. Sat hardware is still in the $25k range, but unlimited data usage can be had for $900/mo for 1mbps download/512kbps upload. Double the speed is $1650/mo. Expensive to be sure, but within reach of many modern knowledge workers with a hankering to cruise.

https://www.satphonestore.com/soluti...at-system.html
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Old 18-11-2019, 10:28   #10
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Run a desktop i5 Processor and 24 inch screen, power around 7 amps the second screen will take another 2 amps . not that power hungry if solar and wind genny , as for internet a local card would be your best bet depending on country , most places are internet ready these days unless your trading in the sticks , but I assume you are heading for the Sunshine and some civilisation
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Old 18-11-2019, 11:52   #11
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

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, as for internet a local card would be your best bet depending on country , most places are internet ready these days unless your trading in the sticks , but I assume you are heading for the Sunshine and some civilisation
Has not been my experience. I have been at about 20-different marinas in the last year or so in three different countries (Mexico - Yucatan and Baja, Bahamas, and Florida/California. WiFi has ranged from unusable at 25% of the marinas (including US), to some flavor of intermittent signal that mostly works for email and browsing, though often with interruption, sometimes multi-hour long interruptions. Even higher-priced US-based marinas have issues, presumably due to expense/difficulty of blanketing a marina with WiFi signal. Tethered data from my cell phone works better, but is subject to usage cap, which is especially low outside the US. I believe local cell providers in Bahamas and Mexico also have usage caps. My impression of the OP's requirements is something more reliable and consistent.
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Old 20-11-2019, 17:13   #12
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Thank you! Very informative and useful response.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
In addition to laptops there are a number of small, low power computers available. Six monitors are a lot. I run three screens off my boat computer: two monitors at the nav station and a wall-mounted TV driven by HDMI. For my application I have a work screen, a nav screen, and radar up on the TV all as an extended desktop so I can drag things around as needed. I seem to recall that Mark and Diana Doyle had four screens on Semi-Local. You can do what you feel necessary.

I wouldn't worry about power. For what you describe you could just run a generator during your work time. I have a big enterprise-grade Linux server that I only run on generator. Don't assume anything about power. Run the numbers. Then you will know.

Connectivity is going to be your big issue.

Google Fi terms of use include the requirement that non-US usage not dominate the account. I know cruisers who were cut off halfway through the Pacific. Unless you are flying back to the US quite often you are risking a lot. My recommendation is to get and keep an AT&T account (just works more places than any other) and use local prepaid SIMs for voice and data as soon as you get settled. You'll probably benefit from a real cellular network router like those from Cradlepoint or Wilson Electronics. Definitely an external antenna.

Speeds are reasonable throughout most of the Caribbean. Latency is less than human reaction time. There are more outages than you are used to but not terrible. Local accounts are going to perform better than roaming (e.g. Google Fi).

Check terms of use for any online services including brokers for access from outside the US. You may need a VPN (which will slow things done) to operate and will still be in violation of ToS. The big boys know VPN access points and may push back at trading from outside the US. If you end up having to work through a proxy that adds latency. I know it can be done but I have not myself worked through the details for stock trading.

You have to stay on top of boat leaks. Hair spray, flour, and sealant are your friends. When you find a leak you have to really fix it, not caulk around it. If you keep water out of the boat your two biggest problems with electronics will be corrosion and dust. USB plugs take maintenance - tool of choice is a pencil eraser. Anything with ventilation like computers will need to be opened up and cleaned (both vaccuum and compressed air) once or twice a year. Solid state drives as much as you can.
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Old 21-11-2019, 08:56   #13
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Re: Electronics/computers on board to support trading

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
Relying on cell data while at anchor exposes you to usage caps
My experience is that the primary carriers everywhere have shifted policy so that data caps only matter when they overlap with congestion. With AT&T and Verizon, as very heavy data consumers, we have not been throttled ouside major urban areas except during major weather events when networks clog up as people stream Netflix et al. *sigh*

That is different from resellers "mobile virtual network operators" who ride on other carriers networks such as Google Fi (hard cap at 15 GB/month btw), Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk, ...) generally roll you back more aggressively than the primary carriers. When networks get congested, the roamers (including those with reseller accounts) take the hit first. The only exception I am personally aware of is MyIslandWiFi in the Bahamas. They have a very sweet deal with BTC and--since Dorian--with Aliv in some areas.

In the Caribbean I've had best luck with Digicell when available. None of that makes a lot of difference for stock trading. We aren't talking about streaming video. Small data streams with calcluations on the client side unless the OP is doing screen sharing with a remote computer. As I suggested before with regard to electrical power the OP should run the numbers. Most online Internet service providers let you look up how much data you use during each billing period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
As mentioned on the parallel thread, as far as I know, what you need is mega-yacht style satellite comms.
This may actually be detrimental depending on where you are. I suspect that latency may be a bigger deal than network speed and satellite isn't great at that. Of course in some places the local carriers use satellite themselves to connect to the world at large. Then you're stuck. You can figure that out for yourself by careful examination of charts. Take a look at Brewers Bay on the North shore of Tortola in the BVI. Those fiber optic submarine cables are why Digicel, Flow, and CCT are pretty fast: microwave from towers to switch, fiber from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
WiFi has ranged from unusable at 25% of the marinas (including US), to some flavor of intermittent signal that mostly works for email and browsing,
For marina WiFi I agree. A good range extender and the proper combination of choosing where to stop for cocktails and some schmoozing changes things correctly. Pre-Dorian I never found a marina with really good WiFi for Internet access in the Abacos. In Marsh Harbour the restaurant Colours by the Sea was fantastic. I'd haul everything I had there for their pasta and speedy reliable Internet. Eat while updating operating systems and apps, download a few movies, and back to the boat. On boats with a good WiFi range extender and anchored appropriately I could work from the boat. Honest and forthright with the owner and ate there every trip and sent people to her. I hope she rebuilds. If not I'll miss her Fettucini Alfredo. Everyone think good thoughts for Abaco and Grand Bahama.
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