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Old 14-07-2020, 16:52   #1
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Good Laptop for Onboard?

So I built up my Raspberry Pi with AIS and OpenCPN but since I never actually mount anything on my boat, the unsecured HDTV (Monitor) I was using went cartwheeling across the boat onto the floor/sole the first rough day. (I rarely reef, and my boat has an 8' beam) and got destroyed

How about a Lenovo Thinkpad?

Is anyone using one of those onboard?

It would also be nice to have Windows 10 along with Linux on the Raspberry. I plan to replace the HDTV (actually I'm using one now with my second Raspberry Pi which will be moved to the boat)

My other laptop (Toshiba Satellite) is 10 years old, and I just ordered a replacement Sata drive for it as it's original is about gone
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Old 14-07-2020, 17:25   #2
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

I'm a big fan of the Panasonic Toughbooks. My old CF-53 died earlier this year. I purchased a similar parts machine on eBay for $111 and swapped battery, hard-drive, memory, DVD player and bits of plastic trim. New machine is working very well and is a bit of an improvement over the old one -- touchscreen, cellular modem. I decided I wanted a backup and found another eBay deal on the newer CF-54. Will keep both onboard when we head back to the boat.
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Old 14-07-2020, 17:35   #3
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
So I built up my Raspberry Pi with AIS and OpenCPN but since I never actually mount anything on my boat, the unsecured HDTV (Monitor) I was using went cartwheeling across the boat onto the floor/sole the first rough day. (I rarely reef, and my boat has an 8' beam) and got destroyed

How about a Lenovo Thinkpad?

Is anyone using one of those onboard?

It would also be nice to have Windows 10 along with Linux on the Raspberry. I plan to replace the HDTV (actually I'm using one now with my second Raspberry Pi which will be moved to the boat)

My other laptop (Toshiba Satellite) is 10 years old, and I just ordered a replacement Sata drive for it as it's original is about gone

A raspberry Pi is a hobbyist toy and should not be used in anything more than optimal conditions for anything anywhere near important.


A laptop is a good idea because of it's built-in battery. This will help you deal with any power fluctuations with the boats power systems.


I would also recommend any laptop have a solid state drive which will last longer than the traditional drives with moving parts. Hard blows and vibrations are BAD for those drives.



The rest would be up to your personal preference.


Cheers.
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Old 14-07-2020, 18:15   #4
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

I’ve found the Microsoft surface to be an excellent laptop onboard. Completely solid state, easy to charge, easy to connect to wireless devices (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, gps, radar, etc), small dock is available, easy to stow in the nav station, etc., etc.
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Old 14-07-2020, 18:44   #5
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

I would just encourage the OP to look around for anything else that needs securing. It should be second nature for an offshore sailor! Bungy cords and velcro are your friend. When I was on my 33 foot monohull, I put a nice teak board, about ten inches high, on the front of a convenient shelf. This gave me a secure storage area with about a two square foot footprint and the aforementioned ten inches depth. I would just chuck whatever I was working on, or was lying around loose, in that shelf. Saved a lot of heartbreak.
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Old 14-07-2020, 19:11   #6
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

A raspberry Pi a "hobbiest toy"?? Blasphemy!


Back on topic, If you're going to let stuff launch itself inside your cabin then a ToughBook is the biz. Mine survived a couple of hours sitting in brackish water and after 4 years, it still worked and had the most ugly corroded motherboard I've ever seen on something still functional. I only replaced the motherboard because an SMD fell off it that corroded through and prevented the battery from charging.

Having said that, if you mount a monitor to a bulkhead with a suitable VESA mount, it should stay put. If you use a NUC (which I've recommended a few times in different threads) it comes with a steel bracket that lets it be anchored down to the bulkhead as well.

Call it overkill, but on my boat I have a laptop, NUC, ToughBook and Raspberry Pi. Each serves a purpose. The NUC is my fav.
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Old 14-07-2020, 19:47   #7
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
A raspberry Pi a "hobbiest toy"?? Blasphemy!


Back on topic, If you're going to let stuff launch itself inside your cabin then a ToughBook is the biz. Mine survived a couple of hours sitting in brackish water and after 4 years, it still worked and had the most ugly corroded motherboard I've ever seen on something still functional. I only replaced the motherboard because an SMD fell off it that corroded through and prevented the battery from charging.

Having said that, if you mount a monitor to a bulkhead with a suitable VESA mount, it should stay put. If you use a NUC (which I've recommended a few times in different threads) it comes with a steel bracket that lets it be anchored down to the bulkhead as well.

Call it overkill, but on my boat I have a laptop, NUC, ToughBook and Raspberry Pi. Each serves a purpose. The NUC is my fav.
+1 on the NUC. I have two of them, one for backup. If you won't secure anything on the boat what is to stop the Toughbook from going airborne? They are tough but not indestructible. The OP does not say what boat he/she has and obviously with an 8 foot beam it is smaller than mine but I also have a TV that can act as a monitor for the NUC and I am working on a winch mount for an outside display. HDMI splitters are available so you can have multiple displays.

The NUC, being a powerful PC runs winlink, opencpn, and lots of other apps that come in handy.
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Old 14-07-2020, 21:38   #8
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

+1 on small form factor units like NUCs, BUT - there are better and worse choices even within this category.

You really want something with as few parts and ideally no moving parts. If your processing needs are modest - you may want to look at HDMI PC sticks.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us...ute-stick.html

But I think you can do even better with a good Tablet. for the following reason - many are fairly well sealed and would prevent early death from components corroding. They don't require much in terms of cooling and with all solid state components are very reliable.

Panasonic ToughBooks are great, but expensive. Lenovo have some pretty tough systems, but they are not made for marine environments. They can be stepped on, dropped, spilled on... but salt in the air and moisture will get them faster.
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Old 14-07-2020, 22:36   #9
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

We have a budget model Dell Inspiron, no longer "new", 15" laptop permenently mounted on the chart table where it has been since 2013, in use constantly. (It does have a core i7 intel chip and a HDEF 1920 x 1080 display and runs Win10).

It is our 3rd Dell laptop. We buy them because of the availability of International On-Site warranty (we have had Dell technicians on our vessel in a few countries, often arriving by dingy) and for thier fantastic HDEF 15" screens which we use for photography.

Our Dell has wired connections to HDEF Monitor, Stereo, AIS, GPS, Pactor, Mouse, Printer, external Hard drive, USB cellular modem, B&G Hercules sailing instruments, USB WiFi antenna and AC Power. There are also wireless connections to various phones and tablets.

It is secured by bungie cords and all items except the mobile devices are secured as well. Through any and all sailing situations it has been fine. It is not a tough book, just a normal laptop. It can be closed, turned off and removed (but rarely is removed). It sits there in operation 100% of the time, including at sea. It is used for all things computational. the AC power adaptor is on the Inverter, also 100% of the time unless I forget to turn on the inverter, then the Dell runs on the battery for a couple of hours.

This is our 3rd Dell in 25 years. The previous one, a 15" Dell Studio, (which is my favorite due to the beautiful 1450x1080 screen) from 2010 is still operational after an exceptionally hard life, and is used for writing and other tasks, often on deck, and is not permenenatly mounted. We put it in its bag and stow it it when not in use. It has recently become flakey with battery issues and a dead clock battery.

We also have HP laptop which was purchased in Namibia in 2012 when our Toshiba back up laptop died and we needed a back-up and no Dell's were available for purchase. I take that when I travel now that the Dell Studio is getting flakey.

These laptops (our first computer was an NEC, hardly a laptop, 1987) starting with a Panasonic and then a Toshiba, then our first Dell have been stellar. For 33 years we have had one or the other on the boat, usually running, almost always connected to a GPS and displaying a chart, whenever we've been at sea. In port they are on the internet or doing mundane tasks.

On long passages we often close the lid to conserve power.

I'd like a new Dell machine, the new ones with 4K display or better are fantastic, but I have no need for a fourth laptop right now.

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Old 15-07-2020, 01:08   #10
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

I don’t currently have a laptop, just an iPad Pro. My last Mac was stolen at FLIBS a few years ago, and I haven’t replaced it.
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Old 15-07-2020, 01:21   #11
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

We still have a 2014 Lenovo Yoga 3 touch screen it has survived 5 years full time cruising running windows 8. Still using it today. We also had a surface pro but it died in year 4.
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Old 15-07-2020, 01:25   #12
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

Panasonic ‘Toughbook’..
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Old 15-07-2020, 02:13   #13
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
So I built up my Raspberry Pi with AIS and OpenCPN but since I never actually mount anything on my boat, the unsecured HDTV (Monitor) I was using went cartwheeling across the boat onto the floor/sole the first rough day. (I rarely reef, and my boat has an 8' beam) and got destroyed

How about a Lenovo Thinkpad?

Is anyone using one of those onboard?

It would also be nice to have Windows 10 along with Linux on the Raspberry. I plan to replace the HDTV (actually I'm using one now with my second Raspberry Pi which will be moved to the boat)

My other laptop (Toshiba Satellite) is 10 years old, and I just ordered a replacement Sata drive for it as it's original is about gone

Wait a minute.



So -- you destroyed a monitor by not securing it, and don't want another monitor because you don't secure things in general on your boat. Therefore, you want to replace that setup with a laptop. How does that help?


And this on a boat where you "rarely reef"?




Using a laptop is a step backwards. I used a laptop for some years on my boat (in addition to the normal plotters), but switched to a NUC-type fixed installed computer after destroying my expensive work laptop in a storm in the North Sea. A toughened laptop like a Panasonic Tough Book is somewhat more resistant, but I don't think even one of those will survive "doing cartwheels" across the salon. A laptop is the wrong tool for this particular task.



Install the minicomputer out of the way somewhere, behind an instrument panel or a settee or something, and BOLT DOWN THE MONITOR. Then nothing can splash or fall on it, and no part of it can "do cartwheels". If it is your primary navigation device, then protecting it from getting smashed or drowned is a safety issue.



You can buy different VESA standard mounting arms for securing the monitor, but I didn't bother with that -- just drilled two holes in the standard monitor base and bolted to the panel above my nav table.
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Old 15-07-2020, 02:37   #14
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

I have 2 toughbooks a CF-29 & a CF-30, the 30 has been upgraded to Win 10 & runs even better than before on when on Win 7

the 29 won't run anything later than Win 7 In my case or possibly Win 8


I am well pleased with them, they seem almost indestructable and were cheap enough on eBay at less than 200 euros each including touch screen, backlit keyboard, & built in GPS on the 30.

I have them securely mounted on brackets
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Old 15-07-2020, 02:44   #15
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Re: Good Laptop for Onboard?

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I have 2 toughbooks a CF-29 & a CF-30 . . . I am well pleased with them, they seem almost indestructable and were cheap enough on eBay at less than 200 euros each including touch screen, backlit keyboard, & built in GPS on the 30.

I have them securely mounted on brackets
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