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Old 17-01-2020, 15:44   #1
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Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Do many of you use these?

I'm thinking of getting one and the associated extra hardware and hooking up my GPS/AIS and autopilot to it and then out to a monitor.
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Old 17-01-2020, 15:58   #2
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Not yet, but that is my plan too.
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:13   #3
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Great.

I first learned about it from my other post about Sean D' and what he was able to do with it.

If you haven't seen it here's an example.



https://towndock.net/shippingnews/se...-and-alexandra


Found this online today also and there are lots more available.


https://www.hackster.io/hartmut-wend...erry-pi-487450
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:34   #4
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

We have been using a Pi 3 as our primary navigation tool for 3 years and one lap around the globe. We run the OpenPlotter install that includes OpenCPN, SignalK, and a bunch of other goodies. PyPilot is on the list of possible upgrades.

Overall we love the Pi and OpenPlotter. A couple of small items:
  1. Get a really good 5V power supply that is capable of supplying the required current (which varies depending on Pi model). These are cheap (12V-5V) but very necessary. Find one that outputs 5.25V if you can, that is the top end of the Pi spec and allows for some voltage drop.
  2. Get a really good USB power cable, as short as possible, to connect your Pi to the power supply. USB cables aren't great for supplying power, but there are a few out there with larger power conductors that will help limit the power drop.
  3. Use a quality SD card.
  4. Get a decent case for the Pi. This may set you back nearly as much as the unit itself. But the naked Pi board is a bit delicate - put it in a good case. That also helps keep the moisture at bay.

We use OpenCPN to provide routing information, display grib files, drive the autopilot (a Raymarine at the present moment), and just general navigation.

We use SignalK to run some web dashboards that allow us to see the instrument values (and some OpenCPN computed data) from tablets connected to WiFi anywhere on the boat. We occasionally also use the built-in VNC server to allow us remote views of the charts, but for that we usually just turn on the monitor (we normally run with the monitor off to save electricity).

Power usage averages about 4W (~0.33A @ 12V) so about 8Ah/day.

Can't say enough good things about both the hardware and the software.
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:34   #5
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by u4ea32 View Post
Not yet, but that is my plan too.
Same here. I've got a Pi with OpenPlotter and some charts, no HAT or integration yet.
Sort of an intro to Openplotter and hardware:
https://youtu.be/wIuaTbFODsU
"Raspberry PI onboard computer system for sailing vessels"
https://youtu.be/lWSdrCgaLQ4
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:58   #6
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
We have been using a Pi 3 as our primary navigation tool for 3 years and one lap around the globe. We run the OpenPlotter install that includes OpenCPN, SignalK, and a bunch of other goodies. PyPilot is on the list of possible upgrades.

Overall we love the Pi and OpenPlotter. A couple of small items:
  1. Get a really good 5V power supply that is capable of supplying the required current (which varies depending on Pi model). These are cheap (12V-5V) but very necessary. Find one that outputs 5.25V if you can, that is the top end of the Pi spec and allows for some voltage drop.
  2. Get a really good USB power cable, as short as possible, to connect your Pi to the power supply. USB cables aren't great for supplying power, but there are a few out there with larger power conductors that will help limit the power drop.
  3. Use a quality SD card.
  4. Get a decent case for the Pi. This may set you back nearly as much as the unit itself. But the naked Pi board is a bit delicate - put it in a good case. That also helps keep the moisture at bay.

We use OpenCPN to provide routing information, display grib files, drive the autopilot (a Raymarine at the present moment), and just general navigation.

We use SignalK to run some web dashboards that allow us to see the instrument values (and some OpenCPN computed data) from tablets connected to WiFi anywhere on the boat. We occasionally also use the built-in VNC server to allow us remote views of the charts, but for that we usually just turn on the monitor (we normally run with the monitor off to save electricity).

Power usage averages about 4W (~0.33A @ 12V) so about 8Ah/day.

Can't say enough good things about both the hardware and the software.
Very good info. Thanks.

What size SD Card would you recommend?
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Old 17-01-2020, 17:13   #7
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

There are two schools of thought on the SD. SD cards may not be robust when it comes to lots of writes. You can degrade them. One thought is to run the minimum and try to do everything else from a USB drive. The other is just to accept the eventual failure.

We went with the eventual failure model. I use a 32GB card and find it more than capable of storing all the charts, logs, programs, etc. We've had the same card in the Pi for the whole three years and still no sign of problems (and I have a second Pi running other software, same scenario and results). I do make a clone of the SD card every time I load a new bunch of charts, before and after every update, and on a few other occasions. Have yet to use the backup (and I know that by saying that I am guaranteeing that I will need it tomorrow).

I think overall we use about 10GB of the card capacity. Most of that is in the various chart files. I have a fair number (but not huge) of "charts" created from satellite photos and those can get pretty large, but they still all fit.
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Old 17-01-2020, 17:14   #8
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

I too have a rPi onboard running openplotter. Personally, I find it a bit slow running opencpn (It's a 3B+) but as an nmea, signalk and file server it is brilliant. I have all the laptops, tablets and phones loaded with opencpn configured to connect to the rPi for nmea data. I also have a daisy ais hat attached but don't use it these days as I now have an ais transceiver. The hat was ok, but I notice it didn't quite have the reception range of the transceiver (both on the same cabling and antenna).
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Old 17-01-2020, 17:16   #9
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

I can't remember the specifics, but there is a particular sd card recommended by the rPi community to resolve just this issue. A suitable Google should provide more info on this
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
There are two schools of thought on the SD. SD cards may not be robust when it comes to lots of writes. You can degrade them. One thought is to run the minimum and try to do everything else from a USB drive. The other is just to accept the eventual failure.

We went with the eventual failure model. I use a 32GB card and find it more than capable of storing all the charts, logs, programs, etc. We've had the same card in the Pi for the whole three years and still no sign of problems (and I have a second Pi running other software, same scenario and results). I do make a clone of the SD card every time I load a new bunch of charts, before and after every update, and on a few other occasions. Have yet to use the backup (and I know that by saying that I am guaranteeing that I will need it tomorrow).

I think overall we use about 10GB of the card capacity. Most of that is in the various chart files. I have a fair number (but not huge) of "charts" created from satellite photos and those can get pretty large, but they still all fit.
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Old 17-01-2020, 17:37   #10
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Yeah, I didn't want to get into the weeds, there are a lot of opinions out there about which SD card is right for usage in a Pi.

FWIW we use a Samsung EVO card and have been happy. Sandisk also seems to have a good reputation although they themselves recommend only certain of their cards be used with the Pi.

Absolutely no recommendation from me, just my experience. This could be a rabbit hole all by itself.
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Old 17-01-2020, 18:00   #11
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Ah you guys!!!! I’m here looking in from the outside. You all speak a different language that almost sounds like English.

I have a Pypilot and am just now trying to sus out how to go about interfacing to it. I can see enough to know there is a lot of interesting stuff going on in this community but trying to figure it all out is more than a bit intimidating.

It would be great if someone could write a tutorial, lots of pictures and diagrams, about how to use the Pi, how to access it, some of the basic terminology, what ancillary programs are needed, etc.

I’m finding bits and pieces but it’s still early in the battle and the fog of war is thick.

Maybe part of this is I’m just to damn old anymore.
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Old 17-01-2020, 18:20   #12
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
It would be great if someone could write a tutorial, lots of pictures and diagrams, about how to use the Pi, how to access it, some of the basic terminology, what ancillary programs are needed, etc.
What hardware do you have now? A working Pi (i.e. Pi, SD card, power supply, keyboard, mouse, monitor)?
There are many intro websites out there...you can get OpenPlotter (containing OpenCPN and basic other applications) up and running in minutes with the basic hardware. No programming skills needed. I'd say it takes more time learning the basic GUI of OpenCPN than figuring out how to download wind/chart data (many online tutorials for that; takes a few minutes). Adapting to the GUI is like going from PC to Mac...not Mac to DOS.
Check:
http://svmatilda.blogspot.com/2018/1...g-opencpn.html
http://svmatilda.blogspot.com/2018/1...y-pi-with.html
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Old 17-01-2020, 18:21   #13
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Do youself a favour and install OpenPlotter on it. It includes just about everything you need. Don't be fooled though, there is a ginormous amount of fiddling required to get everything set up for your particular application, but it gives you a head start.


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Old 17-01-2020, 18:32   #14
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Right now I have Pypilot running on a pi zero eh supplier by Sean.

This afternoon I spent time trying to figure out how to talk to it from my laptop. It seems I need to download at least four pieces of software.

MIMIUM REQUIREMENTS from a DIY pi site.
8GB MicroSD Card
Raspberry Pi Zero W
Etcher
Latest Raspbian Image Flashed Into Your SD Card
Putty
Notepad++
Bonjour (Windows Only)

Ginormous? Yeah.
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Old 18-01-2020, 06:06   #15
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Re: Raspberry Pi as Onboard Computer

Lots of good info. Thanks!

At first, I plan to bring in the NMEA Data from my GPS/AIS (Standard Horizon GX2200) for a better display. Are there kits available to lengthen the NMEA wires?

It looks like you use an RS422 / RS485 HAT for this.

Then I'd also like to either lengthen the cable on the Victron 75/15 Controller I have so I can monitor the solar info from that or setup maybe the Bluetooth for this which I think the Raspberry Pi can do as well

My autopilots are just set to compass headings now when I use them but I might get them hooked to the Pi as well later if I get wind direction etc and figure out how to use with the GPS

Those monitor connectors look awfully small in the picture also. Are they special to the Raspberry Pi or am I just behind the times?
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