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Old 03-06-2021, 14:25   #1
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OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

I'm considering my options for a computer/plotter at the nav station. I currently have an older Raymarine C90W that I'm going to ditch. I'd like to avoid having an "extra" laptop around as well. I'd like to have the integrated chartplotter and also be able to do "general computer stuff" like access all my manuals on PDF, update/review my various logs (spreadsheets and docs), review my only self-create notes, and browse to things like weather sites (and of course this site). Nothing super intensive, no games or stuff.

I'm considering either an rPi, or a NUC-style "bookshelf" size 12v computer.

I see lots of folks running on rPi and on laptops, but I don't see much discussion about the small form factor 12v computers. What's the general consensus on these things?
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Old 03-06-2021, 14:54   #2
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

The Intel NUC's are great and many of them can run on 12V to 19V making it possible to connect them directly to the boats power system. I'd like to know what others are doing for screens.
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Old 03-06-2021, 15:13   #3
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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The Intel NUC's are great and many of them can run on 12V to 19V making it possible to connect them directly to the boats power system. I'd like to know what others are doing for screens.
I would also like to know that. I will have a cutout when I remove the Raymarine C90W that is 12.5" x 7.7" and possible to enlarge slightly. I'd love to build into that space and put the NUC box behind it, hidden.
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Old 03-06-2021, 16:33   #4
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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I would also like to know that. I will have a cutout when I remove the Raymarine C90W that is 12.5" x 7.7" and possible to enlarge slightly. I'd love to build into that space and put the NUC box behind it, hidden.

Yes, I'm wanting to do the same. In my case its a Ramarine C120W that I want to replace. The NUC part is easy but I don't know what to do about the screen.
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Old 03-06-2021, 18:26   #5
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

I'm a big fan of the devices made by protectli.

https://protectli.com/

They're not cheap, but I've had been using them in harsh environments for 3 years. I'll be adding one to the new boat when she arrives.
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Old 03-06-2021, 18:38   #6
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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I'd like to know what others are doing for screens.
After setting up an RPi with OpenCPN I had the same problem...
then I realized that I could use VNC with almost any device and remotely connect to the RPi inside the cabin.

I've got an old Panasonic CF-H1. Rugged, bright 10" screen, portable.

Any cheap tablet will work. My android phone can use the VNC client to view the RPi screen...
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Old 03-06-2021, 18:39   #7
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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I'm a big fan of the devices made by protectli.

https://protectli.com/

They're not cheap, but I've had been using them in harsh environments for 3 years. I'll be adding one to the new boat when she arrives.



That is a router/network attached storage device not a computing device like a NUC or Pi or a laptop. It's useful but not as a general purpose computing device. No display device ports....
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Old 03-06-2021, 18:41   #8
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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Originally Posted by EarlWer View Post
After setting up an RPi with OpenCPN I had the same problem...
then I realized that I could use VNC with almost any device and remotely connect to the RPi inside the cabin.

I've got an old Panasonic CF-H1. Rugged, bright 10" screen, portable.

Any cheap tablet will work. My android phone can use the VNC client to view the RPi screen...



Tends to be slow though....
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Old 03-06-2021, 19:05   #9
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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That is a router/network attached storage device not a computing device like a NUC or Pi or a laptop. It's useful but not as a general purpose computing device. No display device ports....
They are mostly used as routers/firewalls, but they are essentially NUCs with more network ports. The lowest priced model has a VGA port. The others have HDMI ports.

There's no reason why you can't run Windows on them or any UNIX variant. The graphics chipset won't support gaming, but it should run OpenCPN well.
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:04   #10
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

What about directly interfacing a NUC to a SeaTalk or NMEA 2000 or other network?
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:29   #11
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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What about directly interfacing a NUC to a SeaTalk or NMEA 2000 or other network?
There are several USB to NMEA 2000: Yacht Devices, Actisense etc. Depending on what you want to do there is Wifi also.

There are also a few USB to NMEA 0183 such as Actisense.
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Old 04-06-2021, 19:31   #12
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

The Intel NUC is relatively expensive. Im using this: Mini PC Computer, Aerofara Aero 2... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T6WQR32...p_mob_ap_share which feels snappier than my RPI4 and uses no more power according to my measurements. I would use an RPI but for the programs with no great Linux equivalent. The monitor is a 10 Beetronics display that pulls about 400 mA at 12V.
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Old 04-06-2021, 22:43   #13
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

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Originally Posted by SoonerSailor View Post
The monitor is a 10 Beetronics display that pulls about 400 mA at 12V.


Thanks for that, The Beetronic monitors are relatively expensive but seem to be good quality.... I'm contemplating ordering a 12" unit.
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Old 04-06-2021, 22:48   #14
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

I use a RPI 3 B+ with Gedad MCS board and Digital Yacht AIT2500. It runs openplotter. It all runs on extremely low power (most of the time less than 1/2 an amp). I VNC into the pi with a iPad Air 2 that has a laminated glare resistant coated screen. The pi is the entire boats WiFi access point as well.
Simple and low power. https://open-boat-projects.org/en/ma...ontrol-server/
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Old 05-06-2021, 04:48   #15
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Re: OpenCPN on Pi or Nuc-style computer for nav station

I use a Dell small form factor box velcroed to a 12 volt 19 inch TV. Be sure to get at least 64gb of storage. My 32GB does not have enough room to update Windows any more, so I'll be replacing it next year.
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