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Old 17-11-2017, 10:15   #16
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

There is one issue with a single display that too many people don't realize, and that is often, especially when people get tired or bored, they fail to switch between screens to see all of the data. At a minimum, I want a depth display and engine temperature gauge to be separate and prominently displayed. There may be other instruments that you want separate. Radar for example is best displayed on it's own. There is nothing wrong with having everything available on one monitor as a backup, but some things are best when independent.

Information overload is a real issue when too much is displayed on one monitor.
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Old 17-11-2017, 10:17   #17
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Interesting. I did find an Intel NUC that uses a Core i7 something or other, but it actually says "not upgradeable". Soldered-in not socketed CPU I'm guessing. And given that the 7th generation cores already require Win10 to support new peripheral and hardware drivers, and the 8th generation chips even more so...I can't help think that "upgrade" will mean what it often has for the past 15 years: Throw it out and get a new one. Too many subsystems change, i.e. no more SATA bus, SSD memory on various card standards instead.
But finding a high speed Core i7 box under $500, even with no memory or display etc...that's still pretty much the price of the CPU, so "upgrade" and "throw it out" wind up being the same thing as just the price of a new CPU anyway. Incredible.
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Old 17-11-2017, 10:32   #18
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

The current (7th gen CPU) NUCs provide a lot of advantages at a very reasonable price. The fact that they can run on 12v is nice too since you can connect to your DC system without having to run DC thru Inverter to AC to convert back to DC.
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Old 17-11-2017, 10:44   #19
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Yes upgrading the **CPU** is rarely worth doing, except maybe server-class gear.

But NUC let's you easily add/swap RAM upgrade storage, much more so than most laptops.

And just getting it up out of sight right on the VESA mount points behind a nice big flatscreen, maybe on a tilt/swivel mount, is so much easier IMO than dealing with a laptop
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Old 17-11-2017, 10:46   #20
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Regarding computing power, there is no need to go high end. I am running all of the above on a $99, atom based, Windows 10 tablet - no issues. You can have multiple tablets for backup or to install in different places. The only thing you need is to make sure it supports OpenGL - most of the Windows 10 tablets do.

Regarding multiple displays vs. a single one and the information overload - it is very personal. Some people are proud of a busy navigational desk with 10 different displays, others prefer a clean look. You can customize the display as much as you want in OpenCPN.

Typically, you only need to present the most relevant info. For example, depth is interesting in shallow waters but then you are typically hand steering. So you can put the depth display on the autopilot for example.

Radar is much more useful if overlayed on the chart but people dislike it because it gets busy or the colors are messed up. Just take the time to adjust the detail and the colors - again much easier on a PC than a dedicated chartplotter.

Another one is gauges. I really like the systems where you have one gauge and a rotary switch to cycle through the various tanks. Neat. Look at the cars for example. Older cars will have many gauges while newer cars have only one or two, the rest is out of bound switches. This movement is driven by simplicity. The more people started to drive (and the more people start sailing), the more you move away from the geeks and simplicity is key. My kids cannot easily comprehend a busy raster chart but a well configured vector chart with the right colors allows them to steer the boat quite well.
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Old 17-11-2017, 10:46   #21
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
There is one issue with a single display that too many people don't realize, and that is often, especially when people get tired or bored, they fail to switch between screens to see all of the data. At a minimum, I want a depth display and engine temperature gauge to be separate and prominently displayed. There may be other instruments that you want separate. Radar for example is best displayed on it's own. There is nothing wrong with having everything available on one monitor as a backup, but some things are best when independent.

Information overload is a real issue when too much is displayed on one monitor.
I think the solution to this is to let the computer mind the data and give you an audio warning when you need to have a look at something.

I am slowly trying to setup my on-board computer to do this.
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Old 17-11-2017, 10:54   #22
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

You can put pretty much all a vessels electronics through a laptop. A high powered system is not required. Navigation and marine electronics are not a demanding use of a computer. Even large commercial vessels use bog standard, and ancient PC's to run their displays. Usually with much older and less powerful processors/memory then any of the new laptops. Including sophisticated ARPA radars, ECDIS (a complicated plotter), AIS etc. personally I prefer a NUC as it can be mounted behind a decent display. My suggestion buy something waterproof and nautical spec for outside such as a Simrad/Lowrance HDS and use a nuc and screen, or laptop, inside for backup, and entertainment etc. There are good freeware programs for navigation such as openGN and seaclear. Official Charts from many countries can be downloaded for free. The rest for a small fee.
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Old 17-11-2017, 11:03   #23
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by settlednomad View Post
Just one on navigation: I have heard of OpenCPN charts but I don't know an awful lot about them. It seems to be limited to US waters, but I am likely to be wrong. Did I mention that I am not too techie? I will be circumnavigating, so that may already make a laptop unworkable for navigation?! Many thanks in advance. SN.
You might consider the chart package from Visit my Harbour whilst you are sailing in Western Europe. Can't see how you could do better than this lot of up to date charts legally for 50.

BUY Android Charts (easy auto activate) : by VisitMyHarbour [Android: Marine Navigator Charts] - VisitMyHarbour articles

I have to ask do you really want everything joined and linked together? what happens when it stops working? do you enjoy fixing ports and baud rates of devices in exotic locations? personally that is the last thing I want to be doing. Just keep it simple, indeed other than the Garmin chart plotter and AIS joined together, all the other stuff we have is separate, in stand alone mode. If one of the three GPS's throws a wobbly I revert to another, same for depth instruments etc.

Do you need SSB? seems an American thing perhaps not as useful outside the US / Carib as you might think. How about a sat phone instead especially given the price of an SSB installation.

It would be very easy to write-up a must have shopping list for ocean sailing totalling 30k, but is it all really needed? something to ponder on perhaps

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Old 17-11-2017, 11:30   #24
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

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Originally Posted by indimini View Post
Take a look at the Open plotter project. This will give you an idea of what is possible. There are plenty of options for getting instrument data to the PC (i.e. NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000).

I would think the biggest challenge for the laptop-only approach is the suitability of having access to the computer where it can stay dry and you can see the screen. Most laptop/monitor/tablet displays are worthless when trying to read the screen in direct sunlight.
For long distance cruising openplotter really is worth looking in to, even if not as the main nav computer. Cheap enough to have a complete spare. Plus points are how easy it is to add cheap sensors and how easy it is to beam all the info around the boat over wifi to any device which can view a web page. I've had thermometers on the engine head, exhaust bend and alternator for a while now, a really accurate barometer costs a few dollars, same for 4 channel accurate volt meter- all this can be viewed in Opencpn. Too much to go, into in much detail in a single post but well worth considering, draws 0.3A on 12v so not unfeasible to eave running all the time.
Also, long distance, have a look at using Google earth satellite images as an addition to your charts on Opencpn , sometimes more useful than ancient chart data and combined a really useful resource.
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Old 17-11-2017, 23:43   #25
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Dearest CF community,

A fantastic and varied response, thank you.

My consideration for a laptop to combine several of the systems was seemingly naive and under-researched! A romantic and easy solution, or so I thought. I helped deliver a boat from Antigua to the UK, a few years back, and a lot of the systems on board were run through a Panasonic Toughbook that had been fixed to the chart table. It was a neat set up. Off watch, it was easy to write an email, listen to music, flick between weather routing screens, nav charts, AIS and radar. All other systems: depth, speed, wind, engine, tanks etc. were kept separate.

To me, I was only crew and lacking experience, it seemed a simple and efficient solution. From memory, I do believe that the systems mentioned above could also be operated as stand-alone items, in case the laptop bit the dust!

Both boats I am looking at appear to have all separate systems as it is. I was just wondering what could be done with a laptop as I will be taking one on board. I'm not sure I want to go the full PC tower route as they seem cumbersome and possibly too much draw on battery power. Also not very portable - which for me is a must

There has been mention of an NUC/monitor combo, I have no idea what this is though I will certainly read up on it.

Pete7 - You make a fair point of keeping all systems separate, this is certainly the way it will be at the start. Maybe I am trying to run before I can walk!!

I don't want to go off subject here and start a conversation about OpenCPN but, is it me or is it a complicated piece of software to use? I have downloaded the program for Mac and have tried to work with it: adding plugins and charts - but nothing! It doesn't appear to be very user-friendly - or I am simply being a little thick? This is quite often the case!

Thank you all, once again, for all the input, it is a great feeling to be part of such a knowledgeable and friendly community
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Old 18-11-2017, 06:32   #26
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Quote:
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I'm not sure I want to go the full PC tower route as they seem cumbersome and possibly too much draw on battery power. Also not very portable - which for me is a must

There has been mention of an NUC/monitor combo, I have no idea what this is
Yes desktop or tower is a no go.

NUC, think a tower shrunk down to 6x6" and 3" tall, can be tucked on a shelf or attached to the back of the flat screen.



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Old 18-11-2017, 09:09   #27
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Hi John, consider me computer dumb! My laptop died last week, so I'm going to look for a replacement. My needs, open cpn, SAS planet and lightroom (photo editing. Is the NYC set up suitable for this? Do you purchase windows for it? All up what would the cost be with screen etc?
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Old 18-11-2017, 09:28   #28
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Nobeltec, although expensive is very user friendly and the tech support is excellent. It also has some very advanced features not found in a lot of chart software. Sometimes expensive and user friendly is much better than free and not so user friendly.

http://www.p2marine.com/marine-elect...SAAEgL86PD_BwE
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Old 18-11-2017, 09:53   #29
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

NUC is just a form factor, case+motherboard w/CPU.

Power, speed comes from CPU, just buy the NUC with the fastest one if you're willing to pay for it.

Spinning disk gives lots of space cheap, vs SSD is faster and smaller.

How much RAM, I'd go to 16GB, minimum 8.

Yes if you want to be legal pay for Windows too.

Keyboard and mouse, wireless off one dongle, Logitech is OK.

Screen size & resolution up to you, the mount is cheap.

That's pretty much it, these days stuff is pretty generic and the market very price competitive.

Lots of people find walking noobs through a custom build fun, if not here I'm sure these guys will help https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/about

NewEgg, Fry's and BestBuy are all good sources if buying new.

If you post the list before you pull the trigger I'm sure you'll get good feedback.
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Old 18-11-2017, 10:27   #30
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Re: How many of the boat's systems can you put through a laptop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
NUC is just a form factor, case+motherboard w/CPU.

Power, speed comes from CPU, just buy the NUC with the fastest one if you're willing to pay for it.

Spinning disk gives lots of space cheap, vs SSD is faster and smaller.

How much RAM, I'd go to 16GB, minimum 8.

Yes if you want to be legal pay for Windows too.

Keyboard and mouse, wireless off one dongle, Logitech is OK.

Screen size & resolution up to you, the mount is cheap.

That's pretty much it, these days stuff is pretty generic and the market very price competitive.

Lots of people find walking noobs through a custom build fun, if not here I'm sure these guys will help https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/about

NewEgg, Fry's and BestBuy are all good sources if buying new.

If you post the list before you pull the trigger I'm sure you'll get good feedback.
Thanks.
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