notebook computer as gps chart plotter on small boat

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Tim.M, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Tim.M
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Location: Wisconsin

    Tim.M Junior Member

    P.S. I don't think I need a mac for the mac virus-immunity as I don't plan to run **** or illicit software on my notebook chart plotter :)
     
  2. erik818
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Sweden

    erik818 Senior Member

    Tim,
    It could be that SeaClear isn't finding the directory with charts that have been set up by MapCal. The .exe-files MapCal and SeaClear2 must be in the same directory. This is also where the .ini-file will be located. In this directory MapCal will set up a subdirectory with charts.

    Erik
     
  3. Tim.M
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Location: Wisconsin

    Tim.M Junior Member

    Thanks Erik. I got a directory created named "traces" but that is the only directory MapCal created. Maybe I need to try again with MapCal.
     
  4. erik818
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Sweden

    erik818 Senior Member

    I also have a directory named "charts" under the directory where the SeaClear and MapCal exe files are. This is the directory with all BSB and KAP files. Maybe you should create such a directory and put the files there for MapCal to find.

    Erik
     
  5. Ramona
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Australia

    Ramona Senior Member


    Tim,
    I operate a commercial fishing vessel on the South Coast of NSW. I have been using Seaclear since 2003. I have a desktop computer with a 17 inch LCD screen and have admiralty digital charts for the whole east coast. I notice that other vessels in this port are switching to Seaclear as well instead of other expensive programmes. The advantage with Seaclear is its a computer programme and as such can be modified and info can be shared with your friends.
    The downside is that instruction manual. The developer is Dutch I believe and while I appreciate his efforts, I wish some one would rewrite the manual.
    Two sections that worry everyone is setting up the comms port for the GPS and setting up the chart files. Once done its a magnificent bit of kit. I'm trying to get a new converts machine up and running at the moment. If you Google Seaclear,comms port Gps, you will have plenty of hits from people with exactly the same problem. What we need is someone to make a tutorial on U tube.
     
  6. idpnd
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: UK

    idpnd Junior Member

    For those of you on linux, check out opencpn, it works fairly well with the official US charts and C-MAP (CM93) charts, as well as (unencrypted) raster format charts. (Also works on windows and mac btw)
     
  7. DaveJ
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: Brisbane, Australia

    DaveJ Senior Member

    You can get water friendly touch screens cheap, hide the laptop inside the boat where it can't get wet, and run the cables to the touch screen where ever you want it (you could even have multiple screen, 1 inside, the other mounted outside near the helm) and use the touch screen as your interface with the laptop software, no mouse or keyboard required.

    Doesn't matter if it gets wet, and if it does stuff up, you only need to replace the screen. Just check out ebay, there are alot of cheap options going from $150US up. Or if you want something more classy try this site http://www.cdt.com.au/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_26&products_id=102 abit more expensive, but you know its going to work well.

    Dave,
     
  8. farjoe
    Joined: Oct 2003
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    Location: med

    farjoe Senior Member

    Could you indicate what keywords you are using on Ebay to come up with suitable screens?

    I am finding it hard to find one which is readable outdoors.
     
  9. DaveJ
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: Brisbane, Australia

    DaveJ Senior Member

    thats the catch, finding one that is suitable for outdoors use, try using google to find a model that you would like, then see if it is cheaper on ebay.
    Another option is getting a normal display that is for outdoors use, and get a touch screen overlay, more work on your behalf but also allows you the flexability to talor it to your needs.
    I have not done alot of reasearch in this area, just enough to know its possible without too much effort, then you sweet talk the guys who are making openpilot to make all the commands more useable with touch screen interface so its easier to use and more intuative and you will have a great setup.
     
  10. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    They are available but not cheap... - see pioneer-computers-australia http://www.pioneercomputers.com.au/products/products.asp?c1=89&c2=137 they used to have some hardened notebooks, but why do you need to go swimming with one? - I use my own build in a mini-itx form-factor and standard lcd screens - works OK on my cat - else get the "ex-lease" cheap notebooks put Ubuntu OS and Open Office, Wine, Firefox & Thunderbird - 200 loss if you are stupid enough to capsize:D:D:D:D ... Buy the MATT finish screens, the HI_GLOSS ones are next to useless unless you live in the back of a darkened cave...
     
  11. farjoe
    Joined: Oct 2003
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    Location: med

    farjoe Senior Member

    the standard lcd screens i have seen are useless in bright sun light. what about yours?
     
  12. Luckless
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: PEI, Canada

    Luckless Senior Member

    Wouldn't a small protective hood be useful anyway? A small open box that your back is likely to cover the opening while reading for it.
     
  13. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    Did I not specify the MATT finish... - Not the HI-GLOSS... In a brightly lit place - even under a large shady tree, on a bright day the "modern crystal bright" screens act as an excellent mirrors and offers a distorted image/reflection of your self and what is behind you, making normal viewing of the screen content almost impossible... I also have a projector ready for mounting overhead (to watch movies etc at night on a screen hung between the aft davits...) look at some of the HDMI or whatever high definition standard screens are available domestically 1920 x 1080 is the pixel size and up to 36 inches diagonal, so long as the pixels are not obvious - if so get a smaller screen.... cheaper than a laptop and upgrade by replacing the motherboard or box & contents altogether.... the powersupply is either 12 volts or an external 'mains' unit... Do not use microsoft if you are internationally cruising as it will likely inhibit use of foreign video formats and present problems and issues insisting on asking you to update or upgrade your OS & viral defence issues - on the other hand UBUNTU, or your favoured Linux flavour, once you learn the 'unix' system of doing things is far more internationally adaptable, reliable and robust & configurable as all the software is "open source" (you can re-write parts of an application if you wish and know how)... - Linux does not change executables or scripts in operation unless you specifically instruct and agree by using your "administrators password"... Microsoft changes things without asking every time you boot, during operation, and, shut down...

    I use a gps as a gps - a far cheaper option, but the computer still could do some of those functions with the appropriate receiver & software... Not mature enough for primary application yet

    A bit of learning, but with sufficient knowledge, you will have confidence in your equipment and be able to say "I can fix this" and if you were wrong, re-install from CD/DVD and you are in operation or know it is a hardware problem and can put those bits together... (even if someone else must be paid to assemble, as it is delicate stuff and susceptible to static electric damage and other things...)

    It is unwise to keep, or put, electronic stuff in the open especially in bright sunlight as the heat can do terminal (death) damage, as it does to humans by way of skin cancer, but, hopefully, we have the sense to get out of the sun, electrical stuff does not have that option, if humans leave it in the sun/weather, then that is where it stays, until a human removes it (theft?) :D:D:D
     

  14. Ramona
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Australia

    Ramona Senior Member

    I use a modern 17 inch lcd in the cabin on my fishing vessel. I made a small protective hood thinking the sun would make viewing difficult at times and it also acts as a brace to the window frame. As it turns out the sun has very little effect and it is very tolerant of viewing angles. I can see the screen and view it easily from the back deck, about 18 feet away. The older gps lcd plotter mounted in the cabin as a back up is very hard to see even up close. Technology is wonderful
     
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