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OK, so 90% of what I'm going to write is probably old hat news to most of you guys, but what the hey.

I just got a Samsung Galaxy TabE Lite. It's about the size of a paperback book...a little taller and a lot thinner.  It's an Android device, a personal "computer" with a touchscreen. The thing has a built-in GPS receiver.     I got this because my friend Jackie P. showed me hers, which she has encased in a toddler-proof shockproof case with a handle. Since I'm about as coordinated as a toddler, and I'm a lot taller (so that impact velocity of the Samsung Galaxy when it hits the cockpit sole is higher for me than for a toddler) I got one of those, too. It's purple. woooooo.  Now I can find it in my sailing bag.   The TabE light is a great size to have in the cockpit.   I'm installing Open CPN on it, and downloading a bunch of NOAA charts.  The whole thing will live in the cockpit in a seal-able plastic bag, stored in a fabric bag that hangs from some hooks. 

 

Down below I have a Compaq laptop from the early Pleistocene, on which I've installed a free copy of Windows Vista that I have had lying around. I just bought a new battery for the laptop as the old one was toast..  There's a USB "hockey-puck" SIRF-chip GPS receiver that I got for Christmas that plugs into the laptop.  It was $15 on ebay.     On the laptop I have Open CPN and a mess of local NOAA charts, as well.  The laptop is not waterproof, so it stays bungee'd to my excuse for a chart table, down below.  Total cost was $65 for the brand-spanking-new Samsung Galaxy on ebay, plus %16 for the new battery for the laptop. Now I have mapping GPS on big screens in two places on the boat.  Man, do I feel all "modern", or what?

I could not see paying hundreds of dollars for a dedicated marine charting-GPS display.   I don't have a steering wheel with a pulpit, so the sex appeal of having oodles of electronics at my steering station kind of doesn't work for me.

What' your setup?

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OpenCPN on Macbook and also on a Raspberry Pi or 3 just because I like them.

FKT

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I really like the Raspberry Pi and it's competitors for boat stuff.  I mean, velcro one down on the inside of your chart table, add a waterproof keyboard with a touchpad, and bolt a screen somewhere nearby. Bingo...minimal space use, plenty of computing power...easy as can be.

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Raymarine navionics on 2 built in plotters that came with the boat 

2 old ipads with navionics and imray charts

1 iPhone with navionics and imray charts

Imray are versions of paper charts and are lovely. Navionics charts are ugly and unreliable but have bigger coverage - and they’re what came on the plotter / radar thingy  

LOADS of paper charts because I love them and they don’t crash. We mostly use them for planning and keeping open in the chart or saloon table so we can get an overview, while pilotage is done from a gadget. 

So like me, we’re massively redundant. 

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Yes...I still have 3-4 paper charts of the local coastline and the SF Bay entrance for days when everything else fails.

BTW, lads and lasses, I would like to get my mitts on charts of Micronesia.  Any suggestions?

 

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42 minutes ago, Alan H said:

Yes...I still have 3-4 paper charts of the local coastline and the SF Bay entrance for days when everything else fails.

BTW, lads and lasses, I would like to get my mitts on charts of Micronesia.  Any suggestions?

 

Depends on what you want. Paper, electronic, raster, vector?

If you just want to have a tour on the web, https://webapp.navionics.com/#boating@4&key=ajn|%40u}xd^

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You want cheap & "swim proof"? 

  • Iphone
    • Inavx
    • Iregatta Pro (apple watch display as well) 
    • Navionics Boating
    • various tide & weather apps some with watch display
    • VentusNav Pro & NMEA Remote to echo Expedition from Nav Laptop

You want a bigger screen, but give up intrinsic water resistance?

  • Ipad 
    • Inavx
    • Iregatta Pro
    • Navionics Boating
    • VentusNav Pro & NMEA Remote to echo Expedition from Nav Laptop

You want good in bright sun ? 

  • B&G Zeus2 12"
    • CMAP cartridge
    • Radar & AIS Overlay
  • B&G H5000 GFD  

You want power on the nav station, & can forego water proof & sunlight? 

  • Macbook Air Retina running bootcamp & win10
    • Expedition Software 

 

 

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I've got the old Ray C-80 that came with the boat at the helm.  But ipad and Navionics are used 90% of the time.  100% for planning.

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At the wheel:  Ray C-80 with recent charts, with AIS pumped in via my VHF radio.

In the cabin:  iPad2 with a DUAL XGPS-150 bluetooth puck.

If all else fails:  Garmin GPSMAP 176Cx.

The future:  Raspberry Pi down in the cabin with OpenCPN.

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At the helm, an older Garmin GPSMap 292 with Garmin's vector charts.  Garmin's charts (for Canada at least) are easy on the eyes, they look a lot like the paper chart on this plotter.  As far as I can see, they are faithful representations of all of the info on the Canadian paper charts.  All the charts for all Canada come on one card for around $125 CAN but we only buy new cards every couple of years or so.  This display is only 5" but is easy to read in bright sunlight and also at night and is of course waterproof.

cf-lg.jpg

At the nav table below there is usually also a Garmin GPS Map76CSx handheld turned on, plugged into 12v power, and sitting in a small stand.  it is good for about 16 hours if I need it to unplug it and run on its rechargeable batteries, and of course I keep some extra batteries charged.  It can go up to the helm quickly if there should be any problem with the 292 or I can just keep it handy if I need to stay below for a while, cooking, or whatever, and still monitor where we are (guests at the helm, etc.).

We usually have the paper charts for the area we are in, at least anywhere close to our home waters.  There is usually a laptop aboard with Garmin MapSource software, a USB GPS attached and, unfortunately, out of date charts for that for planning.  The laptop also has Cruising‑Cape‑Breton.info installed so I don't have to go online to view that when needed, and most of the chartlets from Cruising Cape Breton are also printed out and bound for a paper version for quick reference.

If you are ever headed to coastal Cape Breton Island or the Bras d'Or Lake, Cruising‑Cape‑Breton.info is a great resource, a sort of electronic (or paper) cruising guide that never goes out of date.

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Avoid Navionics. Look at iNavX and SeaIQ, with the NOAA charts. Not only are the charts free, but no one has monkeyed with them, like the Navionics charts.

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24 minutes ago, Jammer Six said:

Avoid Navionics. Look at iNavX and SeaIQ, with the NOAA charts. Not only are the charts free, but no one has monkeyed with them, like the Navionics charts.

I find that NOAA charts don't work very well outside of US waters. They do have the advantage of being completely blank there, so you are never lost. 

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Only place I've been outside of US waters was British Columbia. I vastly prefer raster charts, and the only program that would run Canadian raster charts was iNavX.

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OpenCPN will run Canadian raster charts just fine but there is no version for IOS that I am aware of. 

Our setup has a Garmin GPSMap 76 at the helm and a scrounged Tough Book running  OpenCPN with AIS, for those times when more screen real estate is nice. 

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C120 plotter came with the boat. Backups are iPad and iPhone both with Garmin BlueChart. (And paper.) As it happens we are beginning to use the iDevices more, because at least in the Bahamas the Garmin charts are far better than the Navionics

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On 1/29/2018 at 4:25 PM, Alan H said:

OK, so 90% of what I'm going to write is probably old hat news to most of you guys, but what the hey.

I just got a Samsung Galaxy TabE Lite. It's about the size of a paperback book...a little taller and a lot thinner.  It's an Android device, a personal "computer" with a touchscreen. The thing has a built-in GPS receiver.     I got this because my friend Jackie P. showed me hers, which she has encased in a toddler-proof shockproof case with a handle. Since I'm about as coordinated as a toddler, and I'm a lot taller (so that impact velocity of the Samsung Galaxy when it hits the cockpit sole is higher for me than for a toddler) I got one of those, too. It's purple. woooooo.  Now I can find it in my sailing bag.   The TabE light is a great size to have in the cockpit.   I'm installing Open CPN on it, and downloading a bunch of NOAA charts.  The whole thing will live in the cockpit in a seal-able plastic bag, stored in a fabric bag that hangs from some hooks. 

 

Down below I have a Compaq laptop from the early Pleistocene, on which I've installed a free copy of Windows Vista that I have had lying around. I just bought a new battery for the laptop as the old one was toast..  There's a USB "hockey-puck" SIRF-chip GPS receiver that I got for Christmas that plugs into the laptop.  It was $15 on ebay.     On the laptop I have Open CPN and a mess of local NOAA charts, as well.  The laptop is not waterproof, so it stays bungee'd to my excuse for a chart table, down below.  Total cost was $65 for the brand-spanking-new Samsung Galaxy on ebay, plus %16 for the new battery for the laptop. Now I have mapping GPS on big screens in two places on the boat.  Man, do I feel all "modern", or what?

I could not see paying hundreds of dollars for a dedicated marine charting-GPS display.   I don't have a steering wheel with a pulpit, so the sex appeal of having oodles of electronics at my steering station kind of doesn't work for me.

What' your setup?

Chart table - Old (really old) IBM Thinkpad with a wonderful display. It runs OpenCPN on XP.

Digital Yacht Class B AIS Transponder that feeds GPS and AIS data to the laptop.

Yakker Wifi to broadcast the AIS/GPS data.

Old iPad and my iPhone both have iNavx and the phone has Navionics.They get data from the wifi.

Standard-Horizon CP180 chartplotter at the helm that has the AIS data.

The CP180 was an eBay find and was $100 and then almost that again for the CMAP cartridge.

'I didn't set out to have this weird mix, but I find things cheap or free and make use of them.The iPad was old and slow, but it works for navigation. The computer cost $100 many years ago, etc. etc. Cool thing about the wifi is pretty much any guest phone, tablet, or computer can see all the data :D

 

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It looks like prices have been dropping for dedicated marine MFDs, here is a Garmin option for $500, https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/592867/pn/010-01892-00#.

At that price you get a 7" sunlight readable, waterproof, networkable device with some sailing features for less than a lot of tablets (assuming you do not already own one). It looks like it is also set up for quick mounting.

The problem is charts. I have not dealt with Garmin stuff for a while, but their charts were expensive and confusing to buy, unlock and load. Perhaps some of you IT types know of free or low cost options that could be loaded.

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2 minutes ago, steele said:

It looks like prices have been dropping for dedicated marine MFDs, here is a Garmin option for $500, https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/592867/pn/010-01892-00#.

At that price you get a 7" sunlight readable, waterproof, networkable device with some sailing features for less than a lot of tablets (assuming you do not already own one). It looks like it is also set up for quick mounting.

The problem is charts. I have not dealt with Garmin stuff for a while, but their charts were expensive and confusing to buy, unlock and load. Perhaps some of you IT types know of free or low cost options that could be loaded.

There is a source of free Garmin charts, but they come with a peg leg and a parrot.

My main bitch at Garmin is that every time they change chart chips they stop supporting that generation of plotters. Some folks are on their third or fourth set of Garmin charts because of chip changes, and they have to pay full retail every time. No trade-ins, no upgrade specials.

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As an aside, I also own a sextant.  It's not terribly useful around SF Bay, though.  However, there's the little-known but extremely accurate practice of using horizontal sextant angles and a three-armed protractor for pinpointing locations relative to local landmarks.  I taught kids how to do it with uber-cheap  Davis plastic sextants and even with those things the accuracy and repeatability was stunning.  This is 6th graders, mind you.  it would be a great way to super-accurately set race marks, if you are GPS-phobic.

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52 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Chart table - Old (really old) IBM Thinkpad with a wonderful display. It runs OpenCPN on XP.

Digital Yacht Class B AIS Transponder that feeds GPS and AIS data to the laptop.

Yakker Wifi to broadcast the AIS/GPS data.

Old iPad and my iPhone both have iNavx and the phone has Navionics.They get data from the wifi.

Standard-Horizon CP180 chartplotter at the helm that has the AIS data.

The CP180 was an eBay find and was $100 and then almost that again for the CMAP cartridge.

'I didn't set out to have this weird mix, but I find things cheap or free and make use of them.The iPad was old and slow, but it works for navigation. The computer cost $100 many years ago, etc. etc. Cool thing about the wifi is pretty much any guest phone, tablet, or computer can see all the data :D

 

At some point I will have to add AIS for those midnight-in-the-fog encounters near the Golden Gate. I suppose I'll keep an eye out for a cheap one.

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15 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

There is a source of free Garmin charts, but they come with a peg leg and a parrot.

My main bitch at Garmin is that every time they change chart chips they stop supporting that generation of plotters. Some folks are on their third or fourth set of Garmin charts because of chip changes, and they have to pay full retail every time. No trade-ins, no upgrade specials.

Good point, although the newer ones can be loaded using built in wifi so that might help.

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My Ray C-80 was a gift from a buddy who upgraded.  When it dies, I'm going with B&G.

I have a sextant but I need someone to teach me how to use it. I'd be happy with learning noonsites.

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27 minutes ago, Alan H said:

At some point I will have to add AIS for those midnight-in-the-fog encounters near the Golden Gate. I suppose I'll keep an eye out for a cheap one.

My receiver came from a friend who had upgraded to a VHF with AIS built in.  Cost was the price of a bottle of rum. :-)

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49 minutes ago, Alan H said:

At some point I will have to add AIS for those midnight-in-the-fog encounters near the Golden Gate. I suppose I'll keep an eye out for a cheap one.

I've got an add-on AIS receiver board for one of my Raspberry Pi's. Haven't set it up as yet, though. Got an older Pi 2 I'm going to use as a terminal server to convert the serial data from my echosounder to a tcp/ip data stream. I have wired ethernet via a USB powered hub as well as the native wifi on the 3B models. There are all sorts of tricks you can do with those cheap single board computers.

FKT

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I do have an RDF and sextant, but neither one are on the boat right now.

People often ask me if I know celestial, to which I reply yes.  They then ask me what is the hardest part, to which I reply, finding my sextant!

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I’d probably prefer to lose GPS and plotters of all sorts before losing AIS.

God’s gift to us, or those of us in places like the English Channel or the North Sea. 

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21 hours ago, py26129 said:

OpenCPN will run Canadian raster charts just fine but there is no version for IOS that I am aware of. 

Our setup has a Garmin GPSMap 76 at the helm and a scrounged Tough Book running  OpenCPN with AIS, for those times when more screen real estate is nice. 

Cool! I like OpenCPN, but I don't like using my Mac for navigation, I prefer using my phone. All that to say I didn't include OpenCPN in my comment, and I stand corrected about my "the only program..." comment. What I should have said was "the only IOS program that will run Canadian raster charts is iNavX."

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On 1/29/2018 at 1:25 PM, Alan H said:

What' your setup?

I started out with an iPhone, a depth sounder, and a handheld VHF.  

Somehow, it metastasized:  (possibly from exposure to toxic levels of Craigslist and eBay)

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Oh my Christ...  You need to calm the fuck down! LOL!

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The  ipad, mobile phone stuff has a problem with battery life.  

Also the screens are not daylight viewable 

handy tools, on some small  Boats its all you can use... but a fixed plotter is better

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15 hours ago, Mr. Ed said:

I’d probably prefer to lose GPS and plotters of all sorts before losing AIS.

God’s gift to us, or those of us in places like the English Channel or the North Sea. 

Yah...you. Come to rely on AIS...then one night you close cross another boat without ais and start yelling  !   HEY !!  Are you crazy or something !!  Get an ais  !!   

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This morning after fucking with Google mail, the Play Center...meaning their fucking store... etc. etc. for about two hours, and still not managing to download and install the port of OpenCPN on the damn Android, I set it back to factory defaults, cleaned my fingerprints off the thing, put it back in the box and put it up for sale on the SSS forum. If nobody wants it, I'll put it on Craigslist. If nobody buys it, I'll lay it out on a table at work with a sign on it that says "Free".

Or maybe I can kill the Android OS and replace it with Linux.  i hate google.

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5 hours ago, slug zitski said:

Yah...you. Come to rely on AIS...then one night you close cross another boat without ais and start yelling  !   HEY !!  Are you crazy or something !!  Get an ais  !!   

A car carrier passed by about 100 yards off the beam. The thing is as big as a small town. No AIS, so I called them up to let them know. "Oh that thing is broken again" :o

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I have also encountered ships with defectiveAIS...the little boat icon is pointing north, the  actual ship is tracking south.

always a good idea to do a radio check...vhf 16...then ask if your ais target is working correctly and at  what range.

poorly located ais ant.  have limited range  

 

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1 minute ago, Alan H said:

This morning after fucking with Google mail, the Play Center...meaning their fucking store... etc. etc. for about two hours, and still not managing to download and install the port of OpenCPN on the damn Android, I set it back to factory defaults, cleaned my fingerprints off the thing, put it back in the box and put it up for sale on the SSS forum. If nobody wants it, I'll put it on Craigslist. If nobody buys it, I'll lay it out on a table at work with a sign on it that says "Free".

Or maybe I can kill the Android OS and replace it with Linux.  i hate google.

Last month, I wasted huge swathes of time trying to update software, download manuals, etc., and not accomplishing anything.  At first I was blaming my ten-year-old computer, until it occurred to me to check the DSL connection speed.  It was down to 30 kbps - early 90's dial-up speed. After wasting more hours on the phone to CenturyLink, one of their techs finally admitted that my area was in "permanent exhaust." They've oversold the network and nothing they can do will make a difference. Except laying new cable, or fiber, which they won't do in a rural area*.  Of course, they're still happy to take everyone's money, but they can no longer physically provide the service.  It seems that this last Xmas added enough new gadgets to the ecosystem to kill it.  

Ironically, I linked the computer to my iPhone hotspot and tapped into the LTE network instead - full speed ahead!  

(*One might also go door to door and force all those pasty-faced bandwidth-hogging teens to step away from the xbox and go outside.)

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^This - I wind up working off my tethered phone rather than our absurd slow ADSL at home.

 

Alan - I've managed to run OpenCPN happily on a couple of Android devices.  If you decide to try again, I'm happy to help.  When I rig it up on my boat, however, I'll probably do black box transmitting the desktop over wifi to RDS on the tablet.

 

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Oh, if I wanted to spend another hour or two or three I could probably resolve the Google password issue.  I'm sure that OpenCPN works just great on Android.

It's just that I seriously don't like Google for ethical and philosophical reasons, much of which has to do with:

1. the fact that google, facebook and amazon server farms utilize a preposterous percentage of the electricity generated in the USA

2. that Google basically reads all your gmail, tracks you on your iphone when you use the maps app, and basically sucks up masses of personal information about everybody who uses their services

3. that google (and facebook) were complicit in masses of disinformation spread through the last election, and any efforts to curtail that in the future will be subject to the approval of shareholders who have one goal and only one goal:  make money.

4. that the core philosophical  approach in the basic algorithms that make google and facebook so popular...meaning they watch what you choose to view/read/watch/buy and then feed you more of the same.... tends to push us all into a big online, mental echo chamber, thereby reinforcing our own beliefs and prejudices and limiting our exposure to new ideas.

Fuck Google.

I'll run my nav stuff on Linux on the Android, but turns out that I can't supplant the Android OS on a Samsung Galaxy. I can co-boot the Galaxy into Linux/Android, but I can't reformat and lose the Android OS completely.  So when I turn the thing on, Google is tracking where I am.  If I answer a gmail message, Google records what I get and what I write.  Google will feed me advertising and news based on what I write, what websites I visit, and the route I take to work.

Seriously?  The route I take to work?  Yes...  If I put my Android device in my backpack, and it's on, and the GPS is working, then  Google engineers know that I bike right by a Sports  Chalet on the way to work every day.  They know that I like to go out to Asian restaurants.  I  will get advertising based on that.    The depth of personal information that I hand over to this private company, by using their tracking device, is beyond description.

Fuck Google. For that matter, Fuck Facebook and Fuck Apple and Fuck Microsoft, as well.  Work makes me carry an iphone. The minute I retire, I will no longer be tied to that tracking device.  We all fucking might as well have Identity chips planted under our skin, the way we're all married to this shit.

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You like my rant?

There are options that you can use without killing your connection to the outside world..  You can get a phone, including a camera, and sign up with a third party phone operator like Tracfone.  Then you only pay for the time you use.  You can use other search engines, like Duck-Duck Go, which doesn't track your searches.  You can get e-mail from your small, local service provider instead of gmail.  You can bypass Amazon and do your online shopping directly with the vendors.  And you can reformat your laptop and install Linux...ditch MS Word and Excel and install Open Office instead.

You can do almost EXACTLY the same stuff that all the Google/Facebook/Apple/Microsoft  users do, and never give those companies your data or your money.

BTW...   OpenCPN works on Linux, and learning to use a graphical user interface in LINUX is simply not that hard..

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3 minutes ago, Alan H said:

Oh, if I wanted to spend another hour or two or three I could probably resolve the Google password issue.  I'm sure that OpenCPN works just great on Android.

It's just that I seriously don't like Google for ethical and philosophical reasons, much of which has to do with:

1. the fact that google, facebook and amazon server farms utilize a preposterous percentage of the electricity generated in the USA

2. that Google basically reads all your gmail, tracks you on your iphone when you use the maps app, and basically sucks up masses of personal information about everybody who uses their services

3. that google (and facebook) were complicit in masses of disinformation spread through the last election, and any efforts to curtail that in the future will be subject to the approval of shareholders who have one goal and only one goal:  make money.

4. that the core philosophical  approach in the basic algorithms that make google and facebook so popular...meaning they watch what you choose to view/read/watch/buy and then feed you more of the same.... tends to push us all into a big online, mental echo chamber, thereby reinforcing our own beliefs and prejudices and limiting our exposure to new ideas.

Fuck Google.

I'll run my nav stuff on Linux on the Android, but turns out that I can't supplant the Android OS on a Samsung Galaxy. I can co-boot the Galaxy into Linux/Android, but I can't reformat and lose the Android OS completely.  So when I turn the thing on, Google is tracking where I am.  If I answer a gmail message, Google records what I get and what I write.  Google will feed me advertising and news based on what I write, what websites I visit, and the route I take to work.

Seriously?  The route I take to work?  Yes...  If I put my Android device in my backpack, and it's on, and the GPS is working, then  Google engineers know that I bike right by a Sports  Chalet on the way to work every day.  They know that I like to go out to Asian restaurants.  I  will get advertising based on that.    The depth of personal information that I hand over to this private company, by using their tracking device, is beyond description.

Fuck Google. For that matter, Fuck Facebook and Fuck Apple and Fuck Microsoft, as well.  Work makes me carry an iphone. The minute I retire, I will no longer be tied to that tracking device.  We all fucking might as well have Identity chips planted under our skin, the way we're all married to this shit.

Why don't you just turn all those 'services' off? I do. I have a smart phone, most of the time it's a dumb phone because I've switched the GPS, location tracking, wifi, bluetooth etc etc off.

And funnily enough I don't get targeted advertising from Google. In fact I don't get *any* advertising from Google.

Not that I like the big players, I don't have a Facebook account, but really - you can avoid a lot of that crap if you make even a modicum of effort.

I use OS X and linux in various flavours for everything I can but life's too short to waste time putting linux on a tablet!

FKT

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I can do those things, and mostly do, in fact do those things.  Location services is off on my iphone, unless I need it to figure out how to get somewhere and I need to use the maps app.  I don't get advertising directly from Google, either. But I get advertising from Yahoo.  I get phone calls from organizations which seem to know what my online shopping preferences are.   You know what burns me?  Not that I can turn those things off, but that I HAVE to turn those things off to prevent private companies from gathering that much intensely personal information about me.  98% of consumers never bother.  Like my pastor....I explained to Greg that apple google knows the exact route that his 6 year old nephew takes to walk to school, and doesn't that creep him out?  He didn't get it.  His response was that he didn't care if these companies learned a lot about him because it made shopping easier.  That's a direct quote "It makes shopping easier".  I don't know how to respond to that much utter disregard for his own personal privacy.

Because you know, if Google has the data, the Feds can subpoena that.   How would Greg feel about the GOVERNMENT having all that information?

Like everyone, I have my "line", too. I have a friend who doesn't have a credit card for this exact reason.  She pays cash everywhere she goes. I was blown away when I discovered that the Medical School coffeehouse at my University won't take cash..you HAVE to use a credit card.   I still use credit cards.   So I'm not a complete luddite.

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Don't even get me started about the apple watch or fitbit.  Do you REALLY want to send details about your exercise routine (or lack thereof), sleep patterns, blood pressure, heart rate and so on, to a private company which has absolutely no health reason whatsoever to have that data?

Yet millions of people do it.

Alexa?  Seriously?  MILLIONS of people voluntarily put an Amazon.com listening device in their homes.  People have got to be out of their fucking minds.

Fuck Google. Fuck Facebook.  Fuck Amazon.

I refuse to run a  Google operating system on any device which has the remotest chance of following me around.

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22 minutes ago, Alan H said:

Don't even get me started about the apple watch or fitbit.  Do you REALLY want to send details about your exercise routine (or lack thereof), sleep patterns, blood pressure, heart rate and so on, to a private company which has absolutely no health reason whatsoever to have that data?

Yet millions of people do it.

Alexa?  Seriously?  MILLIONS of people voluntarily put an Amazon.com listening device in their homes.  People have got to be out of their fucking minds.

Fuck Google. Fuck Facebook.  Fuck Amazon.

I refuse to run a  Google operating system on any device which has the remotest chance of following me around.

 

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My apologies if this has been said already. I scanned the thread, but may have missed it.

I've been using OpenCPN on linux, Mac, and an Android tablet (Asus) and on a series of Android phones. I use it for planning and for backup. The only serious problem I've had with a tablet/OpenPCN setup for primary navigation, is that even in a waterproof case, in the rain every raindrop acts like a touch. This is my experience. I would test your setup in the rain, or with a wet cover and try to operate it. Plotters use resistive touch and tablets use capacitive touch I think.

 

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BTW, I'm keeping the OpenCPN on the old Compq laptop running windows vista. The only reason I don't reformat and put on Debia is that 1.) I got the Visa  installation for free and 2.) I know the external GPS works with Vista.  It might not work with Linux.

It'll just have to stay down below where it's dry.

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I had that fight years ago. No driver for the external GPS on a laptop, so I stuck with Vista! That laptop died of unrelated causes--mostly old age.

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4 hours ago, Alan H said:

BTW, I'm keeping the OpenCPN on the old Compq laptop running windows vista. The only reason I don't reformat and put on Debia is that 1.) I got the Visa  installation for free and 2.) I know the external GPS works with Vista.  It might not work with Linux.

It'll just have to stay down below where it's dry.

Vista! Do NOT remind me of Vista.

After fighting with that POS operating system I ditched Windows forever and bought a Macbook running OS X. Say what you like about Apple and IOS but OS X is a pretty good and highly robust operating system with mostly clean unix under the GUI.

I tried loading a linux distro up on the Vista laptop but got tired of it losing my wifi and screen settings every time I took it away from home, which was frequently. The OS X machine worked fine regardless. I'm not a great Apple fan, I used to despise the earlier versions of the operating system and I have nothing to do with IOS, but Macbook laptops running OS X work just fine. With Little Snitch installed to block outbound connections I haven't approved and a robust inbound firewall, I'm pretty happy.

What amazes me is that people actually pay money for Windows 10 while knowing it has built-in spyware tattling home all the time. One of my friends runs it inside a black box virtual machine so it can't tattle.

I've one of those cheap USB pucks for a GPS receiver and it works just fine. Load gpsd onto a Raspberry Pi, plug it in and done. Tell the chartplotter computer running OpenCPN what the IP address and port it's to get the GPS data from and it's working. As I said I like the Pi's  - a Lantronix single port terminal server costs a lot more and does less.

Daylight viz is an issue with all this consumer/domestic stuff, true. Happens I like playing with toys though so I don't really care. One plan is to just run a VNC client on a tablet anyway and leave the main plotter display below decks.

FKT

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On 30/01/2018 at 11:31 PM, Ajax said:

At the wheel:  Ray C-80 with recent charts, with AIS pumped in via my VHF radio.

 

'At the wheel'  promotes Nintendo navigation.

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11 minutes ago, LB 15 said:

'At the wheel'  promotes Nintendo navigation.

Around here, it promotes not hitting a rock.

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2 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Vista! Do NOT remind me of Vista.

After fighting with that POS operating system I ditched Windows forever and bought a Macbook running OS X. Say what you like about Apple and IOS but OS X is a pretty good and highly robust operating system with mostly clean unix under the GUI.

I tried loading a linux distro up on the Vista laptop but got tired of it losing my wifi and screen settings every time I took it away from home, which was frequently. The OS X machine worked fine regardless. I'm not a great Apple fan, I used to despise the earlier versions of the operating system and I have nothing to do with IOS, but Macbook laptops running OS X work just fine. With Little Snitch installed to block outbound connections I haven't approved and a robust inbound firewall, I'm pretty happy.

What amazes me is that people actually pay money for Windows 10 while knowing it has built-in spyware tattling home all the time. One of my friends runs it inside a black box virtual machine so it can't tattle.

I've one of those cheap USB pucks for a GPS receiver and it works just fine. Load gpsd onto a Raspberry Pi, plug it in and done. Tell the chartplotter computer running OpenCPN what the IP address and port it's to get the GPS data from and it's working. As I said I like the Pi's  - a Lantronix single port terminal server costs a lot more and does less.

Daylight viz is an issue with all this consumer/domestic stuff, true. Happens I like playing with toys though so I don't really care. One plan is to just run a VNC client on a tablet anyway and leave the main plotter display below decks.

FKT

Well, shit. That's brilliant.

 

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8 hours ago, LB 15 said:

'At the wheel'  promotes Nintendo navigation.

I singlehand most of the time.   I can't be constantly running back and forth between the wheel and the cabin to check my progress and position.

I understand your point though. I do not get lost in the plotter to the point of excluding the real world around me. That would defeat my purpose in sailing.  During daylight hours for most of the Chesapeake, I navigate by sight. The plotter and AIS especially, are mostly night aids. Trust me, I prefer to enjoy the world around me, not stare into the plotter.

K_I_S brought up a good point about not swinging around the stern of a nighttime AIS contact too closely or quickly because they might have an unlit tow behind them.  That's a terrifying thought. 

Before I had AIS, my "teachable moment" was nearly cutting between a tug and tow while approaching the finish line of a night time race. The tow was lit but the lights were weak and blended right in with the lights from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.  One of my crew was actually paying attention and pointed it out, so we bore away in plenty of time.  Now, a tow is the first question that enters my brain, anytime I encounter commercial traffic at night.

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 I got the CP180 plotter for the helm specifically for the 1% of the time I cannot leave the helm and need to see where I am and/or AIS targets. Think running before 25 knots with a following sea into a narrow entrance at night in pouring rain with 4 ships and a tug around while alone. Otto can't steer in that weather, the computer might as well be 1,000 miles away, and the phone won't like the rain and even if that doesn't kill it the battery will go dead soon enough.

One of my spring projects is to save waypoints through Kent Narrows. Running that at night is a bitch on the north side even in good weather.

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I have a pretty nice set of electronics on the boat, but still mostly use an iPad in the cockpit for navigation.  It is in a waterproof/shockproof case.  It is a many year old iPad 2 Mini, so replacements are cheap (I think I bought it for $150, and it's the model with LTE so it has built in GPS).

Sunlight visibility is bad and it overheats in Seattle summer weather.  Since it overheats here it will overheat everywhere.

When it's raining the screen gets confused by all of the water and randomly zooms in and out and pans around. 

I still like the thing, it just has big limitations.  I've thought about getting a second real plotter for the cockpit, but there isn't a good place to mount it without cutting a hole into the bulkhead, and I really don't want to do that.  The one advantage to wheel boats vs tiller boats is that wheel boats give you this nice pedestal to hang electronics off of without making permanent holes in the boat.

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I've been trying to figure out how to add E-Charting and posted before in GA.  I just don't want to spend on a Zeus3 when I know this stuff will be obsolete.  

Right now I use and iPad/iPhone but really like the idea of some sort of PC mounted behind the Nav station with just a small monitor and keyboard/trackpad; again just for Nav station use.  I would probably put a small Vulcan at the helm just for this short/single-handed reasons above.

The problem is, that while I'm pretty technically savvy, I just have not been keeping up with stuff like the Raspberry Pi and related. 

I have an  N2K system withB&G components including the radio with build in AIS receiver (plan to add a transponder some time in the future).  Is there a write-up/starter kit of hardware with a tutorial somewhere that I could put this together?  Besides open CPN, can you run a race navigation app on the Pi?

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I am not a Raspberry Pi fan at all for boat navigation. I have followed a lot of the builds and it always seems like an adventure and you still need a display. A cheap laptop will run Windows or a Linux variant (Mint is my favorite), 12 volt supplies are easily found, they already have a display, and they have standby power too. I have one Mint and one XP laptop that each have OpenCPN loaded and it was trivially easy to set up in both cases.

Look here: https://pcretro.com/collections/laptops None of these are too old or slow to run OpenCPN. My nav computer is an IBM Thinkpad 600E. It dates from the 1990s and I think is a 300 MHz machine. Linux is more abuse proof, but for Windows follow this rule. The nav machine will NEVER EVER be online. Not once, not ever. It won't have Office or anything else but nav programs. Mine has been incredibly reliable because of this B) If you really want to go hardcore, find a  FleaBay Panasonic Toughbook. Some of them have daylight screens and are water resistant.

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The Pi isn't without it's downsides but it's much more energy efficient than any laptop, especially when paired with the right monitor.

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Good point about the laptop.  I'm my mind's eye its cleaner going with a PC behind the scenes but your right, that configuration does have its own drawbacks.

What is the best way to connect the PC to the N2K?  WiFi or wired?  Both?  Has anyone cleanly put a usb port on their Nav panel to plug the laptop into the N2K network?  Doesn't WiFi increase power usage or is it negligible? 

To your point about being online, it won't this will be a dedicated Nav computer for open CPN and a race app.

A long time ago I built my own decktop specifically (to see if I could too) to keep all the BS adware off that comes from a store bought PC.  It hasn't been online for about 6 years but we still use it for our finances etc.

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Modern laptops draw a lot less than 36 watts.  Many are getting an over 12 hour runtime on a 40-50wh battery, so typical drain is closer to 4 watts.

 

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I don't have N2K on my boat, so I am not really up on all the issues with interfacing. I really like my cheap NMEA 0183 > WiFi gateway. So far it has worked perfectly. I can connect several devices at once, I don't have signal level issues, or ground loop issues. Since the PC was set up long before I got the gateway, I have a serial cable wired for it. I have no idea if there is any such thing as an N2K > WiFi adapter and OpenCPN has no ability to read N2K anyway AFAIK. You could always go N2K>0183>WiFi ;)

 

 

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I've written code that runs on the Raspberry Pi that converts some N2K to NMEA 0183 over WiFi.  I'm happy to share it if someone would find it useful.  I don't intend on doing more work with it at this time, and never quite finished it.  It's 80-90% done though.

There are multiple CAN adapters available for Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black (a similar device that is actually better suited to embedded boat electronics in my opinion).  Beaglebone Black has CAN built in, you just need a simple transceiver.

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Oh and by the way we’ve discovered a flawless waterproofing for iPads - just wrapping them in clingfilm/ ceran wrap / gladwrap. The devices don’t seem to need vents and the screen works perfectly. 

Don’t laugh - it works. 

My favourite AIS moment was crossing a separation zone one night and only AIS could tell me that the ship-of-interest was masking another one behind it. This would otherwise have come as a big surprise when we took the stern of number one. 

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Ah so open CPN does not work yet with N2K?  That seems like a non-starter for now then.  I guess I could covert as you say but...

Here is a possibility.  I remember the Sail Life guy talking about this.  Expense but not if you are committing to the PC plan.  Especially considering that chartplotters have gone to the consumer electronics model.

http://www.digitalyachtamerica.com/index.php/en/products/interfacing/nmea-to-wifi-adaptors/product/127-ikommunicate-ikconnect

 

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1 minute ago, Passport111 said:

Especially considering that chartplotters have gone to the consumer electronics model.

They haven't across all brands.  Raymarine has been doing useful updates to the e-series that was initially released in 2012.  They just announced that it won't get Lighthouse 3, but over 5 years of support is really unusual for any consumer electronics.

Garmin clearly doesn't care about their products after one year.

Navico (B&G, Simrad, Lowrance) appears to be somewhere in between and keeps doing useful feature updates for a couple of years.

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21 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

It all depends on what you want OpenCPN to do.  A gps to feed the computer is probably $20 or so, so that takes care of your nav picture with no networking at all.

GPS is all I would want for cruising.  For the racing, it would be nice to have the other data.

23 minutes ago, Alex W said:

Navico (B&G, Simrad, Lowrance) appears to be somewhere in between and keeps doing useful feature updates for a couple of years.

Fair enough.  What I really have a problem with is if its forced into obsolescence (unusable).  Vulcan or re-maned Zeus2 I can stomach.  $2500 not so much (unless I knew I'd get 10 yrs. Maybe that is not realistic but its how I value it.  

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52 minutes ago, Alex W said:

Modern laptops draw a lot less than 36 watts.  Many are getting an over 12 hour runtime on a 40-50wh battery, so typical drain is closer to 4 watts.

 

Agreed. My comments are directed at folks buying ancient, power hogging laptops. Sure, they do the job but I'm on an energy budget.

I've also ruined two laptops on boats... disclaimer- they weren't Toughbooks. One got loose and flew across the cabin. The other one ruptured the screen in 100F ambient temperatures during the summer. I closed it and left it running so I know the screen saw higher than 100F.

Alex, you said that your iPad mini overheats even in mild temperatures. My friend's also did this. The trick is to not let the sun beat on the glass screen, even in lower temperatures. My iPad 2 has never overheated, even in Chesapeake summers so long as I keep it out of direct sunlight.  Since you can't read the screen in bright, direct sunlight, it belongs down in the cabin anyway.

I've compiled a shopping list in my Amazon account for the Pi build. I'm wondering what the heat tolerance is.

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2 hours ago, Alex W said:

...I've thought about getting a second real plotter for the cockpit, but there isn't a good place to mount it without cutting a hole into the bulkhead, and I really don't want to do that.  The one advantage to wheel boats vs tiller boats is that wheel boats give you this nice pedestal to hang electronics off of without making permanent holes in the boat.

My tiller boat is a 30 footer, but I ended up buying a bi-fold ram mount that swings a plotter into the companionway opening. It's not a perfect solution, but allows me to see the plotter while in the cockpit and I can get to it with the tiller extension or when the AP is on without going below. It swings back and collapses to the back side of the bulkhead when not in use and easily swings out of the way for getting in and out of the cabin. 

My only gripe is I bought the 5" Vulcan, which works just fine, but i hindsight I wish I had gotten the 7" oh well. 

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22 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Agreed. My comments are directed at folks buying ancient, power hogging laptops. Sure, they do the job but I'm on an energy budget.

I've also ruined two laptops on boats... disclaimer- they weren't Toughbooks. One got loose and flew across the cabin. The other one ruptured the screen in 100F ambient temperatures during the summer. I closed it and left it running so I know the screen saw higher than 100F.

Alex, you said that your iPad mini overheats even in mild temperatures. My friend's also did this. The trick is to not let the sun beat on the glass screen, even in lower temperatures. My iPad 2 has never overheated, even in Chesapeake summers so long as I keep it out of direct sunlight.  Since you can't read the screen in bright, direct sunlight, it belongs down in the cabin anyway.

I've compiled a shopping list in my Amazon account for the Pi build. I'm wondering what the heat tolerance is.

Work backwards from the monitor ;) That will be your biggest expense, both power and $$$$.  Also look here for Pi stuff: http://www.sailoog.com/openplotter

BTW, I know my ancient IBM is a power hog, but the screen is gorgeous and it seems indestructible. Even better, it can run on straight 12 volts. It needs 16-18 volts to charge the battery, but it runs fine on 12. One day I'll get something better because I want to start experimenting with radar on OpenCPN and that needs modern hardware.

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Really, getting OpenCPN to work on any version of Windows after XP is braindead simple.  Vista sucks, but this PC will also never, ever go online. If I need a text editor, WordPad is built in.  All  it's going to do is run Open CPN and maybe burp text into a satellite  phone 3x a week, down the line a bit.

In 2014 we bought an already-old  eeePC, one of those little sub-notebooks, to take on a trip to Scotland.  It has Win 7 on it.  We took it to Patagonia last winter and whoever cleaned our room at one of the hotels tried to turn it on and bunged up the power button but it still works. They're small but they use minimal power, and the screen is still umpty-ump bigger than anything dedicated from the Nav electronics companys that costs less than $1500.  If your nav station is really small, a subnotebook would be an easy way to get started with this stuff.

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32 minutes ago, Passport111 said:

This looks pretty slick too for those who like the PC option...

http://vyacht.net/opencart/n2k-wifi

That's cool.

One little annoyance with the Shipmodul unit is that it keeps capturing the attention of my iPhone in the marina, where I'd still like to be connected to the marina WiFi AND the ship's instruments.  I have to tell the phone to "forget" the MUX, and the iPad to "remember" it.  This appears to solve all that nonsense.  

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1 hour ago, Slick470 said:

My tiller boat is a 30 footer, but I ended up buying a bi-fold ram mount that swings a plotter into the companionway opening. It's not a perfect solution, but allows me to see the plotter while in the cockpit and I can get to it with the tiller extension or when the AP is on without going below. It swings back and collapses to the back side of the bulkhead when not in use and easily swings out of the way for getting in and out of the cabin. 

My only gripe is I bought the 5" Vulcan, which works just fine, but i hindsight I wish I had gotten the 7" oh well. 

I've thought of picking up a small fishfinder/gps unit that could be rapidly switched between the dinghy, the kayak, or a spot near the tiller.  Maybe when I see one on sale.  

Lately I've started buying into the "Railblaza" modular system of hardware mounts.  This one with an integral power tap seems intriguing.  (Maybe also for cabin fans?) Or they have one with a USB port that would make a handy mount for iThings.

E-Series-12VDC-StarPort-267__FillWzYwMCw77173_700.jpg 

Maybe they could do that installation with one or two fewer pieces of hardware?

Also phone and tablet adapters fit into them.  (Rod holders, flag holders, cup holders, camera holders, etc.)  They can get a bit pricey... haven't decided if I'm really ready to drink the Kool-Aid though. Note that the adapters are the same shape and size as a winch or windlass socket, though I haven't figured out the exact circumstance in which that would be handy.  But it means that Arcturus already has nine potential Railblaza bases on deck!  I bought the first set to mount nav lights on the dinghy.

E-Series-USB-StarPort-219__FillWzYwMCw2M

 

But I already built this picture frame dingus for the nav station one weekend...

attachment.php?attachmentid=21734&d=1492attachment.php?attachmentid=21735&d=1492

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1 hour ago, Slick470 said:

I ended up buying a bi-fold ram mount that swings a plotter into the companionway opening. It's not a perfect solution, but allows me to see the plotter while in the cockpit and I can get to it with the tiller extension or when the AP is on without going below. It swings back and collapses to the back side of the bulkhead when not in use and easily swings out of the way for getting in and out of the cabin. 

I've sailed on many other boats that use that solution.  It wasn't ideal for my boat, and the Express 37 has an unusual companionway setup that makes it less ideal.  If I do ever add a cockpit one it will be in that style.

We mostly race the boat and with 8-10 people onboard there is almost always someone going up or down or the pit person is in the way.  For 2 weeks of cruising a year I can deal with the iPad's weirdness.

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21 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I got a Minix NUC to try out, and so far it's pretty nice.  The internal "drive" and RAM are fairly tiny, so I added a big micro SD card.  The computer isn't as snappy as my big desktop PC, but it runs OpenCPN and other nav-programs just fine.  It runs off a 12V (output) wall-wart, and is supposed to be low-power, but I haven't measured that yet.  If it continues to work well, I will probably make it the new boat computer.

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4 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

My old laptop seems to draw about 36 watts and the CP180 plotter is about 7 watts. Every "Pi" scheme I come up with founders on the expense and power drain of a decent monitor.

Define 'decent monitor'. I've got an Eyoyo 12" HDMI monitor plugged into one of my Pi's. It's natively 12V and comes with a VESA standard wall mount bracket. Also comes in 15" and 17" versions plus smaller ones.

Frankly I'd rather have my Macbook Pro with its retina display screen but the power draw is probably more than 3X the Pi/12V screen combo.

There are many, many ways to skin this cat, the way you choose depends on what you're trying to achieve WRT visibility, power, features, ability to 'roll your own' etc etc. I'm a semi-retired software person who spent a lot of time screwing with datalogging and display software on a big ship. I like playing with stuff.

FKT

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10 hours ago, Ajax said:

I singlehand most of the time.   I can't be constantly running back and forth between the wheel and the cabin to check my progress and position.

I understand your point though. I do not get lost in the plotter to the point of excluding the real world around me. That would defeat my purpose in sailing.  During daylight hours for most of the Chesapeake, I navigate by sight. The plotter and AIS especially, are mostly night aids. Trust me, I prefer to enjoy the world around me, not stare into the plotter.

K_I_S brought up a good point about not swinging around the stern of a nighttime AIS contact too closely or quickly because they might have an unlit tow behind them.  That's a terrifying thought. 

Before I had AIS, my "teachable moment" was nearly cutting between a tug and tow while approaching the finish line of a night time race. The tow was lit but the lights were weak and blended right in with the lights from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.  One of my crew was actually paying attention and pointed it out, so we bore away in plenty of time.  Now, a tow is the first question that enters my brain, anytime I encounter commercial traffic at night.

As I under stand it the IMO approve the Use of AIS for watch keeping but not collision avoidance. It is a great tool though.

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11 hours ago, Ajax said:

Before I had AIS, my "teachable moment" was nearly cutting between a tug and tow while approaching the finish line of a night time race. The tow was lit but the lights were weak and blended right in with the lights from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.  One of my crew was actually paying attention and pointed it out, so we bore away in plenty of time.  Now, a tow is the first question that enters my brain, anytime I encounter commercial traffic at night.

"Tug with long tow" : three white lights stacked vertically.  I'm cautious around tugs, but especially so if I see those three lights.

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