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Old 09-19-2006, 11:08 PM   #1
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Default Curious about onboard PC's

I am curious as to how many people have on board PC's. This would also include laptops. Please let me know what you have and what you use it for...

Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2006, 11:09 AM   #2
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Hi,

A simple survey - I love 'em.

I take my laptop woth me. I use it mainly for passage planning and navigation. I have Navmaster software installed (a great and stable program)and British Admiralty raster charts. I connect the lap top to a Furuno GPS and that's it.

In the future I will buy a 'Wetter Box' with which I can download German weather forecasts and an AIS receiver which will superimpose the AIS data onto the Admiralty digital charts.

I also have stacks of info on the hard disk, such as International Code of Signals, weather routing charts, weather forecast areas, VHF radio coverage charts etc.

For safety's sake, I always carry paper charts too (although I don't correct them to NTM and I do not carry all the harbour plans and detailed coastal charts) I have en external hard disk to which all info is backed up and a spare (read cheaper second-hand) laptop as a reseve.

I also use the laptop for normal finctions (Office Programs) and entertainment.

I like the laptop solution as I would be carrying one anyway and, by using it as the hub of a system, it saves a lot of weight.

Cheers

Stephen

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Old 09-20-2006, 05:01 PM   #3
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Same with me - I carry a laptop with CMap and AIS connected to it. Works great for me and on longer trips also great to decode weather charts. However, I always carry paper charts (which I don't use much except for planning and overview) and Pilot Books (which I use heavily).

Stephen: How are things going in Yemen?
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Old 09-20-2006, 05:59 PM   #4
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I take my laptop along even tho nav charts are on a Raymarine Plotter. Use it for email - passage planning - weather via web etc - and updating blogs.

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:44 AM   #5
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I've had a laptop on the boat since 1987. Ironically, my latest laptop, not a bargain model, cost about half what I paid in 1987 for one.

I use it for everything. Organizing and editing photos, email, weather fax, trip planning, and management of our finances. I keep all data on an external hard drive, with everything backed up to a second external hard drive that stays on land. I do not connect the hard drive when I take the laptop into a cybercafe to download our bank statements or pay bills. I download to the laptop's hard drive and transfer the data when I get back to the boat. Then delete it from the laptop drive.

I have a GPS receiver that plugs into the USB port on the laptop and could be used for navigation if I wanted to. I don't, yet.

I have a library of DVD movies that I play off the computer's DVD drive, and connect to the flat screen TV on the boat (if Peter wants to watch TV too. Otherwise I can just watch it on the laptop).

When in the US (but not everywhere) I can connect to the Internet with my cell phone (between 9 pm and 6 am on weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday I have unlimited free minutes) for email and web browsing.

I am, as the kids might say, connected.
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Old 09-21-2006, 01:37 PM   #6
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I have a 2nd hand laptop on board. I purchased it cheap from ebay. I have a nifty little transformer that turns my 12V dc into 14.8V (or whatever it is that the laptop needs), so power is no issue. I basically use it as my chartplotter - I run the ancient Cmaps94 software and charts, with a mini USB gps plugged in. The whole kit & kaboodle cost me less than the price of a new hand-held GPS That is good enough for me. Any other use that the computer gets is a bonus.
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Old 09-21-2006, 09:28 PM   #7
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i just bought a new laptop for this upcoming leg around cape horn and back to RI. XAXERO is providing the weather fax software and Jonathan, one of the owners and designer of the software will be in Argentina and also feed me other infor as needed from there via email and sat phone. They are all being integrated with Global Marine Network. So, to all those who followed my trip from RI to NZ, and worried i wasn't well connected, I am now. It will really take the stress off my home team for me to have weather grids, fax, broadcasts as well as email forecasting on board. I'll be primarily downloading from the SSB but will have access to the grids from GMN's wind plotter. But there is more. GMN has a vessel tracking service so whenever i email, the gps fix will automatically be transmitted to the vessel tracker program which will be viewable on my website. Again, it will take the pressure off the home team to have to daily update the website for new positions. The email will use the Iridium Sat phone as the satelite connection. I will be using Cmap if I need it with my garmin hooked up to the computer. I will have a newer mounted GPS from XAXERO for the windplotter and vessel tracking. It will get a more consistent signal. so, WOW. I am stepping into the tech world as the tech world has stepped out to me. Truly this is as much or more for those who keep track of my travel and care about me, as it is for me. I still plan to keep as much of a solace out there and won't be doing any "email" accept necessary communication and relaying some articles from sea. this trip is not about the tech world but I really appreciate that the rest of the world can rest easier knowing that i can communicate and get the information i need for safe navigation to and around the Horn. i have to say, i will probably keep all my music on my old computer to save space on the new. I am hoping to master creative writing on the computer as well. strangely, i feel more creative and better about hte writing i do in long hand. something about the writing itself, but i would like to be able to enter journaling to the computer as well. On my last leg, it was the computer that crashed disabling web weather options and email. Luckly the sat phone has been the most reliable. laptops do take a beating out there. My new one is not special, an ACER bought in NZ, so I will have to get a good case. a pelican or the like. keeping the SSB dry wil be a trick as well. I am resorting to building a special cupboard for the radio so the condensation and any radiating leakages can't touch the radio. Got to be dry.
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