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Old 12-03-2008, 04:07 AM   #1
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I was picking the brain of a recent circumnavigator who returned home the other day and asked what we should do regarding laptops on board. He recommended have at least two computers that are exactly alike fully loaded as mirrors of each other. He said they had to use parts from one to make the second work.

Since we have a simple Dell Latitude D610, I logged onto ebay that night to see what a second copy of the D610 would cost me. I was amazed to find that I could buy an exact duplicate of our D610 for a fraction of what we paid 3 years ago. I bid on a refurbished D610 and won it for $350. It arrived today exactly as described, 1GB ram, 40GB hardrive, Bluetooth, DVRW, 1.86Ghz Pentium, WiFi, XP and a new battery!

I'm using it now to log-on as I copy over all of our software.

If anybody is interested, take a look at IZOOMUSA on ebay for refurbed laptops...I'm very pleased.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:29 AM   #2
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Thanks... I'll do that!
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:04 AM   #3
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Hi Trim,

These refurbished Dell D610's appear to be very common and very good. There is a guy in Cape Town that brings them in from the US and sells them off with a 6 month guarantee - for about the same price you paid for yours. One thing with Dell is that they make a brilliant "travel charger" that will also run the computer AND charge the computer battery off a 11 to 16 volt DC supply or 100 to 240 volt AC supply. It is smaller than the standard 110/220 ac power pack that comes with the computer. I think the Model # is DA65NS3-00.

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Old 12-03-2008, 01:35 PM   #4
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I was shopping ruggedized laptops for some time now, but the more I talked with people and the more blogs that I read, it seems that the Dell Latitudes have the best record of survival among sailors.

I'm still astounded that I was able to pick-up D610 for $350…the battery alone can cost more than $100.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:45 PM   #5
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I was shopping ruggedized laptops for some time now, but the more I talked with people and the more blogs that I read, it seems that the Dell Latitudes have the best record of survival among sailors.

I'm still astounded that I was able to pick-up D610 for $350…the battery alone can cost more than $100.
Hi, Ken, I agree that getting used/refurbished notebook/laptop computers on Ebay is a great way to go. I have an ancient little Sony Vaio R-505 series notebook (the kind with the removable docking station so the laptop becomes tiny when its removed) which I got for $400 on Ebay in 2005 to replace one (that was stolen) which I'd purchased new in 2003 for $1700. My little Vaio just keeps on going. We'll likely keep it or another notebook in a Pelican case with desiccant so we can take it ashore if need be. I've had Dell Latitudes for work before and they're great computers.

For use aboard the boat, we have a small form factor (SFF) computer made by Shuttle. I would highly recommend use of a Shuttle with a small LCD monitor for anyone who has room for other than a laptop computer as they are quite small but powerful and use regular computer components so it is easier to replace parts than replacing laptop parts.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:21 PM   #6
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Another PLUS for Dell, when it comes to cruising with a computer on board - is a history of excellent service and backup by technicians - I have examples of where the tech has even hitched a dinghy ride out to the boat at anchor.

(mine is a Compac/HP bought Thailand for US$ 350 )
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:41 AM   #7
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I have been using a Panasonic Toughbook CF18 since 2005 and it has not missed a beat. They are made to US military specs, shock proof and water resistant. The Tablet format and touch screen is handy when running Nav programs. I paid over $6000 when I brought it new, but picked up a second hand one about a year ago for $500 to keep as a spare. These are great units and the most rugged laptop available.
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:51 AM   #8
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I've had Dell Latitudes for work before and they're great computers.
On the other hand, I have had two Dell laptops for work and the screen wnet south on both within two years. To be fair, the Dell technician in Cape Town was in my office within 24 hours to replace the screen (in both cases) but I wonder if I would have got the same service in a more remote place?

Aye // Stephen
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:35 PM   #9
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I can second the comment on ruggedised panasonic laptops. I bought a second hand one off ebay for about $1000 a year or two ago and I wouldn't go back. It's fallen off the nav desk twice, been rained on, thrown around the cockpit and shed on by the ship's cat and hasn't missed a beat. the touch screen is a great feature when you've just hurled yourself down the companionway stairs soaking wet with the sailing gloves on and need to see WHAT THE F**K THAT THING IS RIGHT NOW!

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Old 12-06-2008, 01:26 AM   #10
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Spend the money you save from getting an ebay computer on buying the appropriate sized Pelican Case. That is a rigid plastic case that the computer, power supply and any extra stuff is stored in when you take the computer ashore. The Pelican cases have o-ring seals and if dropped in the water or dozed with rain or dinghy spray will protect the computer from damage. One lousy little bit of water and the computer is toast. Many the LCD screens are the most vulnerable as they are not sealed around the edges and water gets in between the layers of glass and marvelous "moons of jupiter" are scattered across the screen. The cost of replacing the lcd screen is very close to just buying another lapbook on ebay.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:39 AM   #11
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You might find this hard to believe but on our old yacht we ran navigational software on an old Sony Vaio. Surging to windward in biggish seas I went below to pop a cold can and stood it beside the open and running laptop.

You guessed right.

We fell off a wave, the can jumped up and inverted, and beer creamed into the keyboard and was exiting the side ports at pace.

I frantically popped the battery out and remembering an old tale, rinsed it through (yes - poured it via keyboard) with warmed kettle then distilled water.

Wiped it off and stuck it into our drying space above the engine room, and headed for shore expecting to have to buy a new one.

But when we inserted battery next morning - it fired up as if nothing had happened - and we were still using it until we sold it with the boat.

Naturally have bought Vaios ever since.

Cheers

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Old 12-16-2008, 12:45 PM   #12
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to the ruggedised panasonic laptops! I specifically searched a Panasonic toughbook out to run nav software on it for Bajamas (when we go). I bought a used one for $400.00 off EBay and now, use it as my main computer and won't ever purchase anything else. I have been running this particular laptop everyday for over a year and a half without so much as a hiccup. I dropped it off the table twice since I purchased it and picked it off the floor and kept working.

Anyone interested in considering a laptop for the water environs should take a serious look at these computers. New Toughbooks are pricey but a second hand or refurbished is worth it's weight.

Bajamas
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:14 AM   #13
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If anyone still see this thread I will add my shekel. We use a Mac laptop on the boat and it is perfect. From Cuba to Grenada it does not fail. We run the nav program on it and the autohelm, then scab wi-fi in the harbours. While we hear of people looking for computer nerds on the morning net for their PC's, we never need anything for the Mac. From email to wi-fi to running the boat, ours has never failed. The first one was on-board for 3 years and the second for 2 years. With the sleep program it runs all the time, at no power usage and that keeps the circuitry warm and moist free. I do not want a PC vrs Mac discussion, I'm just saying since 1982 I have never had an Apple product let me down.

MacBook for the yacht.
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:53 PM   #14
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to the ruggedised panasonic laptops! I specifically searched a Panasonic toughbook out to run nav software on it for Bajamas (when we go). I bought a used one for $400.00 off EBay and now, use it as my main computer and won't ever purchase anything else. I have been running this particular laptop everyday for over a year and a half without so much as a hiccup. I dropped it off the table twice since I purchased it and picked it off the floor and kept working.

Anyone interested in considering a laptop for the water environs should take a serious look at these computers. New Toughbooks are pricey but a second hand or refurbished is worth it's weight.

Bajamas
We used to use them as our fire-control computers when I was in the artillery. Besides the batteries hating the cold (with the result of us carrying the batteries in our parkas to keep them warm) they worked pretty well. And they were doing some pretty heavy ballistic calculations with all kinds of variables.

I remember the rep who came in to demonstrate and he pulled it out said "rugged" and threw it across the room - picked it up and turned it on. So yeah, I would endorse them as well.

Kevin
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