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    Marine Navigation Hardware-gctid359286

    My navigation system currently consists of a Big Bay computer with Nobeltec VNS Version 8.0 software. Both the computer (2003) and my software are out of date, but are still functional. We are heading off for 4 months and I am concerned about the reliability of the computer as it is 8+ years old and my software is no longer supported by Nobeltec. I would appreciate any advice on the best computer to have on board, navigation software as well as options for a backup nav. system?, i.e. is it important to have a marine computer? Thanks!

    #2
    It is really hard to beat a 17" HP laptop with the i5 processor (dv7), I have one it is great. There are faster processors but most of us do not need them.

    I bought my HP at Sams club, mine does not have Bluetooth most new ones do have it though.

    I like the CAPN software, but like yours mine is no longer supported, I may get a new version this summer, unless I decide to buy an ipad, then I would use the apple app for navigation as some others on BOC have.
    Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

    Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
    Twin 350 GM power
    Located in Seward, AK
    Retired marine surveyor

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      #3
      Before you assume you need a computer, take a look at the recent thread on using an iPad as a big touchscreen plotter at the helm.

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        #4
        Back up system: paper charts......

        Why don't you just buy a Garmin GPS with built-in charts, like the rest of us?
        Captharv 2001 2452
        "When the draft of your boat exceeds the depth of water, you are aground"

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          #5
          captharv wrote:
          Back up system: paper charts......

          Why don't you just buy a Garmin GPS with built-in charts, like the rest of us?
          Because garmin makes you pay through the a$$ for charts that you can get for free (in the US), you get a large display v. best case 12" display with garmin.

          If your system works I wouldn't mess with it, if you have a laptop I would bring it along just in case (make sure you preinstall the software as you wouldn't want to be in a tight spot in the fog and have to go from skipper to IT guy) and third level backup would be a handheld gps and paper.
          1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
          1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
          Nobody gets out alive.

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            #6
            Why don't you just buy a Garmin GPS with built-in charts, like the rest of us?
            Because it's ridiculously over-priced and under-powered compared to all the better options. Price out a 10" touchscreen Garmin, then compare it to an iPad. And the iPad does SO much more!

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              #7
              Will the Ipad run your auto pilot? Can you conveniently overlay your radar image? Can you split screen your monitor with the Ipad? Can you push buttons in rough conditions when a smeer screen is next to useless? If you can then there's no need for a marine chart plotter. I use both a lap top with Coastal Explorer and a Ray Marine Chart plotter. The refresh speed of the Ray Marine chart plotter is much faster than my lap top which allows me to know where I am real time in near zero visibility, The ability to have radar overlay on top of my charts is double confirmation of position and gives relative situational awareness of other boats in my area. I like to trip plan on my laptop as it is very convenient for route planning and fuel planning and eta. Coastal Explorer is great software and having every chart in North America on you pc/lap top with real charts is very neat stuff. It's not enough if you run at night or in thick fog when you really need to know where you are and the direction your steering your boat while relying your chart plotter and what direction relative to hazards your really going. I'd tried going with the lap top after having a Furuno chart plotter with radar overlay and I couldn't wait to get set up with the Ray Marine system I currently have. If your running in daylight a pc /Ipad is great. If your caught running in tough conditions I think given the better marine chart plotters a pc or Ipad isn't enough. I know you can buy a radar overlay up grade from Coastal Explorer but it only works with Simrad radar at this time and costs damn near as much as a chart plotter.

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                #8
                Hi, thanks for your reply. Do you have your laptop connected to your GPS/Auto Pilot? I am not familiar with Ipads - guess I need to do a lot more homework. Thanks.

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                  #9
                  Hi, thanks for your reply. Is the ipad able to connect to the GPS/Auto pilot unit? I am not familiar with Ipad's. Thanks alot.

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                    #10
                    I would recommend that you check out Nobeltec's TimeZero software. It's very fast and has some very nice features. I use the Odyssey since I display my radar and depth sounder on my Raymarine chartplotter. I would also second getting a good laptop with at least an i5 processor (i7 better and not much more money) plus at least 4G memory (8G better).

                    Mike

                    Sea Shanti

                    1990 3288MY

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                      #11
                      Thanks alot for your reply, I really appreciate your comments - I tend to agree with your concerns and I will weigh out my options carefully. Thanks again.

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                        #12
                        Thanks - do you have your laptop connected to a GPS unit and auto pilot? This is what I would like to do, as I have an auto pilot and GPS connected to my current system and if I use a laptop as a backup I would like to be able to connect these units to have a fully functional navigation system. Do you think this is possible?

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                          #13
                          Hi Mike,

                          I have been looking into the Odyssey software and their price with charts is quite reasonable. Unfortunately my pc that I currently use will not be able to run this software so if I do go ahead with it, I would be running this on a laptop separate to my boat's system. I am concerned that using VNS and Odyssey will get confusing - any thoughts?

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                            #14
                            hardingham wrote:
                            Thanks - do you have your laptop connected to a GPS unit and auto pilot? This is what I would like to do, as I have an auto pilot and GPS connected to my current system and if I use a laptop as a backup I would like to be able to connect these units to have a fully functional navigation system. Do you think this is possible?
                            I would recommend looking at either SeaClearII or OpenCP/N. Both have NMEA 183 outputs to run auto pilots. I've have both as backup to run my Autohelm 5000.

                            They are free and used the charts from NOAA. OpenCP/N supports both charts while SeaClear II only supports BSB chart formats.

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                              #15
                              I've used Fugawi global navigator for a few years and I'm very impressed with the features and map details another version(ENC) allows the use of downloaded government maps.

                              My 17" laptop is nice but I would add a 8-10 touchscreen display at the helm and mount the laptop someplace safe and dry.

                              Another issue is screen brightness in bright daylight, many displays are not up to overpowering the sun. The awkward part is not having a nice integration with autopilot fishfinder etc. We end up having a mess of hardware all over the place and not integrated. I've been looking at the Standard Horizon cpf 390 for some time because it has a 7" display at a affordable price in one package with most of the bells and whistles I would want. The Price has gone up a little recently, I was waiting for the newness to wear off and drop the price on this new product I may have to wait until its discontinued and sold at closeout prices.

                              The specialized compact packages that the big manufactruers put together is hard to duplicate . Even with the computer and software I still end up wishing I had the real thing in addition. I end up spending more money on making the substitutes work than I would have if I just plunked down the cash.
                              Carl
                              2452

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