Computers on board

When it comes to electrical systems aboard boats, Arild Jensen knows his stuff. Here's where to ask the simplest or most complex questions about marine electrics.

Computers on board

Postby Dennis49 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:47 pm

I am joining a project in progress, and before the electronics are all at least fifteen years old. I read that a number of boaters are using laptop computers (from navigation to solitare); but, before all the cabinetry is finished, it would be a good time to put in a desk top computer to handle everything.

As such, my question is, do you have a recommendation of a particular computer that can withstand the environmental elements on board; and, capacity of the computer. A monitor could be installed at this point as well very easily.
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Re: Computers on board

Postby chiropaul23 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:54 pm

Hi Dennis,
If the computer is being installed in the living spaces of the boat, any desktop will do. We lived aboard a 44' Atlantic from 2001-2007 for six months a year and left the computer on board through the winter while the boat was hauled and shrink wrapped in NY for the winter. Never had a problem with either the computer, monitor or printer. Had a compaq on board at the time.
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Re: Computers on board - LenovoT400

Postby bstronger » Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:11 pm

I am new here but have been laptop navigating since the first Nobeltec offering. I recently switched to Coastal Explorer and bought a new laptop which I recommend - the Lenovo T400 with 'high nit' display [680 nit] and gps imbedded on the internal wwan card. This is a semi rugged but very economical for what it offers. By capping the unused ports you can use this on an unenclosed reasonably dry flybridge without concern - as I have done for years with my old Toshiba Qosmio E15.
The T400 gps will allow multiple programs to share the gps data without adding third party 'gps virtualizing' software.
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Re: Computers on board

Postby rlp1949 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:57 pm

I know this is not a very current discussion, but perhaps someone will see this. We are acquiring a laptop pc equipped with Nobeltec from a friend. We are considering using this system at the salon helm of our 40' trawler. We do not have an inverter on-board. Aside from running our generator, is there another recharging source besides 120v from an inverter? Perhaps a small 12v to 16v (pc's voltage) inverter? I know.... I know.... seems like a real long shot.
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Re: Computers on board

Postby elnav » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:05 pm

No its not a long shot. Most laptop manufacturers offer a power plug option to permit charging and running their laptop from a 12V source such as in a car. The majority of laptops I have seem seen to need 18V DC
It becomes a question of cost. My DELL Latitude adaptor cost more than the plug in inverter sold by Xantrex so for me it was less expensive to ise a dedicated 75W inverter that plugged into the cigarette power socket. I seem to recall TARGUS sold adaptors suited to most laptops.
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Re: Computers on board

Postby capn chuck » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:30 am

We have used the DC to DC converter that can be found inexpensively at Radio Shack and a host of other sources. It can be had for $20 to $30 for a good unit and is adjustable to whatever voltage your computer needs. It uses much less power more efficiently that trying to run the computer from an inverter, which we have also done. Of course you will need a 12 volt outlet nearby to use this. It can also be used for a number of other applications. Chuck
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