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Old 01-17-2011, 02:32 PM   #1
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chartplotter/ PC

whats an "affordable" software I could hookup and use on my PC? thank you
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:08 PM   #2
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

SeaClear got me from Mobile to the North Channel of Lake Huron.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:22 PM   #3
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

OpenCPN and SeaClear, are both excellent and as stated free. The big benefit is that they will utilize the free NOAA charts and Corps River Charts. Chuck
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:35 PM   #4
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

I've never heard a bad comment about OpenCPN. We use Mac and the mac version of OpenCPN is not as good as MacENC so we went with MacENC.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:43 PM   #5
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

The only thing I don't like about OpenCPN is that it doesn't appear to have heading and speed on the primary display. If there is a plugin,I don't know of one, but I am a n00b at it.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:08 AM   #6
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

OpenCPN seems cool. Downloading it now... How does it track where you are? Antena needed?
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:26 AM   #7
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

Quote:
albin43 wrote:

OpenCPN seems cool. Downloading it now... How does it track where you are? Antena needed?
you will need to buy a USB port GPS puck. *This is the one I bought for our trawler this past fall- works great and all I had to do was plug it in and she was up and running:

http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl...78bdfafcb0c911
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:32 AM   #8
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

woodsong, thank you.. how accurate are they?? do you use a backup chartplotter or just paper charts along with this software?
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:59 AM   #9
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

So far, based on only around 25 engine hours of running with it, I have found it to be extremely accurate. I bought that particular gps puck after asking around with different folks and several friends have had the same model for a while and really run a lot with it and told me they never had an issue. I don't have a back up chartplotter. I only run laptop GPS and then have the paper charts as well. I've run a video cable from lower helm to flybridge so that I can plug in an additional flatscreen @ the bridge, thus allowing my laptop to stay inside 100% of the time. I am combining that set up with a wireless mouse that allows me to control the laptop from the bridge station even though it is down below. I've dry fit it all and tested everything that it works- just have to mount the screen up @ the bridge but have been waiting for warmer weather to do that but I've set it all up and tested and confirmed the mouse, etc. works great.
Also, regarding accuracy/holding power of the gps puck- multiple times (before I thought to run the 2nd screen on bridge), I have picked up the laptop and the gps puck and carried it up to the bridge while out on the water- it has never lost track when I do that despite going through the cabin and around to the outside.
Personally, I could not see spending the $$$ for a dedicated chartplotter. WIthin 6 months they are outdated and the screens are tiny. With the free software programs available you have the same power through your laptop and the ability to connect multiple screens up for multiple stations is great. Only thing I would say since you are running a PC and not a mac, I would recommend that you get a laptop and keep it just for GPS- no internet, etc. so that you don't have to worry about viruses. I run a mac though so I don't have to worry about that so I can also check my email and surf the net on my GPS.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:41 AM   #10
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chartplotter/ PC

I bought a GPS puck (GPS 360) that was used for Microsoft Streets & Trips for $8 off eBay. It works perfectly with Open CPN. It's got a pretty long cable and even has a little suction cup so you can stick it to a window. Easy.

**EDIT** Forgot to mention the $300 little Acer Netbook we got for the first mate. It has eight hours of battery life and is a small and portable solution to our onboard computing needs. At $310, it's far cheaper than a full-blown chartplotter.

-- Edited by GonzoF1 on Thursday 20th of January 2011 07:45:08 AM
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:55 AM   #11
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

Gonzo (Tom) said:
I bought a GPS puck (GPS 360) that was used for Microsoft Streets & Trips for $8 off eBay. It works perfectly with Open CPN. It's got a pretty long cable and even has a little suction cup so you can stick it to a window. Easy.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I have a couple of chartplotters, but since I also bought the Admiral a netbook for Xmas I am toying with setting it up to work as a plotter as well, if only to make it simpler to plan routes, etc while off the boat or at least in enclosed quarters.

Downloading and integrating the charts is the mystery to me. Is there a good tutorial someplace on raster vs. vector charts, how to get them to work with charting software etc? I downloaded OpenCPN but haven't really studied what sort of chart info will work best.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:25 AM   #12
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

Quote:
ARoss wrote:

I have a couple of chartplotters, but since I also bought the Admiral a netbook for Xmas I am toying with setting it up to work as a plotter as well, if only to make it simpler to plan routes, etc while off the boat or at least in enclosed quarters.

Downloading and integrating the charts is the mystery to me. Is there a good tutorial someplace on raster vs. vector charts, how to get them to work with charting software etc? I downloaded OpenCPN but haven't really studied what sort of chart info will work best.
I started this exact same discussion a month or so ago and got some great replies, do a search.

I downloaded Open CPN and the free NOAA charts without issue. I also bought a GPS puck on amazon for under $40. Connected all together on my netbook again without issue.

Open CPN has a dedicated forum on the cruisers and sailing forums under naviagation. SeaClear has a yahoo group.

I don't have a bridge setup that can easily accommodate a notebook PC or PC monitor so I haven't put Open CPN to use. The display brightness on a notebook or monitor is also an issue. I don't have a lower steering station. I've chosen to use my Raymarine MFD instead which would seem a lot easier and safer to use rather than fiddling with a mouse at 20 kts.

*
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:50 AM   #13
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RE: chartplotter/ PC

There is a forum for those running macs as well:

http://www.macsailing.net/fbb/
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