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Old 10-01-2016, 10:17 AM   #1
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New Electronics Suite - Advice Needed

Hi,
I am in the process of buying a 42ft trawler and would like some advice on how to retrofit its systems. It has a fairly modern set of communications gear but the navigation is still run off of a laptop running XP. I think the only re-usable component is a ComNav autopilot 1001.

Im not new to boating (Spent my youth in Alaska/BC) but new to ownership.

A few requirements:
-Ability to control/view from an ipad, and hopefully have the system be part of a network versus create its own wifi network.
-Ability to do TV output to the Salon and Staterooms
-Autopilot integration/routing/etc
-AIS Integration
-Centralized collision detection would be a plus (radar + ais)

I was thinking about going with an EVO2 NSS12 and 4G radar but am unclear how it then feeds into the Autopilot, who controls the course/waypoints? Is it done a waypoint at a time from the EVO or does the evo load the route into the ComNav?
The other option was to do OpenCPN on a Linux box but since I would want the 4G radar and a backup display for it id be purchasing a chart plotter or display anyways so would it be better to just run off of that versus messing with OpenCPN.

Thoughts and advice would be appreciated, id like to stay below 10K including a class A transceiver so figure $7500 max.

Thanks
AC
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:32 AM   #2
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Here's a bunch of stuff to consider.

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Old 10-01-2016, 12:46 PM   #3
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The other option was to do OpenCPN on a Linux box ...
Just curious as to why you might want to do OpenCPN on Linux vice a Windows platform? I have OpenCPN on my home Windows 10 desktop but don't have it interfaced to anything.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:23 PM   #4
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Just curious as to why you might want to do OpenCPN on Linux vice a Windows platform? I have OpenCPN on my home Windows 10 desktop but don't have it interfaced to anything.
With linux I believe I could run it on a small fanless box such as the MintBox, this box also would be easy to power right off 12V.
In addition windows is a heavy OS, slow and unstable because it tries to be everything for everyone versus just installing the components you want.

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Old 10-01-2016, 03:52 PM   #5
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With linux I believe I could run it on a small fanless box such as the MintBox, this box also would be easy to power right off 12V.
In addition windows is a heavy OS, slow and unstable because it tries to be everything for everyone versus just installing the components you want.

AC
I hear you. But....

I know all the technical arguments in favor of Linux over Windows. I know many IT professionals who have strong feelings on it. However, I suggest varying from the most common, especially if planning on integrating any systems can be inadvisable. There are many here using windows systems without problems as they're not subjecting them to the kind of usage that exposes weaknesses.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:43 PM   #6
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I hear you. But....

I know all the technical arguments in favor of Linux over Windows. I know many IT professionals who have strong feelings on it. However, I suggest varying from the most common, especially if planning on integrating any systems can be inadvisable. There are many here using windows systems without problems as they're not subjecting them to the kind of usage that exposes weaknesses.
I'm a certified Windows-hater (I've been doing battle with it all day just to get freaking com ports working), but agree with BandB about the possibility of making a windows machine stable, and boats are a good environment to do it. The key is to get it configured and working doing a very finite set of things, and nothing else. No email, no web browsing, so heaps and piles of applications. Windows is fine if you don't change anything. But as soon as you try to change something, all bets are off and plan on donating another few days of your live to the Microsoft black-hole of death.
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:06 PM   #7
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I'm a certified Windows-hater (I've been doing battle with it all day just to get freaking com ports working), but agree with BandB about the possibility of making a windows machine stable, and boats are a good environment to do it. The key is to get it configured and working doing a very finite set of things, and nothing else. No email, no web browsing, so heaps and piles of applications. Windows is fine if you don't change anything. But as soon as you try to change something, all bets are off and plan on donating another few days of your live to the Microsoft black-hole of death.
I'm certified anti i....iPhone, iPad, Apple anything. I don't feel any hate or anything toward them, just like different. Still, there are some A/V and home management that are locked into iPads and the Android versions weren't initially even available and still are lagging behind. Sometimes we have to give in for certain applications.
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:14 PM   #8
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Let me provide my 2 cents and as a background I am working in IT for the last 16 years so I may say foolish things but in purpose
The thing with Linux is that you can customize the system the way you want and make it works on very limited hardware by disabling all the bell and whistles you don't need. It is very stable and very powerful. But and there is always a but, you need to know what you are doing with it. Windows while my worst nightmare has the benefit of forgiving you if you do something wrong. With Linux you can do something that will not be recoverable.
So in summary if you have knowledge in IT, if you like to know and understand what is under the hood and how it is working, if you are not afraid to put your hands in the grease Linux will be your best friend, performant, efficient, economic, customizable and convenient.
If you just want to push a button and look at it but dont want to bother with the engine go with windows, while not the best but it is convenient.
Personnally I love Linux but I also know objectively that it is not for everybody.
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Old 10-02-2016, 08:27 AM   #9
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Let me provide my 2 cents and as a background I am working in IT for the last 16 years so I may say foolish things but in purpose
The thing with Linux is that you can customize the system the way you want and make it works on very limited hardware by disabling all the bell and whistles you don't need. It is very stable and very powerful. But and there is always a but, you need to know what you are doing with it. Windows while my worst nightmare has the benefit of forgiving you if you do something wrong. With Linux you can do something that will not be recoverable.
So in summary if you have knowledge in IT, if you like to know and understand what is under the hood and how it is working, if you are not afraid to put your hands in the grease Linux will be your best friend, performant, efficient, economic, customizable and convenient.
If you just want to push a button and look at it but dont want to bother with the engine go with windows, while not the best but it is convenient.
Personnally I love Linux but I also know objectively that it is not for everybody.
Completely agree, I've been in tech jobs my whole career and I've learned that Linux when you know what your doing is bulletproof (sadly it's been 10 years since I was hands on), that's why every major company except MS uses it to host their web sites, etc. Even MS had to accept this and add support to their cloud offering.
It's been a few years since I used windows but in general it's not designed to run systems like this. For example boot up is slow, and heaven forbid I don't tell it to shut down and just cut the power it will remind me of that at the next startup. Since I want a box that is more like an appliance Linux will allow me to kill the power and power up without additional steps.
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Old 10-02-2016, 08:52 AM   #10
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Nothing the matter with a laptop based charting system running on XP provided the computer hasn't been used for nefarious purposes as Peter suggests. For less than $500 you could add CE to it and have a charting system superior to most MFDs.

Double down and get a new el cheapo laptop if you so desire. We have VNS on XP and Trident on Windows 7. Your desires for Linux are shore based IMHO and may make your cruising experiences less than ideal. But, I know many whose cruising experiences center on the interests you have, and more, while I am happy to look for the next anchorage and check the ER.

Then add a good Radar/Plotter and you are ready to go. All for under your target price.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:07 AM   #11
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Agreed windows will work and if I didn't have all winter to think about it and test some things out I'd surely just use a laptop.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:20 AM   #12
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Arthur

As you likely know, the CE group is out of Seattle. Great folks and they are very computer and systems literate.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:39 AM   #13
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Thanks, the part I'm unclear on is the best way to get nmea data onto my wifi network, lots of solutions that create their own adhoc network but it seems only digital yatch has something that works on Ethernet.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:35 AM   #14
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Been using ubuntu then linux Mint for the last few years on my navigation PC with OpenCpn.
As long as you are careful with the command line in the terminal window, you won't mess things up.

Advantages are it is free and malware is virtually non existent.
There are no disadvantages except learning how to use Linux.

You can also multiple boot many different OS systems on the same drive.
So you could have windows, ubuntu, mint, multiple versions, etc...so if somehow you messed it up you got a quick backup. About 20 gb per OS is all you need. And you can split off the OS into separate partitions, and have your user home in another partition. I tend to do that as it keeps the OS files completely separate from my user files.

At boot up, you will get a screen listing each and every OS. Then just select which one you want to run.

when I want to update the OS, I simply pull the drive and boot it on my home PC. Everything works, unlike windows which may blue screen to protect itself from being copied when loaded into a completely different MB, CPU, memory,etc....
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:59 AM   #15
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Good to hear, I'm reasonably experienced with Linux/unix so I'm not worried about screwing it up. Why mint over ubuntu?
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:45 AM   #16
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KISS. In the effort to simplify things you may well be over complicating them.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:49 PM   #17
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KISS. In the effort to simplify things you may well be over complicating them.
I'm not so sure BB. Recreational boating allows all sorts of skills, experiences and hobbies to be a very large part of one's enjoyment. What is complicated to one is child's play to another.

Where it becomes interesting is when boat sale time appears and the mundane to one becomes overly complicated to another. Last week I was looking at a vessel that had a dedicated tower computer hooking the navigation systems together. When starting up the computer it became obvious the computer was used for everything well beyond navigation. Games, emails, owner's business etc. Yikes I said and mentally priced out a new stand alone nav system.
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Old 10-02-2016, 02:23 PM   #18
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I have been using Coastal Explorer for more than 10 years and over the last couple of years I have done everything that people say don't do (answering email and doing internet research while underway on the same computer running CE) with Windows and haven't had a serious problem with CE or my Windows machine. I view a serious problem as the application crashing and having to reboot. The main issue that occurs infrequently is USB ports freezing up and having to restart them (unplug and plug back in is the typical fix). If I can get away from USB ports, I would say that CE on Windows 7 or 10 would be as close to bullet proof you can get short of a dedicated machine. Rosepoint Navigation (owners of Coastal Explorer) is working on just that with NEMO, a multifunction device with Ethernet interface that has input ports for multiple NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000. It makes all NMEA data available on local wired/wireless LAN. It's been in beta testing for almost 9 months but they won't put it out until they are completely satisfied with it. I just hope it is before next summer.

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Old 10-02-2016, 02:39 PM   #19
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I agree with keeping it simple but that's often in the eye of the beholder.
I'm hoping to find/build the following
-NMEA gateway to get all nmea info onto Ethernet/wan, this should be a dedicated device
-OpenCPN Linux machine dedicated to opencpn, I might also run plex for media but will only do that if it works ok
-iPads as backup or flybridge use. (using nmea data on wifi)
-Actual marine gear as final backup should the gateway die.

That setup feels simple to me in that it's all componentized
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Old 10-02-2016, 02:40 PM   #20
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I have been using Coastal Explorer for more than 10 years and over the last couple of years I have done everything that people say don't do (answering email and doing internet research while underway on the same computer running CE) with Windows and haven't had a serious problem with CE or my Windows machine. I view a serious problem as the application crashing and having to reboot. The main issue that occurs infrequently is USB ports freezing up and having to restart them (unplug and plug back in is the typical fix). If I can get away from USB ports, I would say that CE on Windows 7 or 10 would be as close to bullet proof you can get short of a dedicated machine. Rosepoint Navigation (owners of Coastal Explorer) is working on just that with NEMO, a multifunction device with Ethernet interface that has input ports for multiple NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000. It makes all NMEA data available on local wired/wireless LAN. It's been in beta testing for almost 9 months but they won't put it out until they are completely satisfied with it. I just hope it is before next summer.

Tom
Is nemo similar to the one digital yatch makes?
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