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Old 04-10-2021, 07:59 AM   #1
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Pilot house monitor options

Looking to complete a major refit of the pilot house helm on our newly purchased Cheoy Lee.

Iíve spend way too much time investigating display options. Iíve settled on three 24Ē displays however the decision on specs and using a monitor vs a marine display still remain.

My pilot house is VERY bright so I need to be careful of the brightness, donít think I need 1000 nit but also brighter than 250. Thinking 400/450?

Do standard monitors like Dell/LG/Others stand up to the vibration and abuse on a boat well?

If cost is not the major factor (Value is), does it make sense to go for a true marine 24Ē display over a commercial one?

Here are my three considerations:
Dell 24Ē touchscreen, standard commercial monitor and specs @ $400
I-tech/seatronix 24Ē true marine touch screen @ $2800

Or...

Something like a signage display thatís somewhere between the two. More rugged than a PC monitor, not as rugged as a marine display. Hardest one to adjust brightness on as you need a remote or dive into menus.

Also have investigated medical grade displays, about the same cost as the signage displays (Around $1500) but far better specifications on display performance and available in 4K (Which I built the nav computer to support).

My sources for the monitors will be:
High performance PC running Time Zero Professional
Furuno TZT2BB
Oceanic Systems Poseidon vessel control
FLIR M364C night vision
IP cameras

Prepared to spend $3K per monitor if needed but donít want to waste the $$ if itís uncalled for.

Thoughts? Experiences? Regrets?

Any useful input is greatly appreciated as I am truly stuck making this decision.

And to preempt the eventual ďToo complicated, too much electronicsĒ argument, the risk is acceptable as I am keeping the flybridge helm based on Furuno MFDís that will not rely the PC in any way. Thatís my third level of redundancy just to be safe.
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Old 04-10-2021, 08:03 AM   #2
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If you have any monitors or laptops sitting around, search and see if you can find a brightness spec for them. If you can, bring some to the boat and see how they look in full daylight to get an idea of what you'll need.



I've used a laptop with a 300 nit display at my helm and as long as it's getting some shade from the bimini, it's easily readable on a bright, sunny day. If it's in direct sunlight, it's almost completely unreadable. So depending on just how bright your environment is, you might want a bit brighter than that, but you don't need 1000 nit displays unless you need to read them in direct sunlight.
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Old 04-10-2021, 08:53 AM   #3
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Just be cautious of using standard monitors. We had to remove one from our pilot house as it caused “magnetic interference” with compass and auto pilot. Were pretty sure the built in speakers is what caused the problem.
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Old 04-10-2021, 08:58 AM   #4
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I recall reading an important display consideration MAY be the brilliance adjustment downward; as in make sure you can make it dim enough for nighttime PH use.

Furuno said their displays were produced by Aydin Displays, maybe worth a look if you had not already.

Good Luck. Please post the outcome of your research, and final selection.
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:28 AM   #5
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Personally I find the full 1000 nit (or more) brightness to be very important in a pilot house. It's not just about having sunlight shining on the screen that creates a viewing challenge. I actually find the more difficult scenario is when you are facing into a low sun that's bright in your eyes. You need sun glasses to see ahead of you, and when you then look down at your screen, it needs to be REALLY bright to compensate for the sunglasses and for your eyes having been adjusted to the bright scene out the window. If it's a dimmer screen, your eyes will have to adjust and/or you will need to take off your sun glasses.


I remain a big fan of LiteMax's line of marine monitors. They sell them under the NavPixel name, and several other companies private label them. I'm not sure which Seatronix monitor line you have been considering, but their SRT sunlight readable line appears to be LiteMax, and identical to the ones I have. Green Marine also sells them. If you can get the 24" Seatronix SRT monitor (1000 nits) for $2800, that's reasonable, and it sure beats $7000 or $10000 for a Hatteland. I also really love the dedicated dimming knob. You can find it in the dark by feel, and there are no menus to fumble through.


Full disclosure..... One of my new Litemax monitors has a delamination "worm" growing in the corner of the screen. But I contacted Litemax and they will fix it under warranty. The catch is that I need to ship it back to Taiwan. They will cover the return shipping. Buying from Seatronix this would probably be a locally solved problem. But I bought direct from Litemax in Taiwan and shipped directly to the yard in Taiwan. I saved money, but took on exactly this risk in exchange. Regardless, I remain a happy customer.
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:06 AM   #6
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I see a lot of people source their displays from common vendors (casings are the same) but obviously spec different base specifications. Have found indenticle displays with different inputs and brightness specs.

Where did you buy Litemax through? Just on their web page and the new 27Ē might be an option for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Personally I find the full 1000 nit (or more) brightness to be very important in a pilot house. It's not just about having sunlight shining on the screen that creates a viewing challenge. I actually find the more difficult scenario is when you are facing into a low sun that's bright in your eyes. You need sun glasses to see ahead of you, and when you then look down at your screen, it needs to be REALLY bright to compensate for the sunglasses and for your eyes having been adjusted to the bright scene out the window. If it's a dimmer screen, your eyes will have to adjust and/or you will need to take off your sun glasses.


I remain a big fan of LiteMax's line of marine monitors. They sell them under the NavPixel name, and several other companies private label them. I'm not sure which Seatronix monitor line you have been considering, but their SRT sunlight readable line appears to be LiteMax, and identical to the ones I have. Green Marine also sells them. If you can get the 24" Seatronix SRT monitor (1000 nits) for $2800, that's reasonable, and it sure beats $7000 or $10000 for a Hatteland. I also really love the dedicated dimming knob. You can find it in the dark by feel, and there are no menus to fumble through.


Full disclosure..... One of my new Litemax monitors has a delamination "worm" growing in the corner of the screen. But I contacted Litemax and they will fix it under warranty. The catch is that I need to ship it back to Taiwan. They will cover the return shipping. Buying from Seatronix this would probably be a locally solved problem. But I bought direct from Litemax in Taiwan and shipped directly to the yard in Taiwan. I saved money, but took on exactly this risk in exchange. Regardless, I remain a happy customer.
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Old 04-11-2021, 10:05 AM   #7
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Pilot house monitor options

I went the cheap route and it has worked so far. The PO put in a Greenmarine screen and it failed after 5 years. At $4,000 to replace, I balked. So I got a cheap square monitor that fit the space , it uses a 12 VDC power supply and itís been fine for 3 years. <$200 Cdn. I was pleased enough with it that I purchased a second unit as a spare, in case of failure. The brightness has not been an issue so far. We donít do a lot of night cruising, though.

I know James Hamilton uses Lenovo monitors on Dirona, but he did tell me that can no longer get the model anymore, and Iím not sure what his take on it is now.

I have not had a problem with interference so far. But I donít like Coastal Explorer talking to me, so the volume is muted.

Jim
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Old 04-11-2021, 11:58 AM   #8
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I just got an LG 4k 32" monitor that I had to dim down as low as I could get it to work with my other monitors. It has a power brick supply, so you can put it out of the way in the event that it causes magnetic issues. Model # 32UK50T from Sams Club for $300+tax.

The audio sounds like a pocket AM radio so you'll want to use speakers if you want decent audio. I use it for business applications, and it is quite nice. There is a windows app that lets you split it into 4 VGA screens and other options.
The power brick outputs 19vdc so you could cut out the AC part and get a DC to DC converter, to convert from 24vdc or 12vdc (depending on what DC power you have).
It has VESA mounts, and one control, in the center under the bottom edge.
I'm debating replacing my other display with another of the same model so I can have lots more screen space.

I had to set the text height (in windows) to 200% to make it easier to read, since as you get more pixels in the same sized space, the letters get smaller. The other option for me is to go to a 50-58" 4K or 5K and use one display at 100% character size. I'm going to take my laptop to Sams club with an HDMI cable and try it.

I do like the Model 32UK50T, except for the speakers...
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Old 04-11-2021, 12:50 PM   #9
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For operation in full sunlight check the monitors used for ATM machines. They are available from industrial suppliers, are ultra bright, reliable and can take all kinds of mechanical abuse. Some vent ducting required, if built into a box. We had one in the open cockpit of our sailboat, cost about $ 750 and it worked perfectly even in the bright sunlight of the South Pacific.
Now we have twin 27' Eizo 4k displays built into the pilothouse dash. Very high quality and come with a 5 year warranty, $ 1000 / unit. Works nicely.
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Old 04-11-2021, 01:14 PM   #10
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Iíve been looking at a 32Ē 4K touch screen signage display and been seriously considering it. I could install two of them perfectly or three displays of either 24/26/27Ē which winds up being as much as 20Ē wider than installing the 32ís.

But I keep thinking that as nice as it would be to have the massive Realestate of the 32ís that itís going a bit too far and having the three screens natively makes more sense.

Split each of the 32ís into two screens (Which the screens have the ability to split into as many as 6 feeds via hardware) and I have the ability to show 6 good size displays.

Power is not an issue as I have 120V AC, 12 and 24VDC for navigation power, all fed from a dedicated set of navigation batteries so I can work with anything (Preference for 24VDC).

I never thought this was going to be the hardest decision!



Quote:
Originally Posted by stubones99 View Post
I just got an LG 4k 32" monitor that I had to dim down as low as I could get it to work with my other monitors. It has a power brick supply, so you can put it out of the way in the event that it causes magnetic issues. Model # 32UK50T from Sams Club for $300+tax.

The audio sounds like a pocket AM radio so you'll want to use speakers if you want decent audio. I use it for business applications, and it is quite nice. There is a windows app that lets you split it into 4 VGA screens and other options.
The power brick outputs 19vdc so you could cut out the AC part and get a DC to DC converter, to convert from 24vdc or 12vdc (depending on what DC power you have).
It has VESA mounts, and one control, in the center under the bottom edge.
I'm debating replacing my other display with another of the same model so I can have lots more screen space.

I had to set the text height (in windows) to 200% to make it easier to read, since as you get more pixels in the same sized space, the letters get smaller. The other option for me is to go to a 50-58" 4K or 5K and use one display at 100% character size. I'm going to take my laptop to Sams club with an HDMI cable and try it.

I do like the Model 32UK50T, except for the speakers...
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Old 04-11-2021, 01:17 PM   #11
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Question, do you find the difference in resolution worth the cost? (having 4K over HD).

I keep trying to decide if the higher resolution is of great enough benefit to justify the extra cost.



Quote:
Originally Posted by woolf View Post
For operation in full sunlight check the monitors used for ATM machines. They are available from industrial suppliers, are ultra bright, reliable and can take all kinds of mechanical abuse. Some vent ducting required, if built into a box. We had one in the open cockpit of our sailboat, cost about $ 750 and it worked perfectly even in the bright sunlight of the South Pacific.
Now we have twin 27' Eizo 4k displays built into the pilothouse dash. Very high quality and come with a 5 year warranty, $ 1000 / unit. Works nicely.
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Old 04-11-2021, 01:32 PM   #12
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I bought a monitor from these guys. Seems like a nice monitor, it was about $900 for a 17" 1000nit brightness and will dim to black
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Old 04-24-2021, 07:16 PM   #13
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Ok I’ve almost got this figured out but I’m stuck with the final selection and could use some help:

Monitor option 1 is 300 nits brightness and is dimmable to 2%.

Monitor option 2 is 800 nits brightness and is dimmable to 10%.

I wish they had an option for the 800 with 2% but they can’t make it. So, for an enclosed pilothouse would dimming to 80 nits brightness at night be low enough for navigating and allow me to get the 800 day brightness which I would love to have.

Does anyone have any experience or wisdom they could share?
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Old 04-24-2021, 07:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dauntless66 View Post
Ok Iíve almost got this figured out but Iím stuck with the final selection and could use some help:

Monitor option 1 is 300 nits brightness and is dimmable to 2%.

Monitor option 2 is 800 nits brightness and is dimmable to 10%.

I wish they had an option for the 800 with 2% but they canít make it. So, for an enclosed pilothouse would dimming to 80 nits brightness at night be low enough for navigating and allow me to get the 800 day brightness which I would love to have.

Does anyone have any experience or wisdom they could share?
You could buy/borrow a lux meter and then set your phone screen to different levels to get a good approximation of the differences. If 100% of the screen's light goes into the lux meter's receiver, then lux will equal nits.

Just a thought....
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Old 04-24-2021, 08:10 PM   #15
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Never thought of that but itís a great idea. Iíll try it and figure out what my phone or iPad will do. Can figure it out and try them outside, use them for a few minutes then walk away and see how my vision is in different night conditions.
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Old 04-25-2021, 08:39 AM   #16
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I would personally choose the brighter ones. MOST of our time underway is in daylight and MOST of that time I have Smith polarized prescription sunglasses between me and the monitor.

Are polarized sunglasses a factor in this selection?
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Old 04-25-2021, 09:09 AM   #17
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That’s the way I am leaning as well.

I just got glasses and ordered a pair of transitional/progressive lenses and opted for the best glass available. So far I’ve been wearing them for 3 months and have not found a display on anything that the polarizing has interfered with.

I know from past experience there’s a few different polarizing methods and I believe it’s circular that does not interfere. It’s the linear type and when the polarizing is at 90 degrees to the other everything goes dark.

So I believe I will be ok.

Also these are not cheap monitors and are 4K industrial daylight monitors (Not outdoor though). They’ll be custom built to give me the specs I want. The only info I am waiting on from the vendor is the availability if their vibration package on that particular display.

I’ve been searching for months for the perfect display and can’t find it but these ones are 98%.


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I would personally choose the brighter ones. MOST of
our time underway is in daylight and MOST of that time I have Smith polarized prescription sunglasses between me and the monitor.

Are polarized sunglasses a factor in this selection?
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Old 04-25-2021, 11:01 AM   #18
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Sorry if this is a repeat, but beyond brightness, I discovered (through trial and error) two additional criteria that are very important: 1) dimmability, preferably through a dedicated knob, and 2) no polarization that will interfere with viewing while wearing polarized sunglasses. I have never seen a spec for #2, and don't know what's its called, some actually viewing may be the only way to tell.
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Old 04-25-2021, 11:08 AM   #19
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I would go with the brighter monitor, hands down. That will benefit you all day, every day that you boat. Any dimming deficiency, if there even is one, will be experienced occasionally at most. Plus, a lot of operating systems can "dim" the screen electronically with no cooperation by the monitor by darkening the displayed image. Or you can get tinted filter sheets made. I know several people who do that as their normal night operating procedure.


You can't make the monitor brighter, but you can make it darker.
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Old 04-25-2021, 11:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
I would go with the brighter monitor, hands down. That will benefit you all day, every day that you boat. Any dimming deficiency, if there even is one, will be experienced occasionally at most. Plus, a lot of operating systems can "dim" the screen electronically with no cooperation by the monitor by darkening the displayed image. Or you can get tinted filter sheets made. I know several people who do that as their normal night operating procedure.


You can't make the monitor brighter, but you can make it darker.
Ditto.

As noted, our needed monitor dimming also is done via the laptop charting systems. Once away from the lower helm and on the fly bridge, a daylight viewable Furuno MFD works perfect and is cheaper than separate "dim" monitors.

In cruising the PNW, particularly when in BC, wood debris limits our nighttime travels. With 14 to 16 hours of daylight, night travel proves less necessary.
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