PC's on Board

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El Capitan
Dec 2, 2010
Vessel Name
Vessel Make
Chung Hwa 46 LRC
Inquiry* --* To the folks who keep a PC or laptop on board for long periods, have you had any problems with the effects of a marine environment or temperature/humidity on*the hard drive or motherboard/processors?*** KJ
No problems.* Have been carrying laptops of various makes onboard as far back as the mid-1990's.* But boat is kept dry and laptops are not generally*exposed to moisture.* Laptops have been replaced due to hardware/software upgrades every 3-5 years.
Have used small footprint PCs as chart plotter on boat since 1995., get up graded about every 3/4 years
Have had one screen crash, and one PC burn up due to electrical surge.
Wheel house doors are open a lot of the time and PC is stowed inside dash.
In my own opinion the only way to go , plotter wise and onboard systems for maint etc.
We*have been using laptops*since 1998 for chart-plotting and normal computer usage with no special care.* The biggest issue is making sure that the PC operator doesn't have a drink near by that can be spilled.* We have had 2 computers that have gone to AA.

-- Edited by Larry M on Monday 18th of April 2011 06:55:09 AM
How good is your internet connection when you are away from your marina?* KJ
KJ wrote:
How good is your internet connection when you are away from your marina?* KJ
That depends.* Right now we are anchored out about 1/2 mile from shore.* There are 4 unsecured sites that we can log onto.* We have an 8 dbi omni-directional antenna.* Unsecured sites are getting harder and harder to find.* When we were in Mexico we bought a 3G USB modem for $75.00 and then $30.00/month with no contract.* Anywhere that you could use your cell phone we had a connection, though not always*fast.* I am looking at unlocking the Mexican 3G modem so it can be used in other countries the same way we unlocked our phone.
We have used portable PC since 1995 when we bought the boat.* Presently we are using the Verizon wifi broad band card that works where ever our cell phones work.* The wifi is great as you can take the PV anywhere on the boat and connect several PC at the same time.* We bought a new HD TV that can load NetFlix moves from the wifi card, which work great.* Like the other night my wife saw a preview of a movie she wanted to see, so we down loaded it from NetFlix. The only down side is about ½ into the movie it stops to down load the rest of the movie.* ******
We been trying to get HD from Direct TV, but they will not install or sell a HD receiver if you live on a boat?* ***
Been using an ancient laptop (Gateway Pentium 2, 500MHz) for about ten years.

Despite being in the wheelhouse, we've had*a bit of corrosion on the USB inputs which have progressively failed, so we now use a 2xUSB to PCMCIA card adapter. The screen died several years ago so I have a 15" remote monitor.*

We use*Fugawi ENC*with Navionics gold charts from an SD card reader and it all works fine, if a little slow at times.*

I am looking at*replacing my office laptop and getting a Mac, so an*upgrade for the boat is in the wind...
Have a IBM on the dash inside for 10+ years with no problem, also have a Panasonic Toughbook CF 28 for the command bridge (totally waterproof) with its own GPS built in and love it. Also take my MacBook along to do the internet, never let the IBM see the net. All run Nobeltec (mac uses a windows partition) and Polar Navy as a backup. Like all my laptops on the boat.
Thanks for the info.* KJ
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