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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    829

    Default Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    Hi,

    I am aware others have done this before but as technology moves on, I am curious as to what is current.

    I am after a fanless Micro PC to run my Nav ( Navi-Sailor/Tsunamis or OpenCPN) but not for games or web browsing etc. I will always have a laptop for that kind of thing and want to keep this seperate.
    I have been doing this for 20+ years using (old spec from ebay) laptops but after seeing (I think from Norman_E) descriptions of built in micro computers, I have a hankering to do this.

    Amazon is full of different boxes offering all kinds of options but I would prefer recommendations (and considerations) of people that have done this.

    I don't want well-intended lectures on backup systems or paper navigation - these are already in place.

    Thanks,

    Piddy
    Work is for people who don't know how to sail!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Hopefully somewhere warm
    Posts
    9,211

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    After experimenting with various low power PC's the top of the pile these days IMHO has to be the raspberry pi running openplotter.

    Low power, everything loaded already, share wifi networks, easy to set up, has the wonderful signalk preinstalled.

    No monitor required though handy to have.

    V2 due before too long which promises even more


    http://www.sailoog.com/openplotter
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3ucE3Rx7Tw

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    East Sussex.
    Posts
    21,002

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    Piddy, It was me that wrote the article that appeared in PBO. I have lost the issue it appeared in, so if anyone can tell me which one it will help me find it again.
    I use Gigabyte Brix GB-GXBT-2807 computers which run on 12 volts delivered by a stabilised supply which also powes the monitor. I have found that some of the Brix models have an 19 volt mains adapter but will run on 12 volts The model I tested that way was a GB-BACE-3150 which is a slightly more powerful model. The simple Celeron powered 2807 is perfectly adequate to run Open CPN plus browse the internet and run Libre Office spreadsheets. I have no doubt that it would run the other programs you named.

    I actually have two Brix 2807s, one on the boat in Turkey and one at home, and neither have any internal drive fitted. I run them from either of a pair of USB3 external SSDs, one loaded with Elementary Linux OS and the other with Windows 10 professional. You have to jump through a few hoops to make Windows work on an external drive, but its worth it if you need Windows. With only one program on all of my computers that will not work in Linux I am currently considering ditching Windows entirely.
    Working on immortality - One day at a time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,451

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    I've used these people for the ones I've done. Their 'wide input' 12v dc power supplies are handy things too.

    https://www.mini-itx.com/store/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Durham, England
    Posts
    16,126

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    The Raspberry Pi runs OpenCPN quite nicely, but I might give this a try: https://docs.sailoog.com/openplotter-v1-x-x/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    829

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    Norman,

    I have read your article and it was reading it that made me want to look at this.

    Sadly I have now lost the magazine so I'm working a bit from memory - can you remember which power supply you used. I note the cheapest available tend to be quite inefficient ~75%. My plan is to run with a larger monitor at the chart table which would be switched off most of the time with a smaller repeater under the sprayhood. I guess I could use teh VGA for the larger monitor and the HDMI for the repeater. It looks quite do-able and would remove my need for the laptop (on which coincidentaly the screen is beginning to fail, so would need a visit to ebay to replace).

    I'm firmly a Windows man so a Raspberry doesn't appeal to me nor Linux. I have enough experience with Windows to not want to learn a whole new way of working. I run a slightly older chart plotter (with new charts) simply because I can make it work and more importantly, so can Mrs Piddy. She is not keen on learning new systems and as we are mostly a 2 man crew, I prefer her to understamd what she is looking at.

    Thanks
    Work is for people who don't know how to sail!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    I upgraded to a ThinkCentre Tiny in 2014. Its been great. Solid state drive and fanless
    The new ones start at £340 https://www.lenovo.com/gb/en/desktop.../p/11TC1MTM72Q

    Lots of refurbished on eBay for much less https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lenovo-Th...4c7eca03ed7100

    I connected it to my ancient screen and wireless keyboard and mouse. So far so good

    TudorSailor

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Plymouth
    Posts
    671

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    I'm in the process of installing a BeeBox.
    After adding memory and a SDD it cost £187 inc VAT. That was without the OS. I used an old (transferable) Windows 7 licence and then upgraded to Win 10.

    https://www.cclonline.com/product/23...AN-BT/BRB0504/

    https://www.cclonline.com/product/14...ODIMM/RAM1817/

    https://www.cclonline.com/product/24...r-Box/SSD0675/

    I'm running OpenCPN V5 with oeSENC charts. I also have a few navigation related apps installed such as xygrib.

    NMEA 0183 data arrives via USB virtual coms ports and a dongle of my own design.

    It's directly connected to a 10.4" monitor at the chart table via a HMDI cable (I have a separate plotter at the helm).

    I have a small wireless keyboard and a wireless thumb mouse which I think is going to be very good when the boats bouncing around.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/183532025521

    I've also had a BeeBox at home for a couple of years. I use it for music and pictures with a 42" 4K TV. It's worked very well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    2,523

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    I have used one of these for the lat two years. I mainly just use it for networking all instrumentation, Open CPN and navmonpc for data logging
    Hard wired connectivity options good very very low power consumption and built in screen....https://uk-m.banggood.com/PIPO-X9S-3...SABEgKDvvD_BwE.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Me: Johannesburg South Africa Yacht: Richards Bay East Coast Africa
    Posts
    6,844

    Default Re: Micro PC built in for nav - not games or web etc

    Quote Originally Posted by anoccasionalyachtsman View Post
    I've used these people for the ones I've done. Their 'wide input' 12v dc power supplies are handy things too.

    https://www.mini-itx.com/store/
    I also have a mini-itx unit running OpenCPN, navmonPC as a nav system with other windows programs.

    I have a 17" monitor at my nav station that also can display Video input from DVD and satellite TV.

    In the cockpit I have a car DVD monitor driven via a VGA to video converter so I have have the nav monitor on or the cockpit monitor on or both.

    All instruments feed into the mini-itx as does a GPS mouse and AIS engine. My DSC radio is also connected to display any DSC data received.
    Life is too short not to have a sea view
    Distantshaws tinyurl.com/yclt6l68

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