Laptop Repair Made Easy
A software plotter is a plotter program installed, together with a chart package, onto a boat's PC. Many people use laptops for this, but an inbuilt PC can be even better in certain applications. The PC is interfaced with an independent GPS receiver via the NMEA data protocol through a serial or USB port connection. The combination is capable of doing most things a hardware plotter can do, and often much more besides. It has the advantage that since most people now have a laptop, the 'hardware' is already in place, so all that need be bought is the software. However, configuring and interfacing the system is often more of a challenge than a hardware plotter, which you basically buy, set up the antenna and plug in. The rewards can correspond to the effort.
Management, entertainment) a PC mounted below, and sending data to a fixed screen in the nav station, and a handheld display on deck, is the way to go. Because the PC will be mounted out of the elements, there's no need to buy a weatherproof unit, or even a laptop. The Mocha 7043, from Cappuccino PC, a
SeaTalk High-Speed Crossover Coupler. To connect more than two devices, up to eight, a Raymarine SeaTalk High-Speed Switch (Ethernet hub) is required. The use of a Raymarine SeaTalk HighSpeed Interface card and Raytech Raymarine Navigation System Software (RNS) provides laptop applications.
To take a closer look, I set up a chart shootout and invited the four major chart producers C-Map, Garmin, Maptech, and Navionics. The C-Map MAX NT, the Garmin BlueChart g2, and the Navion-ics Platinum charts were shown on dedicated electronic-chart displays (ECDs), while I used my laptop with a USB Garmin 18 plugged in to display the Maptech Chart Navigator Pro charts. I then set out to the islands off Nor-walk, Connecticut, threw
This is a service set up by sailors in the USA. It enables arrow diagram forecasts, for up to 5 days ahead, and other information to be obtained in email form (or by Marine HF and HAM radio). The data are highly compressed so that a great deal of information can be acquired quickly and at low cost - even using a mobile phone connected to a laptop computer. For details email query saldocs. com subject 'any'. There is no charge for this service. In addition Saildocs can provide the text to any web page stripped of all pictures and dropdowns. This is useful for getting texts of forecasts from the Spanish Met service site from which downloads are very slow.
Alex and Jette Larsen (VHF 72) are veteran cruisers who run the internet service, you can bring in your laptop to con-nect, or use their complete facilities. They can help you with computer problems and graphic design. They are also the Danish Cruising Association, (DOCA) representatives. They are in the same building as Juan Baro.
At the time of writing, many 'medium-tech' yachtsmen are using general-purpose laptop computers to run chart programs, but for larger yachts, dedicated ship's computers arc already becoming the norm. Amongst such basics as running major chart plotters, these compact, powerful tools can superimpose weather maps downloaded via 'Grib' files onto passage charts. The met data can be processed by the computer to give the best course to steer for speed or comfort, while 'what if1 scenarios allow at least a modicum of intuition to be applied to this powerful flow of information.
The Max Sea system has a great deal of flexibility, and several unique features, but what we liked best about it was the raw speed at which it zipped through zooms, pans, and changing charts. On our 433mHz laptop it appeared to run several times faster than any other raster scan system fast enough so that the extra speed of the vector charting system was not noticeable.
The people at KVH, who donated a Quadro chart plotter, GPS, 'brain box', and associated display units for the project and who went out of their way to develop a program to log data on a laptop computer. In particular, I wish to thank Jim Dodez, Per Hojfeldt and Ian Palmer. Without the Quadro system and KVH's backup, this guide would simply not have been possible.
You can also follow the weather with printouts from a weatherfax machine. A single-sideband radio connected to a laptop computer with suitable software will enable you to access dozens of weather charts. Reading these charts, however, is not a simple business, especially for beginners.
At the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in Newport, R.I., in September, a vinyl screen held court in the corner of the opulent room where the event's postrace parties were held each evening. Behind the screen, Steve Palm's laptop, the sailing equivalent of the Wizard of Oz, replayed the day's race, projecting the tracks of computer-generated boats onto the canvas as they tacked and jibed around the racecourse. One sailor stood five feet from the screen, his eyes glued to it, watching the same race multiple times. His attention finally shifted when someone else stepped forward, pointed at the miniature boats as they sailed across the starting line, and proclaimed emphatically to his buddies, See, there's no way we were over
On larger boats with enclosed cabins, you may want to simply take along a portable computer and run the chart software as you need it. Just remember, computers are not happy long if you keep them around salt air and away from air conditioning. The ultimate chart is one that's coupled with a GPS system and shows you where your boat is in relation to the chart on a real-time basis. These are available as add-ons for portable computers and also built in to charting GPS systems, which we'll cover in the electronics chapter.
And they would. Watch. Giggle. Point. Now, with almost anyone else, this would've been an imposition. But not with them. They were just too cool, too natural, too open-hearted to be the slightest bit irritating. One day, they stopped down while I was writing on my laptop. For a long time, they just stared and stared and stared, until finally Star blurted, We keep hearing how computers are so good for work, but yours does absolutely nothing
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