SaabFAN
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:42 pm

Re: Yacht-Computer

Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:22 pm

Hi

I have two applications for the Raspberry Pi in mind: First a typical Media-Center-PC, which i expect to run more or less out of the box and a computer for the yacht of my parents, which i am trying to build for quite some time now.

I have experimented with x86-Hardware, like the Intel Atom and AMD-CPUs, but everytime i tried, i went well over the budget of 3 Amps. (Reminds me of the movie Apollo 13^^)

With the Raspberry Pi I finally found something to get this thing on the road and save my parents the 900 to 2000€ you have to pay for a Navigation-Computer.

I am hoping to get the software OPENCPN (Navigation-Software) to run on the Raspberry with Debian Linux or Fedora as OS and to connect the Computer with a Furono GPS and the Echolot via NMEA-USB Adaptor.

As a second stage i hope, that i can put together an Engine-Management/Monitoring System (EMM) for the 28hp Diesel Engine that is at the moment monitored by a "dumb" Fan-Controller for PCs which displays Cooling-Water Temps and Flow, as well as the Temp of fuel, Cylinder Head and the Exhaust-Manifold.

I've seen, that someone is already planning to build a Monitoring-System for his car and motorcycle. Hopefully, i can learn from that.

The first step in this project will be the design of a power supply, that provides 5V from a input-voltage of 10 to 15V (Empty Batteries, Charging Batteries). And experimenting with the software, for which i use QEMU on my Windows-Computer.

And i need to find a Monitor, 15'' or 17'' with high contrast and low power consumption. Here the energy-budget is not so restricted, as the monitor doesn't have to be active all the time. Only when plotting a course, or taking a look on the map.

generalenthu
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:43 am

Re: Yacht-Computer

Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:11 pm

The power supply problem is a rather trivial one. I picked up a car charger for $1.50 which converts 13v to 5V and soldered the internal board to the back of a 5V device. Works like a charm.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....00_details

The good thing is it is a chip (oscillator?) based solution and doesn't get hot like a resistor based one. Just make sure you get the polarity and all right.

aquaticgerbil
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:24 am

Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:19 am

Hi,

I'm working on exactly the same thing- using OpenCPN (or other software) and a RasPi as a cheap navigation computer for my boat.

Someone on cruisersforum.com has ported OpenCPN to ARM, but it seems to be quite buggy still and not yet ready for use at sea.

The biggest problem is that OpenCPN uses about 200mb of RAM with charts loaded on my desktop computer, and will presumably use the same amount on a RasPi. I think that both Debian and Fedora use quite a bit of RAM, and with either one the RasPi is going to run out of memory very quickly.

As you can see on the thread I linked to, the person who put OpenCPN on ARM in the first place has rejected the idea of it running on the RasPi for this reason (although we can still try :p ). Hopefully, OpenCPN can be optimized to use far less memory.

I'm now looking at lighter distros such as Puppy Linux, which is apparently being ported to ARM.

For engine monitoring, my plan is to connect the sensors (temperature, fuel levels, etc) to a PIC microcontroller, which will then send the values to the RasPi through a RS-232 serial link.

I'm looking for a 7" monitor for my project, but if you want something in the 15" range then one option would be to buy a 12v television which has an HDMI input.  They're quite popular for caravans and motorhomes, and you could probably find one second hand for a reasonable price.

Are you planning on connecting an autopilot?

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liz
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:04 am

What dataset are you planning to use for the (Han Solo voice) navicomputer? My experience playing with handheld GPS devices is that the hardware isn't the expensive bit: the maps are. There are open maps for the UK, but they're not terribly good at off-road stuff (I do a lot of yomping around moors, up hills, and on and off public footpaths, and they're horribly mapped.) I can only imagine that the datasets for the ocean are even harder to get hold of, but I'd be really interested to learn more about them!
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

SaabFAN
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:51 am

Thank you for the suggestion for the power supply.

I think, i can bypass the PowerSupply-Unit inside a normal LED-LCD Monitor. I have repaired a 19'' Monitor a few months ago (Caps in the PSU went bad) and the output was 12V.

I gave the RAM-Issue a thought and remembered what Microsoft did with Windows Vista: USB-RAM!

I don't know, how fast Data can be transferred to and from the SD-Slot, but if there is a Highspeed SD-Card (like those used in Video-Cameras) installed, a part of it could be used as a swap-partition.

Maps are luckily no problem. There is a PlugIn for Opencpn that allows maps from "Nautische Veröffentlichungen-Verlag" to be loaded. These maps are shipped with the traditional paper-maps and they cover a good part of the north sea and almost all of the baltic sea, as well as the Elbe, and other rivers in Germany.

roelfrenkema
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:17 pm

Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:45 am

liz said:


What dataset are you planning to use for the (Han Solo voice) navicomputer? My experience playing with handheld GPS devices is that the hardware isn't the expensive bit: the maps are. There are open maps for the UK, but they're not terribly good at off-road stuff (I do a lot of yomping around moors, up hills, and on and off public footpaths, and they're horribly mapped.) I can only imagine that the datasets for the ocean are even harder to get hold of, but I'd be really interested to learn more about them!



H Liz,

I think your experiences with handheld devices are limited, modern  gps chips are very good and f.i. my Android phone doubles as a handheld gps device. There are lots of free maps available on Open Street Map and they can by used very accurate in a offroad situation to.

I myself GeoCache and do that with a Galaxy I9000 smartphone with Locus as software (free full working version available) with Open Street Map verctor maps (free) and usually find my caches spot on.

aquaticgerbil
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:24 am

Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:55 pm

SaabFAN said:

I don't know, how fast Data can be transferred to and from the SD-Slot, but if there is a Highspeed SD-Card (like those used in Video-Cameras) installed, a part of it could be used as a swap-partition.

I think that the max write speed is about 6mb/s, but I'm not sure- can somebody clarify? I don't know how badly OpenCPN's performance would be affected by using some swap memory- I guess we'll find out for sure when the RasPi goes on sale.

I'm also interested in modifying an old VHF to receive AIS transmissions and connecting it to the RasPi.

British nautical charts are pretty expensive- survey data isn't released to the public so there aren't any reliable free options. There's an spinoff of OpenStreetMap called OpenSeaMap, but I think a road map would be safer to use :p .

Other countries, such as the US, are nice enough to openly issue survey data and basic digital charts (which makes more sense IMO, as surveys are publicly funded).

ctoon6
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:09 am

Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:33 pm

Would it not be possible to just use the hard drive as "ram". I know it would be very very slow, but it would work I think. Make sure to use the fastest flash available and have 2 or more on hand with all the data required if it is very important to have.

white74
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:25 pm


I was thinking about doing something similar

http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....er/#p27338


plugwash
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:18 am

If price isn't so critical you might want to consider the freescale IMX53QSB. http://www.freescale.com/webap.....=IMX53QSB? It's quite a lot more expensive than a pi but it's available now and has a gigabyte of ram. I can't find any detailed specs on power demand but it comes with a 5V 2A PSU and half of that is potentially needed for USB devices so presumablly the draw of the board itself is less than 1A at 5V (which with a decent converter probablly means about 0.5A at 12V)

nigle
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:39 pm

Re: Yacht-Computer

Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:16 pm

aquaticgerbil said:

I'm looking for a 7" monitor for my project

One of these might be what you want, it is 8" but they also do a 7" version if you don't need it cased.

macsmith
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:12 pm

Re: Yacht-Computer

Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:26 pm

I hope that SaabFAN isn't planning on building anything safety critical with the Raspberry Pi.  I assume those expensive commercial devices are backed up with extensive testing of the hardware and software and, ultimately, a good indemnity insurance policy...

Even the failure of the HDMI monitor might put you on the rocks!

A fun project though.

Macsmith

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liz
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:25 am

roelfrenkema said:





H Liz,

I think your experiences with handheld devices are limited, modern  gps chips are very good and f.i. my Android phone doubles as a handheld gps device. There are lots of free maps available on Open Street Map and they can by used very accurate in a offroad situation to.

I myself GeoCache and do that with a Galaxy I9000 smartphone with Locus as software (free full working version available) with Open Street Map verctor maps (free) and usually find my caches spot on.


It's not a hardware problem; it's strictly the datasets. It was explained to me last night by an open map-using American that the way this works in the UK (where the ordnance survey is Crown Copyright, and damned expensive for you and me to use) is not the case at all in other countries, not least the US, where similar datasets are public property. Which makes sense, what with them being taxpayer-funded and all. I must stop being so parochial...
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

roelfrenkema
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:17 pm

Re: Yacht-Computer

Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:53 pm

Hi Liz,

http://www.openstreetmap.org/ is a community driven organization. No need for surveys etc 'we the users' make and share our own maps. Fun thing is they are most of the time even more up to date then anything form a survey or a commercial instance. The vector maps of OS are very good indeed and my main nav aid.

mesuge
Posts: 6
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:38 pm

White74> I hope you don't mind if I repost the details of your plan on this very thread. I may add that especially for marine environment sourcing some "affordable" trans-reflective screen/touchscreen is a must, and they are not cheap even in tiny dimensions like around 4", hopefully as the IPS panel android tablet pricing crashed recently, something a bit similar could happen to transreflectives one day too..

"Sorry I got my order of posts mixed up 1st introduce then post oops
late intro I have been working with computers since the early 8086 gen processors started on nix based in 92 currently using deb based os 2.5 kernel compiled from git to support some unusual serial devices mostly rs 422 and 485 

late concept outline

my idea is to build a fully functional marine navigation computer dock-able on-board, in car, or desktop

dock would contain several rs 422 ports, display, USB, WiFi, LAN, keyboard and mouse

OS based on navigatrix with

wximg – weather fax

open cpn – chart plotter

muplex – software nmea 0183 multiplexer

osd depth – depth data on screen

zygrib – grib data for weather wind and wave details

packet modem support

skype?

midori web browser

email client

cw key for vhf/hf radio

ais

autopilot

standard compliment of marine instrument displays

anything else I"ve left out?"


perrynoid
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:58 pm

The reason digital nautical charts and maps are so expensive is they must be constantly brought up to date. While they seem expensive, they are a bargain compared to standard paper ones. Just one paper chart or map, that is up to date and of reasonable quality, will cost an average of $25. (hmm...sounds similar to the price of the RPA....) If you are just an average day sailor or tourist, a handful of these charts/maps will suffice. However, if you are a more ambitious adventurer or professional mariner, you may require hundreds. For example, Navy ships that are not certified for electronic navigation, have between 2 and 4 copies of up to 800 or more charts. If you do the math, the cost is pretty staggering. That is where the comparative advantage of electronic navigation reveals the true potential for pursuing this as an open source project. Think how many tax payer dollars, not to mention trees, could be saved.
While I am not a programer, I am an avid computer hobbyist. I have several years of experience installing computer navigation systems on yachts. I currently work as a professional mariner, going on 9 years now. I have come to realized the need for a scalable, modular, portable, low cost, computer navigation system, able to fully integrate with existing shipboard networks and systems for everything from sensors inputs to auto pilot and robotic controls. People and organizations are naturally weary of letting go of the paper charts/maps as back up. However, if a low cost system could be developed then, they would essentially become their own back because, the low cost would make multiple units affordable.
It would not be cost prohibitive to acquire a license to use one small library of professional grade digital nautical charts or terrestrial maps for the purpose of development.
My question to anyone who has read this so far is: If i were to consider attempting to learn how to start writing the kind of software this system, utilizing the Raspberry Pi, would require, what programming language would be best suited for a collaborative effort? Any other recommendations would be most appreciated.

Wilsonhall
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:31 pm

That Kitchen looks like the one we are getting fitted!!!! :grin:

Willr
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:53 am

If there is not enough memory to run open cpn from the rpi, could this be achieved by running two or three rpi's in tandem? I saw a post on a supercomputer and thought of this...

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Werewolf6851
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Location: Tomah, Wisconsin

Re: Yacht-Computer

Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:28 am

The Raspberry Pi's are cheap enough, instead of all-in-one setup, have seperate raspberry nodes for a set of functions. Maybe one 'master' Pi switch what's displaying and handle warnings?

Wolf

akopac
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:39 pm

Having been a cruiser for several years I think there is a huge need for a Raspberry pi navigation and shipboard computer. Several posts have been made and I'd like to post some thoughts answering some questions and inspiring somebody to start coding.

1. Data Set. NOAA electronic charts are free.
2. Does the Raspberry pi have enough horsepower... Our current Navigation computer is a Thinkpad 560 running win xp and The Capn navigation software. We receive and send email and weather related graphic and text mail using winlink and Airmail over a Pactor II modem and have long distance traveled extensively offshore. Why such a low end computer? POWER... Nobody needs instantanious screen refresh when your only traveling 5 mph over water.... Yes we have a more powerful computer onboard (I do IT) but we share the navigation power with nav lights, radar, forward looking sonar, watermaker, fans, and the BIG one on any cruising boat Refrigeration. We even set everything to auto standby, but some things comunicate with eachother. GPS is repeated to nav computer, and radar screen.

SO THE QUESTION BEGS:

Can you build a RPI based navigation computer that uses a GY-NEO6MV2 Flight Controller GPS Module and interphases freely with onboard analog wind, and motor sensors, with a wireless helmstation monitor that will interphase with a pactor modem and winlink for email and overlay weather over the charts...

And use less power than a Thinkpad 560 and do a better job than win xp (not hard)

Standard Features
Intel Pentium 100, 120 or 133 CPU
Trident Cyber9382 video controller with 1MB
11.3" DSTN display with 800x600 resolution
12.1" TFT display with 800x600 resolution
8MB memory standard
810, 1080 or 2100MB HDD
ES1688 Audio controller
IrDA 1.0
(2) Type II, or (1) Type III PCMCIA slot

This thing draws 54 watts!!! Thats 4.28 Amps at 12.6 Volts
I think the Raspberry pi could do better...[/b]

akopac
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:39 pm

After doing some research I found this post. I'm all over it. Thinking I might put a 3-7 inch touch screen at the helm.
http://mvcesc.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/ ... rtplotter/

mmtsweng
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:22 pm

Hello all.

I am the writer/owner of http://mvcesc.wordpress.com/. I have been running OpenCPN on a Raspberry Pi for a few months now as a dedicated chartplotter. I have found it to be a very capable and stable platform, especially when paired up with a very inexpensive and common USB "puck" style GPS. It's also wonderful to come back to the dock, tie up, and put on a movie or play Pandora.

To be fair and honest, I am in the process of migrating to a different platform. I have other plans for this project this winter, including driving the autopilot (via NMEA sentences), displaying AIS signals, and even Radar overlay. The RPi is a wonderful device, but I'm afraid asking it to do all of these things concurrently is just too much.

Thanks,
Matt B.

akopac
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:41 am

I am in agreement about the Raspberry Pi being a bit anemic (native hardware graphics acceleration might help), but I think the ARM solution is a great direction. What's intriguing is moving to a Cubietruck 2 or 3 and running light weight Linux and Opencpn. You still get extremely low power consumption with a multicore processor, more ram, more I/O, tons of linux software. The only loose end to this deal is Winlink 2000 packet email software that works on ARM Linux for downloading weather GRIBS. I'm not sure where this software is in development.

akopac
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:55 pm

After doing a little poking around it looks like the Cubietruck 2-3 uses about 2.5 Amps at 5V, which translates to 1 Amp at 12.5V.

http://www.cubietruck.com/collections/all

There is a CubieTruck 80 out but not sure if you need that much horsepower to do what we're doing. Touch Screens vary in power draw but from what I can see their power consumption is negligible at 5-7 inch. Larger touch screen might use hdmi port and usb power. You can use a simple $1 regulator for a power supply considering your already using DC 12V on Board.

http://www.jameco.com/1/1/31790-l78s05c ... inear.html

I like the ability to use small versions of Linux or Android on a multicore power thrifty ARM board with direct I/O for weather, and onboard instrumentation as opposed to X86 Windows power monger laptops. Linux is more robust, and has tons of apps.

As stated before, a huge leap on this project would be a Winlink/Sailmail linux client for downloading GRIB files, but for the short periods you would need to use it daily underway, you could setup a laptop running windows and Sailmail, run email, move the files via wifi to the linux NAV computer, and shut down the email computer.

akopac
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Re: Yacht-Computer

Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:48 pm

OK, so I've done some more research and the Cubieboard 2 has the same processor as a Cubie 3, but more I/O and direct LCD panel connectivity (more than 1 panel). There is no way to connect multiple or direct monitors to the Cubietruck 3 other than thru HDMI or VGA. It doesn't have wifi or bluetooth on board and it only has 1 gig of ram, but neither is needed for navigation. The wifi and bluetooth can be added with USB if necessary. Talked with a guy named George in Sacramento at I/O Technologies who sells the Cubieboard 2, baseboard, and various size LCD's, and cables for reasonable price. The baseboard product his company makes runs on 12V!!! and provides conditioned power for the Cubie 2 and I/O,

Baseboard Specs


2mm pitch female sockets to accept Cubieboard
All 96 Cubie pins brought out to 0.100" pitch headers
LVDS header w/ separate LCD Backlight connector to match low cost LVDS cable
4-wire touch screen connector
Standard 2.1mm DC jack, 12V-18V input
Onboard 5.0V switching regulator to power Cubie and provide 3A (available on 0.100" header)
Onboard 3.3V switching regulator to power LCD and provide 3A (available on 0.100" header)
15W Stereo Class D Audio Amplifier
VGA circuit and HD15 connector
10cm x 10cm

I looked at the odroid, but this board and the other items made for it just make sense.

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