Any tablet users for navigation

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whgoffrn
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Any tablet users for navigation

Post by whgoffrn » Sat May 05, 2018 5:01 pm

I've been using a tablet with navionics on it since day 1 and it's worked great but last time in the keys i noticed a problem and trying to brain storm and find a way to continue to use a tablet (because I'm too cheap to spend a large amount of money on a good gps)
I have a cheap Garmin 5" chart plotter that I use as a back up and it's paired to a xm weather antenna but I mostly use my 10" tablet and despite it being not very bright it works well.....UNTIL you are trying to navigate in a squall .... even with it in a Ziploc bag like I had it last year ...yes it was water proof but the rain drops would hit the Ziploc bag as I'm sure it would any other water proof case and start messing up the screen rendering it useless for the most part... I was trying to monitor the depth in navionics while at the same time monitor the radar app to see how much longer before I went through the squall line.... the tablet was safe and water proofed but the rain drops hitting it was like a dozen fingers hitting the touch screen at the same time and rendered it useless

Does anyone know of a waterproof and useable tablet in rain or a water proof case where you can still use the tablet ?
Id really prefer to save the $ and not buy a new GPS/ plotter

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sailboatmike
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by sailboatmike » Sat May 05, 2018 7:45 pm

I just bought a new depth sounder plotter after looking around for a long time I came to a few conclusions

Cons
1) A tablet with a good screen will probably cost you just as much as a plotter / depth sounder
2) Navionics maps are great but are not always to be believed as far as depth goes
3) Having to constantly worry that a splash of water could and probably will render your expensive tablet into land fill
4) Battery life on most tablets is woeful, so you have to keep it plugged in to the power most of the time (see No 3)
5) Tablets have a tendency to break screens if handled roughly or accidently dropped
6) Proper waterproof casings for tablets are expensive

Pros
1) Everything on a boat should have more than one use, a tablet can also be used for weather radar etc.
2) Tablets are portable so will work if you take it down in the cabin or take it home

All up I bought my depth sounder plotter (Garmin 65CV) compete with maps for $639Au (around $400us) on the end of season sell out, thats probably around cost price so I was pretty happy, it is waterproof, has a screen designed to be used outdoor in sunlight and has a built in depth sounder and a better GPS unit than most tablets or phone have. When we were tossing up pressing the "Confirm & Pay" button, we decided that a good plotter / sounder was a safety item and not a luxury in the waters we sail in due to the highly tidal nature (around 12 feet) and when the tide is low around 60% of the bay in dry or far to shallow to have a boat in.

whgoffrn
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by whgoffrn » Sat May 05, 2018 9:55 pm

The reason I chose the cheap Garmin 5" screen I have now is its compatible with xm weather and I bought an xm antenna ....sirius and xm merged but there still is some differences ... Im trying to stock pile supplies for a potential summer in the exumas next year and with xm weather I can see radar all the way out to the berries so it can get me across the gulf and the banks but of course the drawback being it's an old outdated very small 5 inch screen that stinks for navigation..... my tablets use navionics for icw and the keys and I purchased maps from plan 2 nav app which are the explorer charts for bahamas (also have paper explorer charts) so far superior to navionics
I only paid around 100 bux for my tablet and use it as my primary means because it has radar , maps , ais , and it's portable so when I go off to an island in the dinghy I take it with me so I can check radar once an hour to see if some nasty weather is coming
I just can't seem to figure out how to get around the rain drops hitting the screen messing it up ....works flawlessly for my purposes in good weather in the rain is useless

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kurz
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by kurz » Sun May 06, 2018 5:40 am

Hi
I use this waterproof case for my mobile with navionics:

Image

The reason is I would never use a mobile without power connected. So in the case the power cable can be switched on.

The waterproof abilities for the cheap bag was good enough surprisingly.

Actually I use the "plotter" just for the trailer trips only, my home water is ok without plotter. So with navionics we still have updated charts. And mobiles you have many on the boat. And there is another garmin outdoor handheld with charts as backup. but we didnt use.
So no answer for your tablet story...
Maybe one day I will go for real plotter...? But first I need time to sort out etc...

whgoffrn
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by whgoffrn » Sun May 06, 2018 6:14 am

With that water proof case can the phone be used WHILE it's raining ? The problem with touch screens is that think a rain drop is your finger touching them so when it's dowmpouring heavily its like you are touching the screen in random places and it messes up the function
I'm thinking water proof case in addition to a clear box (missing the bottom so I can stick my hand up inside ) with the tablet Velcro to the back of the box and use a stylus so it keeps the rain drops off the screen

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by Tomfoolery » Sun May 06, 2018 6:50 am

I keep thinking about trying a tablet for navigation, but a) I'm too cheap to buy one, and b) since I am so cheap, I just keep using my notebook computer with Offshore Navigator and USB GPS antenna below decks, and if I need an instant view of where I am from the helm, I just use my phone's mapping function, and c) I'm too cheap to buy a real marine nav system.

Oh, and map updates for Offshore Navigator are free, and they're the exact same NOAA raster charts you can order or buy at a marine store like WM. Which is great when you're cheap. Like me. :|

But not to mislead anyone, I don't really need anything as sophisticated as a marine nav system, as I rarely go anywhere I don't know, and when I do, I keep a paper chart plus my computer, which is fine for my needs. Others are more adventurous, and may require something more. I choose to do a slightly modernized version of kickin' it old school in a trailer boat. :wink:

whgoffrn
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by whgoffrn » Sun May 06, 2018 7:49 am

Well obviously we share the same cheapskate philosophy.... I bought a cheap 10 inch android tablet from eBay for like 100 bux...it works great ...until it rains

I seen a YouTube video where someone used a whatever proof case but purposely left some air in the case before zipping it up as to make a "cusion" so the rain drops don't actually hit the screen and you have to use your finger to push down touching the screen....i may try that first before trying yo make some clear Velcro box concoction to eliminate the raindrops fooling the tablets touch screen into thinking I touched it

whgoffrn
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by whgoffrn » Sun May 06, 2018 7:53 am

https://youtu.be/wlH2cM4xZS4

Is what I'm thinking about ...will order one of those cases for my phone and see if I can use it in the shower

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BOAT
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by BOAT » Sun May 06, 2018 7:04 pm

yup

I have tablets on board - I really like tablets:

Image

Mostly I use the tablet as a way to view and control my chartplotter and auto pilot from inside the cabin. I can't really depend on it for navigation because I sail out in the ocean mostly.

The tablet is nice near shore and for island hopping but no good far out at sea. The problem with a tablet is that they need internet service by WIFI or cell phone to work.

Once your out of range from the WIFI the tablet goes into cell phone mode and data slows to a crawl - so the charts download really slow. Then when you get past cell phone service the whole thing fails.

I love tablets on the boat but I would not recommend a tablet for navigation in the ocean.

whgoffrn
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by whgoffrn » Sun May 06, 2018 9:00 pm

See for me i already have the charts pre downloaded into my tablet (phone also) so it just picks up the gps signal of where i am on the map stored in its memory so no cell signal or Wi-Fi requires. Not sure where you sail at but navionics has a lot of maps (for a price of course) and next year I am hoping to spend the summer in the bahamas and navionics isn't very good in the bahamas so I have plan2nav app with explorer charts.... I love using a tablet the only caveat I've seen is rain hitting the screen / water proof screen
Last summer I was not far off islamorada when a large squall hit me and being the keys it's not very deep and I couldn't see 10 feet around the boat because the rain and wind was so bad... I was trying to use my tablet but despite being in a Ziploc bag to water proof it...it was useless because rain and touch screen don't mix ... luckily for me i had another adult on board which usually is just me and my kids...my buddy steered while I went down in the cabin to get rain drops off and I seen we were barreling down rather fast towards cheeca rocks and some other shallow areas so I had him turn .... each time is a lesson learned and this time it will be just me and my two younger kids so I won't let them come up in a storm like that so trying to plan ahead... Im gonna try the water proof bags with air inside then and see if I can use them in the shower lol

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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by Baha » Mon May 07, 2018 12:43 am

I use Navionics on the iPhone for route planning, then manually (I also am cheap) to my chart plotter. When sailing coastal areas, I like to try to follow contour lines at around 3 meters, if possible. You keep away from most lobster pots and still avoid most of the adverse currents out in the channel. I also like to have a paper chart or a pilotage book on board. Do they even have pilotage books in the States?

I like that navionics now has contact information for marinas available if you hover the cursor...neat!

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kurz
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by kurz » Mon May 07, 2018 4:08 am

whgoffrn wrote:With that water proof case can the phone be used WHILE it's raining ? The problem with touch screens is that think a rain drop is your finger touching them so when it's dowmpouring heavily its like you are touching the screen in random places and it messes up the function
I'm thinking water proof case in addition to a clear box (missing the bottom so I can stick my hand up inside ) with the tablet Velcro to the back of the box and use a stylus so it keeps the rain drops off the screen
Well I think it depends on what kind of touch system the phone has.
I have a cheap Samsung phone, the screen already broke into two parts... but still it is working.
In my box above it never is hermetic closed, as I have the power cable going out at the bottem. So after some time you have some steam inside that stais at the box screen. Not to nice. But still had not any problem navigating on the screen with the fingers, even if it was wet outside.

Interesting thing so...

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Sea Wind
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by Sea Wind » Mon May 07, 2018 6:22 am

whgoffrn,
what kind of antenna are you using to get xm weather?

whgoffrn
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by whgoffrn » Mon May 07, 2018 9:39 am

I'll have to look at it next time I'm on the boat .... it was a royal pain to get info on it as it's an old plotter and antenna got both on eBay for cheap ....only certain antennas pair with certain Garmin plotters.... if you're staying close within cell phone range it's not necessary as any phone or tablet can run "my radar" app ....i got the plotter xm weather to give me a little farther range ...it still uses the towers of Miami which will go out to the berries but it doesn't use cell signal

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Sumner
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Re: Any tablet users for navigation

Post by Sumner » Mon May 07, 2018 10:39 am

I have to admit to being cheap on more than one occasion and a number of times it has actually cost me more than if I just would of spent more on the right thing to begin with.

I love the free OpenCPN which I think is now available for android based devices...

https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/doku. ... en_tablets

I'm now running it on a $35 Raspberry Pi but if you want the AIS daughter board and a keyboard/mouse and monitor you are around $200+ or so but have a much larger screen than a true chartplotter (any size you want). The drawback is still the screen will not be sunlight view-able and waterproof so has to be below decks or in the companionway entrance, which is what I've done with the Mac. You can get Bahama charts for OpenCPN.

I got a good deal a few years ago on a Standard Horizon 7" for under $700 and we are using it on the Endeavour and love it. Came with charts for the States, Bahamas and Mexico. I still have the Raspberry Pi running below for backup on AIS and anything else. Easier to go below and blow the chart up and look for a possible change of route while Dottie is above using the Standard Horizon. After using this combination earlier in the year I'll sure be thankful to have the 'true chartplotter' if we make it to the Bahamas next year.

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