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Life is good on the bayou..
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking for a large format color GPS/Sounder I can see well in daylight without my reading glasses. There out there but sure are expensive.
Lurking around a GPS site I see a notebook PC being used as a GPS display.
Well....
I just happen to have an old Notebook I could use for this if I can figure out what I need to do it. Anyone have any input into how to use a standard notebook for a GPS display, sonar would de a plus, but a second priority. I think this is more common for sailors and big boat guys but I have the room, the note book and the need for a large screen.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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Interface cables are available

Depending on what brand and model GPS you may have the manufacture should have an interface cable for it to hook to your serial port on your laptop. You will control it from the GPS itsself but can look at the display on your PC. I know for a fact that Garmin has one cause they sent me one free when they sent me the wrong software, they offered it without me even asking. You can shoot me a PM if you need for me to locate one for you, my shop installs GPS systems and other marine electronics. We mainly only deal with Garmin and Lowrance for now though...
 

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Life is good on the bayou..
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a serial cable that came with the LMS 240 that I can use to upload/download to the PC based Map Create software, but I don't have any real time GPS display type software on the PC, just the editor for maps and waypoints. Is that all I need, some software on the PC, and interface the Lowrance receiver to it ?

I'd be happy to work with you on this since you are in the business and seem to know what I need.

Thanks !
 

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What you have there is only a data cable to interface between the PC and GPS data only. You will need a specific 9 pin serial cable that plugs into your laptop where you would hook up an external monitor to. If you could shoot me a PM on Tuesday, remind me and let me know again what GPS you have and so on, I'll call Lowrance and find out what you will need.
 

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Garmin makes the GPS 18 receiver, which just plugs into the notebook's USB port.
Here is the link: http://www.garmin.com/products/gps18/

Only problem is that it is bundled with the NRoute & Cityselect mapping software, which will be great when travelling between cities, but it sounds to me you would like to use it on your boat.

One more thing to remember is that standard notebooks was not made for the pounding on a boat. You could easily end up with a crashed hard disk. The notebooks used on yachts are specialized, and designed to withstand the rugged conditions at sea.

Send me a private e-Mail if you need more info.
 

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Most of the boats that are using PCs for navigation are using stuff like this:

http://www.nobeltec.com/

You can use just regular stuff like Garmin Mapsource with the GPS connected to the PC but you're not going to get the chart detail you'll get with a package that is actually designed for navigation. Also, like Blue Water said, the PCs used on boats are designed for the beating. A regular laptop won't last long. If the pounding doesn't get it, the moist salt environment will. To do it right, you'd spend far more than you would on a good charplotter.

Since you've got a spare notebook you don't need anymore, why don't you sell it and apply the proceeds to a chartplotter? Garmin reduced the price on the 2006C a good bit this year and that's a great plotter. In the long run, you'll be a lot happier with a solution like this.
 
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