Boat PC

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Boat PC

Postby deathdefyer2002 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:25 pm

As a small project, I've been researching and working on a small boat PC build. Just passing along specs for anyone interested, or welcome any comment, suggestions, or improvements!

Last Year-

I used a basic Raspberry PI model (Just one I had laying around - nothing super new). The RPI runs on USB power, so I used a basic converter to power it direct off 12V (Figure I should probably add a fuse - maybe this year...) . This is mounted with basic Velcro inside a small NEMA box, which is then Velcro'd to the side carpet in my boat. I'm using a small SD card for the main operating system, and a low profile USB stick for the bulk storage.

The goal last year was for a MPD (Music Player Daemon). Basically a music player that I could connect to the stereo but remotely control from my I-phone. A headless unit. I ended up deciding on using Volumino. I can connect audio via either a headphone jack or HDMI. I opted for the simpler headphone jack.

The basic setup is I can place all my music on the USB stick, which is then sorted and presented via a web-gui or installed IOS application for control. The RPI unit broadcasts its own WIFI, so once setup its as basic as connecting to the 'Boats' WIFI and opening the APP or browsing to the local website (So works without internet). From there, I have full control over the music playing. Assuming any guests, can also give them access to browse, select, control, or queue music if i desire as the only real requirement is a smart phone.

System worked quite well last year, but in the direct sun, the system did slow down quite a bit - likely due to the heat.

This Year:

I'm looking to improve on this model. I just purchased a new RPI 3 B+ model (Just released couple weeks ago) which is not only faster, but also has better components for dealing with heat. I intend to do the above setup on it but also expand its functionality...

I also have a VHF radio with built in AIS / GPS, believe its a standard horizon model and an IPAD running I-NAVX. I just purchased a RPI-HAT which is basically a component that plugs into the RPI and gives the option for RS232 ports, which happens to support connecting to a NEMA 0183 bus (Actually can connect to a few I believe!) The goal is to tie into the NMEA stream the standard horizon is passing for both AIS and GPS and pass it via TCP or UDP to through the RPI unit, and ultimately be broadcast via WIFI. This should allow me to pull in both the GPS and AIS data right into I-NAVX on the IPAD via the WIFI connection to overlay AIS on the existing map.

Now I know there are a number of other units out there that can do just this - but they all seemed too pricy plus its another component to break. I figure the RPI is popular enough should be easy enough to replace assuming the worst, and serial ports are also quite standard. Its also one less unit to power, and has a certain geek factor :)
Bayliner 175BR - Upstate NY region. (Usually can find me on Saratoga , Sacandaga or Lake George)
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