29 Dec 2005 10:57:36
Mike
Robust laptop?

Hi

Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
cruising?

What I'm looking for is a laptop with a metal instead of plastic case
which will hopefully be more durable for long term ocean use.

Any suggestions?



29 Dec 2005 11:50:29
Commodore Joe Redcloud
Re: Robust laptop?

On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 10:57:36 +0000, Mike <no.one@nochance.com > wrote:

>Hi
>
>Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
>cruising?
>
>What I'm looking for is a laptop with a metal instead of plastic case
>which will hopefully be more durable for long term ocean use.
>
>Any suggestions?

There are many major manufacturers that have a "rough service" line of laptops.
They are favored by police and emergency crews as well as construction managers.
Most are at least water resistant, as well as being protected from being knocked
and dropped. They also have sunlight viewable displays. Expect to pay through
the nose however. They run about 4 or 5 times the cost of a normal laptop
without the enhancements.

Panasonic makes a line called "Tough Book" which is very popular.



Commodore Joe Redcloud


29 Dec 2005 14:38:10
Pete Verdon
Re: Robust laptop?

Mike wrote:

> Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
> cruising?
>
> What I'm looking for is a laptop with a metal instead of plastic case
> which will hopefully be more durable for long term ocean use.

You can buy specially made ruggedised laptops from a handful of
companies - the toughest of these will withstand damn near anything but
cost a fortune. If you're planning to stick with "conventional" laptops
then the only one with a metal case that I'm aware of is the Apple
Powerbook (an example of which I am using to type this) but the metal is
relatively thin and I wouldn't regard it as especially robust[1].

The Apple iBook is specifically marketed as robust (in "conventional"
laptop terms) as a large part of its target audience is teenagers at
school, carrying it un-protected in a book-bag being bashed about. Its
reputation lives up to this. Having used a Powerbook for a year I'm
something of a convert, and in isolation a Mac will definitely give you
fewer software-type problems. On the other hand, you may need a Windows
machine for compatibility with whatever you're planning to do with it.

On that front, the best-regarded conventional laptop for robustness is
probably the IBM Thinkpad. I'm told by IBM employees that the salesmen
used to stand on their personal machines to demonstrate this, and they
also have features like instant hard-drive parking when a shock or bump
is detected and guttering under the keyboard that diverts spilled liquid
out of little vents on the sides.

This might change since IBM sold their Thinkpad business to Lenovo, but
for now I expect the machines being sold are still IBM designs.

Another alternative is "disposable" laptops, especially if what you're
using it for is not particularly demanding. Reasonably capable machines
can be had on eBay for 50 or so - if I wanted to have a laptop on a
boat (which I don't) then I might get one of these and replace it if and
when it stopped working. For "long-term ocean cruising" you obviously
don't want to be trying to get a replacement in some far-off place, so
how about a spare or two (already set up with the required software)
sealed in shrink-wrap bags with dessicator sachets, ready to pull out if
the current active machine kicks the bucket? Might be an issue with
stowage space, I suppose, but if the computer is important to you then a
spare is sensible even if the main computer is a "good" one. Even the
best laptop isn't going to be much use if a tin of beans goes through
the screen in a big sea.

Pete

[1] That said, a friend did accidently throw his down a flight of
concrete steps and it's still going strong with only cosmetic dents.


29 Dec 2005 12:51:50
Arturo Ui
Re: Robust laptop?

> Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
> cruising?
>
> What I'm looking for is a laptop with a metal instead of plastic case
> which will hopefully be more durable for long term ocean use.
>
> Any suggestions?

You could try one of the Panasonic Toughbook laptops - they are ruggedised
and a couple of my old colleagues who have used them said they were
confidence inspiring, at a price....

Artie




29 Dec 2005 15:07:31
Ric
Re: Robust laptop?


"Mike" <no.one@nochance.com > wrote in message
news:ptf7r1phioqtd84huahbip15i0g3atneg8@4ax.com...
> Hi
>
> Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
> cruising?

As others have pointed out, ruggedised laptops are very expensive. You could
buy four cheapo Dells for the same price, then just throw them away if you
drop them etc.

But having said that, I have had the same el cheap laptop on my boat for
about four years now, and it has survived plenty of banks and spills that I
wouldn't have expected it to.




29 Dec 2005 23:20:20
Bjarke Christensen
Re: Robust laptop?

Agree. Buy two pre-owned IBM Thinkpad Txx and you pretty well off. If the
same model just swap the harddrive in case one fails.

I've had a (one) T20 in my boat for 2 years now. No problem so far.

Bjarke

"Pete Verdon" <usenet@verdonet.organisation.unitedkingdom.invalid > wrote in
message news:41i059F1e4n0oU1@individual.net...
> Mike wrote:
>
>> Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
>> cruising?
>>
>> What I'm looking for is a laptop with a metal instead of plastic case
>> which will hopefully be more durable for long term ocean use.
>
> You can buy specially made ruggedised laptops from a handful of
> companies - the toughest of these will withstand damn near anything but
> cost a fortune. If you're planning to stick with "conventional" laptops
> then the only one with a metal case that I'm aware of is the Apple
> Powerbook (an example of which I am using to type this) but the metal is
> relatively thin and I wouldn't regard it as especially robust[1].
>
> The Apple iBook is specifically marketed as robust (in "conventional"
> laptop terms) as a large part of its target audience is teenagers at
> school, carrying it un-protected in a book-bag being bashed about. Its
> reputation lives up to this. Having used a Powerbook for a year I'm
> something of a convert, and in isolation a Mac will definitely give you
> fewer software-type problems. On the other hand, you may need a Windows
> machine for compatibility with whatever you're planning to do with it.
>
> On that front, the best-regarded conventional laptop for robustness is
> probably the IBM Thinkpad. I'm told by IBM employees that the salesmen
> used to stand on their personal machines to demonstrate this, and they
> also have features like instant hard-drive parking when a shock or bump is
> detected and guttering under the keyboard that diverts spilled liquid out
> of little vents on the sides.
>
> This might change since IBM sold their Thinkpad business to Lenovo, but
> for now I expect the machines being sold are still IBM designs.
>
> Another alternative is "disposable" laptops, especially if what you're
> using it for is not particularly demanding. Reasonably capable machines
> can be had on eBay for 50 or so - if I wanted to have a laptop on a boat
> (which I don't) then I might get one of these and replace it if and when
> it stopped working. For "long-term ocean cruising" you obviously don't
> want to be trying to get a replacement in some far-off place, so how about
> a spare or two (already set up with the required software) sealed in
> shrink-wrap bags with dessicator sachets, ready to pull out if the current
> active machine kicks the bucket? Might be an issue with stowage space, I
> suppose, but if the computer is important to you then a spare is sensible
> even if the main computer is a "good" one. Even the best laptop isn't
> going to be much use if a tin of beans goes through the screen in a big
> sea.
>
> Pete
>
> [1] That said, a friend did accidently throw his down a flight of concrete
> steps and it's still going strong with only cosmetic dents.




30 Dec 2005 15:30:26
Pidgeonpost
Re: Robust laptop?


"Ric" <spam@america.com > wrote in message
news:43b3ed81$0$20144$8fcfb975@news.wanadoo.fr...
>
> "Mike" <no.one@nochance.com> wrote in message
> news:ptf7r1phioqtd84huahbip15i0g3atneg8@4ax.com...
>> Hi
>>
>> Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
>> cruising?
>
> As others have pointed out, ruggedised laptops are very expensive. You
> could buy four cheapo Dells for the same price, then just throw them away
> if you drop them etc.
>
> But having said that, I have had the same el cheap laptop on my boat for
> about four years now, and it has survived plenty of banks and spills that
> I wouldn't have expected it to.
>


...I'd go for cheapies rather than a ruggedised machine, and keep the hard
drives well backed up and in sync. Not only are true ruggedised machines
expensive to buy, but I've done some work on them and all the extra
protection on a *proper* ruggedised machine adds significantly to the labour
cost of doing maintenance on them.




31 Dec 2005 09:44:00
Dennis Pogson
Re: Robust laptop?

Mike wrote:
> Hi
>
> Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
> cruising?
>
> What I'm looking for is a laptop with a metal instead of plastic case
> which will hopefully be more durable for long term ocean use.
>
> Any suggestions?

This has been my own experience over many years of using laptops on yachts:-

If you envisage a laptop suffering extensive damage because you are prone to
breaking things, then don't buy one. Severe weather notwithstanding, I have
seen laptops and other fragile items subjected to the most appalling abuse
on yachts, but it was almost always the fault of the user. I believe that
some people are born that way and some people are not.

Have a look at some of the laptops at your place of business, you will see
some which, despite their age, are absolutely mint and pristine, and others
which have display screens so full of shite/snot that the owners have
difficulty seeing the underlying data. They simply do not know why the
problem exists.

No laptop is going to stand up to being thrown off the chart table and
hitting the cabin sole at terminal velocity. Normal small knocks and bumps
are unlikely to cause much damage. Water and salt are a laptop's main
enemies. A good protective soft-padded case with fleece lining, into which
the laptop can be slipped quickly, is worth it's weight in gold, and for
overnight storage you can place the soft case and laptop into a proper
laptop bag and stow it in a tight-fitting locker in as dry a place as you
can find. The more barriers moisture has to penetrate, the more likely your
laptop is to survive the voyage. Spray is enemy no.1. It is amazing what
protection a simple, large, polythene bag can give to a switched-on laptop
at sea. Self-adhesive velcro hook-'n-loop will work wonders at the chart
table, combined with a large flap of polythene or polyethylene (the sutff
that shirt display bags are made from, very transparent).

If you take these steps to protect your equipment, you can buy any laptop
which takes your fancy, rather than one that has imaginary crash-proof
features for which you will have to pay the earth.

The best laptop spare you can buy is a second battery, and the best power
source is a large-capacity inverter, pure sine-wave if possible, but not
essential, since the 1.5-2KVA square-wave types will power and charge all
manner of equipment as well as your laptop. Avoid cheap tiny step-up voltage
transformers like the plague.

Hope this is helpful.


Dennis.




31 Dec 2005 16:49:37
Gary
Re: Robust laptop?

Dennis Pogson wrote:
> Mike wrote:
>
>> Hi
>>
>> Can anyone recommend a laptop robust enough for long-term ocean
>> cruising?
>>
>> What I'm looking for is a laptop with a metal instead of plastic
>> case which will hopefully be more durable for long term ocean use.
>>
>> Any suggestions?
>
>
> This has been my own experience over many years of using laptops on
> yachts:-
>
I have been using a couple Panasonic Toughbooks in appaling conditions
for many years and they just keep on ticking. I have only destroyed one
and that was when a bit of loose kit went through the screen on a rough
day. The dealer told me that that was the weakest link. We always close
them when not in use now. Other than that they have survived drops,
spills, splashes and the abuse of many users. Trying to get on the web
for the weather in the rain on deck with a satellite phone was a
classic. It should've been an advert for the Toughbook.