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Old 03-05-2012, 07:12 PM   #1
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Panasonic toughbook

I a thinking about using one of these as my chart plotter. Has anyone used on of these? They can be bought used for $600-$1000 . Any thoughts?
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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Re: Panasonic toughbook

Originally Posted by Hoghunter View Post
I a thinking about using one of these as my chart plotter. Has anyone used on of these? They can be bought used for $600-$1000 . Any thoughts?
They will not meet your expectations in a marine environment. In an enclosed cabin you might have a chance, but a drippy diver/captain will kill it in short order.

The biggest problem with tablets and laptops as marine units is the fact that the processors need venting and micro fans. This is an ingress for moisture and salt that play havoc with such electronics. Marine plotters cost so much because the only include the nessasary components needed that can function in a sealed unit. On vessels that require more computing power they utilize remote computing systems and marine application monitors...... Big bucks.

Right now I am considering Panasonic explororer toughbooks for my planning team. They are a "water resistant" and "sealed" unit for field work, but the down side is that they are $4k each.

For the most part the toughbooks are more noted for their shock resistance and stability. They do ok in inclimate weather, but prolonged exposer to moisture is not recommended.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:12 PM   #3
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Re: Panasonic toughbook

I agree....salt laden high humidity air being drawn in for cooling purposes equals an early demise...on the larger boats with climate controlled wheelhouses, you'd probably do ok.
If you stay in this sport, and really apply yourself , in 10 years you might be the diver you think you are today.


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Old 03-17-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
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Re: Panasonic toughbook

Originally Posted by Hoghunter View Post
I a thinking about using one of these as my chart plotter. Has anyone used on of these? They can be bought used for $600-$1000 . Any thoughts?
Try splitting up the system by using a rugged NEMA4X processor that is built for mobility. You get instant on and off without dealing with shutdown issues because it is ready for 12V and automotive/ police/ bus / train type applications. Then combine the size screen you want from 8" on up. They make them touch screen ready water and corrosion proof in panel or free standing.
Direction, not intention, determines destination.
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Old 03-18-2012, 01:08 AM   #5
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Re: Panasonic toughbook

No disrespect to the previous posters but...

I personally own two of the older Toughbook model CF-29. They are incredible and 100% waterproof. You are welcome to take as many 5 gallons of saltwater as you can carry and splash or pour it all over my units until you are exhausted.

They will withstand any and all water and spray as long as the unit are not SUBMERGED. They will not survive any water pressure.
Yes, while they are running. ALL ports are sealed with gaskets. There are NO fans or vents, NONE! They vent heat via the magnesium case. I have the fully ruggedize model. It's military grade. I have a USB GPS with charts of the entire planet via a world chart program. You can use openCPN which is FREE and never look back.

Every time I return to port I take a few cups of fresh water and pour it over the screen and keyboard to give it a rinse. 3+ years of this and not even a hiccup.

Panssonic CF-29 in water - YouTube
The screen is even readable in bright sunlight, but easier under my bimini.
I have even strapped one to the tubes of my Zodiac Futura comando 15ft inflatable and ran 30 miles offshore. Now that's salt spray!

I have used them on a center console slamming into 6 foot seas. The hard disk is shock protected. I have an external power supply designed for use in any 12-volt vehicle. Same one used by most law enforcement and military agencies.

You can buy cheaply on ebay, my 2nd unit was purchased for $100, all it needed was a new hard disk that I had on a shelf ($50-retail). It even came with a emmisive (backlit keyboard). Do a quick search on ebay and see how affordable these units really are, then search for the 12-volt power supply that plugs into a cigarette lighter. Do a search on youtube for the CF-29 model and prepare to be amazed. A Centrino P4 with 1 GB ram and a 80GB hard disk is more than you need to use for chart navigation. I have rubber straps holding it in place. The Centrino P4 is considered old compared to dual core and quad cores, but for marine use is actually overkill.
Some of these units came with a internal GPS card so an external GPS puck would not be needed.

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK CF-18 & CF-29 - YouTube
Last trip we took to the keys we ran it in the car for regular road type GPS using DElorme (like mapquest), unplugged it and put it on the boat. During the surface interval between dives on molassas reef we had coverage via wifi. I took the card out of my underwater camera and loaded the pics on the laptop and went back down to take more. It's really awesome to look at a 13 inch screen instaed of a small LCD.

more info than you will ever need here...


Last edited by techwiz44; 03-18-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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