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Thread: Fishing Boat Installation - Hard Drive Shock, Vibration - SSD, Flash?

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    Fishing Boat Installation - Hard Drive Shock, Vibration - SSD, Flash?

    Hello all, I have a 7" monitor hooked up to my Ibm Thinkpad that is placed onto a docking station under my center console whenever I go on a fishing trip.

    Problem is, I don't want to risk messing up my school/work computer. A bigger problem is that the motherboard/hard drives park whenever there is excessibe vibration/shock, so the GPS does not update until I slow down the boat (this is not good because I want to use if for real-time navigation). I know that this has been discussed extensively in the car domain, but there aren't any absorbers when going over rough waves or even constant vibration. I use the computer as a GPS system with Earth NC, google maps, and goops to track the boat as it is moving.

    I want to build a dedicated system with the atom motherboard/processor (intel D945GCLF), the M2 power supply, and the Ampie car case. Memory is straight forward and I don't think I will need to use the ignition control of the power supply since I will want the gps to be on even when we are not moving the boat.

    My main question is reguarding the hard drive. I would ideally like to put a low cost SSD drive so that shock and vibration is not an issue. This seems to be very expensive. Should I look into a laptop harddrive that does not have the free-fall accelerometers that park the heads during motion at the expense of possible breaking the hd, or is there a way to just install the operating system on a flash drive since I don't require much storage space for music or anything? Thanks for your help.

    Marc

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcram View Post
    Hello all, I have a 7" monitor hooked up to my Ibm Thinkpad that is placed onto a docking station under my center console whenever I go on a fishing trip.

    Problem is, I don't want to risk messing up my school/work computer. A bigger problem is that the motherboard/hard drives park whenever there is excessibe vibration/shock, so the GPS does not update until I slow down the boat (this is not good because I want to use if for real-time navigation). I know that this has been discussed extensively in the car domain, but there aren't any absorbers when going over rough waves or even constant vibration. I use the computer as a GPS system with Earth NC, google maps, and goops to track the boat as it is moving.

    I want to build a dedicated system with the atom motherboard/processor (intel D945GCLF), the M2 power supply, and the Ampie car case. Memory is straight forward and I don't think I will need to use the ignition control of the power supply since I will want the gps to be on even when we are not moving the boat.

    My main question is reguarding the hard drive. I would ideally like to put a low cost SSD drive so that shock and vibration is not an issue. This seems to be very expensive. Should I look into a laptop harddrive that does not have the free-fall accelerometers that park the heads during motion at the expense of possible breaking the hd, or is there a way to just install the operating system on a flash drive since I don't require much storage space for music or anything? Thanks for your help.

    Marc
    Ignition - Even though you don't plan to use it, i would consider wiring the computer into a switch on your instrument cluster. It would be handy to be able to reset the device without getting your head buried int he computer.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcram View Post
    My main question is reguarding the hard drive. I would ideally like to put a low cost SSD drive so that shock and vibration is not an issue. This seems to be very expensive. Should I look into a laptop harddrive that does not have the free-fall accelerometers that park the heads during motion at the expense of possible breaking the hd, or is there a way to just install the operating system on a flash drive since I don't require much storage space for music or anything? Thanks for your help.
    We have installed hundreds of Seagate EE25 shock resistant hard drives in boat solutions and had great success. However, these boats were not getting airborne over 4' rollers. A 40gb ee25 is about ~140 and could be worth a try. As a worst case scenario you could always buy an SSD later and use the 40gb drive as a media storage location.

    -Rob

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    Update on Boat Computer

    Thanks for the information. I decided to not worry abou the hd or figuring out how to install the OS onto a flash drive and went with a 32GB SATA II SSD. It ended up being ~$170 after a $40 rebate. Pretty good price if you ask me. The OCZ Core series.

    I definitely want to have the power switch easilly accessible, so I was thinking of getting a power switch cable from an old computer case and mounting it onto the console. Are there other methods, or rather is it easy to do this with the waterproof buttons on the instrument panel? I am not sure that I have any buttons that aren't being used for the lights, live wells, etc, but I will check. Or, do you think I should get a waterproof button that will be compatible with power/reset jumpers on the mb?

    I am using the rubber "virtually indestructible keyboard" and just bought a $5 roller-ball mouse for input devices.

    As this fishing boat is used in saltwater bays, do you think I should spray the mb/electronics with corrosion X an insulator coating/oil before putting it into the case. It will be stored away underneath the center console, but I want to keep it on the boat at all times. Thanks for your response and I will try to keep you updates with my progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcram View Post
    Thanks for the information. I decided to not worry abou the hd or figuring out how to install the OS onto a flash drive and went with a 32GB SATA II SSD. It ended up being ~$170 after a $40 rebate. Pretty good price if you ask me. The OCZ Core series.

    I definitely want to have the power switch easilly accessible, so I was thinking of getting a power switch cable from an old computer case and mounting it onto the console. Are there other methods, or rather is it easy to do this with the waterproof buttons on the instrument panel? I am not sure that I have any buttons that aren't being used for the lights, live wells, etc, but I will check. Or, do you think I should get a waterproof button that will be compatible with power/reset jumpers on the mb?

    I am using the rubber "virtually indestructible keyboard" and just bought a $5 roller-ball mouse for input devices.

    As this fishing boat is used in saltwater bays, do you think I should spray the mb/electronics with corrosion X an insulator coating/oil before putting it into the case. It will be stored away underneath the center console, but I want to keep it on the boat at all times. Thanks for your response and I will try to keep you updates with my progress.
    Switch:
    If it were my boat I might be lazy and use an extra panel switch to control the accessory wire, in turn controlling the computer shut down.

    I don't know what the length limit on a MB shutdown wire is, but I would guess you would be able to get several hundred feet out of it. on most motherboards all you really need to do is 'short' the two pins.

    With that being said, the best thing to do would really be to have a water proof button that would turn the computer on and off. If the computer froze, you could always hold the button in to force a power down and restart.

    Spray:
    Without knowing the exact layout of your boat i can't provide a lot of advice here. Since this is actively cooled you might have some problems. How much this will reduce the life of the system is really a guess without more details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiberoptic View Post
    Switch:


    Spray:
    Without knowing the exact layout of your boat i can't provide a lot of advice here. Since this is actively cooled you might have some problems. How much this will reduce the life of the system is really a guess without more details.
    Are you familiar with the atom board and processor? I know it has been said to get very hot and that an upgrade to a better heatsink might be a good option. Thoughts?

    So Ampie Case and Fan with current heatsink. Can this be converted into passively cooled? Only problem is the working environment is also hot i.e. under the center consol in Galveston, TX summer. I would not want to draw in air to run it through the case, but can the case just be used to blow hot air out and not bring cold air in? I don't want salty air to be sent though the case. This may not be a big deal since it is under the console but there are some holes that let air in under there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcram View Post
    Are you familiar with the atom board and processor? I know it has been said to get very hot and that an upgrade to a better heatsink might be a good option. Thoughts?

    So Ampie Case and Fan with current heatsink. Can this be converted into passively cooled? Only problem is the working environment is also hot i.e. under the center consol in Galveston, TX summer. I would not want to draw in air to run it through the case, but can the case just be used to blow hot air out and not bring cold air in? I don't want salty air to be sent though the case. This may not be a big deal since it is under the console but there are some holes that let air in under there.
    Atom heat sink upgrade - I wouldn't bother with a heat sink unless it is really air tight environment. Intel is very particular about their thermal planning. The Ampie case does have some airflow problems. you can always add one later if you think your cpu is throteling back. Check the built in temprature monitor after you install is done.

    Passively cooled conversion - anything is possible with enough time. But is it really worth it? What if you just replace the board in a year or two when it fails?

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    Why don't you post some pictures of your install location. Maybe some other people can chime in with ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiberoptic View Post
    Atom heat sink upgrade - I wouldn't bother with a heat sink unless it is really air tight environment. Intel is very particular about their thermal planning. The Ampie case does have some airflow problems. you can always add one later if you think your cpu is throteling back. Check the built in temprature monitor after you install is done.

    Passively cooled conversion - anything is possible with enough time. But is it really worth it? What if you just replace the board in a year or two when it fails?
    Sounds like a good plan. Maybe I am worrying too much since only one or two applications will be running at a time. I think that I will be okay as it will be pretty shielded from the environment under the center console. And you are right. This motherboard is pretty cheap to begin with, but hopefully it will last for a while. More importantly, I hope the SSD and power supply last longer than the mother board. I have read about spraying the components to sheild them from corrosion. I think this will be fine once all of the components are in place (conducting). The corrosion-resistant sprays just act as an insulator from the environment. Should be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiberoptic View Post
    Why don't you post some pictures of your install location. Maybe some other people can chime in with ideas.
    I'll be able to post some pics and work on it this weekend. Thanks for the input.

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    Just to let you know what my upgrade plan is...

    I'd wait for the second version of the Atom board to come out the D945GCLF2, supposedly in just a couple of weeks.

    Intel D945GCLF2 Dual-Core Atom

    There is a low profile heatsink upgrade available that will work on both atom boards.

    http://www.mini-box.com/Heatsink-rep...1GLY2-D945GCLF
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