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Thread: boat lcd/touchscreen: sunlight readable, watertight, touchscreen

  1. #1
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    boat lcd/touchscreen: sunlight readable, watertight, touchscreen

    Update: 9/5/2006

    SUCCESS!
    I ran vga and usb cables down to a laptop in the cabin, wired the screen power into the 12v system, and temporarily mounted the monitor in the helm for a proof of concept until I get the final encosure finished. All seemed to work well. No for a real open water test- I took the boat from Carolina Beach NC to Charleston SC over labor day weekend. The transreflective screen did great in direct sunlight- It wasn't super bright, but it was definitely readable and functional in direct sunlight. Brighter would have been prettier, but its not like you had to cup your hands over the screen or anything to see it. I had backup paper charts but the nav/gps system helped me stay out of trouble for the entire 150 miles down the waterway. No pic updates, but the interface you see below is what I used. As soon as I get the enclosure finished (this week?) I'll post some pics.

    Original post:

    So the title says it all. Its a tall order to be sure, but i'm sure its doable. There are some great marine grade screens out there, but it seems to get an industrial strength watertight hibright screen (never mind a touchscreen) you just have to be prepared to spend the cash. -Like anywhere from 2 to 6 grand.

    Updated- pics of the nav software added below ...

    I have a 34" cruisers express with an open cockpit (see pic below), and plenty of waterproof storage for the actual computer. So the lcd is my main problem for now. Here is what I was thinking:

    1. Buy a transreflective, sunlight readable 7" touchscreen from the store here when they get back in stock.
    2. Build a watertight bezel using abs plastic, silicone seals, and a thin clear film covering to allow pressure to go through to the touchscreen, but sealed along the edges of the bezel to make it watertight.
    3. possibly add a fan in the back for ventalation.


    Any thoughts on this?
    Am I missing something about the way the resistive touchscreen works?

    Here is a pic of the helm area- On the left is the current (outdated) gps system and the mount point for a new flush lcd. (I hope)
    You can get a better idea from the pic of the flat surface I have to work with - Very much like a car dashboard but with more room. I actually have room on that spot for a 10.4 inch screen but I need the sunlight readable make this work so I'm sticking with the 7" widescreen.

    Attached Images Attached Images  
    "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."

  2. #2
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Well the fan would make it not so waterproof.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
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  3. #3
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    I should probably include a picture of where this will be going- I have an instrument display where I would be mounting the unit- The electronics will be exposed in the rear of the unit- or at least partly. airflow would come in from the cabin area. The bezel would be sealed around the edges, not truly fully enclosed.

    edit - cockpit pic added - see first post.
    "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."

  4. #4
    FLAC Jahntassa's Avatar
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    It sounds like you've got a good idea. I believe the 'resistive' touchscreen will work through the plastic sheet as you have detailed. I think you'd have problems if the touchscreen were the 'capacitative' type, which operates similar to a laptop touchpad.

  5. #5
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Most touchscreens (at least the overlays for lcd's) are resisitive nowadays because you can use anything from a stylus to a banana to make it work opposed to your finger or something like that.

    I think your idea is good. It is gonna take some time though.

    I was thinking with the fan, maybe if you put the fan in the middle of the back, then below the fan inside the case as well as directly behind, could have plastic or something there, and then the top would be where the air actually is circulated.

    If you were to look at it from the side, it would be a "L" shape. Closed on all sides but the top with a little puddle area. That way, if some water does go in, it hits the back wall and collects in the little "L" area and not on your circuits.

    Similar to the dip in wires when you install stuff near water.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input everyone! I am thinking of creating a housing similar to the draft image below. The bezel would be separate from the back of the housing where the monitor would rest. The upside down "L" there would divert any water that did get into the dash away from the internal fan and wires. Internally I would probably add a few preventative measures to divert any water away as well, however I think if water got in that far it could be all over anyway. This pretty much has to be sealed to the dash right the first time. I think the other real tricky part here will be getting the touch screen to work properly with a sealed plastic overlay to keep it water tight.

    So we really have two seals - the plastic over the touch screen and the seal of the unit to the dash.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."

  7. #7
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Looks nice. How are you cutting it? Laser?
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate
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    Check www.autonode.com. They have exactly what you are looking for.

  9. #9
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    Thanks GiODi i just shot them an email. I suspect that for a 1500 nit screen the cost will be north of 2 grand tho.

    2k1Toaster- I might have the housing and bezel vacuformed over a mold or i might just have a local stainless steel shop fabricate the houseing and bezel. There is nothing in my garage that will make a straight enough cut to make it look good.
    "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate
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    No prob... it feels good to actually be useful on this forum after all this time. I found the response email I got from them when I asked about these for my car a few months ago. The 10.4" is $2739 and the 8.4 is $2649 if you do decide to go with this option, i'll be a little upset if you weenie out on that extra $90 and get the 8.4:

    "Thank you for your interest in our SolarView rugged displays. Our DRP.100 series of displays represent the most rugged LCD monitors on the market today with IP68 and NEMA 6P ratings. These monitors can be too rugged for some applications which results in overkill.

    The DRP.110B is priced competitively at $2739.00 and the DRP.108B at $2649. These prices are hundreds below our competitor's less rugged offerings. If you require a less rugged or semi-rugged solution at a lower pricepoint, please let me know and I will forward information.

    Thank you kindly for your time and please let me know if you have any
    questions.

    --
    Best regards,
    Autonode Sales Dept
    [email protected]
    212.202.2350"


    They also have a less rugged 10.4" for $1180 which may or may or may not be available yet. I got this email on 6/8:

    "Please reference the following primary specifications:
    10.4" Semi-rugged SolarView TFT-LCD Monitor
    SolarView Sunlight Readable
    VGA, Video or VGA/Video Inputs
    Semi-rugged Chassis
    Touchscreen Option
    Protective Glass
    1500 nits
    1280x1024 SXGA Resolution
    Standard VESA Mount

    2-3 week availability
    $1180 FOB ID USA

    This price is $500 below other inferior semi-rugged LCDs
    and nearly 1/4 the price of a fully rugged LCD. Please let me know if
    you have any other questions. Thank you
    "

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