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boat lcd/touchscreen: sunlight readable, watertight, touchscreen

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

    Update: 9/5/2006

    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    Here is a pic of the helm area- On the left is the current (outdated) gps system and the mount point for a new flush lcd.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 Files
    "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."

  • #2
    Well the fan would make it not so waterproof.
    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 Store


    • #3
      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
        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
          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 Store


          • #6
            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 Files
            "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."


            • #7
              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 Store


              • #8
                Check They have exactly what you are looking for.


                • #9
                  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
                    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

                    Best regards,
                    Autonode Sales Dept
                    [email protected]

                    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


                    • #11
                      the funny thing is 2600.00 is pretty much on par or better than other pricing in this area. And yeah- the 10.4 inch looks pretty tight so I think it would fit in the space I have.

                      But this sort of brings me back to why i thought about doing this project- At these prices I could by two or three or even four replacement transreflective touch lcds for the same price as these "ruggedized" monitors at the going prices. - Although that 10.4 inch 1100.00 model is pretty intrigueing. I'll be interested to see what semi-rugged means. water tight but don't give it a beating? Give it a beating but no watertight? My boat has a pretty smooth ride so it just needs really to be able to resist salt water, sunlight, and beer.

                      edit- I guess an important concern is reliability since this will be a water navigation aid, but what self respecting captain wouldn't have paper charts handy as a standby?
                      "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."


                      • #12
                        Ok I heard back from about their monitors. They look great and definitely will do the job but nothing came in under 2600 bucks.

                        I also did some other research and found waterproof monitors for as low as 1500.00, however they were housed in big obnoxious boxes. yech.

                        So I ordered one of the transreflective screens this morning. They come fully assembled now instead of as an open kit so I don't have to worry about breaking it while testing it out.

                        The fun part will be creating the waterproof housing- Stay tuned.
                        "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."


                        • #13
                          See original post for update.
                          "Why? ... 'cause this ride ain't gonna pimp itself."


                          • #14
                            to big kahuana guy

                            I am a little bit ahead of you ... but we are both on the same track. boater not car. congrads ...

                            whether you know it or not you have made a sound decision to go this seaclear route and not the blue water screen of death from garmin. blue water is RECALLED indefinatly. what over priced crapp


                            here is where i am . sea clear with all the maps. you can also use google earth pictures and use the map cal app to add them in as alternate or prefered maps.
                            i found the cd of the maps on ebay for 5 bucks, put all maps in one directory.
                            make sure you get the comdisable.msi from microsoft. this keeps that fookin rat ball mouse trash that microsoft just has to support (egotists) from showing up.

                            i have a usb 2 hub on a 30 foot cord to a itx pc buried in the boat somewhere. a garmin 5 gps on a serial cable. all off of 12 volts. a nav station in the galley area with a 12 volt monitor and roll up key board(propalactic) a pen mouse .

                            on the deck at the tiller i have a sunlight touch screen i got from logic supply.
                            which is about where you are. kudos. if not further.

                            here is what i also did. i am a control engineer. so ...
                            my engine and drive system is under full etronic control. i use hydraulics instead of transmissions and so forth so a spool valve and pressure controler is a snap.
                            i actually used the PWM servos they use in R/C planes for the choke and throttle. (hobby engineering .com for the microprocessor controller. ) NOTE ONLY USE WIRE WOUND POTS for interfaceing and control never use thin film slide or turn pots. wire wound only. for critical marine applications

                            also a compass sensor board usb from i also have a wind speed and direction detector. usb as well.

                            i also have a sparkfun weather station pressure humidity temp and sunlight measurments. usb.
                            all engine sensors are hooked up to the system as well as the normal gauges. i also have a digital amp gauge.

                            i have a few extras on the chesapeake bay thunderstorms can appear almost out of no where. i have a lightening detector with alert..

                            the PC IMPORTANT. a hard drive will do ok but it can be replaced with a Solid state drive. i have the kingston SSD v5 65 gig. 160 from CDW.

                            the whole thing uses 9 watts and boots win XP in 4 seconds using the new intel atom processor from logic supply (69$)
                            a world wide tide current app is also available called WXTIDE. it is awsome and if you can program you can integrate it well with the seaclear application.
                            even by itself it is great to have. WX has another cool extra, the watch bell sounds play every 30 min.

                            and last but not least i have my humminbird tied in as well. it tells me the depth and randomly names fishes. sailing can be boring at times waiting for the big fan to start.

                            i also have a program called C3P0 ( i know i know) it uses Carrier phase precise positioning to get 2 mm accuracy. this is used to measure anchor drift.

                            toss in a dvd/cd player and a usb radio or usb sat receiver and your good to sit at the dock.

                            total cost $500 or so. the most expensive single component is the SSD followed by the weather station.

                            i can pilot and sail the boat from the stateroom or the bar using the video cameras i added. cheap web cams.

                            NEXT to add a FUBUTA R/C Trans Rec so i can send the boat to the fuel dock by it's self while i sit at the bar.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by skipberne View Post
                              total cost $500 or so. the most expensive single component is the SSD followed by the weather station.
                              Totally impossible. You can't even get a sunlight readable touchscreen for that, let alone a mini itx computer and SSD.

                              Specifically what monitor did you get to use at the tiller?