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Author Topic:   Marinized Laptop?
SuburbanBoy posted 05-07-2002 09:38 AM ET (US)   Profile for SuburbanBoy   Send Email to SuburbanBoy  
Marinized Laptop?
I noticed that is selling closeouts of a Panasonic Toughbook 17. This is a water resistant, magnesium case, ruggedized notebook. The Toughbook is is one of the few notebook lines that I would consider using in a marine environment. It includes a CD and an 8.4" screen. The screen is small compared to standard laptops, but the few examples I have seen (used by some field surveyors outside, and in police cars) have been visible in an outdoor environment. Combined with an older GPS and newer CD mapping software you would have a nice color GPS system. Toughbooks have numerous interesting accessories available for mounting and power options. This is not a mainstream device, but they are somewhat unusual, and I thought that some of our fellow Whalers might have an interest. I do not work for Panasonic or BTW, it is $700. Go to and search for toughbook.


Ready2Rip posted 05-07-2002 09:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ready2Rip  Send Email to Ready2Rip     
Another option is to use an IPaq with the GPS receiver base, along with the MapTech GPS software. Should have mine within a couple weeks. You can see it at



Duncan posted 05-07-2002 09:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Duncan  Send Email to Duncan     
I'd like to "marinize" my work laptop......kerplunk! Oops, sorry boss.
SuburbanBoy posted 05-07-2002 11:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     

Will that now be an HP IPaq? What is the total investment, including all hardware? Is it a water resistant solution? I went to your link it looks nice. I am interested in the GPSMap 75S (Garmin) but I want to use it to navigate in my car as well as Whaler. It is about $400 to $500 as I recall. It is submergable for a short period of time. Don't know if it will work in my car.


Ready2Rip posted 05-07-2002 01:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ready2Rip  Send Email to Ready2Rip     
I guess you're right, that probably is now an HP iPAQ. It all depends upon the model iPAQ you get, but I'm looking at the iPAQ 3870 (w/bluetooth) for $649. The GPS sleeve and MapTech software will run another $350.

It's not ruggedized or water resistant, so I'll have to be careful with it.


triblet posted 05-07-2002 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Wost case, keep it in a big zip lock.


andygere posted 05-07-2002 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I use a Panosonic Toughbook (I'll have to check the model) in my company, and they are used for several other applications by other staff here as well. I needed a laptop that could handle the dust, vibration and moisture typical in a water treatment plant, and it has performed and held up really well. Other Toughbooks are installed in roving operator trucks for microwave communication with our SCADA system (think heat, vibration, dust) and in our leak repair crew trucks for our mobile GIS system (think big burly guys, heat, vibration, dust, moisture). The best feature is the heavy duty handle for carrying it without the typical fru-fru little briefcase.
dogface posted 05-07-2002 07:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for dogface  Send Email to dogface     
I use my HP laptop interfaced with a Garmin Legend and Garmin Bluechartplotter software. I have no problem seeing the screen during the day though I do have to turn down the brightness at night. The HP fits right on top of my console next to my fish finder. I also use my indash GPS. It is very hard to use the touch pad when you are bouncing around and the mouse is awkward. I put the laptop on one of those nonskid rubber mats you can get at Walmart and it doesn't budge. It has gotten quite wet but keeps working. It is not the greatest setup but I can take it home and program all my destinations and waypoints plus review past trips.
browning20ga posted 05-07-2002 07:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
That IS a tough laptop, I used one for about 3 years, it will "take a lickin and keep on tickin". I dropped mine off of a 5' high shelf onto a concret floor, didn't miss a beat. another guy spilled a cup of coffee all over the keyboard, rinsed it off never had a problem. These little guys are tough and reliable. Don't know how salt air would effect them, but thats a great price for your GPS application.
andygere posted 05-08-2002 02:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Mine is a Toughbook CF-71. It does look kind of cool with it's James Bond looking magnesium case....
Whalerdan posted 05-08-2002 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
I work with the Airforce, and they use them all over the place. I think I heard they bought something like 6,000 of them. Pretty tough and not too expensive.
Chris J posted 05-08-2002 11:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
Before anyone runs out and buys one of these, I'd like to point out that:

1. It has a 300 MHz celeron processor... last year's technology, to say the least.
2. 64 MB RAM, which is a bit scanty if you plan to run current applications.
3. No CD-ROM, network card, or floppy, so no practical way to load software without buying an external drive.

It is tempting at that price and the idea of having a nearly indestructible computer is kind of cool, but unless you have a specific application in mind or already own compatible peripherals it is probably not the best choice.

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