Panbo

Planar LX, first impressions

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Sep 4, 2008

Planar_LX_vs_Garmin_5212_cPanbo

Well, I’m impressed, and you may be too when you check out the bigger image. Repeating the image on that Garmin 5212 (via VGA cable) is a Planar LX1201PTI, one of the marine touchscreen family recently discussed. Both are turned up to max brightness and I did my best to balance the three photo lights arrayed around them. I think the Garmin 5000 Series has become the bench mark of bright touchscreen displays, and to my eye the LX is just a dite less bright, but has slightly more saturated and contrasty colors. The  waterproof and reasonably priced LX also seems well made and is designed with multiple mounting options besides the surface mount I rigged (by snapping off the plastic bezel). Nice.

Of course the LX’s touch interface didn’t work in that set up because the Garmin doesn’t have a USB port to support it. But my laptop does, and that’s what you can see in the slightly weird photo below, bigger here. Again both screens are at max brightness but the difference is so great that when I set the camera exposure for the LX, the laptop sort of vanished. I strongly suspect that in bright sunlight, the laptop will truly disappear but the LX will still be readable. But I will try it. I’m also looking forward to trying Planar’s own touchscreen drivers, which include finger tap customization and other screen management functions (the only control of the LX itself is brightness). I did try a generic IR touchscreen driver and the Cruising mode of Coastal Explorer 2.0 (beta, the real deal due soon, really!) worked fairly well with it. I’m still wondering which charting programs are truly finger friendly.

Planar_LX_vs_Laptop_CE2_cPanbo

Comments

Soo.... I wonder how well that would work with my Furuno NAVNET 3D MFD12....
Hmmm...
I'm already using a wireless keyboard and mouse. Tempting...

Posted by: Boats at September 5, 2008 12:16 AM | Reply

Unrelated to this post ... there is more news on that tragic accident in Buzzards Bay in which a 63 foot power boat drove over a sailboat lengthwise from stern to bow, killing the pilot.

The power boat owner mentioned the chartplotter was a contributing factor in the accident.

The power boat owner made a statement on the day of the article which is now public ... "I was setting waypoint on GPS, looked up to see sailboat in front of me. No time to avoid crash.", but has since taken the 5th ammendment.

The whole article is here ...
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080816/NEWS/808160335/-1/OPINION02

Posted by: Dan (b393capt) at September 5, 2008 11:19 AM | Reply

Ben, interesting post...to your knowledge is there a standard for touch panel interface objects/actions? Are marine electronics manufacturers looking to support such a standard such that display providers like Planar can play in their ecosystem? I, too, like the idea of an LX connected into my Navnet network so that I can have more options for remote touch displays on my often damp flybridge (where they'd be especially handy) and elsewhere on the boat.

Drew

Posted by: Drew Clark at September 5, 2008 4:57 PM | Reply

Ben, what about the other end of the rainbow? How do the displays compare for dimming at night?

Posted by: Larry Brandt at September 5, 2008 11:32 PM | Reply

Larry, the LX can dim to black with 256 brightness steps in between. Drew, the Windows USB install facility found an IR driver that enabled the touchscreen of the LX, but I'm about to install a Planar driver that has a lot more features. Will report.

Posted by: Ben at September 6, 2008 2:40 PM | Reply

Thanks for taking the time to review the LX1201PTI http://www.planarembedded.com/products/mariner/. We'll keep you informed of our new products for the marine market. We welcome input on desired features and problems that need to be solved regarding displays in a marine environment.

Keep up the great work.

Posted by: Hal Newton at October 3, 2008 5:59 PM | Reply

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