Cockpit MAC, w/ touchpad

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Sep 12, 2007


That’s an Argonaut Tflex-G615 under that extra layer of protection, just like the one I tested, and it’s connected to a down-below Mac Mini that’s running MacENC. This is on an “unsinkable” ETAP 37 belonging to Bob Etter, who’s a principal at ETAP Charter Lease and apparently a devoted Mac navigator. This shot was taken when he first tried the setup—“It could be brighter…For less that a grand, it is fantastic!”—and I hope to hear soon how well it worked this summer. I do know that he’s added a NSi waterproof touchpad, which looks like a neat piece a gear. NSi_waterproof_touchpadIt’s made of stainless steel, “vandalproof” too. Apparently it uses “Field Distortion Technology” which means it is not pressure sensitive—“a light touch is sufficient, tracking your fingertip precisely.” But because of “the capacitive working principle, the unit might not work with thicker gloves.” On the other hand (there I go again), “it will operate at all mounting angles and it does not require cleaning or maintenance.” There’s a lot to learn about touch technology. By the way, NSi also makes a trackball with software controlled back-lighting, called the Chameleon, which may well be the source of the neat Palladium visual alarming trackball I spotted at the Ft. Lauderdale show last year.


Looks like it made TUAW 'Rig of the week'..

Posted by: GPSNavX at September 13, 2007 4:41 PM | Reply

Today Panbo is getting a lot of hits from a German blog entry titled "Mac mini sticht in die See":

Posted by: Ben at September 14, 2007 2:33 PM | Reply

The translation, courtesy of Google, of the entry in the german web log referring to Panbo would be ...

Mac mini stings into the sea (e.g. is commented about over seas)

There still one is to say, the Mac belongs in the living room! A Mac mini ensures on the boat of Bob Etter, boss of the boat lender Etap, for the correct course on high lake. In connection with a 15-Zoll-Display, the navigation software McENC and a water-steady Touchpad the Mac becomes the small navigation miracle. Pictures on the American naval Web log Panbo show the system in the employment. Thus nothing more should stand to the next sail turn in the way - presupposed, the Mac does not become seasick.
hmm ... don't think this translation is as good as it could be, although it appears clearly "american naval web log" is a compliment, and "Mac does not become seasick" is a concern.

Posted by: Dan (b393capt) at September 15, 2007 9:53 PM | Reply

Thanks, bcapt! This entry also got on the Dutch site MacFreak:

Which translates (very roughly!) as:

"Already different successful attempts have been done Mac build in mini in a car, but know at my for the first time Mac mini have now incorporated in a sail boat.
There are three popular navigation parcels for OSX: PassagePlus, GPSNavX and MacEnc. This last has been now used in the mini built in in Etap 37.
An impermeable posting and touchpad grasped in stainless steel complete whole. And now but hope that the accumulators have enough capacity…."

At any rate, Panbo is definitely accumulating visitors...over 4,000 yesterday compared to a normal Saturday of about 1,250!

Posted by: Ben at September 16, 2007 7:01 AM | Reply

Thats great!

Why did you not use a touchscreen?

Posted by: Marcin at September 17, 2007 7:17 AM | Reply

Hello, we also write about that article :

thanks for that info.

Posted by: Bodenseeschifferpatent at September 18, 2007 4:54 AM | Reply

The German site MacTechNews too:

It was a Mac attack!

Posted by: Ben at September 18, 2007 6:06 AM | Reply

Do you have a source for trackpad in the USA?
Thanks, Roy

Posted by: Roy at September 26, 2007 11:45 PM | Reply

I contacted RDS in The UK and they were able to ship the touchpad directly to me.


Posted by: bobetter at September 28, 2007 8:13 PM | Reply

Can anyone tell me, whether there are charts covering the european waters available for the macenc software? If so, I would be very greatful for according information.


Posted by: Arwed Guenther at September 29, 2007 8:56 AM | Reply

MacENC uses ENCs. For European waters, they are available from:

Posted by: bobetter at September 29, 2007 5:37 PM | Reply

Has anyone integrated radar into this setup? If so, which unit? Thanks.

Posted by: Homer at October 23, 2007 12:03 PM | Reply

Hopefully this comment will be noted by Bob Etter, the owner of the Mac Mini marine navigation setup. I am thinking along the same lines and was wondering: (a) How did you power the unit? I was thinking of using the Carnetix CNX-P1900 140 watt 12V DC-DC Regulator. (b) How has the unit stood up to the marine environment?

Posted by: Mark Gibson at February 10, 2009 8:36 PM | Reply

I did use Carnetix power supplies. I have 2 in the system, 1 for the 2 monitors and 1 for the Mac, USB hard drive, GPS, AIS, and Sat phone. I used P2140's as their current capacity gives me a big safety margin when the batteries get low and because there is some SW with which I can tweak them. The whole system has stood up to the marine environment just fine.

Posted by: Bob Etter at February 11, 2009 9:28 AM | Reply

Thanks Bob.

Posted by: Mark Gibson at February 12, 2009 4:54 PM | Reply

Black Friday marine monitor sale! Apparently Argonaut built too many 17- and 19-inch G7 LED monitors and is cutting prices deeply through Friday. All dealers are supposedly offering the $999.99 and $1,099.99 pricing, including Defender:

Posted by: Ben E at November 21, 2012 10:46 AM | Reply

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