Carriage of Notebook Computers

Submitted: Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00
ThreadID: 2824 Views:1674 Replies:6 FollowUps:15
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I would be interested in learning how others travel with their Notebook PCs when out in the bush;
a) when not in use and in carriage bag - best carried on end or carried flat? Does this have any effect on the Hard Drive? and alternatively
b) when connected to GPS and in active use and travelling alone.
I am concerned on possible effects from prolonged travel on corrugations etc.
At moment PC has pride of place on a pillow!
Advice please.
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00
I always carry mine standing up as that way nothing heavy can be accidentally stacked on it to damage it.

I haven't yet used mine while driving but it's something I'll need to consider as I'd like to log the GPS when I get a chance to go on some extended trips.

One factor I considered when purchasing was weight. Less weight means less effect from corrugations. I ended up getting a Fujitsu P1030 which weighs less than 900 grams.
AnswerID: 10691

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - David - Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

We have used notebooks whilst travelling for the last 5 years. For the first three years just nightly updating our old Beach & Beyond website to now all day every day plotting trip plot files and taking hundreds of waypoints.

We carry our vehicle NEC system strapped into the rear passenger seat on top of our camera bags. I strap it in open with the screen open so that Michelle can turn her head to view it and use the keyboard/mouse. It is inside it's NEC (targa) bag using the seat belt waist strap between the keyboard and the screen ad the sholder strap holding the screen open.

To date I have not had any major problems with the systems at all. We used a Toshiba system before the NEC and had no problems with that either.

Putting the computer on a pillow may be a good idea as long as it is strapped down somehow. Also remember that they run real hot underneath so do not store it directly on something that may be effected by the heat.

So as for problems with HDD units and corrugations, we travel with the thing running all the time and even using window only ventilation (vehicle insides covered in red dust) all the time and have never had a problem with either machine we have used to date. Mind you I have a complete HDD backup on the office machine.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 10692

Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00
Thanks David, seems I need not take any special precautions beyond those you have listed. I have a Toshiba Satellite Pro and would now like to "graduate" to continuous track monitoring with Garmin 12 and OziExplorer software.
Many thanks
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Follow Up By: Michelle Jacka - Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

Our first unit was (I sold it last week) a Toshiba Satellite 480CDT system. I do not know but working in the computer industry and also this 4WD business - i have never heard of many units failing caused by 4WD'ing. I can just wait for the people to now bombard me with mine failed, and mine failed also but really, I do not worry too much about our systems just run them and hope nothing goes too wrong. Remember these machines are designed to the travelled with. I think that aircraft and baggage storage on planes is not much better than the 4WD trip, we use our machines jogging around in turbulance and no one really worries.

Go out end enjoy - but don't spean too much time on the bloody computer enjoy the bush.

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Reply By: sean - Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

Monday, Jan 06, 2003 at 01:00

In our work we send 4wd vehicles with notebook computers across most of the NT. Computers also get mounted on trolleys adn get severe vibration when running. the screws fall out of the cases but in 5 years have only had one HD failure from a notebook that was dropped on conccrete. ALso had broken screens.
We use toshibas powered by cheap square wave inverters. I can not see you having any probs with a good brand. We buy the cheapest toshibas we can get, with the smallest screens because they draw less power and are more robust. We never buy the top of line models.


AnswerID: 10695

Reply By: OziExplorer - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00
Mike have you considered an iPaq Windows CE unit running OziExplorer in preference to a laptop.
You can see the screen in full bright direct sunlight or for that matter in any light conditions.
I would not even consider going back to a laptop now that I use an iPaq. You can get some inexpensive mounts to fit the large majority of cars to properly mount your iPaq in the vehicle.
AnswerID: 10697

Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00
iPaq is new to me - some sort of Palm? A web address would be handy please.
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Follow Up By: Lyds - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00


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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 13:05

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 13:05
This gives me a completely new train for thought. I do see possibilities, thanks
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Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 14:29

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 14:29
Mike, personally, I find the advantage of the CE device over the laptop is a no contest from every angle. iPaq's run WindowsCE which is cut down version of the desktop operating system, and has all the major applications already on board. I have all sorts of other geological and astronomy software loaded as well. Firstly, with an iPaq it does not matter what light conditions you have with an iPaq, from full bright sunlight which is most of the time in a car to darkness, the unit automatically adjusts. They are small and can easily be mounted for the driver to see it. They have no limits on Route Waypoints like the desktop version has, can be used while bush walking or exploring, and generally offers everything you need. You can upload and download all features your GPS offers in the form of Waypoints, Tracks and Routes and is substantially cheaper option than a laptop. WinCE can also be used to connect your mobile phone to mobile e-mail, fax and data (internet) if you require. If you want any information on OziCE and speak with the users all over the world, just sign on here:
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Follow Up By: Lyds - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 16:07

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 16:07

How do you find the smaller screen size on the iPAQ compared to a laptop?


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Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 16:49

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 16:49
Lyds not an issue at all, because you can actually see everthing on the screen clearly - which is most definitely not the case with a laptop. You nearly need to put a dark towel or something over your head and the laptop screen to see it. What is more, OziCE allows you to move the pointer so you have more where you are heading up ahead - what this in effect does is put the moving map pointer close to the bottom of the screen if you are heading north - north east or north west, however, when you start to travel south it swings around to the top of the screen and moves down. It is just fabulous the way they have implemented it. All the field workers and pilots I associate with now all use WindowsCE units, and just about everyone uses OziCE with their GPS. OziCE also allows you to change the settings for land, sea and air so the termonology is correct. I will put up a URL for some pictures later today for you.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 19:34

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 19:34
OziExplorer, VMT for the info you have now posted on your URL. Brilliant! and what I need! I am now exploring my options. I assume that maps I have dowloaded to Notebook can be loaded to OziCE at same time I upload route and Waypoints to GPS? On completion of trip I can dowload from GPS to either CE and/ or Notebook. Where is the problem?
Many thanks
FollowupID: 5735

Follow Up By: Janset - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 20:41

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 20:41
Ozi Explorer.

Hi How do you have your iPAQ connected to the GPS and what brand/model GPS do you have?

Could you drop me an email at :

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Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 21:26

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 21:26
Mike I don't get the gist of this statement/question.
On completion of trip I can dowload from GPS to either CE and/ or Notebook. Where is the problem?

Yes, that is correct, but with OziCE there is no limit on the Waypoints in the Route like there is on the desktop version.

Yes, you can use the maps on CE that you use on the notebook, but you need to use the Img2OZF free conversion utility on the OziExplorer website to convert the images for CE use. This gives you substantial advantages over the format you use on the desktop, and you can use the OZF format on your desktop as well, but PNG should be your first choice. With the OZF format, you get 10% zoom steps which is great. You can have massive files on OziCE as the OZF format is based on PNG and only holds in memory what is displayed on the screen. This format pages the memory that quickly, you would not know it is happening. The speed is nothing short of incredible. This is why you can smooth one second updates.

Janset, I always use the genuine Compaq iPaq cables as they are cheap and then cut and marry a non-genuine Garmin plug on the end. I have seen to many failures with non-genuine iPaq cables. The plugs they fit are really cheap and nasty.
Presently I use a Garmin eMap and a Magellan SporTrak Pro. I only ever connect the Garmin eMap to the WinCE unit, as it is better suited to the freeware G7toCE I use to manipulate and change navigational data. I am also not fussed on the connection setup required for Magellan. However, the SporTrak range is the first really great receiver Magellan has brought out. Pity the price in Australia is so damned ridiculous.
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Follow Up By: Michael Ralston - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 09:43

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 09:43
Is the amount of HD memory on a ipac suffiicient to store say the Hema Desert maps so that moving map displays can be used in Ozieplorer?
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Follow Up By: Janset - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 16:07

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 16:07
Thanks for that Oziexplorer.

Where did you buy your cables? Here in Perth everywhere I ask I am told the they do not know anything about such things but they can make a few enquiries. When I ask them would they also ask as to the colour coding withing the wiring, their knees go to jelly.

So you see, here in Perth, we are the poor cousins in the information stakes. I also can not turn anything up on the Web!!

Would you have the colour codings/functions of wiring coming from the iPAQ, this would be of great help to me. Questions like this are why I asked for you email address as I think most do dot wish to be bored with this kind of info and every day this posting gets pushed further down the list.

I guess it is a loose-loose situation in my case.

FollowupID: 5803

Follow Up By: Lyds - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 17:06

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 17:06

Looks like this needs a topic on its own. Perhaps even a formal note!

You may just need to translate some of the bits from techo to english for some viewers.


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Reply By: Foz - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 01:00
I carry my Think Pad flat on 3 inches of foam in the back of a cruiser and so far no problems with corrugations. Don`t have GPS though, but am working towards it.
AnswerID: 10706

Reply By: Member - Kevin - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 13:00

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 13:00
I carry my ThinkPad in its carry bag behing the drivers seat, standing upright. Have had no problems in 3 years of doing this.

AnswerID: 10721

Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 13:08

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003 at 13:08
Thanks guys. This will impress my wife who's concerned about the safety of her ThinkPad in the 4WD. Generally I have to say it apears Notebooks are tougher than I first assumed.
RThanks to all for the good and very interesting responses.
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