Mailport: November 2013
Great article on navigation software for Macintosh computers (PS, July 2013). I have been having so much difficulty getting a GPS signal into my GPSNavX (via Keyspan HS19) that I rejoiced to read about OpenCPN.
But when I tried to download it, I ran into a few problems: 1. There’s nothing to tell you which version to download for non-Intel Macs (OS 10.4.11); 2. After spending two hours on this project, I ended being unable to contact anyone (even via email) at the company to ask for advice. I finally found a remote item under FAQs that confirmed all: Using OS 10.4.11 on my old-dinosaur Mac PowerBook G4 doesn’t cut it with OpenCPN.
It may be time for an upgrade. I have stuck with my old G4 because I can run it directly on my 12-volt system. Can you recommend a newer Mac laptop that will still run on 12-volt power? And are 12-volt power supplies available? I am loathe—for old-fashioned reasons—to dedicate a separate inverter just for the laptop.
Havis Amanda, 1984 Nauticat 38
Lake Union, Seattle
We suggest checking with a Mac/Apple vendor, but there seem to be many options for an auto-adapter that can match the output voltage required for Macbook Pro or other Mac laptops. Typically designed for charging a device via a car’s cigarette-lighter socket, the adapters use 12-volt power and outputs range from 45 watts to 85 watts. This is a pretty straightforward process, so we imagine you’ll have a few options. We’ve not yet tested these adapters, but www.macbookadapter.com seems to have a varied selection.
Another option would be to use a pocket inverter like those made by Duracell. This may be a safer method, but it’ll also be slightly less efficient.
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