After a number of years of faithful service, I retired my Soekris net6501 linux system which started life on Jammy, and moved to Grace. I had purchased this back in 2012 to replace an older Soekris net5501 system that had been in place for even longer. Replacing the net6501 was a brand new, Raspberry Pi B starter kit I purchased on Amazon from CanaKit.
I was excited at the power savings from the Pi, as well as the wifi option, and faster, more capable CPUs. In addition to the Pi kit itself, I also needed a 12v to 5v converter, which I also found on Amazon. Longer term I want to do something more marine-grade for this as time allows.
I kept the standard Pi operating system, and added my own tools and tweaks for my systems administration preferences, including Zabbix for remote monitoring from my central site. I connected up my Actisense gateway, and had SignalK running again in about an hour’s time.
So far the new platform handles running SignalK, the various monitoring apps, and AIS monitoring software even faster and more efficiently than the Soekris did, and at less than half of the power consumption! Oh, and it’s about 1/4 the size as well. A win all around.
I installed the Pi behind the Navigation master panel directly connected to the main part of the N2K bus, and on the same circuit as my AIS class-B Vesper XB-8000 transponder, which I generally leave on 24×7.
So far I am very impressed with the Pi platform on the boat. Of course, I had Pi’s for my ADS-B stuff around for a while (will write that up soon) and already had proven their usefulness, but I appreciate the compact capabilities especially for a space constrained sailboat.
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