12 volt Windows computer recomendation

I have been using a 12 volt Logic fan-less computer for the last 10 years but it has
finally given up. Does anyone know of any available replacements in the 7 to 8 hundred dollar range??



There are plenty of these out there, Seatronx, Hatteland and others, google industrial PC for other suggestions. They are generally stupid expensive and a ways behind in speed and technology. I suggest a Lenovo M Tiny series ThinkCentre Tiny Desktops | M Series Business PCs | Lenovo US | Lenovo US
and couple that with a Victron Energy DC-DC converter set for 20V to power the PC.
Orion-Tr DC-DC Converters Isolated - Victron Energy
If you have a 12 volt boat system, get the 12-24 converter and match your wattage to the PC requirements. The VE converters have an adjustable output that you can set to exactly 20V (the lenovo is powered by a 19V power supply) and the output is rock solid despite fluctuations in your ships power. Be sure to get the Lenovo with a solid state HD and it should last forever. The VE Orion-Tr 12/24-10 is a 12 to 24 converter with adjustable output and up to 240 watts output, $70 on Amazon. The Lenovo uses 135 watts, so this should be compatible.
I have this setup x 2 for our helm computers and Seatronx touchscreen monitors. One system is playing CE and the other is playing N2K view from Maretron with both programs installed on both machines for instant redundancy. I’m using the Seatronx PHM21W and PHM15. These are considerably more expensive than the PC’s, but worth every penny when running at night, they dim to near zero which is near impossible to find in any consumer monitor.
I also use another dc-dc converter to power my N2K network in the middle of the backbone with the output set on 14v which holds the network end to end voltage tightly regulated.

We have a couple of these for boat shows and I think one of our employees has used one aboard his boat, if I remember correctly. They’re pretty nice, highly configurable, and worth investigating.

Steven, My boat computer just died so I’m also in a search for the next Small Form Factor machine. Can you tell us what the optimum computer hardware configuration is for running CE. In other words, can you recommend a processor and memory that would not become obsolete so quickly as CE continues to evolve and Windows 11 comes on the scene. Thanks

Frank, My last PC was an Asus VivoPC and lasted 8 years. It just died - not sure why. The new model is called a VC66-C2. Here is a link:


I think it might be in your price range. I used it with a small pocket inverter to power both the computer and the monitor.

Rich, this is just my 2 cents. I’m a big fan of more is better than less, especially if you’re looking for avoid early obsolescence.

Personally, I wouldn’t want something less that the below:

  • Core i5
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256 GB SSD.

Within that, there are lots of other permutations, such as clock-speed of the processor, etc., but the higher that is the greater the current and heat, and heat is the enemy, unless you have good cooling, which then takes more current. So, trade-offs abound.

For RAM, we don’t need more than 4GB but Windows will be happy to have more, especially as it grows, then there’s whatever else you may choose to do with it, so 16GB won’t hurt, except your wallet. SSD is plenty for Windows, CE, charts, et al., but more won’t hurt. More > Less, literally and figuratively. :wink:

I hope this helps.

Thank you Steven, yes, that’s a great guide for my next Boat computer.

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I have been using an intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing) which is a small 4”x4”x1.5” box mounted to my NAV station bulkhead.

It was designed to work on 18-wheeler trucks, so it does just fine on 12v (no DC voltage modification needed). Running Windows 10 (21H2) on 1.0 TB M.2 SSD Chip w/ 16 GB RAM.

The SuperSonic SC-1912 LED Widescreen HDTV 19”, Built-in DVD Player with HDMI, USB & AC/DC Input has been a great low-cost alternative to the high-end (and very expensive) touchscreen model that Ron uses aboard his Commercial Research Vessel.

It runs on 12v DC native, so again… my entire ship board computer and display system runs on 12 v direct (without need for the Victron DC-DC gizmo).

This 720p display is not touch screen but at $192 it is quite the bargain. They also have a 24” model (1080p) which cost $216 on Amazon. It has higher resolution, but also requires more space at the Nav station.

You can use a Rosepoint Nemo Gateway to connect wireless, but I am still amortizing my ActiSense NGT1 USB Gateway to connect Garmin NMEA 2k Bus to my Win10 CE4 NAV computer. Internet connectivity is provided via the Wirie Pro, using 802.11 and Cellular connectivity. Found that Consumer Cellular has a SIMM card that doesn’t require an “approved” IMEI device number… got it with unlimited data in conjunction with service on mobile and iPad.

Mounted the SuperSonic HDMI display on a swinging wall-mount bracket, so it could be rotated toward the main cabin to play movies at night…

Upgrade to (4) Firefly 31D Carbon Foam Batteries helped a lot (given the power draw) using (2) 100-watt solar panels, and the new Balmar MC-618 Intelligent Voltage Regulator (which has a charging profile specifically designed for Firefly carbon foam batteries). Highly suggest using both Balmar battery temp sensors and alternator temp sensor, to control potential to overcharge batteries. Ditto for temp sensors on your solar controllers…

Things can get a little tight when jamming (4) 31D’s below the Quarterberth on a 35’ sloop…

Would love to go with 21” display, but space is tight!

NAV Station Photo|667x500

I have used Fit-PC computers for running CE aboard for about 10 years now. Never had a problem. they burn about 8 watts max, and are built to mil-spec; everything but the memory and drive is soldered. Big heat sink, 6 usb, usually 2 hdmi, or whatever you configure.
I’ve got 2 now, one’s for sale if you’re interested.
Buy direct from fit-PC or you can find them on Amazon sometimes.

How is that monitor at night? I went through 2 other inexpensive monitors and one expensive one before I found the Seatronx that would actually dim down to a useful level. We do a considerable amount of running at night and every consumer monitor we tried was still too bright. You could dim the “data/image” on the screen, but not the backlight LED. It’s amazing how much you can see in the dark if you don’t have bright lights in the pilothouse. The Seatronx have a knob right on the front panel that is the dimmer control, it does menu options as well. I wish I could have afforded these years ago. No need if you are just day tripping, but for extended night navigation these are the bees knees.


Nice hearing from you… :paw_prints:

The display does not dim down as well as your expensive Seatronx, but it is at my Nav station (in my cabin)… not at the helm, where I steer by way of my Garmin Chartplotter (which does dim down sufficiently).

So I do lower the brightness on the HDMI screen, and coupled with the dark nighttime background in CE… it does not overwhelm my vision when working the vessel from up in the cockpit.

I often peer down thru the companionway to visually check position of vessel on the big screen, as I let autopilot steer while working the sails (single handing). So a bit of brightness on the HDMI screen at night works in my favor.

This is an entirely different scenario from yours, where your Nav screens are in the wheelhouse. Completely understand how critical it is to dim down when running your ship at night…!

Aside, I have put multiple feature requests in to Garmin to include system dimming of peripheral devices on the NEMA network, so when one dims the Chartplotter it automatically dims the screens on the wind/depth display, and also the autopilot displays. No such luck getting them to do this, so I am forced to dim 4 screens manually, and increase brightness individually as dawn approaches.

So much for customer care, LOL


Hey Mitch, Agreed, it must drive manufacturers crazy making products to make everyone happy when we all have so very different needs.
I have also thought about how nice a global dimming through NMEA2k would be. I brought it up to an industry guy, I don’t remember who it was, he said there was a reason why it wouldn’t work and I don’t remember what the specifics were. So I am not much help there. If NMEA would get the ball rolling by issuing a standard for global dimming, the manuf’s could at least take a stab at it. On the wish list. Cheers!

Microcenter has been dumping the Evolve Maestro III laptop recently - its a 1.2ghz Celeron, 4gb RAM and 64gb internal SSD and comes with a Windows 10 Education Pro license. Also has a 2242 M.2 slot with a cellular modem that I removed and replaced with a 256gb SATA SSD, which is much faster than the internal drive. Has a mini HDMI port for an external monitor plus (1) USB 3.1 and (1) USB 2.0 type A slots.for external mouse, keyboard and thumb drive. The performance is a lot snappier than you would think. At this price I bought 3 and upgraded 2 to Windows 11 (no sound drivers in Windows 11 so far, but everything else works great. Using them primarily for Coastal Explorer and Winlink Express.

$60 (no that 's not a typo!) at Microcenter. Can’t beat the price!