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04-26-2008, 10:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Box Prairie, CO
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Road trip computer and k10d setup

I'm really pleased with my new system for photography 'road trips,' and have explained the details below. I'm also interested in what laptop computer systems others use for long trips. I need to have the laptop anyway for communication with the home office, and I can dump photos to it. Yes, a 16 gig SD card in a k10d holds LOTS of photos in RAW mode, but on a 3-week road trip SD cards are still not enough.

Computer: Asus Eee 4g. I love this tiny new machine! It's the size of 2 DVD cases stacked on top of each other, and fits in the side cargo pocket in my pants. It uses SD cards for storage instead of hard drives....no moving parts except the fan. 7 inch monitor. Comes with Linux on it, though you can install your own copy of windows XP. I installed the GIMP and ufraw on it for making sample JPGs to send to the office and making them for my blog postings. A SD card reader is built in, and you can use it for reading k10D SD cards, for installing extra applications/storage, or both. The machine is only $399 brand new.

Backup storage: Western Digital USB2.0-powered 250g external hard drive. About the size of 2 packs of cigarettes. no power supply!

So, this entire system, including computer, backup drive, power supply, extra external mouse, cords, etc. fits in a standard foam lined hard pistol case from Sportsmans Warehouse, the case is 12" x 9" x 4". Which I covered with stickers so that people don't think I'm carrying a gun into Starbucks to use the internet! Mostly I get gasps at how tiny the computer is. The keyboard is JUST big enough to type fast on.

The only thing I am lacking with Linux on the Eee PC is a tethered mode for the k10d into ufraw, but I expect to see this GIMP plug-in soon, if it isn't already out and I just missed it.

Charging system: For road trips in remote areas, I maintain the K10d batteries and laptop batteries, plus ham radios, GPS, etc. with a small solar photovoltaic system mounted in a plastic tub in the back of my pickup:
-100 amp-hour 12 volt deep cycle marine battery
-40 watt flexible solar PV panel (no glass), 30 foot cord to the truck
-800 watt portable inverter
-backup power with a switch to charge the battery from the truck's alternator
-shore power switch and 20 amp battery charger to plug it in and charge at campgrounds or motels
The portable inverter was FAR cheaper than getting individual 12 volt charging adaptors for the k10d, computer, gps, radios, etc. i estimate I lose only 10% by converting 12vdc to 120vac then back to DC again for charging.

Please post info info on what YOU use for photography road trips!

DANBOB

04-27-2008, 01:01 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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It seems like you have it all under control.. good system you have going on.

I was never really a laptop guy (ironically i am on my office laptop at home) but instead i like built desktops. so basically i have my mp3/dvd/photo center at my desktop and no laptop for road trips. i carry around a decent storage capacity and also blank CDs, which i burn during my vacation trips in those internet shops.
04-27-2008, 03:35 AM   #3
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When out on a trip, all my poweer comes from the van. Since my wife is handicap, we have a lift and, because of that, the van has 2 deep cycle 1000amps batteries with a 130 amps alternator. So, I installed a 500 watts inverter and that's all I need to keep all the batteries charged. I can even hook up a large printer with power to spare.
04-27-2008, 03:56 AM   #4
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Location: Stockholm
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I use an Amitech hard disk. Its an 80 GB hard disk with a small display and cardreaders built in, and a simple operative system of its own so that I can rapidly back up memory cards, as well as navigating among older photos, take a first look at new ones etc. Small, very usefull. Has own chargeable battery. When I connect it to my laptop I can power it from the lap top through the usb. There are also other manufacturers of a similar system.

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