Ruggedised laptop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by arogge, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    Tatooine
    #1
    I may have a requirement within the next year for a ruggedised laptop. I've looked at the Panasonic Toughbooks, but I really want a Mac. What can be done for the Apple laptops to make them resistant to moisture, high altitudes, and extreme temperatures?

    The laptop must survive a rainstorm of about 1-inch per hour for 30 minutes. The battery compartment, keyboard, and connection ports would all need to be water-resistant. The laptop must resist humidity up to 95%, operating temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, and non-operating temperatures up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for five hours. The laptop must also operate at altitudes up to 15,000 feet.

    What is the recommended solution?
     
  2. 7even macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #2
    Leaving the laptop at home :p Seriously though, I'm not sure you'd be able to do much to weatherproof a Macbook/MBP besides stripping the exterior and putting the innards into a ruggedized enclosure like the Toughbooks or the Dell Latitude DTG (whatever it's called). And even then, I'm not sure if any compatible enclosures are available.

    The easiest way, I imagine, would be to obtain some sort of a Modbook-fitting enclosure, and plugging in a rugged keyboard/trackpad/whatever into the USB ports, keep the machine itself safe inside and somehow lead the ports and everything into the exterior. Either way it would be one helluva custom job.

    At least, I haven't seen anything like a ruggedized mac..
     
  3. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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  4. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #4
    IM not sure what the operating specs for mbp's are, but those conditions sound well out of operating specs. It sounds like whatever laptop you get will be subject to alot of abuse, if thats the case Id really be tempted to go with the panasonic toughbook.
     
  5. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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    UK
    #5
    Eh?

    The thing you have to bear in mind is that there is a very limited market for ruggedised laptops. Apple's primary pro market is still the designer community and it has to be said that the chances of them selling enough ruggedised laptops to make it profitable are slim.

    In your situation, I'd be going the toughbook route.
     
  6. doctor pangloss macrumors regular

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    Dec 30, 2004
    Location:
    Thailand
    #6
    you need a waterproof puter. You can get covers for the key board and tape up the ports but that wont make it waterproof. Even the toughbooks aren't up to being immersed which is what heavy rain is like.
    Either a clear dry bag or spring for a purpose built military laptop.
     
  7. skyrider007 macrumors 65816

    skyrider007

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    Location:
    Bangkok
    #7
    Panasonic Toughbook is the only way to go for your requirements.

    http://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/toughstories.asp

    [​IMG]

    http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webap...00537&catGroupId=12871&surfModel=Toughbook-30


    • Genuine Windows® XP Professional

    • Intel® Centrino®Duo Mobile Technology

    • Integrated 802.11 a/b/g wireless LAN

    • 13.3" daylight-readable TFT Active Matrix Color LCD with optional touchscreen

    • 8.4 lbs., including battery, floppy drive and handle

    • Full magnesium alloy case with handle

    • Moisture- and dust-resistant LCD, keyboard and touchpad

    • Sealed port and connector covers

    • Shock-mounted removable hard drive in stainless steel case

    • Mobile broadband ready for Alltel, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless networks

    • Wide Area Wireless Solutions
    – EVDO
    – HSDPA
    • Global positioning system (GPS) receiver
    • Backlit keyboard – sealed rubber or plastic emissive
    • SmartCard reader
    • Fingerprint scanner
     
  8. tip macrumors 6502

    tip

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    Mar 9, 2006
  9. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #9
    Even the Panasonic is
    "Moisture- and dust-resistant LCD, keyboard and touchpad"

    Keyword is moisture resistant. Note it does not say water proof (which might be required to operate in the rain).
     
  10. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

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    #10
  11. saltyzoo macrumors 65816

    saltyzoo

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    Oct 4, 2007
    #11
    I was installing my software on some panasonic tough laptops around 6 years ago for a client and when I got one to test with I couldn't resist putting it through the paces.

    I put it in a puddle of water just deep enough cover it, then, without drying it off, put it in the freezer overnight, took it out the next day and turned it on. It worked fine.

    I wouldn't use any of the ports in the rain, and I'd avoid using it at all in direct rainfall, but it's possible.

    Oh, one of my friends ran over his test unit with his car like they do in their ads. That didn't work out so well. :D
     
  12. DocSmitty macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    #12
    You could have someone custom make a "dry suit" style enclosure out of rubber. Have built-in port extenders that plug into whichever ports you need to use and stick out through the rubber, and you could have a clear plastic over the screen and keyboard. Nothing like that exists, so I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding someone to make one for you ;) Then you and your mac can enjoy trouble-prone operation in a multitude of harsh environments!

    If these are seriously your requirements for the laptop, then do not buy a mac. Buy a toughbook or other purpose-built laptop. Those companies have put lots of money into engineering solutions to your list of situations.
     
  13. esd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #13
    There's no way you'll get a Mac to those requirements without considerable expense. I'm not even sure a ToughBook is tough enough.

    You might want to take a look at iTronix - http://www.gd-itronix.com/

    I tested one of their mil-spec laptops once and it's no joke. Chucked it across the room while playing a DVD and it kept right on playing.
     
  14. AClark macrumors newbie

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    Jan 6, 2008
    #14
    Mac OS on toughbook?

    A friend of mine has a Dell laptop running Tiger OS. He said he just took the program, changed the necessary drivers, then he burnt the edited operated system onto a cd and installed it on his dell. Maybe you could do something similar to this with a rugged, non-apple laptop.
     
  15. gotzero macrumors 68040

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    Jan 6, 2007
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    Mid-Atlantic, US
    #15
    I would "Think Different" by giving up on a Mac product for this application.

    You could get an OtterBox or something and leave it in there most of the time, but trying to retrofit armour onto a laptop would be pretty tough.

    Maybe get a modbook and seal it?
     
  16. skyrider007 macrumors 65816

    skyrider007

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    #16
    i'm tempted on getting one of these rugged machines. they look so sexy (macho and manly, yum).
     
  17. digitalpencil macrumors 6502

    digitalpencil

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    Manchester, UK
    #17
    The possibility of creating a weather-proof suit for a mac notebook is ridiculously slim to impossible at best. Your going to have to account for ventilation and a myriad of different issues with the internal components simply not being prepped to work in extreme environments.
    You can boot OSX86 onto a Toughbook but the legal and moral quandaries here nothing to shun. I'm afraid you're going to have to put up with XP.
     
  18. Ryox macrumors 6502a

    Ryox

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    #18
    Good point, but I'll still stick with a mac :p
     
  19. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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  20. GITANAJAVA macrumors regular

    GITANAJAVA

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    Have ibrik, will travel.
    #20
    Don't surrender quite yet....

    ....on the notion of a ruggedised Mac. It has been done -- yes, with Macs -- for military, national intelligence, special "unmanned" surveillance projects and companies with significant needs for fieldwork. If you have the budget AND the connections AND the patience, it can be done, although the degree of difficulty would be slightly higher for an individual buy versus a group buy. It's important to note an emerging marketing trend: as more and more military personnel return to their home communities and jobs, they bring with them a less complacent tolerance for civilian hardware and equipment that can't survive outside the soft environments of traditional offices and cozy coffee-shops. Apple has survived and prospered by taking advantage of just such "fringe" trends and marginalised market niches and applying contrarian, entrepreneurial thinking. What you ideally want may not be waiting for you on the shelf of your local shop, but around the corner and in some obscure industrial park....

    Hang in there, mate, and keep asking for what you want.
     
  21. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    #21
    I live in the world of ruggedized products, and I'm guessing your best bet would be some sort of case that is designed to protect a MB or MBP from the elements. I know several companies make these for standard laptops.

    Of course, when the case is open your machine is then open to the elements like rain, dust, dirt etc.

    Companies like Otterbox and others make enclosures that protect iPods and phones, but making something that would both cover a laptop and protect it, while still allowing it to be functional would be a challenge.

    The market for rugged computers, handhelds, phones and others is steadily growing as more and more people bring technology into the elements, but I think it's going to a long time before anyone sees the market to engineer a mac into such a product. One could see this happening much like the folks that created the mac tablet, but the market would be very very small.
     
  22. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #22
    A common problem that I am having is being rained on while I am working on the laptop. The PowerBook isn't much use if it's closed inside a waterproof case.
     

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