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Electronic Compass worth it?
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celticwulf
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Joined: 24 Oct 2005

Posts: 685

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 9:24 am    Post subject: Electronic Compass worth it? Reply with quote

OK, as I've already said, I'm already looking at a new GPSr only from the fact that Lucid's autorouting makes me jealous Wink I'm looking at the new X models from garmin, and I'm wondering one thing about them:

Is the electronic compass option worth having?

Basically, I like the idea that I can stop and stand for a sec, and the arrow would orient itself correctly, but I still haven't really seen it in action with anyone. I'm wondering if spending the extra money on a version with the compass is worth it, or if I should just use that money for the maps (which I'll get either way) and get a small disposable compass instead.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Celticwulf
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LucidOndine
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 17 Jan 2006

Posts: 1931

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know where I stand (it's usually right by the cache).
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GeoPierce
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Joined: 16 Nov 2005

Posts: 1657

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucidOndine wrote:
You know where I stand (it's usually right by the cache).

Yeah, sometimes you both stand right by it, look at it, touch it and don't even know it! ouch! Laughing Laughing
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LucidOndine
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehhhem... who was last to find WNC? Smile
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GeoPierce
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Joined: 16 Nov 2005

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucidOndine wrote:
Ehhhem... who was last to find WNC? Smile

Yeah, that'd be me last night, but not always. Smile
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Arcticabn
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back on topic.

I believe the models you are refering to include more then just an electronic compass. The "S" models I believe also include things like:

- Electronic compass displays accurate heading while standing still
- Barometric sensor with automatic pressure trend recording
- Elevation computer provides current elevation, ascent/descent rate, minimum/ maximum elevation, total ascent and descent, average and maximum ascent and descent rate

Generally, these units were designed for the aviation community.

If you keep your map oriented to North on your GPS you will always know which direction it is by looking at your direction arrow when moving. If you keep your direction up you will always know which way is North if you have any type of situational awareness at all.

Ohe other point. The additional sensors in the GPS can reduce battery life on the unit by up to 33%.

Either way, how often do you feel the need for a compass now while out caching? Unless you were wishing you had it at every case, spend $10-15 dollars on a Silva and stick it in your pocket. All of the additional sensors are just something elses that can break on the GPS. Not that I have ever had anyone complain about their higher end Garmins break.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The S GPSs are a waste of money for most people as AA said. The only reason I have one is because it was on sale at Amazon.com for less than the 76C.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've considered buying one with an electronic compass but I figured I could just as easily use a real compass to find north if I need. It seems to work well for me. I've also seen instances recently of the electronic compasses going nuts for brief periods of time...
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jambro
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Joined: 02 Nov 2004

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buy Magellan...they rule!
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loneeagle_24
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Joined: 17 Jun 2003

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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AAAAAH! Who needs a compass? I just go by the sun. Haven't yet had a problem getting lost.
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Bad_CRC
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Joined: 02 Oct 2006

Posts: 214

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know about that model, but on the DVD that came with my garmin, they showed the electronic compass on the vista, and said that each time you put in new batteries, you have to:

go outdoors so you aren't near any metal,
turn on the unit
select calibrate compass from the menu
set the gps on a flat surface
turn the unit completely around 3 times slowly while watching an on screen prompt to be sure you are turning it at the correct speed
select to accept the calibration from the menu.


every time you replace the batteries?!@ that seems awful to me, I'd rarely use that feature just because it sounds like such a hassle.

ymmv.
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fidian
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Joined: 23 Nov 2005

Posts: 126

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Garmin 60 CSx and I used the electronic compass a bit while coming back from my vacation in Pennsylvania. It had me calibrate the compass after maybe 100 miles or so, and I did not change the batteries between the two calibrations. It isn't hard - just hold the thing level and spin slowly in a circle twice and you're set. Annoying, so I don't really use it unless I absolutely need a real compass.
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5savages
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Joined: 13 Feb 2005

Posts: 204

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fidian wrote:
just hold the thing level and spin slowly in a circle twice and you're set.


That's my normal technique for geocaching anyway, though sometimes I spin quite a bit more than 2 times. Laughing

I keep a Silva in my geocaching bag. No batteries, no calibration, no signal bounce.
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CamoCacher
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Joined: 05 Dec 2005

Posts: 1391

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one in my GPS V and use it quite often.
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Arcticabn
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2003

Posts: 1846

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CamoCacher wrote:
I have one in my GPS V and use it quite often.


Yea but your a support puke that doesn't really know how to map read anyway. Right Sarg' Shocked
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