Best Electronic Compass?

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Treeman

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Tacoma, WA
A friend has one that is mounted stock in his rear view mirror. It has 8 waypoints. Anything out there that is self powered, small in size, and pretty accurate?
Some links would be nice.
Thanks,
Treeman
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
You can now get flux gate compases for under fifty bucks from auto supply stores, JC Whitney, Sharper Image and so many other places I can't list them all, even Publisher's clearing house. I've seen them in truck stops and Radio Shack, I suspect Fry's has them but did not look, not sure about Best Buy.

In short, you find them everywhere

I have two, both work very well, always within one step (Mine are 5% steps) of my GPS when I compare them, easy to set up (Push a button till it resets, turn 180 or 360 degrees in an open lot or field without a lot of power lines about, and you are good to go)

I can't suggest a brand as I really can't see much difference  between the brands of the ones I"ve seen

NOTE  A good GPS uint will give you directin when moving
 

Karl

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Treeman,

Not sure what you consider "pretty accurate", but for normal driving, any auto compass should be adequate. A fluxgate compass requires a power source and is subject to the same magnetic deviation from true north as any other compass, and is more error prone if your vehicle is not perfectly level. Errors can be as high as 2-3 degrees for every degree of tilt, and they are just as prone to ferro/diamagnetic objects as regular compasses. The more expensive fluxgate compasses are corrected for magnetic deviation by connection with a GPS system, so if you need that kind of accuracy, you're better off getting a GPS to begin with. Fluxgates are great - if you're piloting an ocean-going vessel and there aren't any roads ;D 
 

Treeman

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Tacoma, WA
"Fluxgates are great - if you're piloting an ocean-going vessel and there aren't any roads"
Thanks for the tips guys! Now I have an excuse to buy a gps!
Best,
Treeman
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
JC Whitney has several designed for automotive use, in all price ranges.  See:

http://jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Browse/tf-Browse/s-10101/showCustom-0/refId-600003255/N-111+600003255/c-10101

or just go to www.jcwhitney.com and browse the Navigation systems section.

They also have a replacement rear view mirror with compass, thermometer and courtesy lights built in. Cheap, so don't know if it is any good or not.
http://jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Product/tf-Browse/s-10101/Pr-p_Product.CATENTRY_ID:2008393/showCustom-0/p-2008393/N-111+10201+600003201/c-10101
 

Treeman

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Dec 27, 2005
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Location
Tacoma, WA
Thanks RV Roamer,
I'll check the links you included.
The compass doesn't have to be really accurate, I just need to know which way I'm heading.
Thanks,
Treeman
 

Treeman

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Tacoma, WA
Scoundrel,
I already have one that came with MS Streets & Trips for the laptop.
$99.00 at Costco.
Best,
Treeman
 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
Treeman,

I use this:

http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/333/C3095/

$100.00 and you don't need a laptop. Although the setup you have with MS Streets & Trips is probably a better way to plan a trip and to see your progress.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
I think I've seen Mapping software/GPS combinations (not MIcrosoft, but better) for around 50 dollars if you don't mind last year's maps.  Major highways, freeways and primary roads (The kind of thing I'd like to keep to with the MH) tend to not change much year to year
 

BruceinFL

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Scoundrel said:
Treeman,

I use this:

http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/333/C3095/

$100.00 and you don't need a laptop. Although the setup you have with MS Streets & Trips is probably a better way to plan a trip and to see your progress.

Oooh! I gotta get that one for hunting....I see it takes you right to a deer.  ;D
 

Ned

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A GPS will work as a compass but only while it can see at least 3 satellites and you're moving.
 

Scoundrel

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Very few things effect the GPS and keep it from seeing at least 3 satellites....tunnels and very narrow canyons. Of course dropping it doesn't help either. .....Don't ask me how I know that..... :(
 

TNROY

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Kalamazoo, Michigan
Getting back to the compass question;

I have tried many compasses designed for automotive use and found them completely unreliable in the motor home due to the interference in the front end of the motor home. PNI make a "Wayfarer" line of electronic compasses that are supposed to defeat that interrerence. They are the same company that makes the units for the big 3 automakers.

check? www.pnicorp.com? and use the link retail products and then for digital compass. It will take you to their distributor where you can read all about them.

The retail is $129, but the model V2020 is frequently available on ebay. Just bought mine for $26 plus $17 shipping. The shipping is high, but it is still less than I could find one anywhere else. The V2020 unit is wireless and includes an outdoor temp sensor in additon to the compass and interior temp. There are fancier units in the line if you want more features.
 

Karl

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Tnroy,

As in aircraft and water vessels, a magnetic compass is only as good as how well it is compensated. The process involves the use of small magnets to offset the iron of the engine, frame, etc. I wouldn't even bother trying to do that with one of those windshield-mounted compasses.
 

TNROY

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Kalamazoo, Michigan
The "Wayfarer" compass is not magnetic, it is electronic. The company has a patented process that compensates for the magnetic interference in a vehicle. Apparently it works well, as it is used by all three major auto manufacturers in their cars. I know the one on the mirror of one of my vehicles works quite well. I'm not sure I would trust it to plot a course across the Atlantic, or fly cross country, but for driving I only need know the general direction of travel. Also helps to figure out where the sun will come up when parking for the night.
 

Ned

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All compasses are magnetic, they differ in how they compensate for the surrounding magnetic influences.  This is called deviation.
 

falcon21

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Apr 29, 2006
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FYI  I installed a Wafinder V2020 in my HR 38 Endeavor with no problems.  After using the set up and making a 360 turn the compass is as accurate as any of the OEM compasses we have in other autos.  The outside air temps sensor seems to be very accurate and is much better than the Ford OEM in my F250.  I bought the unit on e-bay for $27.00 to my door, and I would have been happy at double that amount.  Have been a professional pilot for 4o years so I have a pretty good idea which way is north.
Gary
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
I use two compassass in this Motor Home but first some history.

I've tried many magnetic (Compensated) compasses in my cars over the years and all of them have been less than spectacular, hard to compensate (Adjust) and I have never been able to get them to be properly calibrated for the entire 360 degree circle.

Some years ago I purchased an electronic compass, I think it was 49.95 or something like that the brand is Vector or if memory serves... Push a button , drive in a 1/2 circle and it's self calibrated.  And as it turns out it was too, and every road I drove down it reflected what the map maker had written, very very close to true.

I then purchased a Garmin E-Trex GPS receiver  So long as you are moving it can double as a compass

It too matches the cheap electronic job

I use the Garmin in the motor home as well, but also added another cheap electronic (Not the same make as the one in the car) performance is very simular to the one in the car (That is dead on) agreement with the garmin is also limited to the resoultion of the display (THe garmin is 1 degree resolution, the cheap electronic jobs are either 2 or 5)

So I'd recommend either 1: Both, or 2: A GPS receiver (See note below) or 3: An electronic compass

NOTE:
I also have the optional Data Cable for my Garmin, which allows me to connect it to my laptop, which runs assorted maping programs such as Streets And Trips (MS) or Street Finder (Rand McNally) and these programs not only plot my exact location (Well, usually exact) using the GPS data or provide direction.. I did note some interesting errors, back in Feburary on one trip, but nothing a reasonable person can not compeseat for.

NOTE TWO, there are a couple PCMCIA-GPS receiver/Software packages out there, much cheaper than buying independent  Delor???? is one of the more popular one.. I actually wish I'd purchased that package
 
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