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Old 29 March 2006, 03:45   #1
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Hand Held Digital Compass

Hi,

Anyone use these new digital handheld compasses, instead of the normal H/H magnetic ones ?

Bootneck
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Old 29 March 2006, 06:39   #2
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Well I have an electronic compass in my watch - a Suunto Vector which also doubles up as a Barometer/altimeter. Strap has just broken after a few years hard use so yesterday bought an Origo compass watch for 30. Also have a hand held that I had cheap from lidel.

They all work in much the same way - you need to recalibrate the watch type quite often as you are always putting your hand next to steel items - magnets etc without realising.

They do work well but I prefer a conventional one - something like the Iris 50.
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Old 29 March 2006, 07:52   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bootneck
Anyone use these new digital handheld compasses, instead of the normal H/H magnetic ones ?
Maybe a better question would be "has anyone actually used a handheld compass for real on a RIB?"

I've got an Iris 50 which is a nice bit of kit, but I've [i]never[/b] had a reason to use it other than making severely cocked hats during training courses. I think they are of limited use in a RIB, and I certainly wouldn't bother with a digital handheld compas.

The Silva 70 compass is a good choice for a small RIB, as it can be used either fixed or handlheld. Plastimo do one similar too.

If you have console space, then I'd suggest the biggest Plastimo Offshore compass that you can fit.

To actually answer your question (!) the only one I have used was built into a very expensive set of binoculars, and was pretty handy for taking accurate bearings. Still only of limited use IMO.

John
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Old 29 March 2006, 08:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett
Maybe a better question would be "has anyone actually used a handheld compass for real on a RIB?"

I've got an Iris 50 which is a nice bit of kit, but I've [i]never[/b] had a reason to use it other than making severely cocked hats during training courses. I think they are of limited use in a RIB, and I certainly wouldn't bother with a digital handheld compas.

The Silva 70 compass is a good choice for a small RIB, as it can be used either fixed or handlheld. Plastimo do one similar too.

If you have console space, then I'd suggest the biggest Plastimo Offshore compass that you can fit.

To actually answer your question (!) the only one I have used was built into a very expensive set of binoculars, and was pretty handy for taking accurate bearings. Still only of limited use IMO.

John

Well I have on my SIB - got to agree my Steiners are much easier to use when you are bouncing up and down though!!!

Just bought myself a Plastimo offshore 105 - 62 brand new on Ebay - BARGAIN!!! For the RIB of course - not my Quicksilver......
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Old 29 March 2006, 08:48   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett
......the only one I have used was built into a very expensive set of binoculars, and was pretty handy for taking accurate bearings. ....
They don't have to be expensive, i have had a pair of these for the last 4 years and they are very good Des
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Old 29 March 2006, 09:24   #6
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They don't have to be expensive, i have had a pair of these for the last 4 years and they are very good Des
Yes read some very good reviews on them as well. ONLY bought the steiners because they were on offer - about half price - still 300 though!!!
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Old 29 March 2006, 10:18   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bootneck
Hi,

Anyone use these new digital handheld compasses, instead of the normal H/H magnetic ones ?

Bootneck
What the point? Surly its just something else to go wrong or for the batteries to die on. Stick with an old fashioned one.
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Old 29 March 2006, 16:56   #8
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I have tried fluxgate compasses and cannot say I was that impressed at all. Biggest problem with them is the error introduced by inclination. or to put it in English: if you dont hold it flat it will be wrong.

The more expensive ones have better software to decode the sensors output, but I would definately stick with my iris 50. Best hh compass ever IMHO.

Did a fair bit of R&D on the fluxgate compass circuitry. Basically they work by sensing the earths magnetic field, but they can only detect north from south. So adding a second sensor at 90 degrees will allow you to detect N-S and E-W. By comparing the ammount of N-S against the ammount of E-W you can predict the bearing.

To calibrate a fluxgate compass you are told to do 2 complete 360 deg circuits slow enough for the brain inside to look for the peak outputs at the 4 cardinal points (NESW). Then it can work out the angles inbetween.

For ribbing I dont concider them suitable, as the platform is not stable enough.
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Old 29 March 2006, 17:55   #9
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I cant see the point in a compass at all on a RIB other than if you have gps failure in fog or out of sight of land (ie as an emergency safety device). How many peoiple have ever had GPS failure ??? I havnt had GPS failure EVER - on land, in the air, or at sea. In over 10 years of using them.

To me a chartplotter is an essential peice of kit - as important as my engine - this is because the vast majority of my boating is coastal touring and exploration - I like to get up close and personal with the coastline and I rely heavily on the moving map charts on the plotter - theres no way you could do this kind of ad hoc high speed in close stuff without being able to know at a glance whats ahead of you.

How many people (other than when on a training course) have ever needed to follow a bearing with a compass. If im navigating to an out of site mark - I have my plotter on a screen that simply tells me how many degrees left or right I need to turn - easy - I've to date never looked at either of my two compasses. I have an offshore 75 and an iris 50.
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Old 29 March 2006, 17:58   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scary Des
They don't have to be expensive, i have had a pair of these for the last 4 years and they are very good Des
Yes they're great value and plenty more in stock. We also have some excellent 'bent-box' specials on Steiner for the big spenders like Codders. (Looks like I owe JK 100 now - will upgrade shortly, honest)

Open to negotiaton on the Steiners from Ribnet people (maybe a free float strap?) Give me a call on 01256 478000 if you're interested. Can also do carriage-free for pickup at Solent meet-ups.

Prefer regular compass myself - as Tim says, digital can mean something else to go wrong.
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