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Yes you do, need a flux gate compass.


gallet
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If you weren't into hi tech gadgets you wouldn't bother with a gps would you. The very fact that you read this post is enough to tell you that you do need a flux gate compass.

 

It's only $30 more. Chickenfeed plus you get a FREE that's right, free Barometric Altimeter with your Flux Gate compass.

 

You *will* be pleased to use your gps when you aren't moving or even just to orient your paper map.

 

Sure you could *buy* a good quality compass instead but that would cost you $30 anyway. Plus no barometric altimeter. Not only that but try getting your Silva compass to point to True North. Yes that's right, absolutely amazing, a compass that points directly North (whatever will they think of next) not to some ever changing magnetic north which sometime in the future will be pointing south, your Silva compass won't be much use then will it?. Your map grid is pointing North, you know it makes sense. Unless you like the challenge of working out the yearly magnetic north variations and applying the calculations.

 

PLUS, it's a fluxgate compass. Do you want to go through your whole life never having owned one? When the conversation is drying up imagine the look of surprise when you casually say at the dinner table, "it has a _flux_gate_compass" and when your amazed guests ask, "what's that" you will rattle off Wikipedia's explanation as if you actually understand it.

 

But wait, you say you *enjoy* doing doing the math? No worries you can set it to read magnetic north if you really want to. Yes with a fluxgate compass you can be a cutting edge luddite.

 

And the new Vista HCx uses very little extra power unlike the older models, in fact I haven't noticed any extra drain at all. It has been reported by those sorts of people who like to measure these things that the extra drain is about 5%.

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Interesting take.

 

How about toilet paper? How do you feel about toilet paper?

 

You could just use your hand. Heck, that would be free. Messy, but free all the same.

 

And imagine the dinner conversation when you tell your guests, who you just prepared dinner for, that you use your bare hand instead of toilet paper. I'll bet they'd all be impressed about how much money you saved.

 

:ph34r:

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If you weren't into hi tech gadgets you wouldn't bother with a gps would you. The very fact that you read this post is enough to tell you that you do need a flux gate compass.

 

It's only $30 more. Chickenfeed plus you get a FREE that's right, free Barometric Altimeter with your Flux Gate compass.

 

You *will* be pleased to use your gps when you aren't moving or even just to orient your paper map.

 

Sure you could *buy* a good quality compass instead but that would cost you $30 anyway. Plus no barometric altimeter. Not only that but try getting your Silva compass to point to True North. Yes that's right, absolutely amazing, a compass that points directly North (whatever will they think of next) not to some ever changing magnetic north which sometime in the future will be pointing south, your Silva compass won't be much use then will it?. Your map grid is pointing North, you know it makes sense. Unless you like the challenge of working out the yearly magnetic north variations and applying the calculations.

 

PLUS, it's a fluxgate compass. Do you want to go through your whole life never having owned one? When the conversation is drying up imagine the look of surprise when you casually say at the dinner table, "it has a _flux_gate_compass" and when your amazed guests ask, "what's that" you will rattle off Wikipedia's explanation as if you actually understand it.

 

But wait, you say you *enjoy* doing doing the math? No worries you can set it to read magnetic north if you really want to. Yes with a fluxgate compass you can be a cutting edge luddite.

 

And the new Vista HCx uses very little extra power unlike the older models, in fact I haven't noticed any extra drain at all. It has been reported by those sorts of people who like to measure these things that the extra drain is about 5%.

 

But, on the other hand:

These compasses have a 5 degree margin of accuracy. To buy any Silva or Brunton or any decent compass that has 5 degree accuracy, it will only cost you about $10 or $12...Not $30

True north? I never, ever use it. My GPS is set to read mag. north and give the bearing in degrees. I simply turn off the GPS (thereby saving batteries) dial in the degrees on the magnetic compass I always carry, and happily head off in the correct direction, using a compass that doesn't absolutely suck batteries dry. I see no reason to use the fluxgate compass to suck batteries dry prematurely, when I have a $10 compass with me that is even more accurate (You don't have to worry about holding it so level) and dependable. And I don't buy off on the "5%" drain factor.

 

Just so you know...I have a Vista HCx (No...I don't use the compass a all. Or the altimeter...Equally useless unless you just like to play with things and impress people) Why did I buy it then? Simply for resale demand when I upgrade (which I seem to do about every 2 years). It appeals to people that think it offers some sort of advantage, or accuracy or something.

 

Garmin would really hate me...I have been teaching GPS nav. classes for about 6 years now (Sportsman's Warehouse), and I really discourage people from buying the compass/altimeter models. If they have already bought them, I encourage them to keep them turned off, and use a mag. compass. Too many people think that the internal compass is all they need when they take off into the mountains or wherever. No back up. Then, the batteries die, and no more compass. When I explain the advantages of not buying one, or not using it if they have it already, it makes sense to them.

 

Incidentally, I leave for Yellowstone National Park on Friday for a 32 mile backpacking trip, more than half of which is off-trail bushwhacking. I will carry my Vista HCx loaded with Garmin's 1:24,000 topos of YNP, a magnetic compass with 2 degree scale, a grid card and a map I printed on NG's Adventure paper using their topo software. That is my back country navigational triad: Map, compass, GPS. Always and forever.

 

Alphawolf out.

Edited by Alphawolf
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I love wikipedia...

"To avoid inaccuracies created by the vertical component of the field, the fluxgate array must be kept as flat as possible by mounting it on gimbals or using a fluid suspension system. All the same, inertial errors are inevitable when the vessel is turning sharply or being tossed about by rough seas. To ensure directional readings that are adequately stable, marine fluxgate compasses always incorporate either fluid or electronic damping."

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If you weren't into hi tech gadgets you wouldn't bother with a gps would you. The very fact that you read this post is enough to tell you that you do need a flux gate compass.

 

It's only $30 more. Chickenfeed plus you get a FREE that's right, free Barometric Altimeter with your Flux Gate compass.

 

You *will* be pleased to use your gps when you aren't moving or even just to orient your paper map.

 

Sure you could *buy* a good quality compass instead but that would cost you $30 anyway. Plus no barometric altimeter. Not only that but try getting your Silva compass to point to True North. Yes that's right, absolutely amazing, a compass that points directly North (whatever will they think of next) not to some ever changing magnetic north which sometime in the future will be pointing south, your Silva compass won't be much use then will it?. Your map grid is pointing North, you know it makes sense. Unless you like the challenge of working out the yearly magnetic north variations and applying the calculations.

 

PLUS, it's a fluxgate compass. Do you want to go through your whole life never having owned one? When the conversation is drying up imagine the look of surprise when you casually say at the dinner table, "it has a _flux_gate_compass" and when your amazed guests ask, "what's that" you will rattle off Wikipedia's explanation as if you actually understand it.

 

But wait, you say you *enjoy* doing doing the math? No worries you can set it to read magnetic north if you really want to. Yes with a fluxgate compass you can be a cutting edge luddite.

 

And the new Vista HCx uses very little extra power unlike the older models, in fact I haven't noticed any extra drain at all. It has been reported by those sorts of people who like to measure these things that the extra drain is about 5%.

 

I'm pretty sure this post contains 93% win. Good job, Sir or Ma'am.

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@ Alphawolf

 

Right then, <rolls up sleeves>...

 

First of all I'd like to point out that you have somewhat shot yourself in the foot by admitting you got the hcx because of it's better resale value, because that was going to be on my list of reasons to get it.

 

Regarding the 5% battery drain, compared to my old b/w Vista which only would give me about 10 hours use with slight use of the compass, the new Vista HCx gives me the full 25 hours with the compass on full time. So I can believe the low drain

 

The only "advantage" you have said one gets from not using a fg compass is that the batteries might last a tiny bit longer but who in their right mind would go out somewhere where they really need their gps and take the battery level right down to the wire?

 

And you called the compass "useless" but it isn't useless or else you wouldn't use a compass at all, would you not agree?

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@ Alphawolf

 

Right then, <rolls up sleeves>...

 

First of all I'd like to point out that you have somewhat shot yourself in the foot by admitting you got the hcx because of it's better resale value, because that was going to be on my list of reasons to get it.

 

Regarding the 5% battery drain, compared to my old b/w Vista which only would give me about 10 hours use with slight use of the compass, the new Vista HCx gives me the full 25 hours with the compass on full time. So I can believe the low drain

 

The only "advantage" you have said one gets from not using a fg compass is that the batteries might last a tiny bit longer but who in their right mind would go out somewhere where they really need their gps and take the battery level right down to the wire?

 

And you called the compass "useless" but it isn't useless or else you wouldn't use a compass at all, would you not agree?

 

No, I didn't shoot myself in the foot. I freely admit, this is the only reason that makes any sense to me at all for buying one...Resale value. So I did it.

It is why I buy ceartain cars over others too. They sell quicker when it's time to sell them.

 

The internal compass is "useless" in a "duplicity" sense. I always, always have a good compass with me anyway, so why would one want to use the internal compass and drain batteries? So, if one isn't going to use it, then why buy it?

Back to resale value only...

Bottom line for me: There is not one bit of functionality advantage to me having an internal compass vs. my trusty magnetic Silva. I can accomplish the same exact navigation, and it's easier. I don't worry about calibrating and holding exactly level. And, there are definite disadvantages with the internal: Battery life decrease, by whatever percent you choose to accept, not to mention the additional purchase price.

 

Now...I'm off to a 32 mile backpacking trip in Yellowstone with my GPS, map and Silva magnetic compass!

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@ Alphawolf

 

The battery is a complete non issue. My old Vista (b/w) got about 10 hours usage with intermittent battery use. The new Vista gets the *full* advertised 25 hours (I checked it) using the compass *full time*. That's enough to tell you that battery drain is minimal with it on all the time.

 

So... if you were really worried about even the tiny amount of drain caused by full time usage then one could just turn it on when you wanted it which is not that often anyway. It's just a press of a button, far more convenient when you already have the gps in your hand. And if it was used this way, ie, just turning it on when you wanted it then the battery drain would be impossible to measure. It is a total non issue and to pretend to your students that it really is an issue is disingenuous at best.

 

Once you realise how little battery drain is actually caused by using your HCx compass I'm certain that you will use it anyway. Why not just admit that your justified fears about the battery drain, (which I myself had until I checked it) are unfounded.

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Once you realize how little battery drain is actually caused by using your HCx compass I'm certain that you will use it anyway. Why not just admit that your justified fears about the battery drain, (which I myself had until I checked it) are unfounded.

 

I do agree with part of what you are saying, my vistaCX doesn't get much worse battery life with of without the compass turned on. The problem with leaving it on all the time is you CAN NOT trust that it's still calibrated properly.

If I use my vistaCX on my bike and leave the compass on the metal handle bars seem to slowly pull the compass out of whack, so you need to recalibrate before each hike, and maybe every few hours just so you know the compass is still accurate to within 5 degrees. usually the uncalibrated compass is pretty good, but I have seen it out as much as 25degrees.

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... To buy any Silva or Brunton or any decent compass that has 5 degree accuracy, it will only cost you about $10 or $12...

 

...the magnetic compass I always carry...

 

...Too many people think that the internal compass is all they need when they take off into the mountains or wherever. No back up. Then, the batteries die, and no more compass....

 

I couldn't agree more. I'm not going to knock electronic compasses, especially if all you do is city and park geocaching, but it always amazes me how many folks will head out into the wilderness without such an inexpensive and invaluable tool. Or don't know how to use one!

 

[off topic]

Enjoy your trip! Heading out there is on my "must do" list, so I'll be there one of these days.

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... To buy any Silva or Brunton or any decent compass that has 5 degree accuracy, it will only cost you about $10 or $12...

 

...the magnetic compass I always carry...

 

...Too many people think that the internal compass is all they need when they take off into the mountains or wherever. No back up. Then, the batteries die, and no more compass....

 

I couldn't agree more. I'm not going to knock electronic compasses, especially if all you do is city and park geocaching, but it always amazes me how many folks will head out into the wilderness without such an inexpensive and invaluable tool. Or don't know how to use one!

 

[off topic]

Enjoy your trip! Heading out there is on my "must do" list, so I'll be there one of these days.

I think most people are using the electronic compass for what it is--a convenience. The e-compass is nice such that the pointer will point at the waypoint/cache when you're standing still. I agree that you shouldn't rely solely on an consumer electronic device for your survival, but that doesn't make the e-compass worthless.

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