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Vista HCX Heading pointer


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When using My HCx to find a waypoint (even in a clear area) the pointer wanders quite a bit and at times even points in wrong direction. However when walking in the right direction the distance does go down, even if the pointer is indicating the oppisate direction. Have tried updating software no change. Has anyone had this problem.

Calibrate the compass when you change the batteries or it starts to go wonky.

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I have been use to the 76C and 76S which have the Quad Helix antenna and was use to holding those vertical. When I finally held the HCx horizontal the compass needle always point to the waypoint. I always calibrate the compass when I change the batteries.

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There are settings on the Vista HCx (and other units that have an electronic compass) that determine when the compass kicks in. At all other times the "compass" page actually uses the current direction as determined by subsequent position fixes instead and the compass itself isn't used.

 

Go to Settings > Heading and look at the values for "Switch to compass heading when below" (enter a speed here below which the compass is used) and "for more than" that tells you how long you have to be travelling below that speed for it to take over.

 

I have mine set to 3 km/h and 15 seconds, but I seem to remember the default value is much higher, which may mean that the compass is never used under normal walking conditions.

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There are settings on the Vista HCx (and other units that have an electronic compass) that determine when the compass kicks in. At all other times the "compass" page actually uses the current direction as determined by subsequent position fixes instead and the compass itself isn't used.

 

Go to Settings > Heading and look at the values for "Switch to compass heading when below" (enter a speed here below which the compass is used) and "for more than" that tells you how long you have to be travelling below that speed for it to take over.

 

I have mine set to 3 km/h and 15 seconds, but I seem to remember the default value is much higher, which may mean that the compass is never used under normal walking conditions.

 

 

How fast is 3km/h ?

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There are settings on the Vista HCx (and other units that have an electronic compass) that determine when the compass kicks in. At all other times the "compass" page actually uses the current direction as determined by subsequent position fixes instead and the compass itself isn't used.

 

Go to Settings > Heading and look at the values for "Switch to compass heading when below" (enter a speed here below which the compass is used) and "for more than" that tells you how long you have to be travelling below that speed for it to take over.

 

I have mine set to 3 km/h and 15 seconds, but I seem to remember the default value is much higher, which may mean that the compass is never used under normal walking conditions.

 

 

How fast is 3km/h ?

A little less than 2 mph.

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How fast is 3km/h ?

Just Google "3 km/h in mph" and it'll tell you that it's 1.86411358 mph :huh:

 

But if you've got your GPS set to imperial units, it'll give you mph as an option. You can enter whatever figure you want for this using the "keypad" that pops up, but the other option ("for more than") only allows a discrete number of choices from a drop down menu.

Edited by AlunS
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I have had similar problems with my Vista HCx. Seem to have pretty much solved the problem by turning OFF the compass and WAAS. I can always turn the compass back ON and calibrate it if needed and WAAS can be problematic in the hilly areas of Southeast MO and Southern IL.

 

Cache On!

 

JohnTee

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Yes, I have seen the problem as well. As I stated in another forum, I can be walking due north, and my compass will suddenly flip around and indicate south, then, back to north, back to south, north, south, north, south, east, west, you get the point, all while walking due north. It can be a dizzying experience, and I do recalibrate my compass often.

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Yes, I have seen the problem as well. As I stated in another forum, I can be walking due north, and my compass will suddenly flip around and indicate south, then, back to north, back to south, north, south, north, south, east, west, you get the point, all while walking due north. It can be a dizzying experience, and I do recalibrate my compass often.

Are you holding the unit horizontally when using the built-in compass? Garmin units with built-in compasses MUST be held horizontally for the magnetic compass to work properly, just like a conventional compass. (This applies even to the units with quad-helix antennas, which should be held vertically for optimal satellite reception. Yes, I know this may not seem to make sense - but that's the way it is!) Note that the more recent units with high-sensitivity receivers will give good satellite reception when held in just about any orientation, but you still have to hold them horizontally for the compass to work.

 

In my experience, most users who have trouble with the Garmin compasses need to understand the three basic principles of correct usage:

 

1. Calibrate the compass after EVERY change of batteries, EVERY time you have moved a few hundred km, and it's not a bad idea to calibrate it whenever you are about to rely on it for giving you accurate directions. I find that a fresh calibration at the start of the day's work, together with a calibration of the altimeter, is all I need to do with my Summit HC.

 

2. Check the threshold spreed and time delay at which the unit switches from GPS track direction to magnetic compass and back again. I find it best to have the magnetic compass on whenever I am stationary or walking slowly, but use the GPS direction at higher speeds (driving / cycling speeds). Magnetic compass at less than 5 km/hr; GPS direction at greater than 5 km/hr works for me. I use a 15-second delay before switching to magnetic compass. Experiment to get your own ideal settings.

 

3. ALWAYS hold the unit horizontally whenever you are using the magnetic compass. It will give very erratic directions when held vertically or inclined. When travelling at a speed above the threshold speed, so that the GPS direction is being used instead of the magnetic compass, the angle of the unit doesn't matter, so you can dash-mount or handlebar-mount your unit at any convenient angle for easy viewing. However, if you stop long enough for the magnetic compass to kick in, the bearing displayed will be meaningless unless the unit is held horizontally, until you start moving quickly again, when the GPS direction will take over.

 

Follow all of these golden rules, and the magnetic compass should work a treat - moving or stationary.

 

Hope this helps!

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Thanks for your pointers, no pun intended. I thought I was doing my best to hold the unit horizontially. And, I also noticed the arrow on the map page randomly flipping around. If you have the map set to "north up", the whole map will turn, all the while walking one direction.

 

I will try all three of these things on my next walking adventure.

 

Part of me still wonders if this is a vista or e-trex glitch. There have been a few posts where users have commented about difficulties with their compasses while trying to locate a geocache. If it behaves like mine, I can see why.

 

 

 

[q

 

uote name=Team R2' post='3448205' date='Apr 27 2008, 10:26 AM]

Yes, I have seen the problem as well. As I stated in another forum, I can be walking due north, and my compass will suddenly flip around and indicate south, then, back to north, back to south, north, south, north, south, east, west, you get the point, all while walking due north. It can be a dizzying experience, and I do recalibrate my compass often.

Are you holding the unit horizontally when using the built-in compass? Garmin units with built-in compasses MUST be held horizontally for the magnetic compass to work properly, just like a conventional compass. (This applies even to the units with quad-helix antennas, which should be held vertically for optimal satellite reception. Yes, I know this may not seem to make sense - but that's the way it is!) Note that the more recent units with high-sensitivity receivers will give good satellite reception when held in just about any orientation, but you still have to hold them horizontally for the compass to work.

 

In my experience, most users who have trouble with the Garmin compasses need to understand the three basic principles of correct usage:

 

1. Calibrate the compass after EVERY change of batteries, EVERY time you have moved a few hundred km, and it's not a bad idea to calibrate it whenever you are about to rely on it for giving you accurate directions. I find that a fresh calibration at the start of the day's work, together with a calibration of the altimeter, is all I need to do with my Summit HC.

 

2. Check the threshold spreed and time delay at which the unit switches from GPS track direction to magnetic compass and back again. I find it best to have the magnetic compass on whenever I am stationary or walking slowly, but use the GPS direction at higher speeds (driving / cycling speeds). Magnetic compass at less than 5 km/hr; GPS direction at greater than 5 km/hr works for me. I use a 15-second delay before switching to magnetic compass. Experiment to get your own ideal settings.

 

3. ALWAYS hold the unit horizontally whenever you are using the magnetic compass. It will give very erratic directions when held vertically or inclined. When travelling at a speed above the threshold speed, so that the GPS direction is being used instead of the magnetic compass, the angle of the unit doesn't matter, so you can dash-mount or handlebar-mount your unit at any convenient angle for easy viewing. However, if you stop long enough for the magnetic compass to kick in, the bearing displayed will be meaningless unless the unit is held horizontally, until you start moving quickly again, when the GPS direction will take over.

 

Follow all of these golden rules, and the magnetic compass should work a treat - moving or stationary.

 

Hope this helps!

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