Jump to content

Garmin Colorado Compass


Gobble42
Followers 2

Recommended Posts

I have a new Colorado 400T and have a problem with the compass: it doesn't point in the correct direction. Since this is the essential purpose of the compass, this problem has been very frustrating. Sometimes it is off by as much as 90 degrees. I have calibrated after changing batteries and have even calibrated several times in a row and it is still off substantially. I saw a thread on this forum that suggested it worked better when turned OFF, but I think then you are no longer using the electronic compass and you have to be moving to get accurate directions.

With my previous GPSr, I would get close to ground zero and see what direction and distance I was from actual GZ, then I would pace in that direction and was usually at GZ. With this unit I end up spinning around until the distance starts going down.

Is this just a product failure or is there a way to fix it? Right now I am resigned to returning it. :blink:

Link to comment

I'm sure you'll get lots of replies and suggestions so here's mine. Run the Garmin Webupdater to see if you're running the latest firmware 2.9 and software Beta 2.96. Your unit may also need a hard reset,not exactly sure how it's done but someone will chime in and let you know. Otherwise you may have a dud unit that's been recycled. There is some suspicion that some of early Colorado's had hardware problems. If you have tried the suggestions from the replies and have no resolution to your problem,best you just return it for an refund,exchange or another model. I've been pleased with mine,that's not to say there haven't been other's that have been frustrated with their's. For the most part it's a great GPS device. Let us know how it works out.

Link to comment

Your unit may also need a hard reset,not exactly sure how it's done but someone will chime in and let you know.

Warning: This procedure will delete information (waypoints, routes, tracks, etc) from your GPS and settings may be set back to factory defaults.

 

1. Power the unit OFF

2. Hold down the two Soft Keys for 2 seconds

3. While continuing to hold the 2 Soft Keys down, press and hold down the Power button for an additional 5 seconds

4. Release all buttons, and select YES to the prompt asking "if you want to clear all user data?"

 

This form of reset does not seem to reset all of the settings to factory defaults, just a few of the basics like Time Zone and Language, the remainder of the settings are still taken from your existing profile files.

 

Once you have completed a reset remember to place the Colorado outside in a stationary position for 20 minutes in plain view of the sky so that it can rebuild the almanac before using it again.

 

Note: Holding down both soft keys and the select button in a similar fashion seems to do a similar reset to the Colorado. This may be a master reset that will also reset the profiles back to the default -- needs further testing.

Link to comment

I am holding the unit flat (seems to be very sensitive the level, slight changes change the direction). I also am stationary. This condition happens even when I am not trying to "Find" something. If I just go to the compass, it points to North way off from what I know is North. Even after calibrating it can be off 10-15 degrees. One test I do is: hold unit flat and turn the unit in 90 degree increments. At each turn the "North" can be off the 10-15 degrees from the other turns.

Link to comment

Okay, I calibrated the unit twice last night and turned off the unit. Then I went out to find a cache tonight. I used the red arrow on the compass and on the map screen to get close to GZ and they seemed to work good. When I got within about 10 or 12 feet of GZ it pointed to my right, my left, then to my right and stayed there. Alas, the cache was to my right about 2 feet from what the GPSr was saying was GZ. My conclusion is that it worked as expected. The switching of directions near GZ is just from the bounce of position. I expect a little of that.

 

So, maybe I just need to re-calibrate when it starts acting up. I will test some more over the next couple of days to see if it continues to work properly. Thanks for the feedback/suggestions. :blink:

Link to comment

Red90, if it is a watch, then I would be returning the GPS. Shouldn't have to take off your jewelry so you can use your GPS!

 

All magnetic compasses are affected by a watch....... You should never use a compass in a hand with a watch on it.

 

Is the compass in question magnetic? I know my PN-40's compass isn't, but not sure about the OP's.

 

btw...never seen this problem with my trusty PN-40! Now, my OR 300...OUCH!

Link to comment
Is the compass in question magnetic? I know my PN-40's compass isn't...
Not sure where you got that idea. It isn't a spinning needle, but the PN-40 does have a magentic compass. More specifically, a set of sensors that detect magnetic field and direction.

 

Many GPSRs don't have a magnetic compass and can only tell your direction based on movement (so they don't tell you anything unless you're moving). The PN-20 & PN-30 would be examples of that...

Edited by lee_rimar
Link to comment
Is the compass in question magnetic? I know my PN-40's compass isn't...
Not sure where you got that idea. It isn't a spinning needle, but the PN-40 does have a magentic compass. More specifically, a set of sensors that detect magnetic field and direction.

 

Many GPSRs don't have a magnetic compass and can only tell your direction based on movement (so they don't tell you anything unless you're moving). The PN-20 & PN-30 would be examples of that...

 

Maybe I have electronic and magnetic confused. Either way, I have never had a problem with my PN-40 and jewelry!! I've also never had a problem like I had with my OR 300....

Link to comment
...Maybe I have electronic and magnetic confused...
So do the folks who market these things :rolleyes:

 

As far as I'm concerned, saying a GPSR has an "electronic compass" is ALMOST meaningless -- because it could mean too many things. At the very least, it means no moving parts (e.g., no physical compass needle). But beyond that it only mean "it uses electronics to tell your direction..." If the GPSR guesses your direction by plotting your points when you move, it can simulate what a real compass does... without any kind of magnetic sensor. Some would call that an "electronic compass" and others wouldn't.

 

Saying "magnetic compass" is a little better. This could be the swinging needle of yore, or it could be any variety of magnetometers. There's a fairly long article over on GPS World ...

 

http://www.gpsworld.com/gps/the-magnetic-compass-and-gps-828

 

that discusses how they work - and it does refer to "Needle Compasses" and "Electronic Compasses" :ph34r:

 

Whether or not your personal jewelry has affected your own GPSR's compass in any way that you notice, ANY magnetic compass (mechanical or electronic) will be affected by metal objects nearby. That's what calibration is for -- to adjust the device for its environment.

Link to comment
...Maybe I have electronic and magnetic confused...
So do the folks who market these things :rolleyes:

 

As far as I'm concerned, saying a GPSR has an "electronic compass" is ALMOST meaningless -- because it could mean too many things. At the very least, it means no moving parts (e.g., no physical compass needle). But beyond that it only mean "it uses electronics to tell your direction..." If the GPSR guesses your direction by plotting your points when you move, it can simulate what a real compass does... without any kind of magnetic sensor. Some would call that an "electronic compass" and others wouldn't.

 

Saying "magnetic compass" is a little better. This could be the swinging needle of yore, or it could be any variety of magnetometers. There's a fairly long article over on GPS World ...

 

http://www.gpsworld.com/gps/the-magnetic-compass-and-gps-828

 

that discusses how they work - and it does refer to "Needle Compasses" and "Electronic Compasses" :ph34r:

 

Whether or not your personal jewelry has affected your own GPSR's compass in any way that you notice, ANY magnetic compass (mechanical or electronic) will be affected by metal objects nearby. That's what calibration is for -- to adjust the device for its environment.

 

I remember a conversation about this recently actually, something about using a metal carbiner to hook your GPS to yourself? However, a watch or other jewelry messing with my compass...I'll pay closer attention and see....

Link to comment
...Maybe I have electronic and magnetic confused...
So do the folks who market these things :D

 

As far as I'm concerned, saying a GPSR has an "electronic compass" is ALMOST meaningless -- because it could mean too many things. At the very least, it means no moving parts (e.g., no physical compass needle). But beyond that it only mean "it uses electronics to tell your direction..." If the GPSR guesses your direction by plotting your points when you move, it can simulate what a real compass does... without any kind of magnetic sensor. Some would call that an "electronic compass" and others wouldn't.

 

Saying "magnetic compass" is a little better. This could be the swinging needle of yore, or it could be any variety of magnetometers. There's a fairly long article over on GPS World ...

 

http://www.gpsworld.com/gps/the-magnetic-compass-and-gps-828

 

that discusses how they work - and it does refer to "Needle Compasses" and "Electronic Compasses" B)

 

Whether or not your personal jewelry has affected your own GPSR's compass in any way that you notice, ANY magnetic compass (mechanical or electronic) will be affected by metal objects nearby. That's what calibration is for -- to adjust the device for its environment.

 

I remember a conversation about this recently actually, something about using a metal carbiner to hook your GPS to yourself? However, a watch or other jewelry messing with my compass...I'll pay closer attention and see....

 

OK, question time...if jewelty can mess with the compass, what would a motorcycle's gas tank do? I'll tell you my observation...stopped and moving, the compass was still stable and true. All day. B)

Link to comment
...if jewelty can mess with the compass, what would a motorcycle's gas tank do? I'll tell you my observation...stopped and moving, the compass was still stable and true. All day. :D
Okay, I'll assume you mean the compass on your PN-40, and not a needle compass.

 

1) Moving at anything over very slow walking pace, the GPSR is showing your direction based on point-to-point movement. Magnetic affects have no influence on the compass reading in this case. The GPSR is smart enough to see that if you've moved north at 60MPH in the past second, you're probably pointed north.

 

2) When standing still, the GPSR will figure out direction from the magnetic sensors in it. Metal near the compass (whether jewelry or the mass of your bike) won't likely make the needle swing around. But if you didn't calibrate the compass once in a while for the conditions where you use it, it may not point in exactly the right direction. The difference could be minor or not, depending on the conditions. DeLorme even suggests calibrating the compass when you change the batteries.

 

I don't know if the electronics on the bike, spark plugs, etc would influence the magnetic compass in a PN-40 oray other GPSR. I imagine they could, but would leave it to others to answer that one.

Edited by lee_rimar
Link to comment
...Maybe I have electronic and magnetic confused...
So do the folks who market these things :D

 

As far as I'm concerned, saying a GPSR has an "electronic compass" is ALMOST meaningless -- because it could mean too many things. At the very least, it means no moving parts (e.g., no physical compass needle). But beyond that it only mean "it uses electronics to tell your direction..." If the GPSR guesses your direction by plotting your points when you move, it can simulate what a real compass does... without any kind of magnetic sensor. Some would call that an "electronic compass" and others wouldn't.

 

Saying "magnetic compass" is a little better. This could be the swinging needle of yore, or it could be any variety of magnetometers. There's a fairly long article over on GPS World ...

 

http://www.gpsworld.com/gps/the-magnetic-compass-and-gps-828

 

that discusses how they work - and it does refer to "Needle Compasses" and "Electronic Compasses" B)

 

Whether or not your personal jewelry has affected your own GPSR's compass in any way that you notice, ANY magnetic compass (mechanical or electronic) will be affected by metal objects nearby. That's what calibration is for -- to adjust the device for its environment.

 

I remember a conversation about this recently actually, something about using a metal carbiner to hook your GPS to yourself? However, a watch or other jewelry messing with my compass...I'll pay closer attention and see....

 

OK, question time...if jewelty can mess with the compass, what would a motorcycle's gas tank do? I'll tell you my observation...stopped and moving, the compass was still stable and true. All day. B)

 

Roddy,

 

It looks like somehow, the orange glow from your PN-40 might be blinding your observation powers somewhat. :D

 

Magnetic needle, flux valve, or any type of compass, the basics still apply. The compass simply detects magnetic fields. No matter how you compensate for the conditions as they exist when you do your calibration, the minute you change something, accuracy of the compass in regards to the earths magnetic fields will change. Electrical fields, magnetic metals etc all alter the magnetic field around them. As these items move closer, or farther away from your sensor, they're going to change your reading somewhat, with some changes being very slight, others being quite extreme.

 

The neat thing about GPS units is that once you're moving, they don't have to rely on magnetic fields, and can instead do very accurate calculations of your direction of travel through other means. Knowing your location and direction of travel allows your unit to compute all the other "Compass" information quite accurately, and without interference from magnetic fields.

Link to comment
...Maybe I have electronic and magnetic confused...
So do the folks who market these things :D

 

As far as I'm concerned, saying a GPSR has an "electronic compass" is ALMOST meaningless -- because it could mean too many things. At the very least, it means no moving parts (e.g., no physical compass needle). But beyond that it only mean "it uses electronics to tell your direction..." If the GPSR guesses your direction by plotting your points when you move, it can simulate what a real compass does... without any kind of magnetic sensor. Some would call that an "electronic compass" and others wouldn't.

 

Saying "magnetic compass" is a little better. This could be the swinging needle of yore, or it could be any variety of magnetometers. There's a fairly long article over on GPS World ...

 

http://www.gpsworld.com/gps/the-magnetic-compass-and-gps-828

 

that discusses how they work - and it does refer to "Needle Compasses" and "Electronic Compasses" B)

 

Whether or not your personal jewelry has affected your own GPSR's compass in any way that you notice, ANY magnetic compass (mechanical or electronic) will be affected by metal objects nearby. That's what calibration is for -- to adjust the device for its environment.

 

I remember a conversation about this recently actually, something about using a metal carbiner to hook your GPS to yourself? However, a watch or other jewelry messing with my compass...I'll pay closer attention and see....

 

OK, question time...if jewelty can mess with the compass, what would a motorcycle's gas tank do? I'll tell you my observation...stopped and moving, the compass was still stable and true. All day. B)

 

Roddy,

 

It looks like somehow, the orange glow from your PN-40 might be blinding your observation powers somewhat. :D

 

Magnetic needle, flux valve, or any type of compass, the basics still apply. The compass simply detects magnetic fields. No matter how you compensate for the conditions as they exist when you do your calibration, the minute you change something, accuracy of the compass in regards to the earths magnetic fields will change. Electrical fields, magnetic metals etc all alter the magnetic field around them. As these items move closer, or farther away from your sensor, they're going to change your reading somewhat, with some changes being very slight, others being quite extreme.

 

The neat thing about GPS units is that once you're moving, they don't have to rely on magnetic fields, and can instead do very accurate calculations of your direction of travel through other means. Knowing your location and direction of travel allows your unit to compute all the other "Compass" information quite accurately, and without interference from magnetic fields.

 

I guess the ORANGE isn't bothering me too much, I understood and knew this. Must be the change was extremely slight because I didn't see anything different when moving or sitting still as I stated above.

Link to comment

Yesterday I powered up the Colorado 400t at lunch and it locked up. Had to pull the batteries. Then in the evening the same thing happened again. So I then packed it up in order to send it back for a refund.

 

Why not just update the firmware?

 

I had the most recent firmware. Also, I spent $300 dollars on it and expect it to work without any major problems, just like my "old" one does. I just got fed up; maybe GArmin will get the message too.

Link to comment

Yesterday I powered up the Colorado 400t at lunch and it locked up. Had to pull the batteries. Then in the evening the same thing happened again. So I then packed it up in order to send it back for a refund.

 

Why not just update the firmware?

 

I had the most recent firmware. Also, I spent $300 dollars on it and expect it to work without any major problems, just like my "old" one does. I just got fed up; maybe GArmin will get the message too.

 

I understand. Garmin was in a hurry to make some money on the colorado and released bug filled units. They did it with the Oregon also.

 

If Garmin doesn't wake up and start hiring better programmers, they are going to rapidly lose their market share.

Link to comment

I got a Colorado 400t recently and I'm seeing this same thing. Actually I'm seeing two odd things. The Colorado 400t unit I have seems to show me approximately 60-80 feet away from where I really am (eg I can walk in the middle of a straight road but it would show me as walking about 80 feet to one side) and the purple heading indicator (as Gobble42 indicates) tends to point off in another direction. (eg I could see a straight road displaying on my Colorado 400t as straight up and down on the unit and I would walk straight down the road, but the purple arrow would be pointing off to the side...not facing straight as it should). Another side-effect of this is that if you stand off about 50 yards or whatever from a straight road and face perpendicular to it (yes the receiver as well), the road on the display will show at an angle and NOT perpendicular as it should.

 

I did a long test the other evening at the nearby high school fields and walked to very exact locations (center of ballfields) and made waypoints at each...and to a nearby geocache, then back to my house and neighborhood. When I got back I uploaded the track data to Google Earth and to my suprise it was all dead on accurate. That means the Colorado 400t kept VERY accurate (I mean VERY!) readings as I was out and about and that it must be the maps themselves and/or the compass (or both) that is at fault.

 

I called Garmin this morning and the girl suggested I do a master reset and gave me instructions. After I got off the phone I did further reading and she apparently neglected to tell me what might be a pretty important last point (about doing this outside where you can leave the GPS in good view of the satellites for 20 MINUTES). Still, at least I have something to try before I decide to send this back to the online store as defective or keep it.

 

I do love it (though I guess I'd like the backlight to be brighter I know why they opted for the transflective display...which really does save battery power!) and I reallly want to keep it. If a master reset done outdoors fixes the issues I'm seeing you'll see me praising this thing right and left. The paperless geocaching and Wherigo potential of this model is awesome.

 

I'll cross my fingers and post what happens when I do the master reset sometime soon. (the weather here in Baltimore is rainy...)

 

Also, I wish Garmin would do more to educate people about all of this. I had to search and search and search to find threads and boards that discussed these topics and to finally learn about how a master reset makes the unit 're-build almanacs'...why couldn't the girl on the phone just say that or better yet...shouldn't they put a bright yellow paper in every new GPS box telling them to do this when they first get the unit?

 

I'll keep you all posted....

Bob

 

 

 

I have a new Colorado 400T and have a problem with the compass: it doesn't point in the correct direction. Since this is the essential purpose of the compass, this problem has been very frustrating. Sometimes it is off by as much as 90 degrees. I have calibrated after changing batteries and have even calibrated several times in a row and it is still off substantially. I saw a thread on this forum that suggested it worked better when turned OFF, but I think then you are no longer using the electronic compass and you have to be moving to get accurate directions.

With my previous GPSr, I would get close to ground zero and see what direction and distance I was from actual GZ, then I would pace in that direction and was usually at GZ. With this unit I end up spinning around until the distance starts going down.

Is this just a product failure or is there a way to fix it? Right now I am resigned to returning it. :ph34r:

Link to comment

To reiterate g-o-cashers comment (since it's way up the thread and you aren't the OP), be sure you are standing still and holding the unit flat when you take a reading using the electronic compass. If you are moving at any speed at all, you are getting direction based on satellite information, not the compass. If you don't hold the unit flat, you will always get readings which are inaccurate.

 

Reading back through this thread, I am reminded that I don't know for sure whether or not the heading reported by the compass is affected by the magnetic/true north setting on the unit. I rather suspect that it is. If so, then when the unit is set to true north, zero degrees will point to the geographic north pole. When the unit is set to magnetic north, zero degrees will actually point east or west of the geographic pole by an amount equal to the local declination. Since we don't know the OP's location or the setting on the unit, it is possible that the constant 15 degree offset is due to declination. OP would have to be pretty far north, though.

 

Much as I would like to try this out, I can't since my local declination is too near zero. Anybody out there with a Colorado and a discernible local declination want to volunteer :ph34r:

Link to comment

 

Reading back through this thread, I am reminded that I don't know for sure whether or not the heading reported by the compass is affected by the magnetic/true north setting on the unit. I rather suspect that it is. ......

Much as I would like to try this out, I can't since my local declination is too near zero. Anybody out there with a Colorado and a discernible local declination want to volunteer :ph34r:

Garmin unit has some kind of "declination table" in memory. When we move to area with another value of magnetic deviation it changes automatically. Like before in b&wLegend, 60CS,...

Christopher

Link to comment

 

Reading back through this thread, I am reminded that I don't know for sure whether or not the heading reported by the compass is affected by the magnetic/true north setting on the unit. I rather suspect that it is. ......

Much as I would like to try this out, I can't since my local declination is too near zero. Anybody out there with a Colorado and a discernible local declination want to volunteer :ph34r:

Garmin unit has some kind of "declination table" in memory. When we move to area with another value of magnetic deviation it changes automatically. Like before in b&wLegend, 60CS,...

Christopher

I know that. What I want to know is whether the compass always shows a true north heading, or whether it shows a magnetic heading if the unit is set to magnetic.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 2
×
×
  • Create New...