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noah690

Garmin Etrex 20 compass

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Any helpful tips on using the compass on my Garmin etrex 20 to locate caches? I just purchased the GPS unit a week ago, so trying to figure things out. Thanks, noah690

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The eTrex 20 does not have a magnetic compass, so the compass screen only points in the correct direction when you're moving.

 

To use it, you select a geocache to navigate to, then go to the compass screen. Pick the most likely direction and start walking, After a few seconds, the compass arrow will point towards the cache. Use the arrow and the distance indicator to make your way towards the cache.

 

Models with a magnetic compass (a Hall effect sensor) - like the eTrex 30 - will show the correct direction to move in when you're standing still. It's nice to have, but not necessary.

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Yes, that's true for the eTrex 10 and 20. Once moving, the satellites realize what direction you're going and, effectively, become your "compass". They also take over, once moving, for the eTrex30 as well which does have an electronic compass. The difference being that the eTrex 30 will show direction when completely stopped. That being said, I really like caching with my eTrex 20 (and 30). As Chrysalides said, once you've selected the cache you'd like to navigate to, go to the compass page (as I always do) and follow the arrow. Easy peasy, and you'll soon be signing the log. Have fun!

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A word of caution. If you hadn't yet noticed, once you stop or slow to a near crawl, the compass pointer is not to be trusted.

You need some 'velocity' to your movement. Walk-speed is fine, but some folks have a tendency to slow dramatically when they near the cache (we refer to that as Ground Zero or GZ). Keep looking at the device and it'll start pointing this way, that way and turn you in ever enlarging circles -- only to swing you back to where you started the process. 'Tis the nature of an inertia compass.

 

When you near the placement enough to slow, that's time to stop looking at the GPSr unit and start looking for the cache or its hiding spot. Keep looking at the device and you are wasting your eyesight.

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A word of caution. If you hadn't yet noticed, once you stop or slow to a near crawl, the compass pointer is not to be trusted.

You need some 'velocity' to your movement. Walk-speed is fine, but some folks have a tendency to slow dramatically when they near the cache (we refer to that as Ground Zero or GZ). Keep looking at the device and it'll start pointing this way, that way and turn you in ever enlarging circles -- only to swing you back to where you started the process. 'Tis the nature of an inertia compass.

 

When you near the placement enough to slow, that's time to stop looking at the GPSr unit and start looking for the cache or its hiding spot. Keep looking at the device and you are wasting your eyesight.

 

I've had some trouble lately with my eTrex 20 compass freezing, even when I'm a couple of hundred yards away from GZ. Sometimes closing and re-opening the compass works, but not often. You reckon it could be because I'm moving too slowly? I actually injured my knee recently and have been using a crutch so I've been slower than usual.

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I have back troubles and sometimes move too slow for the compass to realize I'm moving. At least that's what I think my problem is. Speeding up seems to resolve the problem.

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