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Oregon 450 won't hold orientation


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I've had my Oregon 450 for several years now and mostly it works just fine, but there is this one glitch I've never been able to address. I've exchanged my unit for another one twice, even talked to Garmin about it, but the problem remains.

 

The problem is this: When I'm in geocaching profile, either using the road navigation or direct routing, the moving map shifts whenever I come to a full stop, either driving or walking. It doesn't do this in automotive profile. (I don't know about the other profiles because those are the only two I use.)

 

It's a nuisance because I have to keep moving to get accurate readings, and if you're using the unit for road navigation, suddenly having the map rotate as much as 90° when you come to a stop sign or red light can be very disorienting.

 

I found some other threads talking about the electronic vs GPS compass, but I've run into this problem even out walking in the wilderness with it, not just in the car. I notice the compass is set to "auto" in geocaching profile and "off" in automotive. I've tried recalibrating the compass, but it hasn't made any difference.

 

Thanks for any help other Oregon users can give me.

Edited by Path Pacer
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Yes, I'm pretty sure it is the e-compass causing the problem, but I hate to turn it off since I need it for when I'm standing still. Then again, since it's not giving me good readings anyway, perhaps it wouldn't be much of a loss. The next time it happens out on the trail, I'm going to try recalibrating it again and see if that helps.

 

I turned "lock on road" off a while ago when it was causing my map to freeze up when I stepped out of the car.

 

Thanks.

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What you are describing is more typically the result of NOT having the compass enabled at low speed. The drift in GPS signal causes the unit to think you are constantly moving slightly in different directions. Avoiding this is one of the nice features of the mag compass.

 

Double check settings: Setup / Heading / Compass = Auto

As you get down to around (IIRC) 3mph, the compass should kick in. If Compass = Off, you're at the mercy of the quality of the GPS fix you can hold.

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What you are describing is more typically the result of NOT having the compass enabled at low speed. The drift in GPS signal causes the unit to think you are constantly moving slightly in different directions. Avoiding this is one of the nice features of the mag compass.

 

Double check settings: Setup / Heading / Compass = Auto

As you get down to around (IIRC) 3mph, the compass should kick in. If Compass = Off, you're at the mercy of the quality of the GPS fix you can hold.

 

No, it's definitely having the e-compass kick in that's doing it. The auto profile, where it's set to off, doesn't have this problem. For some reason, the gps orientation and the electronic orientation aren't matching.

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Hmm.. bugger that idea, then .

The only other time I've seen the compass get wonky (apart from being near power lines or other similar weirdness) is when the voltage of the batteries when the device was calibrated is significantly different than the current operating voltage.

As an example, if I calibrate after 15 minutes or so of use, that seems to do well EXCEPT when I have a pair of fresh hot-of-the-charger batteries installed. For the first little while, the voltage is sufficiently above that during the earlier calibration that the compass gets a bit wonky. It's a sad fact that for whatever reason, Garmin apparently isn't using a regulated supply to power the compass chip, and as a result, it is somewhat voltage dependent.

 

So calibration using a hot pair of cells can be a problem, and use of hot cells when the unit was calibrated at a somewhat more 'normal' voltage is a problem.

 

My solution to this is to avoid calibration on hot cells, and only perform a calibration (I rarely need to do so) after about 15~30 minutes of use. That seems to hold well enough until they're pretty well depleted. When I've just loaded freshly charged cells, I also turn the unit on on the way to the cache site, giving myself about 15 minutes to burn off enough battery energy to bring the voltage down to something 'nominal'.

 

(Note to above: When I say 'hot' cells, I don't mean temperature, I mean off the charger and at a higher than normal voltage that occurs for a little while).

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Yeah--mine does that all the time when I stop driving. My Dakota 20 does the same thing. Doesn't happen when walking, though I attribute it to electronics in the car. As soon as I start up, goes back to normal.

Whoa -- do NOT expect a real magnetic compass to perform worth diddly in a car unless it is in a fixed position and calibrated to that specific position in the vehicle environment (just as is normally the case for those that come as part of the original vehicle package). But even if you did that with your GPS, it would be whacked when you got out! So as a rule, you just can't depend upon a GPS mag compass inside a vehicle! You'll have to wait until you get out.
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