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Garmin Map60csx Anyone Else Have Compass Problems? I have to calibrate constantly

#1 User is offline   LaughingTerry 

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 02:36 PM

Does anyone else have to calibrate the compass constantly? I get out of the car with my 60csX and have to do the hokey pokey. LOL Then I'll walk into the woods a ways and my screen starts spinning again. I'll stop and calibrate again and it is usually ok to get me to the cache. Usually... Then after I find the cache and stop the navigation I will watch the screen as I am walking out and it is spinning again. It acts like I am turning back and forth like a washing machine as I walk.

#2 User is offline   vaetanone 

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 03:57 PM

I have a similar problem, though less severe. Mine usually will last a day, though sometimes not. There have been other posts noting calibration problems, though usually less severe than yours. I would suggest calling Garmin Tech Support and reporting the problem. When I did they indicated that once a day was not unusual but "less than a couple of hours would not be normal" I believe that to keep the battery life up using the Sirf chipset with its increased power requirements they did something to the compass management. My Vista C NEVER needed calibration between battery changes. Get a sample of re-calibration times and call them (and let us know the results). Good luck.

#3 User is offline   toddm 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 11:23 AM

I would say your problem certainly sounds worse than others and my experience with my 76csx. I do know that everytime I turn my 76csx off and on and want to use the sight and go feature, I have to recalibrate to use the feature (it's grayed out otherwise). I'm sure they do that for accuracy and with this compass it seems to be a good idea.

For example my 76csx does not normally force me to recalibrate if I just want to use the compass, but I've noticed that if it's off for even a couple days and I restart it, the compass may not force me to recalibrate but it's significantly off anyway. Case in point, I just booted it up, let it settle into a good lock, and checked the digital compass -vs- my brunton and it's off a good 25 degrees, even after calibration it was off 3-5 degrees. So while it may not force a calibration you certainly would not want to use it with that kind of error without recaibrating. So I would say that it's a good idea to recalibrate anytime you plan on using the unit for compass navigation.

My 76s was no where near this bad, and frankly I've decided after having the 76csx unit for awhile that the compass is pretty much useless. It's way way too picky about the angle you hold it at, and it's constant recalibration needs make it unreliable at best, dangerous at worst.

The "Hold Level" indicator they added is a joke as well, by tilting the unit front up and down between when the indicators come on either way I can still get a 90 degree swing in the heading measurement. The unit is WAY WAY too inaccurate and sensitive to tilt to every be useful, and at worst it's dangerous if someone were to rely on it.

The reception of the "x" units is great, but they are seriously lacking in some other areas for sure. The compass accuracy for one, not being able to regain lock for another, and a general lack of display options. Certainly no one can argue with the reception, it's amazing hands down. However I do find myself wishing I had waited for the second generation of "x" units, but that's what happens when you buy the first generation of any product.

This post has been edited by toddm: 02 April 2006 - 11:26 AM


#4 User is offline   spamhead 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:45 PM

My only questions is this: Why don't you get a "regular" compass, turn off your electronic one and extend your battery life?

When I was looking for my first "better" GPSr, I specifically didn't get the built in compass to extend the battery life.

I say Shut 'er down and get a decent $20.00 Silva.

Just my two cents.

spamhead

#5 User is offline   dunderhead 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:52 PM

Must agree, as a cyclist I would have many accidents while trying to make sense of the 60CS compass' erratic behaviour, my 1$ bell/compass is the answer, only needs a glance.On foot i have a sylva knock off 3$, I'd buy the real one but can't get them here.

#6 User is offline   Alphawolf 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 01:48 PM

See?... This is why I keep saying that compasses and altimeters do nothing but aggrivate and waste time! I can't remember the last time I ever had to calibrate my Silva. (Oh wait...I have never had to calibrate it...Silly me)

This post has been edited by Alphawolf: 02 April 2006 - 01:48 PM


#7 User is offline   toddm 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 01:55 PM

I could be wrong, as I have not specifically tested it, but I believe that the "x" units do not benefit from turning the compass off, as the older 60/76 units did in terms of battery life.

It may be that garmin has gone to such a low powered compass that it's sacrificed accuracy and some tilt resistance. My 76s did gain a significant runtime from having the compass turned off, but it also performed much better.

As you said though, even with a gps, I always have a compass in the field, but if they are going to put it in as a major feature that a new model is designed around it should work.

#8 User is offline   vaetanone 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 02:17 PM

As I said in previous post, for anything further off road than a quicky cache, I have my military surplus Lensatic with me. But, it is much easier to only use one device while walking, stopping and starting, and looking for a cache all at the same time. The value of the compass for caching is that while a "goto" is set the arrow points to the cache, not local magnetic north. The compass on my Vista C performed quite well for caching. It was not as accurate as my "real" compass, but when you are within yards of a cache, a few degrees doesn't matter. In short I would not use the GPS compass for route finding, thats the job of my magnetic compass.

Unfortunately the new x units electronic compass does not perform as well. I still use it, am glad to have it, and would purchase my 60CSx again instead of a Cx. But that's personal choice, your milage may differ.

#9 User is offline   Puddlewalkers 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 02:55 PM

Had my 60CSX for several weeks now. Never had a compass problem, works great. Loving it, wouldn't trade for anything. :)

#10 User is offline   pyt22fr 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 03:12 PM

View PostPuddlewalkers, on Apr 2 2006, 02:55 PM, said:

Had my 60CSX for several weeks now. Never had a compass problem, works great. Loving it, wouldn't trade for anything. :)


The same thing.

I haven't fully tested the compass yet, but happy with the feature, and also very happy with the ambient pressure sensor.

I wouln't leave my 60CSx for a 60CX.

Matter of personal choice.

pyt22fr

#11 User is offline   kb9nvh 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 04:08 PM

Haveing my 60csx for a few weeks now, I can say that I would not enter the woods without a real compass. I like the compass and its nice as it orients me when I'm not moving but trust it I dont (in the car anyway, where there's lots of metal to mess it up). I haven't tried it out walking and it may be fine for that, now that I think of it. You need to keep it level to the ground for it to work though I think.

I love my barametric pressure trend plot....You can even see when you open can close your car windows going down the highway..LOL

I'm glad I got those features but as I said, no substitute for a real, no calibratin, North pointing manual compass.



View Postpyt22fr, on Apr 2 2006, 03:12 PM, said:

View PostPuddlewalkers, on Apr 2 2006, 02:55 PM, said:

Had my 60CSX for several weeks now. Never had a compass problem, works great. Loving it, wouldn't trade for anything. :)


The same thing.

I haven't fully tested the compass yet, but happy with the feature, and also very happy with the ambient pressure sensor.

I wouln't leave my 60CSx for a 60CX.

Matter of personal choice.

pyt22fr


#12 User is offline   himilecyclist 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 04:20 PM

I just got my 60csx. I did a test walk in the neighborhood after calibrating the compass. At first, it seemed quite accurate, though it did jump around a lot. Then I turned the unit off for about 3 minutes, then back on. The accuracy seemed to have deteriorated. I tried using the unit to navigate home, and when I came to an intersection where I should have turned north, the unit indicated I should go south. I then turned the compass off and repeated the same course. This time, at the intersection, it was right on the mark.

I plan to leave the compass off except for rare times when I'm not moving and need a direction reading. Also, with the compass off, the display is much more steady with less jumping around as it tries to reorient.

One other thing, with the compass on, if you are walking with GPSr in hand, if you walk with your arm down, then raise it to look at the screen, it has to reorient to the new direction. That was very annoying. With the compass off, no such problem.

If I had it to do over, I would go with the CX and save $50. On the other hand, I'm sure there will be a few times when the compass will come in handy.

#13 User is offline   dhbaird 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 05:51 PM

View PostLaughingTerry, on Apr 1 2006, 02:36 PM, said:

Does anyone else have to calibrate the compass constantly? I get out of the car with my 60csX and have to do the hokey pokey. LOL Then I'll walk into the woods a ways and my screen starts spinning again. I'll stop and calibrate again and it is usually ok to get me to the cache. Usually... Then after I find the cache and stop the navigation I will watch the screen as I am walking out and it is spinning again. It acts like I am turning back and forth like a washing machine as I walk.



Only had my 76CSX now since last Thursday and the two times I used it with the compass I too had to re-calibrate it both times to keep it from spinning. This was especially true as I got closer and closer to the way point I was seeking (two different bench marks on my walking route around town).

One time the spinning was so bad, I turned the unit off and then turned it back on.

I thought it was only me and my "magnetic personality" :) :)

#14 User is offline   LaughingTerry 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 07:02 PM

View Postspamhead, on Apr 2 2006, 04:45 PM, said:

My only questions is this: Why don't you get a "regular" compass, turn off your electronic one and extend your battery life?


What bothers me isn't so much the compass as the screen spinning. It will tell me the cache is in front of me, then beside me, then behind me........... One of the reasons I got this new 60csX was because unlike the Legend I had it was supposed to keep track of where I am pointing the GPS without having to keep moving.

I'll play with it some more later thios week when I get a chance.

#15 User is offline   Puddlewalkers 

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 07:47 PM

If the compass calibration is off, it should be off consistently (ex. 20 degrees). I wouldn't expect it to cause erratic behavior unless the unit is faulty. Calibrating the compass shouldn't necessarily correct the erratic behavior (my opinion).

The GPS60CSX manual states:

"The compass ring is an electronic compass that functions like a magnetic compass when your are stationary. When you are moving and reach a pre-set speed, it uses data from the GPS receiver to maintain your heading. When you stop (after a pre-set time), it again operates like a magnetic compass."

You can change the pre-set time delay anywhere from 5 to 180 seconds. You can also change the speed at which the compass begins to time the delay. The default is 90 seconds and 10 mph.

There is an icon that shows up in the status bar when the electronic compass is on.

Also, with the Garmins the GPSr should be held flat (level) to work appropriately. In comparison, the Magellan compass three-axis electronic compass can be held in any direction. If you hold a Garmin upright (mounted on a bike or car dash or in your hand) the electronic compass will act very erratically.

I wonder if some of the erratic behavior reported isn't due to the GPSr switching from GPS to electronic compass mode and then back again and/or the unit being held the wrong way. Check your pre-set time delay and speed settings and how you are holding the unit. Garmin appears to have provided alot of flexibility in terms of configuring the compass. You should be able to configure the GPSr to behave in a way appropriate for the way you use it.

Again, I haven't been having any problems with mine.

#16 User is offline   jaym 

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 05:42 AM

I've caught myself a couple of times thinking that the compass was erratic... each time I took a few seconds to hold the compas level and everything seemed to clear up then. I'm thinking about mounting a couple of small bubble levels on my 60CSx. :(

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