A compass is a tool that is used in navigation. Compasses are made with a magnetic pointer that rotates according to the Earth’s magnetic poles, aligning with the magnetic field. A digital compass is a compass that uses sensor technology instead of the magnetic pointer that is used in manual compasses. Digital compasses are considered one of the largest advances in compasses.
There are different types of magnetic compasses that are available in the market today. Most digital compasses are built-in, together with a watch. Other digital compasses are built inside a car.
Here are some tips on how to use a digital compass:
- Installation. The effectiveness of a digital compass depends on where it is installed. Iron materials, such as some of the elements that are found in a car will greatly affect the performance of the digital compass. Digital compasses that are used as GPS in cars must be calibrated in order to consider the materials that will affect the digital compass’ reading. It is best to use a digital compass away from the components that will affect the reading. Some other materials that can lessen the effectiveness of a digital compass are power lines, metallic housings and audio speakers.
- Accurate Reading. To get the most accurate direction reading when your digital compass is installed in a car, you will have to subtract the reading of the digital compass from the reading of the Earth’s magnetic field. This will give you a more accurate reading of the directions. This is also true for digital compasses that are integrated with watches. The watch can be affected by other magnetic fields that are given of by other materials.
- Magnetic Distortions. There are two types of magnetic distortions. The first one is the hard iron and the second one is the soft iron. Hard iron distortions are the ones that come from permanent magnets, such as iron and steel. Soft iron distortions come from the Earth’s magnetic field and also from any soft magnetic materials that are near the compass. Most digital compasses are able to save the iron distortion in their memory so that it is already compensated when a reading is taken. These distortions affect the variation angle reading. The magnetic North and the true North have a different of more or less 11.5 degrees.
- Readings. Digital compasses are easy to read once you take note of all the distortions that were previously mention. You can easily determine where you want to go, especially when you are armed with a map. The digital reading will tell you in which direction you are heading for.
These are some of the tips you can use in using a digital compass. If you want more accurate instructions on a specific model of a digital compass, you can search for instructions on the Internet or go to the website of the brand of digital compass that you have. They usually have detailed instructions on how to configure and read your digital compass.