Author Topic: stemcaptain compass  (Read 3620 times)

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Offline dclifton

stemcaptain compass
« on: September 14, 2011, 10:11:03 am »
Can anyone tell me if the stemcaptain compass works accurately mounted in the "steel" stem  without any interference from the steel as I have experienced with other handlebar mounted compasses?

Offline waynemyer

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Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 11:42:21 am »
I have a hard time imagining that a standard compass surrounded by any amount of ferromagnetic metal would operate properly. When I took a marine navigation class, the instructor gave us an eye-opening demonstrating. He placed an empty aluminum soda can a few inches from the boat's compass. The bearing shifted a few degrees. Then he put a full can of soda a few inches from the compass and the bearing shifted even more. So even various non-magnetic substances can affect magnetic navigation. I think the only real hope for a accurate reading is a 3-axis gimballed fluxgate compass. Many small electronic compasses use a fluxgate and you only need to hold them level to get a decent reading.
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Offline RussSeaton

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 01:24:47 pm »
More than likely this compass will operate more than well enough even if surrounded by steel.  Consider the purpose of the stem mounted compass.  You are not navigating the Spanish Armada from Spain to Mexico and back with plundered gold.  The purpose of the compass is when you come to a 4-way intersection, you will know which direction is North, South, East, West.  Then you can look at your map, or think about what today's general riding direction is, and pick the right road that will take you in the direction you want to go.  I have compasses on a couple bikes.  Touring bike has a flat plastic compass that rides in the map case on top of the handlebar bag.  Its great for helping to follow a map.  One road bike has a compass that snaps around the stem.  It gives good enough direction to tell which general direction I am riding.  And that is good enough since I usually know which general direction I want to ride.  And the compass can help pick out the road going in the right general direction.

Offline Ironbyron1

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 09:55:16 pm »
I am thinking of getting one of these myself. Let us know if you try one and how it works. I myself think that it will work. But what do I know;)

Byron in Owensboro, Kentucky

Offline waynemyer

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Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2011, 03:26:36 pm »
The purpose of the compass is when you come to a 4-way intersection, you will know which direction is North, South, East, West.  Then you can look at your map, or think about what today's general riding direction is, and pick the right road that will take you in the direction you want to go. 
Ah, makes sense. For some reason ,I was envisioning a more complex use.
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Offline John Nelson

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 04:02:35 pm »
There have been a few times when I needed a bit more accuracy, such as at the unmarked intersection of two wickedly twisty roads in the middle of a Virginia forest. Even with a good compass of course you're left with a bit of guessing.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 06:19:44 pm »
There have been a few times when I needed a bit more accuracy, such as at the unmarked intersection of two wickedly twisty roads in the middle of a Virginia forest. Even with a good compass of course you're left with a bit of guessing.

The only time I can remember something like that happening, I was more confused by the resolution of the map than by the compass.  I knew darned well I wanted to go 45 degrees true, and the compass was good enough to show me where that was, but my choices were 0 and 90 degrees!

Offline peterharris

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2011, 11:31:35 am »
Depending on what you have on your front rack, maybe something like this would work:

http://www.suunto.com/us/en/products/marine-compasses/suunto-orca-pioneer/suunto-orca-pioneer-yellow

It's a kayak compass - big, easy to read, and weatherproof. It uses bungees to attach to the deck rigging. No reason you couldn't modify it to fit on a rack.

Offline Mattie

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2011, 12:36:46 pm »
Another option is the Bicycle Bell and Compass combo.

It is a "ping - ping " type cycle bell and the housing is a compass. I have one on my Koga Miyata World Traveller and it works a treat. When you get to a campsite you can work out the path of the sun so as to have shade or sunlight in the morning. Equally good for finding your way across towns and cities. A very useful gadget.

Mine is similar to this  http://www.vwvagabonds.com/Bike/BikeBellCompass.html

Offline staehpj1

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2011, 12:59:45 pm »
There have been a few times when I needed a bit more accuracy, such as at the unmarked intersection of two wickedly twisty roads in the middle of a Virginia forest. Even with a good compass of course you're left with a bit of guessing.

The only time I can remember something like that happening, I was more confused by the resolution of the map than by the compass.  I knew darned well I wanted to go 45 degrees true, and the compass was good enough to show me where that was, but my choices were 0 and 90 degrees!
I have just carried a hand held compass.  It is a very basic Silva model.  The thing is that in the touring I have done, I don't recall using it even once.  I have found that I have only needed a very general sense of which way is north and that can usually be maintained even on cloudy days.

That said even if you actually want/need to use a compass a handheld one might do just as well.  The few times where finer accuracy is required stopping and digging out a handheld should not be a big problem.

If you need a constant reminder of direction as you ride a compass with marginal accuracy ought to suffice.  Personally, I typically find that the direction of the light, wind direction, and various land marks (mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, cities, and so on) are sufficient to keep me generally oriented.

For off road touring I would probably need a compass more, but a handheld would still be my choice.

Offline DaveB

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2011, 09:22:09 am »
I have just carried a hand held compass.  It is a very basic Silva model.  
+1  Silva or similar hand held compasses are very thin and light and will disappear into a jersey pocket but provide more accuracy and reliability than any bike mounted compass since you can step away from the bike's metal for a reading.  For road riding they provide more accuracy than you will ever need.  For off-road use they are far better than anything but a good GPS.

Offline ducnut

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2011, 09:05:24 am »
I have just carried a hand held compass.  It is a very basic Silva model.  
+1  Silva or similar hand held compasses are very thin and light and will disappear into a jersey pocket but provide more accuracy and reliability than any bike mounted compass since you can step away from the bike's metal for a reading.  For road riding they provide more accuracy than you will ever need.  For off-road use they are far better than anything but a good GPS.

I wish even a good GPS would work, on the roads I ride. I have a Garmin 705 and ride a lot of gravel and dirt roads. Those aren't on Garmin maps; only county roads (CR on a map) or better show up. What's worse is the unit doesn't "learn" the roads one has travelled. If I've been on it, in the past, it should show up. On singletrack, it's useless. The best it can do for me is show communities, county roads, and bearing that help me to know kinda' where I'm at.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2011, 07:43:31 pm »
I wish even a good GPS would work, on the roads I ride. I have a Garmin 705 and ride a lot of gravel and dirt roads. Those aren't on Garmin maps; only county roads (CR on a map) or better show up. What's worse is the unit doesn't "learn" the roads one has travelled. If I've been on it, in the past, it should show up. On singletrack, it's useless. The best it can do for me is show communities, county roads, and bearing that help me to know kinda' where I'm at.

Yeah, we have had a lot of discussion of this over in the GPS forum. The Edge series are really meant for training rides, and they are very good at that. For touring and navigating new terrain, the Vista or GPSMAP series do much better. For your rides, loading the topographic map set would probably do very well, perhaps in conjunction with the City Navigator road maps.

You can examine the coverage of the various map products on Garmin's web site. Take a look at some back roads that you know well and see how they do.

Fred

Offline ducnut

Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2011, 09:54:08 am »
I wish even a good GPS would work, on the roads I ride. I have a Garmin 705 and ride a lot of gravel and dirt roads. Those aren't on Garmin maps; only county roads (CR on a map) or better show up. What's worse is the unit doesn't "learn" the roads one has travelled. If I've been on it, in the past, it should show up. On singletrack, it's useless. The best it can do for me is show communities, county roads, and bearing that help me to know kinda' where I'm at.

Yeah, we have had a lot of discussion of this over in the GPS forum. The Edge series are really meant for training rides, and they are very good at that. For touring and navigating new terrain, the Vista or GPSMAP series do much better. For your rides, loading the topographic map set would probably do very well, perhaps in conjunction with the City Navigator road maps.

You can examine the coverage of the various map products on Garmin's web site. Take a look at some back roads that you know well and see how they do.

Fred

Thanks for the tips.

I'll give the other maps and systems a look.

Joe B

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Re: stemcaptain compass
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2011, 04:23:06 pm »
When I took a marine navigation class, the instructor gave us an eye-opening demonstrating. He placed an empty aluminum soda can a few inches from the boat's compass. The bearing shifted a few degrees. Then he put a full can of soda a few inches from the compass and the bearing shifted even more. So even various non-magnetic substances can affect magnetic navigation.

It's hard to imagine a soda can affecting a compass that is essentially surrounded by ( in the QE2's case) 150,000 tonnes of what is mostly steel and iron. I guess proximity is more important than mass in this case.