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Old 22-06-2015, 12:35   #31
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Re: Garmin Handheld devices - GPS vs. Electronic Compass

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Originally Posted by charliehows View Post
?? I've got 2 handhelds, they both give pretty accurate bearings once left sitting in the cockpit for a few seconds, as well as lat/long, sog, eta, etc, etc ( about 100 other useful functions). Couple of people stating categorically that they dont work as a compass - have you ever actually used one these things?
I think the people stating that didn't realize the OP was not talking fixed-mount GPS/chartplotter, but a handheld GPS with a built-in fluxgate. The OP clarified that in later posts. There are quite a few older handheld GPS units which do not have fluxgates, and that was what those guys were thinking of.

A handheld GPS with fluxgate compass must be treated just like a hand bearing compass. Thinking it is just as good as a binnacle-mounted compass is absolutely wrong. As others have mentioned, a properly swung binnacle compass will always show the vessel's heading (unless you hold a magnet near it!).

A handheld GPS with fluxgate will always show bearing - where it's pointing (assuming it's held level. If your boat is pointed due west, your handheld GPS/fluxgate compass will show 270 - only if it's pointed that direction. If you're pointing it towards the mark you're heading towards, it's indicating the magnetic compass bearing to that mark - which is not necessarily the actual heading of the boat. So, it you want to be a good strategic racer, you should have both on your boat - a binnacle compass (or a fixed-mount fluxgate compass - whichever one it should be properly swung), and a hand-held bearing compass or GPS equipped with fluxgate compass.

Every modern smartphone contains a GPS receiver, fluxgate compass, and an accelerometer, so you'd think that would work as well for Wednesday night racing. But very few have daylight visible screens, and those that do would run down their batteries before you got back to the yacht club.
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Old 22-06-2015, 13:27   #32
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Re: Garmin Handheld devices - GPS vs. Electronic Compass

Not all GPSs with the "compass face" act like regular a compass.

The OPs Garmin does, 'cuz I looked up the manual online and commented on it.

My Garmin GPSMap 76Cx has the same face but does NOT act like a compass, it simply doesn't have the same feature that the OP's Garmin does.

Yes, we actually use our GPS!
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Old 22-06-2015, 18:23   #33
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Re: Garmin Handheld devices - GPS vs. Electronic Compass

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Not all GPSs with the "compass face" act like regular a compass.

The OPs Garmin does, 'cuz I looked up the manual online and commented on it.

My Garmin GPSMap 76Cx has the same face but does NOT act like a compass, it simply doesn't have the same feature that the OP's Garmin does.

Yes, we actually use our GPS!

Only the CS and CSx have a fluxgate compass and barometer (S stands for Sensors)
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