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Old 22-04-2021, 12:27   #1
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Steiner Commander Compass problem

I got a new Steiner Commander from amazon.de and I played with it for a little bit. However I noticed 2 issues but maybe Iím doing something wrong.

1. The compass is off by about 20 degrees compared to any iPhoneís compass.
2. The compass moves only if I keep the binoculars relatively horizontal. If I point it upwards or downwards the compass doesnít move at all. I can turn 90 degrees with it in the same position.

Did I get a faulty unit? I might return it and go for a Nikon without compass. I was really hoping for the compass to be reliable. But if itís not bulletproof Iíd rather use something elseÖ
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Old 22-04-2021, 13:07   #2
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

I have a set that I believe are the same but older and they don't have either problem.
Dan
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Old 22-04-2021, 13:35   #3
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

1) Not sure I'd trust an iPhone compass as a reference. I'd compare it to a known-good "real" compass.

2) yes, mine does the same thing. I think the little floating disc inside the housing will touch the housing and not float freely when the binoculars are not relatively level. I guess the assumption is that you're looking at the horizon when compass heading is important.
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Old 22-04-2021, 13:42   #4
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

The problem is the 2 iPhones and one Apple Watch are all under 1 degree compared to one another…
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Old 22-04-2021, 15:27   #5
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

The steiner compass works off magnetic North only.
The phones can probably display True or Magnetic-depending on settings.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_declination
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Old 22-04-2021, 15:42   #6
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

Very interesting. I never knew you could switch an iPhone between true and magnetic. Thanks for that!
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Old 22-04-2021, 15:54   #7
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

That was an assumption on my part. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-...pass-on-iphone
A GPS can be switched also. Cheers/Len
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Old 22-04-2021, 16:49   #8
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

I have had two pair of Steiner Navigator compass binoculars. Both gave readings without a noticeable difference from charted bearings, from my hockey puck hand bearing compasses, or from my boat's main compass. Tilting the binoculars would cause the compass card to strike the compass case. I have a small interocular distance, and with the two halves of the binoculars squeezed together to match my eyes, the compass was tilted somewhat occasionally causing problems.
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Old 22-04-2021, 23:16   #9
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

I checked with both options True North enabled and disabled on the iPhone. The difference is much higher than that. I will return them to Amazon and get a replacement.
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Old 23-04-2021, 10:52   #10
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

I once bought a Steiner Commander. There was a lot wrong with it. It was old. I send it to Steiner in Germany and they refurbished the compass at zero costs! Super.
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Old 23-04-2021, 11:04   #11
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

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Originally Posted by Elcid View Post
I checked with both options True North enabled and disabled on the iPhone. The difference is much higher than that. I will return them to Amazon and get a replacement.
I'd be careful with Amazon. A lot of counterfeit product gets passed along as genuine. I read somewhere that >90% of all "Apple" products sold as genuine on Amazon are counterfeit goods. For something as pricey a this, I'd be inclined to purchase from a place that specializes in marine products.
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Old 23-04-2021, 11:22   #12
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

The card sticking may be indicating that you are using the wrong compass module for your latitude. IIRC Steiner sells different compass modules for various ranges of latitude, as do marine compass suppliers. A compass module for high Northern latitudes has to have a weight on the South side of the card to offset the downward pull from the North magnetic pole and that weight is reduced for more southern latitudes (IIUC). I have no idea what the 20į error is about.

I have heard good things about Steiner service and need to send my pair in for some work.

Greg
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Old 24-04-2021, 14:14   #13
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

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Originally Posted by danstanford View Post
I have a set that I believe are the same but older and they don't have either problem.
Dan
Me to.
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Old 25-04-2021, 15:35   #14
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

Hello Elcid, Just recently bought a new compass and almost made the mistake of buying it on Amazon without checking the category. The problem is that compasses are made for different areas of the globe and from memory we (New Zealand) are in category 6. You likely as not bought one suitable for North America and it just sticks in Europe where the magnetic dip is different.
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Old 25-04-2021, 15:44   #15
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Re: Steiner Commander Compass problem

Steiner product support is exceptional. My binoculars were more than 15 years old and I was having compass problems. I talked to the Steiner dealer at a boat show about repairs, and he said, "No problem. Those have a lifetime warrantee. Just send them to the service center, and they'll take care of it."

It was a exactly as he said. Repaired promptly and professionally--for free. Ten years later they are still going strong.

There are a LOT of Steiner knockoffs being sold out there. In most cases they just put cheap optics in a housing that looks like the real thing, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to find cheap optics in a housing with the Steiner name fraudulently slapped on--especially on Amazon or Fleabay.
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