Quantcast

Looking for a portable digital compass

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

BsSmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
806
Reaction score
0
I think I might of found an easy solution for tracking rockets in unharvested corn fields and trees.

What I would need is some sort of digital compass, to keep a perfectly straight line. I don't know where to look for one of these (haven't tried Wal-Mart yet), does anybody have a source for digital compasses?
 

quickburst

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
1,681
Reaction score
23
I think I might of found an easy solution for tracking rockets in unharvested corn fields and trees.

What I would need is some sort of digital compass, to keep a perfectly straight line. I don't know where to look for one of these (haven't tried Wal-Mart yet), does anybody have a source for digital compasses?
I bought one on e-bay.
 

sylvie369

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
1,104
Reaction score
1
Some Garmin handheld GPS units have something called "Sight n Go" that serves a similar purpose. You point the GPS at your target (presumably the point at which you saw the rocket disappear into the corn), and press a button, and you get a line that you can follow on the screen. If you go off course to the right, the line moves to the left, and vice-versa. I've used it with some success with rockets, though it was not as helpful as I'd hoped. Maybe with more practice.
 

Sailorbill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
1,283
Reaction score
0
Look around for an inexpensive personal GPS. Some have compasses included. Nice thing about the GPS is you can set a track and it will tell you how far left or right of the track you are plus how far you are from the launch pad .
 

JOAT

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Electronic compass is not nearly as accurate as a real magnetic compass. What is the electronic version giving you over a real compass?
 

BsSmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
806
Reaction score
0
Some Garmin handheld GPS units have something called "Sight n Go" that serves a similar purpose. You point the GPS at your target (presumably the point at which you saw the rocket disappear into the corn), and press a button, and you get a line that you can follow on the screen. If you go off course to the right, the line moves to the left, and vice-versa. I've used it with some success with rockets, though it was not as helpful as I'd hoped. Maybe with more practice.
I was going to ask another question about something like this, but then I thought it would be useless without a GPS transmitter onboard the rocket. Looks like they do make them!

Electronic compass is not nearly as accurate as a real magnetic compass. What is the electronic version giving you over a real compass?
I was hoping that the electronic compasses had the same sort of point and go setting on them. It's easy to drift off course with a magnetic compass, especially over long distances. All of the magnetic compasses I've seen only have the NSEW and NE, SE, NW, NE, and SW markings on them. If the rocket falls between the marks, I can drift one or 2 degrees off the correct course.
 

Handeman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
7,721
Reaction score
314
Location
Stafford, VA
It's easy to drift off course with a magnetic compass, especially over long distances. All of the magnetic compasses I've seen only have the NSEW and NE, SE, NW, NE, and SW markings on them. If the rocket falls between the marks, I can drift one or 2 degrees off the correct course.
Check out the military or Boy Scout compasses. They are usually marked to a degree, or 2 at the most. They are just as accurate as the digital and in some cases, more.

The secret to following a line is not the compass, it's picking out a landmark, tree, bush, stick, or anything else that is online and walking to it. Then taking another reading and repeating. This can get very tedious in heavy cover but it does work. To do it right, you have to do the work and be accurate, don't depend on the instrument.
 

DaveCombs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
3,066
Reaction score
3
Check out the military or Boy Scout compasses. They are usually marked to a degree, or 2 at the most. They are just as accurate as the digital and in some cases, more.

The secret to following a line is not the compass, it's picking out a landmark, tree, bush, stick, or anything else that is online and walking to it. Then taking another reading and repeating. This can get very tedious in heavy cover but it does work. To do it right, you have to do the work and be accurate, don't depend on the instrument.
So, what troop were you in? ;)

(I'm a Scoutmaster myself.)
 

Chrisn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
1,494
Reaction score
0
All of the magnetic compasses I've seen only have the NSEW and NE, SE, NW, NE, and SW markings on them. If the rocket falls between the marks, I can drift one or 2 degrees off the correct course.
Wow. Whats the point in a compass then? were the compasses you've seen from a kids Mcdonalds toy meal? All the ones ive used/seen are marked 360degrees.
 

mkadams001

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2009
Messages
876
Reaction score
1
I use the landmark method to find my rockets. Even with a compass you have to use landmarks, at least from where you started, to get you back on track after going around obstacles. A GPS would be a lot more fun though.
 

Handeman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
7,721
Reaction score
314
Location
Stafford, VA
So, what troop were you in? ;)

(I'm a Scoutmaster myself.)
Back when I was a scout in the early '70s, I was in Troop 133. I was Cubmaster for my son's Pack and then a committee member while he was in Troop 26.
 

Handeman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
7,721
Reaction score
314
Location
Stafford, VA
Another method for finding a rocket that can work very well if you have help and are not on flat terrain. You only needs three things. This works very well in corn fields if there are slight hills so you can see the whole field.

1. A sight that can be attached to a camera tripod or other stand and locked in place. Use it to lock onto the location where the rocket went down. This can be a stick with a nail in each end, a straw, or anything else that allows you to get and keep a line of sight to the landing spot.

2. A flag on a rod or pole. The blaze orange ones on fiberglass rods for use on bikes and ATVs work very well and are light.

3. Two way radios. You don't need the expensive 5+mile range ones. 2 mile radios work just fine since you can't see the flag that far away anyway.

The person with the flag goes and gets the rocket while the person using the sight talks the person with the flag to the landing sight. If it doesn't put you dead on, it will get you very close.

If you have a set of radios and can make up a sight and flag, this is a NO Cost solution.
 

Handeman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
7,721
Reaction score
314
Location
Stafford, VA
Another method for finding a rocket that can work very well if you have help and are not on flat terrain. You only needs three things. This works very well in corn fields if there are slight hills so you can see the whole field.

1. A sight that can be attached to a camera tripod or other stand and locked in place. Use it to lock onto the location where the rocket went down. This can be a stick with a nail in each end, a straw, or anything else that allows you to get and keep a line of sight to the landing spot.

2. A flag on a rod or pole. The blaze orange ones on fiberglass rods for use on bikes and ATVs work very well and are light.

3. Two way radios. You don't need the expensive 5+mile range ones. 2 mile radios work just fine since you can't see the flag that far away anyway.

The person with the flag goes and gets the rocket while the person using the sight talks the person with the flag to the landing sight. If it doesn't put you dead on, it will get you very close.

If you have a set of radios and can make up a sight and flag, this is a NO Cost solution.

BTW, if both people have compasses with them, it can make the "go there", "go here" directions easier to communicate.
 
Top