'Directional' car compass .. ever had one?

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'Directional' car compass .. ever had one?

Postby Hugh-AR » 13 Jul 2019 18:26

I was mentioning to my son and daughter-in-law that in the old days, before the invention of the SATNAV, we used to have a 'directional compass' with a rubber sucker on it that we had fixed to the windscreen of the car (passenger side, so it didn't obscure the driver's view). Then when we were lost we only had to glance at it to know whether we were driving North, South, East or West so at least we weren't driving round in circles. Which happened to us once when on holiday recently in the Isle of Man. No 4G to be able to set the mobile up with Google Maps, and after half an hour's driving we realised we were back where we started!

So our daughter-in-law very kindly bought us one .. off Amazon. This is it.

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You can see the 'compass arrow' in the picture, pointing North .. and you are looking at the N, telling you you are travelling North. Great! Took me an age to work out why we were travelling in the wrong direction all the time. The direction of that arrow was actually pointing South, so you should have been looking at an S, not an N. And as it is supposed to be a 'directional compass', the N, S, E, W should have been printed the other way round. Just looking at the picture, if you line yourself up with the NW .. you would actually be travelling South East. So I suppose you could use the compass so long as you mentally change the direction it was showing to it's opposite.

This is what the Amazon Reviews said about the compass:
Great looking product, problem is it is not directional. That is, it does not show the direction in which one is travelling. That means if you travel North the compass shows South. In these days of high fuel costs that could become expensive. I bought it for my wife who finds things complicated enough without having to do mental gymnastics in order to determine where she is going.

This appliance has been printed the wrong way around, when it is pointing to the north it is going south and so forth.

This confirmed what I had thought. Well, it was Made in China !

My daughter-in-law said, "Win some, lose some".

Anybody else ever had one of these .. or had one that is printed the right way round to be a 'directional' compass? I did look for another one on Google but they all seemed to be made by the same company .. in China.

Hugh
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Re: 'Directional' car compass .. ever had one?

Postby Hugh-AR » 13 Jul 2019 19:25

And ...

The compass had another problem. The direction it pointed, supposedly North, was affected by the metal of the car.

More Amazon Reviews:
Not for a car as advertised. Works fine and accurately outside the car and agrees with basic navigation using the Sun or analogue watch. However, like most compasses, it is easily affected by the steel body of a car and gives the wrong reading inside the vehicle. Would be OK for plastic cars, TVR, Reliant Scimitar etc and aluminium cars, e.g. new Jaguars, but it won't give the right readings inside a standard steel car.

This is a poor product as it points in the same direction all the time. I now realise that this is because it points towards the car radio speaker, not to North.

I reckon if I have the compass with me in the car, and I get lost, if I get out of the car with the compass .. it is printed the right way round to be a 'normal' compass. ie. Looking at it from over the top, the N is pointing to the North; the W is pointing West etc.

Hugh

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Re: 'Directional' car compass .. ever had one?

Postby Hugh-AR » 14 Jul 2019 08:22

To sum up, the N, S, E, W are printed as if this were a normal compass. So if you look over the top of it, the N is North (forget the line in the middle with the arrow); the S is South; the E is East and the W is West. So this is a normal compass as you look at it from over the top.

But you can't look over the top of it while you are driving. The whole idea is it is meant to be a directional compass. The whole of the inside of the compass is 'domed', and the whole lot rotates within the liquid. So if this compass is showing North as being in the direction of the N (which it is, ie. towards you in the picture) then if you are looking at those letters round the bottom of the dome you should be seeing an S, telling you that the direction you are travelling in is South .. which would be correct.

Am I missing something here? I think you have to have one in front of you to appreciate what it is going on.

Hugh

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