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Compass Vehicle Calibration

Discussions relating to the Android Compass Geek application.

by Kaleb » Mon May 05, 2014 3:46 pm

Compass Geek can compensate for the hard and soft-iron offsets in the magnetic field inside of a vehicle. This means that Compass Geek will work in almost any vehicle after a quick calibration process.

To calibrate Compass Geek to a vehicle, first mount the device in portrait mode in the windscreen. Portrait mode will rotate the compass so it is pointing forward towards the front of the vehicle.

You can see in the image below: Compass Geek mounted in a vehicle that is pointing in the direction of north, or 0 degrees. However, Compass Geek is indicating that the vehicle is pointing west-ish, or 294 degrees. This is because of the hard and soft-iron offsets in the magnetic field caused by the vehicles metal frame and electronics.

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To calibrate Compass Geek to the vehicle, press the Calibration menu. This will take you to the Calibration Manager. You will see a gauge with a pair of perpendicular lines in the center. Press the Calibrate button below the gauges and proceed to drive the vehicle in a full circle (360 degrees). You will see a green circle appear on the gauge. If the circle is not centered on the perpendicular lines, the magnetic field inside the vehicle has hard and soft-iron offsets and the compass will not work correctly.

You can see in the image below that, after the vehicle was driven in a full circle, hard and soft-iron offsets are skewing the magnetic field because the green circle was drawn off-center of the perpendicular lines.

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Once the vehicle has been driven in a full circle, press the Stop button below the gauge. This will apply the calibration to the compass.

You can drive the vehicle in a circle again to verify the calibration. If the calibration was successful, a white circle will be drawn with the perpendicular lines in the center of the circle.

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We can now use the compass in the vehicle. Press the Compass button in the menu... This will return you to the compass. You can see that in the image below that the vehicle is pointing north, 0 degrees, and the compass is now indicating the vehicle is pointing north, 358 degrees.

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Kaleb
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