Did you know that a compass is affected by ferrous metal placed near it? I notice that when I'm using my hand held compass to get the correct direction for my portable satellite dish, if I get too close to the tripod, the little needle points towards the tripod instead of North.
On a boat, a compass is very important, because, for some strange reason, there are no traffic signs in the ocean. To navigate properly, you need a good compass. On our Coast Guard boats, there is a good compass located on the dash, right in front of the helm, for the helmsman (helmswoman?) to steer a course by.
However, a boat is loaded with all kinds of ferrous metal, the engines, reduction gears, framework, etc, that can throw the compass off. So to correct that you have to "Swing" the compass.
Basically, you have to set out on a known course, looking at a nautical chart and place little magnets around the compass until you get its needle to match the direction on the chart. A few circles around in the water to confirm you have swung the compass accurately and then the magnets are locked down. Until such time as an engine is changed, or the compass is removed for maintenance, then you have to do it all over again.
Probably by now, you are wondering where the heck I'm "heading" with this (pun intended)?
Our Journey does not have a compass. Even though most modern cars and trucks (and our last motorhome) have installed compasses, for some reason that technology was left off, probably by the Winnebago Bean Counters. I want it install a compass that is reasonably accurate and adjustable. I don't mind spending money, but so far the compasses I've looked at don't have a way to calibrate (or swing) them to get line up with the Northern direction. And there is a lot of ferrous metal in our Journey.
I'd hate to be tooling down what I think is a west heading highway only to see the sun set off my left shoulder as my left ear gets sunburned.
We intend to install solar panels on the Journey roof for those times we anticipate boondocking in the wild Western deserts. I'd like to be able to look at a compass on my dash and see which way is East so I can park with the solar panels pointing South to get the most energy from the sun
Now that you know what I'm talking about, a question: If you've purchased an aftermarket compass for your RV, what did you buy and do you recommend it? I'd appreciate your input so I don't get lost wandering around in the desert with my little cheapo handheld compass.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.