Page 1 of 1

Garmin 60CSx requires constant compass recalibration

Posted: 16 January 09 10:19 pm
by Coffee and Cache
Iv'e been pretty happy with my 60CSx, but the magnetic compass has always been a weak point. Apart from some reservations abouts its accuracy, the main problem has been the need to re-calibrate the compass.

This is usually not because it appears inaccurate, but because the compass stops working constantly - ie arrow just disappears or the "Hold Level" indication just won't go away. I did so many circles today, I think Iv'e worn out my shoes?

So - is this the usual thing for this GPSr, or should I try and have it fixed?

Posted: 16 January 09 10:49 pm
by gibbo003
What batteries are you using?
I had a similar problem with mine when I was using 1700ma NIMH batteries, changed to 2200ma one and have not had a problem. Although after going from car nav mode to geocaching mode I have to re-calibrate. Also when the batteries run low it can be a problem.

Posted: 16 January 09 11:04 pm
by Map Monkey
It is a very common problem with the 60Csx, so much so one would think Garmin would try to fix the problem. Must be an internal hardware issue i guess rather than a software problem. :roll:

They seem to have trouble when the battery level is lower than normal. :shock: A power cycle can retrieve the needle in some cases.


Posted: 17 January 09 10:33 am
by Dooghan
I seem to get the hold level a bit more then my old 60CS. I usually don't find it a problem as I can get it to disappear. I mostly use mine not calibrated and find it points in the general direction of GZ. Then I'm only using it for a max of 2mins then I turn it off as I usually have the cache in hand.


Posted: 17 January 09 10:39 am
by Dooghan
I seem to get the hold level a bit more then my old 60CS. I usually don't find it a problem as I can get it to disappear. I mostly use mine not calibrated and find it points in the general direction of GZ. Then I'm only using it for a max of 2mins then I turn it off as I usually have the cache in hand.


Posted: 17 January 09 11:53 pm
by Coffee and Cache
Thanks everyone. I not sure which batteries I had in place yesterday when it seems especially troublesome, but I use only NiMH and they vary between 2000 and 2500 mAh.

I haven't considered a correlation between battery size or charge before, but there certainly would be an effect on voltage as the battery nears empty - you'd think all of the GPSr would keep functioning up until the point where it decided the voltage was too low. I must look up the discharge characteristics of NiMH batteries. I'll try and maintain a higher state of charge.

Whilst it is annoying when the "HOLD LEVEL" pops up and won't go away, I find it much more infuriating when the compass needle just disappears completely. When I get back to Melbourne (on holiday at present), I'll query Garmin to see if there is an official response to the problem.

Posted: 18 January 09 12:10 am
by angermanagement
If you hear a reply from garmin about your query it would be great if you could post it here. I too have trouble with mine. As you say the compass needle sometimes disapears completely or even more frustrating is that it reverses itself. So instead of having to follow the needle you have walk away from the needle. Can be very confusing as it doesn't seem as accurate when it is flipped around.
The first time it did it, I was off by myself and about 300 meters off the path in fairly dense scrub and I got extremely turned around and confused as to which way was out.... :oops: :oops: After a momentary panic (well maybe a few) I applied some logic and followed the sun out. Thankfully I didn't have to put the rescue call into hubby for assistance.

Posted: 18 January 09 10:42 am
by March Brown
I don't know if this is relevant or not but for geocaching the compass should be turned off as it interferes with the pointer when searching for a cache.

Going around in circles

Posted: 18 January 09 11:59 pm
by If
I've never had a problem with the electronic compass on my GPS76CS.
It needed recalibrating if I moved a couple of hundred KM's, but that was to be expected. Once calibrated the compass would work OK for the rest of the day :D
As for rechargable batteries, I gave up on them years ago. It just wasn't worth the grief of finding they had gone flat, not charged properly or just plain old didn't work because the temperature got below zero overnight :?
The cost of driving a hundred km's then walking another 15kms to find the batteries had gone flat for no good reason just isn't worth it when alkaline batteries can be bought for less than a dollar each and last 24 hours or more :D

Posted: 19 January 09 8:15 am
by Coffee and Cache
Thanks March Brown, but I'm not sure I follow the logic of not using the compass. Perhaps you can explain more fully? As far as I can see, the mag compass is a significant asset to the 60 CSx (well - when it's working reliably anyway) and allows the arrow to point to the waypoint/cache etc even when stationary or carried at walking speed. The actual bearing indicated by the GPS calculated with reference to the current and waypoint location, should not be effected by the compass, it just makes sure it's aligned with the earth. Without the magnetic compass, you would only get an indication of direction when moving sufficiently fast so the GPSr can calculate your orientation - walking speed is barely enough as experience with my N95 (sans mag compass) shows. There is good reason for that of course.

I am aware of course the most cachers advocate not relying on the needle when very close to the cache since the GPS error (say 5-10m) does not allow the GPSr to accurately calculate a bearing, but that 's somewhat beside the point.

PS I certainly will post again when I get some response from Garmin.

Posted: 19 January 09 1:27 pm
by Team Rubik
I have the same problem with the compass on my 60CSx and haven't found a solution yet. On the topic of batteries, whilst in Tassie recently I tried a cheap brand that I picked up in bulk and found my GPSr wouldn't even turn on! However, once I did turn it on (by connecting it to the car charger) it would stay on happily and even display 3 bars of battery life!<br>

Posted: 29 January 09 8:31 pm
by Coffee and Cache
No info from Garmin to report yet, but I was prompted to check if there was a firmware upgrade by a somewhat similar thread. It will save the inevitable "are you on the latest release" question anyway.

I have upgraded from S/W Ver 3.50 to 3.70.
Version 3.60 contains the grammatically dubious, but perhaps relevant fix
"Improve robustness of compass when it would appear uncalibrated until a power cycle".

I'll try it out and see it its any better.

Posted: 30 January 09 1:25 pm
by listmaker
Finally checked my 60 csx. The firmware is version 3.60, which I upgraded to a few months ago. That may explain why the arrow hasn't done the disappearing thing since.

Posted: 30 January 09 1:48 pm
by Marcus Vitruvius
Yeah I've used version 3.60 for a while now and it's been perfect. No hassles whatsoever.