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510 compass is not active!

Hi there. I purchased a new 510 explorist a few weeks ago. I put this query out to any owners of these 510s.
The compass should be active from the word go at all times, with no need for figure 8 calibration as with the 710s and so on. This is correct yes? With mine....not so.
1: With the map screen up, the little red arrow that should indicate north at all times does not move.
2: Bring up the overlay full compass and that also does not move.
3: In the top right corner, there is first a battery icon, next a back light indicator icon, and then there should be a 'compass status' icon. It is not there and never has been.
4: No change inside or outside.
5: It seems to work fine otherwise. Knows where it is and tracks and records no worries.
6: This is a replacement unit. The first had the same problem. On talking to the Magellan 'Help' people with the previous one, it was thought a firmware update would fix it. Not so. Fried it completely, blued out screen and error messages all over. Replaced it free of charge sweet as. However I am now reluctant to try updating this one.
I have read through the user manual till I'm blue in the face and have not been enlightened in the least!
Have I missed a blindingly obvious setting perhaps? Is this a problem others have encountered?
Biggest problem with the help line is that you are unable to talk to a person who actually knows 'how to use it' !! And on that point, I've been unable to find anyone local to me that does own one. On talking to the help line again, the feed back was 'Well the compass should just work'. Send it to us and we might..... might.... replace it.
I just want to get the hell out of town and back up into the hills and mountains again and do a heap of tramping. This should of been so simple you know!, before I go down that track and the weeks of waiting again, I thought I'd give this forum a go. What do you think? Anybody out there have any clues?
Any and all information will be greatly appreciated,


  • Tim 1500 Points
    Hi Jim! You must be from New Zealand....

    I've got a bunch of eXplorist devices kicking around, but no 510. I took a look at the specs of the 510 on Magellan's website and I can't find any reference to the compass being electronic. Not too long ago many GPS devices didn't have an electronic/magnetic compass on them. So the way the "compass" worked was to actually just show your heading based on previous movement.

    What is an Electronic Compass?

    With accuracy of GPS positioning being what it is, the GPS often would detect movement that isn't really happening which can cause the heading to be wildly inaccurate, especially at low speeds.

    What you describe above would make perfect sense if the GPS was displaying your heading based on previous calculated movements, accurate or not. I agree-- if the 510 does have an electronic compass then it doesn't appear to be working properly.

    But, the fact that you say your 510 doesn't need the figure 8 calibration leads me to think that perhaps the 510 doesn't have an electronic compass. And, other models from Magellan, like the Triton 500, clearly say they do have an electronic compass.
  • sussamb 956 Points
    This review backs up Tim's comment that there is no electronic compass on the 510. So I would say the OPs 510 is working as expected.
  • jsand 0 Points
    Hi Tim and Sussamb. Thank you! With the information you've both provided and my own experiments as a result, it appears that the 510 does indeed run a gps compass and not an electronic one. My inexperience showing there somewhat. Still I would of thought that in the owners manual, a subject of that level of importance, would of been explained far more clearly. But there you go, perhaps I'm not as ' intuitive ' as they expect the majority out there to be, lol. Never mind, problem solved, again thank you. And yes, I'm an Aussie living in New Zealand. Well spotted!

    Again Cheers,
  • Tim 1500 Points
    Hi Jim,

    Yes, and you would have thought Magellan would have picked up on the fact that your GPS was working as designed. BTW, it was the "sweet as" phrase that brought be back to my happy place in New Zealand.
  • NOTE: there are small "Sun" and "Moon" pictures at the Compass screen. Just rotate your device appropriately to Sun and (or) Moon, that you see in the sky, and the Compass will show right direction even you are not moving.
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