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'$15 WayFinder compass'
1997\07\18@022135 by Christopher Zguris

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I just opened mine, couldn't wait to take a peak :-) . The case is two parts
glued together, but not very well (_not_ welded). What I did was used a
small, flat screwdriver to _gently_ break the glue seal between the top and
bottom pieces. After that, I _gently_ wedged the screwdriver in until the
two pieces popped apart. The battery compartment is a molded part of the
bottom, so it won't fall apart. There are black and red power leads that run
from the battery compartment to the circuit board, they are fairly long.

The only potential gotcha is the LCD display. A thin rubber gasket goes
around a groove around *the perimeter of a piece of thin glass that goes in
front of the LCD display element. This whole assembly fits within a channel
in the top and bottom pieces but - since the pieces aren't glued together -
the gasket moves out, the LCD slides away, and the whole thing is a bit of a
PITA to put back in. I didn't spend much time, and it's not impossible, but
it's something to be aware of upon re-assembly.

The unit has two flux-gate coils (I assume they're flux-gate), and a couple
of smt ICs. Although it only generates 8 directions on the display, I
suspect it _can_ do more, with the proper hacking & pin-debugging. The
circuit doesn't look all that complicated to modify in any case, the thing
is just _screaming_ "HACK ME! HACK ME!" esp at the $15-$16 price.


Chris

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1997\07\19@160649 by johnb

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Christopher Zguris wrote:
>
> I just opened mine, couldn't wait to take a peak :-) . The case is two parts
> glued together, but not very well (_not_ welded).
>
> The unit has two flux-gate coils (I assume they're flux-gate), and a couple
> of smt ICs. Although it only generates 8 directions on the display, I
> suspect it _can_ do more, with the proper hacking & pin-debugging. The
> circuit doesn't look all that complicated to modify in any case, the thing
> is just _screaming_ "HACK ME! HACK ME!" esp at the $15-$16 price.
>
> etc etc.

The device you are referring to is similar to the Vector 2X compass
module. I have one in front of me. It costs $49.95 (UKP 31.73).
Available from (UK): Willow Technologies Ltd Surrey. Tel 01342 835 234.
(US): Jameco Company; they are at http://www.jameco.com

The Vector 2X has a 3-lead Microwire I/O, which is much easier to use
than I2C, but cannot so easily support multiple devices.

In Master Mode, the 2X gives out a continuous stream of data, which can
easily drive an LED/LCD display without any need of a processor, and
offers one-degree resolution.

In Slave Mode, a PIC-Chip or similar device could easily read the data;
the 40-page Application booklet gives complete interface info.

Power requirement is 5V (stabilised); current is 6mA (Master Mode) or
4mA (Slave Mode). The device loses its calibration if switched off, but
there is a 30 microamp power-down mode if the supply is reduced to 2.5
volts.

The 2X has 2 coils at right angles, and 4 chips on the opposite side of
the PCB. It may therefore be a more advanced version of your 2-chip
compass.


John Blackburn,
South London.

1997\07\20@165901 by johnb

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Tom Handley wrote:
>
> re: Vector 2X Compass
>
>    John, I've seen that in the Jameco and other catalogs. Do you know
> the operating temperature and humidity range of the module? I had
> earlier considered it for a wind direction sensor but I forgot about it
> until this topic came up. Thanks, Tom.

Tom and others,

Temp/humidity ratings - it's more or less the same as everything else...
let's see from the data sheet - operating range is -20 deg C to +70 deg
C; humidity not mentioned but I doubt if it's any worse than anything
else you can buy.

I've looked at the PNI site info and it isn't helpful. The best thing is
to buy one - they are cheap enough. MAKE SURE that you get them to
include the 40-page data App Notes which I didn't get until I asked.

To test it out on a PC Centronics printer port, you could use the C
source code made available at:

http://www.access.digex.net/~pha/printer/compass/compass.html

I have so far failed to compile this because my compiler doesn't like
it.

John Blackburn,
South London.

1997\07\21@153459 by Philip Martin

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In article <.....199707180619.CAA12663KILLspamspam@spam@york.interport.net>, Christopher
Zguris <czgurisspamKILLspamINTERPORT.NET> writes
>
>The unit has two flux-gate coils (I assume they're flux-gate), and a couple
>of smt ICs. Although it only generates 8 directions on the display, I
>suspect it _can_ do more, with the proper hacking & pin-debugging. The
>circuit doesn't look all that complicated to modify in any case, the thing
>is just _screaming_ "HACK ME! HACK ME!" esp at the $15-$16 price.
>

My electronic compass has a minimum degree resolution of 5, with
programmable way points and return courses. But then it is liquid
filled, rated to beyond 50 meters deep and cost over 120 ukpounds, so
I'm not about to take it apart. However the direction sensor seems to
be some kind of round ball with small brass plates on it?

--
Philip Martin   ----------------------------------------------------------------
Royal Quays             If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit:
North Shields.          no use being a damn fool about it !
                                                       W.C. Fields
email .....philipKILLspamspam.....philmart.demon.co.uk


'$15 WayFinder compass'
1997\08\01@042156 by Eric Smith
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Christopher Zguris <EraseMEczgurisspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTINTERPORT.NET> wrote about the Wayfinder LC
electronic compass made by Precision Navigation, Inc.:

> The unit has two flux-gate coils (I assume they're flux-gate)

They aren't flux gates.  They are magneto-inductive sensors.  I'm not sure
how much information is publicly disclosed, but it might be worth looking
at these US Patents:

4,851,775:  Digital compass and magnetometer having a sensor coil wound on
           a high permeability isotropic core

5,239,264:  Zero-offset magnetometer having coil and core sensor controlling
           period of an oscillator circuit

The best source for online patent information seems to be IBM's patent server:
       http://patent.womplex.ibm.com/

> The circuit doesn't look all that complicated to modify in any case, the
> thing is just _screaming_ "HACK ME! HACK ME!" esp at the $15-$16 price.

Although the price point of the Wayfinder LC may make it attractive for
hacking, PNI is not likely to offer any support for it.  The Vector 2X,
Vector 2XG, and TCM-2 products are specifically intended for use in embedded
systems.

Cheers,
Eric

Disclaimer:  I am an employee of Precision Navigation, Inc., but they only
pay me to write firmware.  I don't speak for them, and they don't speak for
me.

1997\08\01@193632 by Dave Mullenix

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>> The circuit doesn't look all that complicated to modify in any case, the
>> thing is just _screaming_ "HACK ME! HACK ME!" esp at the $15-$16 price.
>
>Although the price point of the Wayfinder LC may make it attractive for
>hacking, PNI is not likely to offer any support for it.  The Vector 2X,
>Vector 2XG, and TCM-2 products are specifically intended for use in embedded
>systems.
>
>Cheers,
>Eric
>
>Disclaimer:  I am an employee of Precision Navigation, Inc., but they only
>pay me to write firmware.  I don't speak for them, and they don't speak for
>me.

I bought one of them - looks like quite a lot for the money.  Any chance of
someone persuading PNI to put files containing the schematic and any other
info on the WWW?

Thanks,
Dave, N9LTD

1997\08\02@075606 by Chris Smolinski

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I'd like to get my hands on one or two to experiment with. I've checked the
local K-Mart and WalMart - they don't seem to carry it.

Does anyone know of a store in the Baltimore/Washington area that does
carry the WayFinder compass?

Chris


Web URL: http://www.access.digex.net/~cps
Shortwave Radio, Spy Number Stations, Macintosh Software

NOTICE: Any email sent to this account is subject to public release.

1997\08\02@163914 by Tim Kerby

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Anyone know a UK supplier?  The cheapest similar thig is £150 UKP about $200.


Cheers

Tim

At 07:56 02/08/97 -0400, you wrote:
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1997\08\02@191435 by Dave Mullenix

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At 07:56 AM 08/02/97 -0400, you wrote:
>I'd like to get my hands on one or two to experiment with. I've checked the
>local K-Mart and WalMart - they don't seem to carry it.

Look in the K-Mart automotive department.  They'll be on their own cardboard
stand, probably near the regular compasses.  It's a tall, narrow stand that
holds two vertical rows of compases hanging from hooks.

Dave, N9LTD

1997\08\04@030429 by wterreb

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Eric Smith <ericspamspam_OUTBROUHAHA.COM> wrote:


> Although the price point of the Wayfinder LC may make it
> attractive for hacking, PNI is not likely to offer any
> support for it.  The Vector 2X, Vector 2XG, and TCM-2
> products are specifically intended for use in embedded
> systems.

A few months ago Elektor (or was it ETI) magazine featured a project
to build a very simple digital compass using a special IC that can
directly drive eight LEDS.  If I remember the article correctly the
same manufacturers of this IC also makes another type that was made
specificially to be microprocessor compatible.  Do anybody know what
these IC's were, what they cost and where one can buy them from?

Rgds
Werner

1997\08\04@113746 by Martin R. Green

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Actually, if you are talking about the chip with a tiny mechanical compass
in it that uses hall effect devices to detect the position, I think it was
Popular Electronics, strangely enough.

CIAO - Martin R. Green
@spam@elimarKILLspamspambigfoot.com

----------
From:   Werner Terreblanche[SMTP:KILLspamwterrebKILLspamspamplessey.co.za]
Sent:   Monday, August 04, 1997 5:12 AM
To:     RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject:        Re: $15 WayFinder compass

Eric Smith <spamBeGoneericspamBeGonespamBROUHAHA.COM> wrote:


> Although the price point of the Wayfinder LC may make it
> attractive for hacking, PNI is not likely to offer any
> support for it.  The Vector 2X, Vector 2XG, and TCM-2
> products are specifically intended for use in embedded
> systems.

A few months ago Elektor (or was it ETI) magazine featured a project
to build a very simple digital compass using a special IC that can
directly drive eight LEDS.  If I remember the article correctly the
same manufacturers of this IC also makes another type that was made
specificially to be microprocessor compatible.  Do anybody know what
these IC's were, what they cost and where one can buy them from?

Rgds
Werner

1997\08\05@051708 by wterreb

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face
>> > Although the price point of the Wayfinder LC may make it
>> > attractive for hacking, PNI is not likely to offer any
>> > support for it.  The Vector 2X, Vector 2XG, and TCM-2
>> > products are specifically intended for use in embedded
>> > systems.
>>
>> A few months ago Elektor (or was it ETI) magazine featured a project
>> to build a very simple digital compass using a special IC that can
>> directly drive eight LEDS.  If I remember the article correctly the
>> same manufacturers of this IC also makes another type that was made
>> specificially to be microprocessor compatible.  Do anybody know what
>> these IC's were, what they cost and where one can buy them from?

> Actually, if you are talking about the chip with a tiny mechanical compass
> in it that uses hall effect devices to detect the position, I think it was
> Popular Electronics, strangely enough.

PE might have had the same project as well, but it was definetely the
Elektor article I was thinking about.  I just managed to locate the
article from our library.  To answer my own question, the
manufacturer is Pewatron in Switzerland and sensor is Type 6945 with
an approximate price tag of about 35 GBP.

Groete
Werner
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