By: randosteve|Posted on: December 1, 2008|Posted in: Broken Link to Photo/Video, Gear, Gear Reviews | 2 comments

NOTE: Today is the last day to enter the Diamond Trip Report Contest.
One of my recent email responses (to Grant?) didn’t get delivered,
so be sure to try again if I haven’t responded. Thanks…and good luck! –Steve

Accurate Suunto compass resultsNow most people know that you need to calibrate your Suunto compass to have it be accurate. Usually this occurs when you start your watch up from the factory, change the batteries or when prompted after long periods of non-use. The display will read “Keep Level…Rotate”. Some people seem to understand what this means and other look quizzically at the watch and freeze up. These people typically also have trouble working cell phones, remote controls and computers. Anyway, what some people don’t understand is that the “keep level” part is extremely important to insure the compasses accuracy. Here are three was to calibrate your compass for varying degrees of accuracy…depending on your needs and abilities. All three methods require anywhere from 2-3 rotations for the watch to get enough information for the compass to work and of setting of the declination is also necessary. One more thing to note is that the further away from speakers, computers, or other devices that emit a magnetic field…as they may interfere with the calibration.


Least Accurate – The Hold and Spin Method

Hold and spin to calibrate your Suunto watch compass
The watch owner spins the watch 360°
in their hands while trying to keep it level.

This is probably the most common way people calibrate their Suunto watch compasses. Unfortunately, it is also the way that probably gives you the worst…or least accurate results…due to the fact that it is very hard to keep the watch level when switching from hand to hand while the watch spins. Often this will also take the most rotations to for watch to get its bearings…maybe even up to four rotations.


Accurate – The Stand and Spin Method

The Stand and Spin Suunto watch compass calibration
The watch owner holds the watch level
and spins their whole body 360°.

This is the way that I probably do it the most. Mostly because it is the quickest and you can do it anywhere. The down side is you may get some strange looks if you’re doing it in the men’s room or in line at the post office. The method will give you better results than the Hold and Spin Method but not as good as the Spin the Glass technique.


Most Accurate – The Spin the Glass Method

Spin a glass to calibrate your Suunto watch compass
The watch owner places the watch, level, on a glass
and then spins the glass 360°.

This method gives you the best results and is typically done at start-up or battery installation (or re-installation…if you just want to force the watch to ask for a compass calibration…to try it out. Also to note is that only the time and compass need to be reset during a battery change…which is nice.)…since it requires a little bit of “staging”. It is very easy to keep the watch level on a glass (or any other substitute) for a full 360°. This will also typically take the least amount (sometimes less than 2) of full rotations for the compass to get dialed in.

Use a nickle to remove your Suunto watch battery
BTW, a nickle is the recommended tool to remove
your Suunto watch battery cover.