HTC Hero Forum

Support Compass Calibration: How To ??

Good Morning All --- I have been searching everywhere (except the right place maybe ;)) for some notes on the proper method of CALIBRATING the Hero compass. I have found much commentary about the compass, but no specific talk about how to acutally calibrate it.

I am trying to use the GPS Status application (recently updated), and it keeps giving me "Compass out of calibration - see FAQs" message. I have looked at every FAQ I can find and searched the forums and no joy.

Could anyone please point me where I can find some instructions about calibrating the compass???

Many Thanks --- :D


#1 apollomaker, Nov 1, 2009
I know it sounds funny but ist what I heard and it seems to work.

Turn on maps or another app that uses the compass.

Shake the phone around.

It should calibrate.

I hope someone has a better way.
#2 kabbie_mcfeely, Nov 1, 2009

very funny indeed but seriously "don't shake the baby!!" :)
#3 doanius, Nov 1, 2009
Well, for what its worth, I tried an old method that we used on solid state gyros, and it seems to work. That is just slow spinning the compass in each direction a few times. Then, using the GPS status app, the compass drive to the compass rose seems to be very close (within a few degrees) of magnetic bearing here.

If you have not tried it, it is a nifty little app for taking GPS fixes and seeing the GPS constellation. It also gives you the magnetic offset and magnetic field strength at your location, as well as measuring acceleration. The app has been recently updated and improved somewhat.

Thanks for the inputs and I won't "shake the baby"!!!! LOL :D;):D
#4 apollomaker, Nov 1, 2009

I'm also puzzled that there is ZERO info about the compass in the Sprint HTC Hero manual or in the phone settings.'d think the digital compass and ability of this phone to do augmented reality, etc., would be a highly-touted feature.

Anyway, the "Compass" app I found in the Android Market by Synaptic does have a "Calibrate" menu item that simply brings up an image asking you to wave the phone in some sort of figure-8.


- Astro
#5 astrobill, Dec 16, 2009
I have had alot of errors with my compass. And at the time couldn't find ANY information or others that were having the problems. Now they are starting to surface (those with errors)

I also used GPS Status and their FAQ says to rotate the phone 3 times on all the axis. Works for me!

My compass will work great for about 4 days after a full wipe. Then it gets stuck. If I do the "calibration" it works great.... until I exit said program (say google sky maps) and try again in an hour, it needs calibrating again.

SO... spin the phone 3 times with it "flat" like it were laying down face up, then have the phone standing up and rotate 3 times, then on one side, rotate 3 times. You look like an IDIOT doing it, but it DOES get my compass working again.
#6 poor_red_neck, Dec 16, 2009
Actually, the three-axis technique you describe makes a LOT of sense. The digital compass in the Hero may be a miniaturized version of what we call a "three-axis magnetometer"....similar to what's used in some spacecraft that measure magnetic fields around the planets. Doing what you describe is a way to do a first-order calibration of those types of things.

Note...DO NOT try to calibrate the compass in or near a car or vehicle whose engine is running...magnetic fields are generated by car engines and will throw off the calibration. Also, stay away from really large collections boulders or cliff sides if you're doing this in the woods. Believe it or not, they sometimes have enough iron-containing ores in them to throw off compasses. They teach that in military orienteering courses using compasses....
#7 astrobill, Dec 17, 2009
I have the compass app installed, it says to wave the phone in a figure eight motion to calibrate (holding the phone parallel to the ground I think).
#8 cc82, Dec 17, 2009
Uh...yeah. I think I said that
#9 astrobill, Dec 18, 2009
Whoops sorry, probably should read the whole thread before posting!
#10 cc82, Dec 18, 2009
I'm finding the calibration fixes the magnetometer on my HTC Hero and makes the compass read true, but it requires re-calibration with each launch of the program (the Snaptic one) as some others have experienced. I have been using a Body Glove case with a magnet snap, and had been worried the magnetometer would be ruined, but that's evidently not the case if it works immediately after calibration (I think nonetheless that suspending use of the case might help some and be wise in any case). What would all this suggest?
#11 hunklanders, Apr 17, 2010
Just recently got the Hero, am still exploring it so bear with me.

I love to hike, so having a digital compass built into the phone was a big plus to me. I was VERY disappointed to see that HTC hadn't provided a way for me to directly use the compass functions. Have I overlooked something or do we have to use a 3rd-party app to access the compass.
#12 dizzy, Apr 17, 2010
I recently got a Hero and I really like it. But the compass is 90 degrees off. When I have it flat and the top pointed north, the Compass app says it's pointing East. I've tried both the figure 8 and the 3 axis spin calibrations but nothing seems to work.

Anyone have an idea how to correct the 90 degree problem? There are no errors anywhere and otherwise it seems to work just fine.

#13 JLeslie, May 6, 2010
This method is the only one that's worked for me, and it works well. The figure 8 thing leaves the compass still way off.
#14 hood420, May 6, 2010
As I mentioned, I tried the 3 axis spin in addition to the figure 8 method but neither worked.

WHOA! I just checked the compass again and now it reads correctly! I have no idea what happened during the night as it was 90 degrees off as of late yesterday evening but right now it's reading correctly. Time will tell if this change is permanent or not. I hope so!
#15 JLeslie, May 6, 2010

if u hike you should geocache. If u haven't heard of it, google it.
If u want to get into it, download the c:geo app.

Its fun!
#16 SlothyUK, May 6, 2010
very funnn
#17 scoob55, Jul 2, 2010
Any solution to fix the problem, that I need to recalibrate compass on every program launch?

I think it's general problem of compass sensors or Android, becuasue I have LG Optimus One and a lot of HTC, LG... user are having this problem.
#18 Kositch, Mar 23, 2011