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Choosing compass and mounting config

Discussion in 'Computers, Gauges, Watches and Analyzers' started by EL Pistoffo, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. EL Pistoffo

    EL Pistoffo Loggerhead Turtle

    The wife and myself will be talking the AOW class in a couple months. A compass is required for the navigation section of the course. I've settled on either the Suunto SK7 compass or possibly the Dive Gear Deluxe Pro compass with bungee mount( http://www.divegearexpress.com/tools/compass.shtml).

    We use a Suunto CB One console with only an SPG clipped to the hip or shoulder (still trying both) as I like the simple and compactness of it. Dive computer would be wrist mount.
    The SK7 comes in 4 mounting choices:
    1. Rear console mount (I like this mount because it keeps the console compact).
    2. Top console mount.
    3. Retractor mount
    4. Wrist (bungee) mount. Could also go with the Diver Gear compass here.

    What is preferable? I often carry an UW camera. We use a 3mm shorty. I also generally dive clearer tropical waters, navigating may not be as pressing. D-rings may be limited on the BC and I don't want to become a "Christmas Tree" diver.:)

    I'm partial to either wrist or rear console mount. I'm thinking console mounting will make use of the compass a little more difficult.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  2. Goat_Tower

    Goat_Tower DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    You're completely right about the console mount. It's awkward to use, and adds lots of bulk to the console. Back facing mounts add the same amount of heft, it's just (marginally) easier to manage that way.

    If you are managing a camera, you'd want something handsfree, making wrist mount the clear choice. I find the easiest way to set it up is on a bungee mount, with the lubber line of the compass tilted 30-45 degrees off center. Angling the compass body inside the mount allows you to hold your arm in a more natural position while navigating.

    If you get an SK-7 it's clunky and hard to don, despite being an awesome compass. I'd recommend an SK7 in a Deep Sea Supply mount, laced so that it is angled slightly (the instructions explain this), and worn on the left arm. Thats how I navigate.

    I've never heard of the dive gear deluxe compass, you have a link to the website?
    Hatul likes this.
  3. EL Pistoffo

    EL Pistoffo Loggerhead Turtle

    The Deep Sea Supply mount was the same one I was considering.

    Dive Gear Deluxe Pro Compass with bungee mount (half-way down the page). ​Underwater Navigation Compasses - Dive Gear Express

  4. Bopper

    Bopper Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Diego, CA
    I have a retractor mounted and wrist mounted compass (and I used to have a console mounted one, but sold the console). I only use the retractor mounted one as I find it is easy to "level" it and hold it right under my eyeline when in horizontal trim. This allows me to look directly down on top of it while it is level.

    If I use the wrist mounted one, I find that when I put my wrist right under my face so I look right above it, my wrist is cocked at an angle so that the compass is not perfectly level. When it isn't level, it can tend to get "sticky" and is harder to maintain an accurate bearing. Also, I don't like trying to contort my arm to make it as level as possible either.
  5. THX723

    THX723 Angel Fish

    I actually prefer the console end-mount SK7, provided there is enough hose length for adequate articulation. For that matter, retractor mount is great, but I like the reduced clutter. I also really appreciate the tilt for the improved ergonomics.

    I like the wrist mount for the unbeatable accessibility, but did find it somewhat of a nuance to level and juggle during horizontal swim. It also tends to be held too close to the eyes for my personal taste. However, Goat_Tower made a great suggestion of twisting it by 30-deg (if the mount allows), which would mean a more obtuse elbow angle and thus held further away from the eye.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  6. Damselfish

    Damselfish ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    My compass is in a console, along with my backup computer. It's where I store things I don't use much. (So is my husband's, and he's a photographer.)

    I find for frequent or serious navigation, the compass is less convenient/accurate in a console. But I haven't done serious compass navigation much since AOW and limited viz diving at home 20 years ago. My diving is tropical so my usage is usually to note "which way is land" when it's not obvious - console mounted works great for this, and it's one less separate piece of gear.

    I tried a bungie mount for my computer and didn't like it. I think if I was wearing it over at least 3mm neoprene I would have liked it better, and the bungie would have had the advantage of depth compensation. But over bare skin or something thin I found it uncomfortable, the edges were a bit sharp. And getting the bungie tension just right (comfortable, but tight enough to keep it firmly in place, but not so tight I couldn't get it over my hand, just wasn't happening. I suspect these may work better with a larger hand/wrist, and some neoprene for it to settle into.
  7. buddhasummer

    buddhasummer Feeling the Love ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    I have my SK7 in a DSS bungee mount and wear on top of my right hand. No contortion necessary to read, can see at a glance all info incl computer without having to adjust swimming position and does not interfere with can light.
  8. EL Pistoffo

    EL Pistoffo Loggerhead Turtle

    You share some of the same thoughts I have. I've used a compass in the past sparingly for general direction reference. Also, we use a shorty wetsuit, and I've wondered if the bungee would be too thin, becoming uncomfortable on the bare skin.
  9. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: NA
    EL Pistoffo,

    Make sure that if you decide to wear the compass on your wrist, that you can read it.

    In my case, my vision is such that I wear progressives. I don't have progressives or bifocals for my mask, just the distance correction. As such, if I try to use a wrist mounted compass, I cannot read it since it is too close. Compass navigation is a must where I am from, so it has to be easily read.

    Trivial to a lot of folks, but something you might not have considered.

    Personally I like it on the console, it's at the right distance away from me so that it is in focus. On the console also makes for one less thing to have clipped on to me.
  10. EL Pistoffo

    EL Pistoffo Loggerhead Turtle

    That's a good point you made, thanks. My wife has bifocals in her mask so she would be ok.

    ---------- Post added February 21st, 2014 at 09:26 AM ----------

    I'm thinking a rear console mount might be my best choice. Being it gets minimal use, keeping it to the console reduces clutter. That means I have to go with the more expensive SK7. I've heard some complain of its drop in quality and being more prone to leaks, failures. Hope that's not my case.

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