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#228075 - 07/19/11 08:25 PM question about a Suunto mirror compass
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
I know we have a lot of experienced outdoor travellers here so I figured I could get some wisdom from you guys.

I have used a Suunto M3 Global compass for a while. I have an old Suunto MCA mirror compass which is not as nicely made but I enjoyed using the mirror for some long distance sighting. So I ordered Suunto's flagship model MC-2 Global from Amazon for a good price. I know, a $15 model should suffice, I just like compasses.

Well imagine my surprise to find that the MC-2 is darn hard to read, because the line inscribed down the middle of the mirror is very, very faint. In perfect lighting conditions you can just make it out, but otherwise it is a bear to line things up. At least, compared to the heavier line on the chintzy MCA, which ironically is much easier to read.

I looked at several other MC2 compasses in a local store and they have the same very thin line, so I don't think mine is an anomaly.

Have any of you seen this? It makes me consider swapping out the MC-2 for a Silva Ranger (which in the USA is not even a real Silva anymore), though that gives up some features I like on the Suunto. But dangit, if reading the compass is a pain then those other features become a bit useless. It's hard to imagine a way to accurately darken up the line without ruining the mirror.

Last ditch option (maybe) is to order a real Silva from Europe via a British website or something, though they say in North America, Brunton is the "real" Silva but I hear the Bruntons aren't as solid as they used to be.

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#228076 - 07/19/11 08:39 PM Re: question about a Suunto mirror compass [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
jzmtl Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/18/10
Posts: 530
Loc: Montreal Canada
On mine the line is not heavy, but clear enough to read.

I suppose if you have a steady hand you can run an exacto blade over it to make it easier to see, but like you said it's risky.

Or use masking tape to cover both sides and paint it with some bright color.

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#228077 - 07/19/11 08:45 PM Re: question about a Suunto mirror compass [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1314
I wonder if you a got a bad compass. All the MC-2 Globals I have seen have a good line down the mirror like the one below.

I am going to the local gear store tonight or tomorrow and I know they carry the MC-2 Globals. I'll have a look and will let you know as perhaps they have changed the product in the last while.

_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#228080 - 07/19/11 09:56 PM Re: question about a Suunto mirror compass [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Quote:
Bearings can be taken by using the sight. Hold the compass at eye level and
adjust cover so top of the dial is seen in mirror. Face toward your object and
sight object across compass sight. Look in the mirror and adjust position of
compass so that the sighting line intersects one of the luminous points. While
you simultaneously see your object across the sight, and the sighting line across
one of the luminous points, turn the dial so that the orienting arrow is lined up
with the needle, red end between the orienting points. The “bearing” to your
object is now the degree reading indicated at the index pointer.


Sorry I'm a little confused.

The line down the middle of the mirror isn't used to sight the target you want to shoot a bearing/azimuth to, you use the V type sight at the top of the mirror. The centre line of the mirror is used to ensure that the mirror centre line effectively passes through the exact centre of the rotating bezel when lining up the target using the V sight. At the end of the day the centre line in the mirror is compensating for the mechanical tolerances of the hinge and ensuring that both edges of the baseplate are lined up at the target when using the V sight at the top of the mirror. What is more important for accuracy is the angle the mirror makes to the baseplate when taking a bearing i.e. ideally around 50-60 degrees to reduce parallax errors. The baseplate should be held at eye level and completely level when taking an azimuth reading.

The Suunto MC-2G model shown on your link appears to have a thick white line below the V sight. Perhaps the bottom of the white line is used to marry up with the luminous? line on the baseplate infront of the bezel as you take a bearing, just below the 180 degree mark.

At the end of the day the difference in accuracy from a purely baseplate compass compared to a sighting mirror type is'nt really that great for land navigational purposes. It might get you an extra 0.5 to 1.0 degrees better accuracy.



Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (07/19/11 10:17 PM)

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#228082 - 07/19/11 11:36 PM Re: question about a Suunto mirror compass [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
widget Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 550
Exactly, the notch is for sighting the distant point and the line is used to help align the bezel with the point. The line in the mirror is used to sight between the bezel and the mirror. I am a compass nut and I have a genuine new Silva Ranger, a USA Silva Ranger, a MC1-GM, Suunto military global compass, mostly the same as the MC2G you have and I have a real old genuine Silva Ranger with the silver aluminum bezel. The line is actually finer on the Silvas but it is darker. The Suunto I have has a prominent line but it is silver. I have no problems sighting with any of them. You could get some fine line tape from a drafting supply store (or Ebay) and stick a larger line of any color you choose to see if you like that better, if you really think you need it.
I prefer my Suunto global to the Silvas, seems smoother and will work anywhere in the world. I got it originally for a trip to Borneo that never came off.
_________________________
No, I am not Bear Grylls, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and Bear was there too!

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#228105 - 07/20/11 06:51 PM Re: question about a Suunto mirror compass [Re: Teslinhiker]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
I am going to the local gear store tonight or tomorrow and I know they carry the MC-2 Globals. I'll have a look and will let you know as perhaps they have changed the product in the last while.


That would be great Teslin, thank you.

I tried to take a pic of my MC-2G and MCA compasses to show the difference in the line, but I can't get the lighting right to show how they really differ. It's pretty tough to photograph mirrors, imagine that...!

I ordered some black 1/32" and 1/64" pinstriping tape and will see if I can get it on the mirror straight. With the faint existing line as a guide I might be able to do an OK job.

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#228118 - 07/20/11 10:58 PM Re: question about a Suunto mirror compass [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1314
Originally Posted By: Glock-A-Roo
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
I am going to the local gear store tonight or tomorrow and I know they carry the MC-2 Globals. I'll have a look and will let you know as perhaps they have changed the product in the last while.


That would be great Teslin, thank you.

I tried to take a pic of my MC-2G and MCA compasses to show the difference in the line, but I can't get the lighting right to show how they really differ. It's pretty tough to photograph mirrors, imagine that...!

I ordered some black 1/32" and 1/64" pinstriping tape and will see if I can get it on the mirror straight. With the faint existing line as a guide I might be able to do an OK job.


Glock-A-Roo:

I had a chance to have a look today. The line on MC-2G (Global) mirror is visible to my eyes, however I also understand that each of us view shapes / objects differently and I can see (no pun intended) where some may not be able to see the line on the mirror clearly such as you are experiencing.

On the MC-2D Compass of which I am now aware is the compass depicted in the picture above has a very definite line and perhaps this would be a better compass for some. In terms of basic feature differences between the 2G and 2D, there does not seem to a lot from what I briefly seen and perhaps the 2D would a better choice to consider if you do not really need the "global" features of the 2G.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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