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Compass issues

General Description of a Compass:

Links on how to use a compass:

Making a Compass
Use a piece of ferrous metal that can be shaped into a needle or use a double-edged razor.
You will also need a piece of nonmetallic string from which to suspend the metal.
Polarize the needle by slowly stroking it in one direction through your hair, using deliberate strokes.
You can also polarize the needle by stroking it repeatedly at one end with a magnet, rubbing in one direction only.

If you have a 2 volt or higher battery and some wire, you can polarize the needle electrically.
If the wire isn't insulated, wrap it in paper to prevent contact.
Coil the wire and place the ends on the battery's terminals.
Repeatedly insert one end of the metal object in and out of the coil.
The needle will become an electromagnet.
When suspended from a non-metallic string or floated on a small piece of wood in water, the needle
will align itself with a north - south line.


Compass readings are affected by the presence of iron and steel objects.
Be sure to look out for—and stay away from—pocket knives, belt buckles, railroad tracks, trucks,
electrical lines, and so forth when using a compass in the field.

Orientation without a compass: