A500 compass

Discussion in 'Acer Iconia Tab A500 Forum' started by Manshow, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Manshow
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    Manshow Junior Member

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    Seems to be all over the map (pun intended). I did a hard reset, and it calibrated (after trying all of the figure 8 and various gymnastics to calibrate it normally). But, it loses it's calibration about 90 degress to the East within a few minutes.

    Anyone else having this issue? I know it's not the compass app because I have a few various apps installed that have a compass, and they are all off by the same degree. (pun intended again.)
  2. panda
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    panda Junior Member

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    Have you tried comparing the compass to other Android devices? I haven't tried the compass out yet (except for in maps) but my general experience with Android and their compass features is that they're not that great.
  3. Manshow
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    Manshow Junior Member

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    Yes, I have a Droid X and it's quite accurate and does not lose it's calibration. The Acer is 45 degress (I know I said 90 earlier) off all the time within minutes of being calibrated via hard reset.

    Won't calibrate at all using the figure 8 or other axis methods.
  4. Manshow
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    Manshow Junior Member

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    Some more information:

    Things are not looking good in the location department for this tablet. I downloaded an app called "GPS Status" as I have it on my Droid X as well.

    Placed the A500 in a window, and it struggled to lock on to 4 satellites. Took a few minutes to get that far. Placed my Droid X right next to it, and it instantly locked on to 12 and I mean instantly. Compass pointing perfectly due north, no wavering. The A500 compass on the other hand appears drunk.

    Now, pick the A500 up and tilt it towards me and start walking North. The compass flips 180 degress and is sending me in the opposite direction. Pick up the Droid X, tilt, and keeps me going due north. Perfectly.

    The non GPS compass is hopelessly 45 to 90 degrees off.

    This stinks. I really hope this is a software problem that they will patch, but given the fact that it can's seem to maintain a lock on satellites and the compass becomes mis calibrated in about a minute are serious issues that make apps like google sky map useless. I pointed google sky maps north on the A500 and found the moon instead of the north star.

    I love the rest of this tablet. Someone tell me I've got a bad one and I can just exchange it, or that this is a software glitch they can fix in the next rev.
  5. fulaccer
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    fulaccer Junior Member

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    happened to me too, my tablet is 45 degrees off after trying to calibrate and doing all kind of crazy stuff, for some reason the sky map works good, maybe 10 degrees off, but it shows the north star very exact. well i hope it is software and would be solved fast, but i love everything else in the tablet.
  6. JoeRnCT
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    JoeRnCT Junior Member

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    Using the Compass Mode in Google Maps Street View isn't that good either. The picture only pans halfway then goes back to it's original starting point.
  7. csoren
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    csoren Junior Member

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    I'm having the same problem. I've investigated the issue with AndroSensor (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.fivasim.androsensor)

    First - the "orientation sensor" is actually a virtual sensor composed by the results from the accelerometer and magnetic field sensor. As it happens, the accelerometer is totally off. Laying flat on a surface, my A500 claims gravity is 19.8 m/s^2. I don't know what planet it thinks it's on, my Nexus One claims a much more reasonable 9.8 m/s^2. If the accelerometer is off, the orientation is going be off as it is partly based on that.

    To me, this looks a lot like a software problem. Fingers crossed for an eventual fix.
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  8. robdroid
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    robdroid Junior Member

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    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  9. Dusto
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    Same problem here. My guess is during testing/development while working without actual hardware some dev hard coded to add 10 to the sensor value so debugging could be performed with values other than 0 and it never got taken out. If you rotate the device up you can see the values of the other direction goes up to the expected 9.8 while the flat drops to about 10. If so this is fairly poor software quality control, and shocking that a small patch hasnt come out to fix it.

    Sent from my A500 using Android Tablet Forum
  10. Icebike
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    Icebike Member

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    OK, unfair comparison here...

    Your tablet can't get Gps hints from cell towers. It has to rely on your router being in someone's database and if you or your have neighbors that have moved recently at least some of those routers are unknown or supplying totally bogus locations via Google's router location database. My router location is well known to Google ant the tab gets satellite lock just as fast as my nexus one.

    Second the compass is designed to work in the landscape being held more or less vertical, with the volume rocker up and the dock connector down.

    This works perfectly as a virtual reality device or in google maps. You can open the map in Paris, go to street view, tap compass mode and spin on your heels and see the full 360 degree view. Just hold it up in front of young landscape.

    It's not meant to be flat on the desk or held over your head. Play with it in street view and you will see what I mean.
  11. csoren
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    csoren Junior Member

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    You're right, it does look like the z component is simply having 10 added to it. Upside down it reads 0.2 when it should be -9.8. This smells an awful lot like an extremely embarrassing one line goof that Acer really needs to fix yesterday.
  12. Dusto
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    It looks like the update fixes the accelerometer being off, but the compass is still off by 90 degrees. Am I the only one still having this issue? I took a little closer look at the output of androsensors and compared it to my phone, based on the magnetic field numbers compared to the orientation numbers either the ecompass was installed 90 degrees off or the driver is incorrect. Given not everyone has this issue I'm guessing a batch of units have the hardware installed wrong.

    Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Android Tablet Forum
  13. AQ_OC
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    Where is this compass app you folks are discussing?
  14. Icebike
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  15. AQ_OC
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  16. csoren
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    csoren Junior Member

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    That's excellent news, thanks! Now if only Acer would push an update to us emea_gen3 owners :-/

    :-( If it's consistently off by 90 degrees, it should be fixable in software, even if the hardware was installed wrong. I don't know what the magnetic field sensor looks like (how it's packaged) but I think it sounds unlikely that it could be installed wrong. For instance a square chip with pins on all edges is highly unlikely to function at all if rotated 90 degrees.
  17. csoren
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    csoren Junior Member

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    I finally had an update for mine. Compass is now perfect here, so maybe yours IS installed wrong, who knows.
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  18. robdroid
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    robdroid Junior Member

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    Can you link to your compass app that's working correctly now after the update?
    My compass app (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.apksoftware.compass) is still off by -90 deg even after the firmware update from Acer.
  19. csoren
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    csoren Junior Member

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    Hmm I see what you mean. By "compass" I meant the orientation sensor. This sensor now works perfectly in Google Sky Map, Maps and Street View. The compass app you're linking to is indeed off by 90 degrees. I suspect this is because the natural orientation of the device is 90 degrees offset from what a phone normally is. There's an article on the Android Developer Blog talking about this exact problem and how to code around it. Android Developers Blog: One Screen Turn Deserves Another

    In short, I think it's a bug in the compass app. If the Google apps work fine (as they do here), don't worry about it.
  20. robdroid
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    robdroid Junior Member

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    Yeah, your explanation makes sense. The real nav apps and GPS test, and Google Sky all indicate north properly- as you said- the compass apps were probably written for a phone and they're oriented differently than the tablets.
    Nice job!

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