Oh yes, the compass in the mirror

A bonus – when I bought the mirror with FLA/GTO/EC/LED for my E60, I also got another option: “compass”. It is just what you’d expect – a compass built into the mirror.

It looks like this:


It is fairly low resolution, directionally speaking. You get the four cardinal directions and the four intercardinal directions only. Useful? Probably not, especially when we use GPS as much as we do. However, my 10yo son sits in the car with me and we spend a lot of our trip taking notice of the direction we are going in. It is strangely fun.

There’s no coding required for this. If the mirror has the option, the option will work.

What you do need to do is some calibration though. There’s a single button in the bottom of the mirror, operated by way of a toothpick, paperclip, or similar through a hole. The button has a number of set-up functions you’ll need to attend to. These are:

  • lhd or rhd. The mirror is going to be oriented towards the driver, and so it needs to know whether the driver is to the left or right in order to compensate.
  • compass zone. The earth’s magnetic field has its vagaries. The zones are set out in the image below.
World map with compass zones

Here is some more info, found online:

Various functions can be called up by pressing the control button with a pointed object, such as the tip of a ballpoint pen or similar object. The following setting options are displayed in succession, depending on how long the control button is pressed:

  • Pressed briefly: turns display on/off
  • 3 to 6 seconds: compass zone setting
  • 6 to 9 seconds: compass calibration
  • 9 to 12 seconds: left/right-hand steering setting
  • 12 to 15 seconds: language setting.

Compass calibration is effected by driving around in a circle several times at low speed. I managed to do this by driving slowly around a quiet suburban block. In theory, I think a big car park and actual circles are preferable but driving around the block did the job for me.

I wouldn’t have sought this option out but it was a free bonus, and I like it.

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