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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Suunto Core Issues - Altimeter

    I think I'm having issues with my altimeter and I was wondering if anyone else out there is.

    Basically, I think it's lying to me. Went for a ride today. When I left the house, I was at 255 feet. When I returned home a few hours later. I was at 295 feet. 40 foot difference is fairly big, and makes me wonder what else is being miscalculated. Felt like I did a lot more climbing today than what the watch was reporting.

    I have my watch properly calibrated, so I don't think that's the issue. Also, I know it relies on the barometric pressure, however things were fairly stable today, weather-wise.

    This was not the first time I've had my doubts about the accuracy of the altimeter.

    Anyone else have problems with their Suunto altimeters? Any advice would be much appreciated. I'm contemplating a return to REI.

    Thanks,
    Lev

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Banff
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    small BR pressure change will change the alt as well.

    40 ft is not that big of a change really.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    the ham
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    Here's how to check...

    - Set your watch to a known elevation
    - Obtain an accurate barometric pressure or aircraft altimeter setting - preferably as close to where you are as possible. A barometer on your wall would be best. The local airport would be good if it isn't too far away. The weather channel on tv or any "public" internet weather probably isn't that accurate.
    - Obtain the baro / altimeter setting some time later. It doesn't really matter how much later, but at least a few hours. And it has to be from the same source.
    - Compare the change in pressure to the change in elevation on the watch.

    If the watch changes 1000 feet per 1 inch of mercury or 33.86 millibars or hectoPascals (same thing), then the watch is accurate.

    So here is an example...

    Let's say you live at 3000 ft asl so you set your watch to read 3000 feet. You check the barometer on your wall at 9 am and it reads 29.90 inches Hg (or 1012 mb or hPa). You check the barometer at 3 in the afternoon and see that it reads 30.00 in Hg (1016 mb or hPa). Your watch should now read 2900 feet. If it does it's accurate. If the example were reversed i.e. the baro went from 30.00 down to 29.90, the watch should read 3100 ft.

    Since there are other contributing factors, like temperature and height above sea level, I'd say that another +/-50 ft wouldn't be out of the question.

    If the watch meets that criteria, it's fine.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2007
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    1,924
    Guys, thanks for the suggestions. I will take a look at it soon and let you know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
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    202
    Ive gone through 3 Suunto watches and have had very mediocre results with the altimeter function in each watch. Finally just gave up all together and returned it to REI, used the money from the return to (help) buy Dynafits from BC.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Zur Scharfen Ecke
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    349
    I've been wanting to purchase one of these for a while (core green) and have heard that they solved most of the issues with the latest version (serial numbers staring with 918xx). Nevertheless I was hoping to purchase from REI so that I would also have their superior lifetime warranty. But when I looked this morning REI is no longer carrying it.

    Does anyone know of someplace I could purchase this watch that has a similar return policy to REI or backcountry?

    Thanks.

    Puder Luder

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    18,018
    Sunnto's are HUGE which is cool at 1st but soon becomes old and they leak ,even just submerging your wrist for a second mine would have water inside , you could dry the watch out and it would still work but now I just wear a cheap timex ironman with indiglo dial

    I would get a sunnto from somebody with a liberal return policy and keep on top of returning it which I didn't do

    I had 2 of those old casio's (black with yellow buttons) they were cool and didnt leak ,I even had mine down to 130ft but I never had one survive a battery change

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    NOYFB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lev View Post
    Felt like I did a lot more climbing today than what the watch was reporting.
    Sounds like you're just out of shape. Don't blame the watch.

    Seriously though as stated 40 ft feet is not that far off. The pressure, even during times of stability can easily change that much with daily temperature swings. Calibrate it and its probably fine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eburg
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    +1 to the observations of pisteoff and mtnlion. Change in barometric pressure corresponding to a 40 foot delta happens because air is fluid and baro pressure is constantly changing a bit. The exception is very solid and stable high pressure system, when sometimes an altimeter might not need adjusting for days.

    A significant weather change usually corresponds to an ostensible change in altitude reading of 200 feet or more, e.g., of you go to bed in good weather with the altimeter reading 3000' and wake up with a reading of 3300', then it's either raining/snowing or about to rain or snow. A big front may correspond to an ostensible reading change of 500', 1000' or even more.

    If you start to get some really whacking readings, e.g., 5000 feet too high or low, then you probably have a low battery.

    I routinely check, and usually am required to reset, my altimeter watch several times each day at various known points of elevation (e.g., home, office, Lake Washington floating bridges, low spots on West Seattle freeway, etc.). In the wilderness, I check and reset at all known points.

    IME, Suunto makes the best altimeter watches. Over the past 15 years, I've used Casio, Avocet, Ogio and Suunto. The plastic Suuntos are vulnerable to intrusion by water and water vapor and can fog. GF Anita gave me a Suunto Core Alu (aluminum body) for a birthday present and, so far, no fogging!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
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    1,040
    I have the green suunto core, my first had several issues with resetting itself etc. I sent it back to BC.com and they refunded me, got my 2nd one from REI, very pleased. No problems thus far with it. I think there are some bad batches out there, but if you get a good one, it will keep going for a looong time. I had heard that the batteries went ded on the core afte 3 months, I'm on month 8 and still no need to chang batt change. As far as yours goes, 40 feet really isn't much to worry about. Altimiter watches are pretty accuratte, but I really wouldn't count on that accurate, plus there is always the barometric pressure change which can throw things off... That said, I flew to argenina and back, when I returned home to idaho 2 wks later my watch was only 50 ft off.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Zur Scharfen Ecke
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    349
    Quote Originally Posted by cliffhucker View Post
    I have the green suunto core, my first had several issues with resetting itself etc. I sent it back to BC.com and they refunded me, got my 2nd one from REI, very pleased. No problems thus far with it. I think there are some bad batches out there, but if you get a good one, it will keep going for a looong time. I had heard that the batteries went ded on the core afte 3 months, I'm on month 8 and still no need to chang batt change. As far as yours goes, 40 feet really isn't much to worry about. Altimiter watches are pretty accuratte, but I really wouldn't count on that accurate, plus there is always the barometric pressure change which can throw things off... That said, I flew to argenina and back, when I returned home to idaho 2 wks later my watch was only 50 ft off.
    This is my point. I really want this watch, but want to purchase it from somewhere with a return policy like REI and BC.com (but they don't carry it anymore). Any similar places selling this thing?

    Thanks,

    Puder Luder

  12. #12
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    Oct 2003
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    Down the valley a bit further on the good side of the 49th
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    4,346
    Not sure if it was mentioned but temperature changes can account for that easily. Even if the day didn't heat up the watch next to your wrist during exercise may have warmed a lot. There used to be a chart in the Suunto manuals showing the elevation changes to expect with temperature change.

    Edit for cliff hucker. Early models lacked electro magnetic shielding and static charges would reset them and I think fry the battery too. That has been fixed and that problem does not seem to be occurring anymore.
    It's not so much the model year, it's the high mileage or meterage to keep the youth of Canada happy

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    The Ice Coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    small BR pressure change will change the alt as well. 40 ft is not that big of a change really.
    What he said. 40 feet is well inside the range of error for those cheap barometric "altimeters." I've had a bunch of Suuntos, found them all but useless for serious altitude stuff unless you want to double check local barometric pressure every hour. Which sort of defeats the purpose.

  14. #14
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    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    In addition to the standard depth guage for scuba I wore the casio when I was diving ,water pressure does not vary like air pressure and I found the casio to be very accurate when compared to the depth guage

    And it was waterproof to 130ft , for some reason the alarm went off on the deep dive

    the noise carrries 4 times better in water which freaked out everyone in the class

    too bad they don't make them anymore

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    NOYFB
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    Um pretty much all altimeters are "barometric" altimeters. They're basically just a barometer calibrated to display elevation instead of pressure. I don't know of any other kind. Except for GPS, but that's another story.

  16. #16
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    Oct 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncognico View Post
    Um pretty much all altimeters are "barometric" altimeters. They're basically just a barometer calibrated to display elevation instead of pressure. I don't know of any other kind. Except for GPS, but that's another story.
    Agree; I was thinking of GPS. Wonder if all wristwatch barometers are all made in the same Chinese factory, or if some are more reliable than others.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Eburg
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    12,899
    My Suunto Core Alu is made in Finland. Don't know where the chip is made.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    102
    My Suunto Core has never measured elevation gain/loss accurately. Suunto replaced it two and the replacement does the same thing. It over estimates elevation gain by a factor of 3. Suunto will do nothing.

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    northern BC
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    I've since had a couple of the casio they are solar powered and the time is set by a satellite going over every night so you never need to deal with batteries or setting time
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

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