A flux-gate compass is a solid state electronic navigational compass.

These compasses use two small coils to detect phase shifts induced by the earth's magnetic field.

Advantages of this system include:

  • Lack of moving parts (hence immunity from vibration)
  • Immunity from stray magnetic interference (e.g. large metal objects nearby)
  • Potential for miniaturisation, so can be built into other devices (watches for example)
Disadvantages of this system include:
  • They require electrical power to operate
  • There is a tendency to assume eletronic devices are more accurate - this is not actually the case with flux-gate compasses (outside highly expensive calibrated multi-phase variants)