The Adafruit triple-axis HMC5883L magnetometer (compass) board can sense where the strongest magnetic force is coming from, usually the magnetic north.
This compact sensor uses I2C to communicate and is very easy to use. Since it's a 3.3V max chip, Adafruit added circuitry to make it 5V-safe logic and power, for easy use with either 3 or 5V microcontrollers.
If using with an Arduino, its extra-easy to get started. Adafruit wrote a nice little Arduino library with a matching tutorial to get you started. Simply download Adafruit's library and connect the SCL pin to your Arduino's I2C clock pin, and SDA pin to your Arduino's I2C data pin and upload the test example sketch to read out magnetic field data and heading (i.e. which way is north).
- I2C interface
- 1-2 degree heading accuracy
- integrated 12-bit ADC
- 160Hz max data rate
- range of -8 to +8 Gauss
- 1x board
- 1x 1x6 male headers
Adafruit 3-axis Magnetometer (Compass) Board HMC5883L
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