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SUN SEEKER - Frequently Asked Questions

There are quite a few videos available which feature Sun Seeker - some created by us and many others created independently by enthusiastic users.

Here is a playlist of some of the best, starting with our very own promo/demo video.

[iOS] If the 3D view is entirely stuck or randomly rotating, then please check the following setting:

  • Settings / Privacy / Location Services
  • Scroll right to the bottom and then choose

  • System Services
  • Make sure that Compass Calibration is switched ON. If this setting is off, then apps are unable to access compass headings relative to true north, including Apple's own Compass app.

    If the flat view compass (on Sun Seeker's main screen) is entirely stuck and permanently pointing N to the top of screen, then please check the following settings

  • Settings / Privacy / Location Services - make sure this is ON
  • Settings / Privacy / Location Services - scroll to entry for Sun Seeker, and make sure this is ON.
  • If both of these are ON and Sun Seeker's compass is still stuck, then reboot your device. If rebooting doesn't fix it, then also check the Apple compass app to see if that is also stuck. If so, you might need to re-install the latest iOS version, as there is a bug in iOS causing this. I have had several reports from users confirming that this was the case (with iOS6.1), and doing this fixed the problem for them.

    The app's solar calculation is very accurate (typically better than 1 second of arc in the Sun's position), but the weak link in the chain is the device's magnetometer which is prone to two types of issues

    1. If there is any magnetic interference, then (like a standard needle compass) the device compass will be adversely affected. For example, being inside a car will likely cause major deviations to compass readings, but also being near a computer or electrical device may do too.
    2. The magnetometer can drift and become mis-calibrated. Usually, if the mis-calibration is quite bad, the device will detect this and issue a prompt telling you to move the device around in certain ways to improve it's calibration. See the FAQs below for instructions on how to calibrate the compass.

    Note - A new feature in Sun Seeker v4.1+ allows you to set the direction manually by overriding the device compass. See the following FAQ for more details.

    Note - [iOS] In some cases, upon first opening of the 3D view, the compass direction may appear to have a very large discrepancy. This can usually be remedied simply by exiting and then re-entering the 3D view, or else by switching to gyroscope-only mode, and then straight back to compass mode.

    There is a feature which allows you to switch off the compass, set the direction manually, and then rely only on the device's inbuilt gyroscope to maintain correct alignment.

    This option is useful provided that you are able to set the correct heading of the device, either by matching the app's sun icon with the actual sun's position in the sky, or else by using the "Azimuth Finder" features to align the 3D view's azimuth heading with the direction of a visible landmark. For a detailed explanation of how to do this, please view this blog post.

    It is also useful even if the compass is working accurately, as it eliminates minor automatic recalibrations that iOS makes to the heading from time to time.

    To switch to gyroscope-only mode:

  • In the 3D view, tap on the compass icon on the bottom toolbar. This will switch the device into gyroscope-only mode, and the compass icon will be replaced with a gyroscope icon.
  • You may then use your finger to drag the heading to a new position. The cursor heading and latitude/longitude grid will rotate with your finger until you lift it from the screen.
  • Once you have set the heading that you want, the device will continue to run in gyroscope-only mode until you tap on the gyroscope icon to switch it back to compass mode. You may notice a jump in heading after you do this, as the device returns to using the heading reported by the compass, instead of your manually-set heading.
  • Note - The 3D view always start with the compass enabled. You must switch manually to gyroscope-only mode every time you re-enter the view, if you wish to keep using it. This is necessary because there is gyroscope drift over time, whereas the compass heading is generally more stable over time.

    Apple offers the following advice about calibrating the compass:

    However, for both iOS and Android, it is possible to calibrate more effectively than this. Here is a video clip explaining how you can calibrate the compass to get optimum performance.

    Doing this should ensure that you get best possible accuracy from Sun Seeker, as well as from all other apps that use the magnetometer.

    [iOS] Please note that Apple's own magnetometer accuracy specifications indicate that the compass is only accurate to within +/-25 degrees. However, this is a worst case scenario and you can normally obtain much better performance than this through calibration - often to within a few degrees or better.

    [iOS] In iOS 7 (but not in earlier iOS versions) it is possible to calibrate the device accelerometers. To do this, open Apple's compass, and scroll right to see the leveling screen. Place your device on a surface that you know to be level. (You may need to rotate the phone to see how much the level changes as you rotate. If it changes significantly, then the surface is not level.) When you are sure that it is flat, double tap the screen. This resets the calibration to reflect the current device level.

    Devices running iOS8 or later are able to show "widgets" in the iOS Notifications view. Sun Seeker now has its own widget which you can use to see current solar information without having to open the app. For an explanation of widgets and how to add them, please see this helpful guide from CNET.

    Please view this article explaining how you can use Sun Seeker to analyse the sunlight availability of any window in a house or building.

    If so, then please Contact Us by Email and let us know what device model and OS and app versions you are using. If possible, it is better to email us via the app's Info page, as this will automatically include the necessary information as an attachment to your email.

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