How to Remagnetize a Compass Needle

By Charles Clay
The magnetic compass is often used in orienteering.
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A compass needle works by aligning itself with the Earth's natural magnetic field. In almost all compasses, the north-pointing needle is marked, either with paint or by the shape of the needle itself. However, a compass needle is a delicate magnetic instrument, and it is possible for the poles to become reversed if the compass is brought into close contact with another magnet. If this happens, you will need to remagnetize the compass using a strong magnet.

Step 1

Place the compass on a flat, stable surface facing upward.

Step 2

Place the south pole of the magnet directly on top of the needle. Drag the magnet slowly along the length of the needle towards the north-marked end.

Step 3

When you reach the edge of the compass, slide the magnet down the side of the compass. Pull the magnet away from the compass.