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Old 07-09-2007
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compass liquid fill material?

this week end out and found the compass had leaked all the liquid out. second time this has happened to two different compasses. expensive suckers. last one cost me over two hundred bucks. anyway on our hot motor home i took it out and opened it up, sure enough had a crack in the plastic diaphram. i was thinking of just making a new diaphram out of some butyl rubber sheet goods i have and refilling it. but with what? I figure that the butyl rubber can't be any worse than the damn plastic that developes cracks after a few years. Any thoughts, comments?
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Before you do that, you might want to contact the manufacturer and see if they'll replace the compass for you. A friend of mine had a similar problem on an older compass and the company asked her to ship it back to them, and in return sent her a brand new compass.
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Old 07-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Before you do that, you might want to contact the manufacturer and see if they'll replace the compass for you. A friend of mine had a similar problem on an older compass and the company asked her to ship it back to them, and in return sent her a brand new compass.
That's correct. Any reputable company ( esp. in the marine industry) will
replace products if you ship them back with a nice letter explaining the circumstances.
In the future, try keeping the compass covered from the elements (esp. sun)
and it will last much longer.
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I just did a search and found parts

I have two of these compasses, originally manuf by aqua meter inst co in NJ and they sold them to rule. I don't have a clue if they are still in business . orig compass was installed in boat in 1979. or thereabouts. don't know if it was oem. compass is a gemini ocean passage bulkhead mount. i replaced the old one about 10-12 yrs ago. don't know the exact plastic material but it appears to be possibly a pvc type material. very thin. the material i have in mind is a butle rubber roofing material. i figure if it lasts for a few years then i haven't really lost anything. the new diaphrams are 24$ each and it would take 20$ worth of oil to fill the two. I'm really too cheap to go out and buy a new one and don't know if they are still available, and i really don't want to have to try to cut a different hole in the bulkhead to make a different one to fit, or have to hunt around to find one that is the same cuttout size. I keep the compass covered when not in use. I think its just a factor of age on the plastic material and it hardens a bit with age then cracks.
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Chances are pretty likely that if the company is still in business, or got taken over by a company that cares about its customers, they may send you a replacement, given that you have two broken ones... and chances are pretty good that any replacement they send you will fit the cutout you have in the cabintop. If you really are too cheap to go out and buy a new one... it is probably worth seeing what the manufacturer will do for you before you go mucking around with it.
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Just had a light bulb moment!

since i have two of them and i want to have one mounted on port side and one on starboard . maybe i'll get a new diaphram for one and make one for the other and see which one lasts longer. as my daughter would say. well duh!
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LOL... but you'd have to give them equal use and abuse... and keeping them covered when not is use is really a good thing. UV can damage the plastic and it can cause the fluid to cloud up in some cases. BTW, don't use 5200 to seal the compass to the new diaphragm, since 5200 can attack a lot of plastics...

Quote:
Originally Posted by capnjim02
since i have two of them and i want to have one mounted on port side and one on starboard . maybe i'll get a new diaphram for one and make one for the other and see which one lasts longer. as my daughter would say. well duh!
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Sorry people it is not mineral spirits used in the compass. The liquid is Varsol a special mixture of Alcohol & distilled water. Mineral spirits is too thick and would slow the compass card to where it would be useless.
Plus it would be best to replace the diaphragm with the correct part instead of trying to jury rig it. That diaphragm allows the liquid to vary in volume due to the daily temperature changes without upsetting the working of the compass.
Basically you need a qualified compass repair shop to take care of this.
Then after all is said and done, SWING the compass and update your Deviation Card.

Mark

1600 Ton Master / 2nd Mate Unlimited Tonnage.
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Boasun-

I hate to break it to you, but Varsol is not a mixture of alcohol and distilled water, but a form of petroleum distillates similar to kerosene or mineral spirits. I've used the stuff for well over 25 years, and used to sell it when my family owned a paint store. It is a very good general purpose solvent and works well to clean automotive and bicycle parts. The exact fluid used in compasses varies by brand and design.

Quote:
What are Varsol Fluids?

Varsol is ExxonMobil Chemical's brand name for a line of hydrocarbon fluids comprised of both aliphatic and aromatic components. These products are commonly referred to as either mineral spirits or white spirits, and boil in the range of 149 to 213şC (300 to 415şF). Mineral spirits are typically clear, petroleum-based distillates. They are sometimes also referred to as Stoddard solvents, often in connection with their historical use as dry cleaning fluids. In addition to the Varsol grades mentioned above, ExxonMobil Chemical also offers select higher-boiling grades for applications that need relatively high solvency and where quick evaporation is not desirable.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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I did'nt think it would be mineral spirits!

I thought it would be mineral OIL. spirits are basically paint thinner, i would have serious doubts that that would work. they would definitely get the same use and abuse since one would be mounted on port and the other on starboard. my boat has a tiller and its next to impossible to read if I'm sitting on the starboard side steering, since my compass is mounted on the port side. I had also heard that some where filled with glycerin. I do know that some very,very old compasses were filled with the alcohol/water mix but that hasn't been done for a lot of years.
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