Compass repair - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 
  #1  
Old 04-24-2009
Sea Slacker
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,789
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
brak is on a distinguished road
Compass repair

My compass developed an air bubble (which seems to only be there on colder days, I guess the oil inside expands/contracts with temperature).

Is this something I could theoretically repair myself? The compass is as old as the boat and certainly not worth repairing commercially (I'd rather buy another one if that's the case)
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 04-24-2009
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
spyder07 is on a distinguished road
Just a fellow boater......

Hi : there is a way that I saw someone use (a hair dryer). In my very humble opinion, for such a crucial instrument, dont't fool around. A new Richy is not that expensive. Just replace it. So the holes don't line up fill "em and cover with the new base. Really don't gamble with something we all should depend. Hope this helps ....let me know Peter
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 04-24-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 166
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
MoonSailer is on a distinguished road
I have repaired a couple of compasses. It is fairly easy to do. Last time I ordered a new globe because the old one had very fine cracks that allowed air to enter on very cold days. Most compasses have a diaphram that compensates for expansion and contraction. I refilled with odorless mineral spirits bought at Lowes. I also bought new O-rings. That was last year and no new bubbles even over this past winter.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 04-24-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: N. VA
Posts: 656
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 7
dacap06 is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Yahoo to dacap06
Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
My compass developed an air bubble (which seems to only be there on colder days, I guess the oil inside expands/contracts with temperature).

Is this something I could theoretically repair myself? The compass is as old as the boat and certainly not worth repairing commercially (I'd rather buy another one if that's the case)
This is something you can do. Over the Winter, I refurbished my 5" Danforth Constellation. It was doing the same thing. Many of these old compasses are fine machines and are well worth the trouble. This particular design has been manufactured by one company or another since the late '40s. I spent several hundred on parts and oil, but a new compass of similar quality would be at least 4 times that.

I'm a computer engineer and work for a defense contractor, so it doesn't matter to me who you use. However, I will pass on that I had a good experience buying parts and receiving good advice from Viking Instruments. Howard there is quite knowledgeable.

From personal experience I can tell you that if you have a leak, eventually the diaphragm collapses as much as it can and then the compass inhales air as it cools. Finding the leak is hard. The oil is volatile and evaporates as fast as a slow leak leaks, so you won't be able to locate it by looking for a wet spot.

I will pass on a few things from Howard ... buy compass oil, not mineral spirits, unless you are adding just a little bit to top up. If you disassemble the compass and replace all the liquid, he said that mineral spirits will work but will eventually darken as it leaches color from rubber parts. I'm not sure that's true, but I pass it on FWIW. In addition to Viking, West Marine and many others carry compass oil. Second, if you replace parts, getting the compass reassembled so it is tight can be tricky, depending on the design. Don't be afraid to ask for advice. If you have to replace parts, then once you have the compass together, filled, and you think it is tight, put it in the freezer to see if it inhales air.

If your leak is slow enough, you want to take the easy route and simply put more oil in rather than finding and fixing it. Remove your compass from its mounting and look for a screw with a rubber washer under it. Orient the compass so that the screw is on top then remove the screw to add the oil. I found a nasal aspirator for babies works pretty well for the task. Before you put the screw back in, jiggle and roll the compass around a little bit to get as much of the bubble out through the screw hole as you can. It's also a good idea to make sure the diaphragm has a little slack in it so that it doesn't rupture from expansion on hot days. Poke a finger in the diaphragm as you tighten the screw and push a little oil out as you close it. Needless to say, this operation can be messy. I did mine in a dish pan.
__________________
T. P. Donnelly
S/V Tranquility Base
1984 Islander 30 Bahama
Pasadena, MD
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 04-25-2009
Sea Slacker
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,789
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
brak is on a distinguished road
cool, thanks for all the advice I am definitely going to try re-filling first.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 04-25-2009
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
IIRC, not all compasses were filled with oil. You really should check to see what the manufacturer, if they're still in business, recommends.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 04-25-2009
trantor12020's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Singapore
Posts: 673
Thanks: 1
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts
Rep Power: 9
trantor12020 is on a distinguished road
My compass came with my boat from US when new. That's 6 year ago. I notice the compass card is alway incline to starboard. It'll still swing and gives good bearing but card is slanted. Should I do something or just leave it. Like I said, its been like this for last 6 years.
__________________
Ken
2002 Hunter 326, SV Millennium 2
1999 Macgregor 26X, SV Millennium
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 04-25-2009
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
If the compass is always inclined to starboard, there's a good chance it was installed too close to something, as the card really should be level, and if it isn't there's something interfering with it. I seriously doubt the card is not balance properly, since that is very, very, very unlikely with today's manufacturing techniques.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 04-25-2009
davidpm's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Madison
Posts: 3,679
Thanks: 165
Thanked 38 Times in 31 Posts
Rep Power: 7
davidpm is on a distinguished road
We had the same problem and sent it to the factory for refurb. The cost was much less than I expected, I'm guessing maybe $50 and it looks as good as new.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 04-25-2009
Omatako's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Posts: 2,398
Thanks: 0
Thanked 27 Times in 24 Posts
Rep Power: 11
Omatako will become famous soon enough
If your compass card has always been like this (i.e. you can't remember seeing it any other way) then the chances are the compass was manufactured for the other hemisphere.

The magnetic variation of the earth is such that as you proceed from far north to far south the compass card starts to lean. The compass manufacturer will glue a tiny weight onto the underside of the card to compensate for this and the compass will often display the lean tendency when going to the opposite hemisphere.

It sounds like you have a southern hemisphere compass in the northern hemisphere.

This is often evident in older compasses, I believe the later models don't do this.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

__________________

"Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

Arthur C. Clarke
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Understanding and Using the Magnetic Compass Jim Sexton Learning to Sail Articles 0 03-01-2000 07:00 PM
Understanding and Using the Magnetic Compass Jim Sexton Seamanship Articles 0 03-01-2000 07:00 PM
Understanding and Using the Magnetic Compass Jim Sexton Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 03-01-2000 07:00 PM
Understanding and Using the Magnetic Compass Jim Sexton Cruising Articles 0 03-01-2000 07:00 PM
Understanding and Using the Magnetic Compass Jim Sexton Her Sailnet Articles 0 03-01-2000 07:00 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:01 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.