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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > best replacement fluid for a compass
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Thread: best replacement fluid for a compass Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-06-2006 07:03 PM
btrayfors Oops...a 42' sloop. Can't quite see mounting a Plath Venus on a 22' sloop :-))

Bill
10-06-2006 07:03 PM
btrayfors camraderie,

Yeah, Steve's a good guy.

I had a Plath Venus which I just gave to my son who just bought a 22' sloop with a nonfunctional compass. That's why I happen to know about the diaphram problem....talked to Steve and to others about it, some of whom have complained about diaphram failures in Venus and Merkur models. Seems C. Plath isn't really interested in small boats anymore; they've cheapened the binnacle (which they call the cylinder), changed the design, and still have outrageous prices. But it's an absolutely wonderful compass, even with the flaws.

Bill
10-06-2006 06:57 PM
camaraderie Bill...that's who did my Plath/Venus...ditto on the recommendation.
10-06-2006 06:47 PM
btrayfors If it's a good compass, my advice is not to fool with it yourself but use an expert compass repair service. As noted in a previous post, your compass might require a new seal (why is it missing fluid?), a new diaphram, bearings, etc. Or, it might just need refilling.

I just had my Danforth Constellation rebuilt by Island Compass South:
http://www.islandcompass.com/

Steve is a real expert, a nice guy, and provides excellent and fast service. Lots of recommendations for him from friends and on the web.

He's also the only guy around who has the tool required to press in a new and better diaphram in, e.g., a Plath compass (a good thing, 'cuz this is their weak point in an otherwise very fine and very expensive compass).

Bill
10-06-2006 05:43 PM
capbillh I had been told $150 to rebuild a Gemini 5" compass with new fluid & dome so I bought a new Richie for $115.
10-06-2006 05:07 PM
camaraderie If there is any evidence of leakage around the compass, you may need a diaphragm replacement and not just fluid...in which case that 1/2 price exchange deal might look tempting. I recently had my C.Plath innards replaced and it was about $300 but worth it due to the value of the compass.
10-06-2006 04:23 PM
hellosailor Check with the maker. SOME compasses use alcohol, others use mineral oil, still others use "compass fluid" which is similar to but not the same as mineral oil. Using the wrong fluid can change the damping AND dissolve the printing on the card, or cause the seals to leak again.

I think Ritchie used to have a special exchange program, swapping your compass for a rebuilt one at 1/2 of list price. It's worth asking them.

And if they'll sell you "compass fluid" that's meant for your compass...that's what I'd use, just to be safe.

Baby oil smells good because it has fragrance added to it. If you use mineral oil--use the plain pharmacy grade kind. Fragrance just can't do any good inside the compass.
10-06-2006 04:21 PM
Zanshin Oops, my mistake. The small aircraft compasses need to move around a bit more and thus the mineral spirits; I wasn't paying attention and should have stated "oil".
10-06-2006 04:14 PM
jgeissinger
Compass fluid

Mineral oil is indeed what is in compasses, and a readily available source for same is your local drug store. Baby Oil is pure, clean mineral oil, and it smells good too.
10-06-2006 03:58 PM
sailingwife Our boat we just purchased is also missing some fluid. The surveyor said to get it serviced but heck if I can find somewhere and it seems that one could do it themselves. Ours is a pedestal mounted Danforth and on the to do list is to try and remove it to see how it gets filled. I had thought they were filled with glycerin?
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