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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-20-2009 11:36 PM
nereussailor Camaraderie posted a couple of years ago to give Island Compass South a shout. Don't Do It!!! It has changed hands and the new owner, his nephew doesn't care about the business like he did. My compass took a month and a half to get fixed, and it came back broken. We're still trying to get it fixed get the whole nightmare over with. I'd get a hold of Viking compass and talk with them. They were a little more expensive, but it would have been worth it.

Weather Instruments, Weather Stations,Compasses, Binoculars, Telescopes

07-20-2009 01:22 PM
Change the Compass Oil


If your compass is small (e.g. 3") you may simply want to replace it since smaller compasses are not that expensive and repairing compasses yourself is aggravating. But if it is larger (and therefore more expensive) and it only suffers from cloudy oil, you may be able to drain and change it. Your compass may have a plug in the bottom you can remove to drain and refill it. The trick is making sure to use the right liquid. The problem is that without knowing the manufacturer, it's hard to tell what the right liquid is, and you didn't say who made it.

In the old days, magnetic compasses used to be called Whiskey Compasses because the fluid was high-proof alcohol. If you think your compass fluid is lighter weight stuff like alcohol instead of the heavier light oil, then my experience applies.

When I bought my '84 Islander last year the compass (a 5" Danforth Constellation) had a badly scratched dome, cloudy oil, and a huge bubble. The Danforth has a port where you can add compass oil, so over the Winter I took mine apart, cleaned everything, put on a new dome and o-ring, and then filled it with new compass oil. It took a couple of tries to get it sealed so it didn't develop another bubble, but it looks great now.

Some folks advocate filling a whiskey compass with Mineral spirits instead of an alcohol-based compass oil because it is so much cheaper. While the viscosity is similar, mineral spirits will eventually darken and become cloudy due to interaction with parts inside the compass and sunlight.

I ended up filling my Danforth with Ritchie compass oil. So far, so good!

Good luck with your project.
07-20-2009 12:33 PM
Compass Oil

Hi Dorouke,

I noticed your post for a year or two ago. I have an S2 from 1986 and I have similar issues with my compass oil. It's amber and cloudy. How did you finally resolve your problem. Any help would greatly be appreciated.
03-07-2007 06:10 PM
sailingdog emichael-

Batteries aren't a problem near a compass, provided they're not being used. A battery just sitting there unused has no magnetic field to it.
03-07-2007 05:34 PM
cloudy compass

The Aqua Meter Gemini compass on my 1984 Catalina (probably original equipment and never touched) had a huge bubble and was so green and cloudy you couldn't read in in bright sun light. I sent it to Viking Instruments, see It came back looking like a new compass. I'm very pleased.
03-07-2007 04:44 PM
Originally Posted by Rontoo
I know - I'm being picky - but I always scratch my itches!
Rontoo - you just hop over to the Fight Club thread and have some fun. This one's all out of compass fluid, - some one mentioned alcohol and the others drunk it.
03-07-2007 04:39 PM
cell phone/compass problem

The problem quite probably originated with the battery for the cell phone. Anything with a battery in it should be kept away from magnetic compasses.
03-07-2007 04:29 PM
PC is a p in the a

Originally Posted by sailingdog
I would contact the compass manufacturer as different compass makers used different fluids...and using the wrong fluid in yours can cause problems... like attacking the materials the compass is made of... If you can't contact the manufacturer, it might be worthwhile to contact a professional compass adjuster/repairperson.
Why, oh, why, write "compass adjuster/repairperson" ?
There's no such word as repairperson
You won't find it in any dictionary - not even a US one!
If compass adjuster is acceptable, what's wrong with repairer?
PC - has to be the bane of the 21st century!
I know - I'm being picky - but I always scratch my itches!
02-21-2007 03:51 PM
Originally Posted by sailingdog
The electromagnetic part of the motor isn't the issue, unless it is actually vibrating... the permanent magnets used in the speaker and buzzer are more likely the problem. The small rare-earth magnets used in some of the speakers are very powerful given their very small size.
That reminds me: I've bought several "shake 'n' light" LED flashlights for the boat, and I have to keep them three feet away from the compass. You are correct in that they are surprisingly powerful. Luckily, the square root of the distance rule works here and frequently they just have to be kept lashed to the bulkhead for emergency use.
02-21-2007 01:26 PM
Originally Posted by Valiente
I have to be careful with the Globemaster when I put down flashlights or VHFs within three feet or swings 5 degrees at dock, and who knows how much underway.

I suspect it's the "vibe" feature in some's likely a very small electromagnetic motor that makes the buzz.
The electromagnetic part of the motor isn't the issue, unless it is actually vibrating... the permanent magnets used in the speaker and buzzer are more likely the problem. The small rare-earth magnets used in some of the speakers are very powerful given their very small size.
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