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  1. #1
    ianybw's Avatar
    ianybw is offline Registered User
    Location : Vancouver, British Columbia
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    Default Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    Hi,

    I have obtained a smart binnacle compass at a good price ( i,e, free ). Only problem is there is no liquid in it.

    Putting aside whether its actually going to work properly ( it was free after all), does anybody know the mechanics of actually filling it?

    Or am I going to sailing on a 20 deg course for the next five seasons?

    Many Thanks
    Sylvester The Cat

  2. #2
    Billjratt's Avatar
    Billjratt is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    After you've found and fixed the emptiness cause....find the screw filler cap thingy. Choose a liquid, there was some discussion here a week or two ago ( I use baby oil) and fill it up, leave it to settle overnight with the plug still out and top up. See how it goes and do more top-ups as neccessary, mine seemed to create bubbles out of nowhere but eventually was totally filled.
    Left hand down a bit.

  3. #3
    ianybw's Avatar
    ianybw is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    Thanks for that, it sounds doable.

    You are correct of course, I am probably going to need some 1500 pound seals........free, yeah right.
    Sylvester The Cat

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    Yep there is a filling point, usually on the under side, but sometimes on the side of the bowl. I would suggest you use the correct oil/alchol to fill it. Bay oil (sp?) is used sometimes. I have used a 10ml syringe to fill mine in the past.

    Before you use it, I would check it against a reliable hand held compass to see how accurate it is against known reference points and transits. Otherwise, if its going to be your main steering compass get a compass adjuster in to work his magic.

    Best of luck.
    Drinking rum and playing music with my friends.

  5. #5
    VicS is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    [ QUOTE ]
    I would suggest you use the correct oil/alchol to fill it. Bay oil (sp?) is used sometimes.

    [/ QUOTE ] I will second that advice. Putting in the incorrect fluid could wreck it. The correct or at least a suitable fluid should be available from a compass repairer such as Sirs Navigation or BPSC marine.

    BTW it was Bayol I believe or at least one of a range of products carrying that name from Esso. No longer available I understand.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    I had heard in the old days that gin was the liquid of choice, administered with a syringe. Now if you pop into Boots with a large bottle of Gordons in your pocket and ask for a syringe I would think that your local credibility is shot forever.
    Seriously though, I have tried this with a couple of handbearing compasses and they did work, up to a point. I never fully trusted them. For peace of mind you would have to get it checked by an expert ( there used to be an outfit in Lowestoft), but then the freebie is no longer a freebie.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    Reinforcing what others have said, go for Johnsons baby oil (chemist maybe 5.00 to fill the compass) if what its already got smells similar (it can't be that empty can it?...)

    use a cheap pipette (chemist) to top it up and leave it a while to settle. turn it over a few times to get rid of bubbles under the card.

    worked fine on my plastimo but I had to use araldite to deal with the cause of the original leak, a crack near the filler. deal with that before filling it.

    Alcohol might dissolve all the numbers off the dial...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    Some did use alcohol, others paraffin, some castor oil and others bayol. Lecky states, that "pure alcohol -familarly known as spirit of wine- is preferable to water or any other liquid, because it does not freeze even at very low temperatures. In the best liquid compasses the card is of hard enamel, which permits of pure spirits of wine being used without discoloration, and renders freezing impossible"

    So - where do you intend to take her?

  9. #9
    William_H is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    A friend used to do smaller aircraft compasses. He had a dish of oil into which the compass was emersed. The dish and compass were then put into a vaccuum chamber for some time so that all bubbles came out of the oil and compass. The filler plug was then refitted but while all was still under the oil in the bowl...... No bubbles...

    He had a thriving business because light aircraft compasses are mounted in the middle of the windscreen right in the blazing sun. (and coloured black to absorb the heat) People used to push a beer can foam cooler over the compass to try to extend the compass life.

    good luck olewill

  10. #10
    ianybw's Avatar
    ianybw is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Anybody know how to fill a compass and not have a bubble?

    So - where do you intend to take her?

    Well the plan is BC Gulf Islands then Desolation Sound with the family. All inshore cruising. No adventuring here, I am only going if the suns shining and the beers cold.

    Cheers
    Sylvester The Cat

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