Wet compass leaked.

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Justin_NSA, Jul 13, 2019 at 7:58 PM. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Justin_NSA

    Justin_NSA

    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    5,721 posts, 1,257 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    It's old. It happens to the best of us. My Ritchie HF 72S leaked and the compass doesn't work anymore. Anyone know of a place that refurbs them? New ones are pricey.
     


  2. JamesG161

    JamesG161

    Joined Feb 14, 2014
    3,738 posts, 1,399 likes
    Hunter 430
    US Waveland, MS
  3. vhoisington

    vhoisington

    Joined Mar 13, 2011
    143 posts, 36 likes
    Islander Freeport 41
    US Longmont
    You can do the work yourself as well. I rebuilt my compass several years ago. They sell all the parts and even the fluid online and it’s really not that hard. Takes about an hour to do the whole job.
     


  4. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,317 posts, 447 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    Ritchie remanufactures them.

    https://www.ritchienavigation.com/care-maintenance/service/factory-reconditioning-program/
     


  5. jnorten

    jnorten

    Joined Jan 26, 2019
    11 posts, 3 likes
    Catalina 30, Mark I
    At Last US Waukegan, IL
    +1. There are several places online that sell replacement gaskets and parts. Youtube will show videos that are your exact compass or close enough. It is easy.

    Most compass fluid is mineral spirits. You can buy the official "compass fluid", which is expensive. Or, you can go to the hardware store and buy a quart of mineral spirits for a few bucks.
     


  6. dLj

    dLj

    Joined Mar 23, 2017
    408 posts, 175 likes
    Hunter 30
    US Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
    Mineral spirits? I always thought it was mineral oil - two quite different liquids...

    dj
     


  7. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,317 posts, 447 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    Mineral oil is correct.
     


  8. jnorten

    jnorten

    Joined Jan 26, 2019
    11 posts, 3 likes
    Catalina 30, Mark I
    At Last US Waukegan, IL
    Guys,

    Check the following link. This is where I ordered my parts. It's SPIRITS.

    Compass repair FAQ.
     


  9. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,317 posts, 447 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    Well, I stand corrected! Thank you for that. Who knew? I've refilled compasses with mineral oil, too!
     


  10. jnorten

    jnorten

    Joined Jan 26, 2019
    11 posts, 3 likes
    Catalina 30, Mark I
    At Last US Waukegan, IL
    No problem. Before I refurbished my compass, I had no idea whatsoever about any of this. I was thinking that I'd have to sink big bucks on a new compass.

    Since I just did it this winter, it was relatively fresh in my mind. I attached a photo. The dome on the left was the old, very crazed dome. The finished product on the right shows what is possible to accomplish.

    There are all sorts of tricks for filling the dome to minimize an air bubble. It took me several fillings. Each time I'd fill the dome to "full", an air bubble would appear after several days. After maybe three filling cycles, it was good to go. So far, no air bubble has appeared in all temperatures from freezing up to 95 degrees. 56921167410__ACCDA671-028A-4CD7-912D-CC77CF948284.JPG
     


    rgranger likes this.
  11. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,317 posts, 447 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    Wow, very nice. So, please fill us in on the details of this restoration!
     


  12. jnorten

    jnorten

    Joined Jan 26, 2019
    11 posts, 3 likes
    Catalina 30, Mark I
    At Last US Waukegan, IL
    My problem was obviously a crazed dome. A lot of folks have tried polishing and/or filling scratches with various chemicals. Various levels of success were achieved. My dome was beyond repair as the photo shows.

    Some thoughts:
    If the compass is simply in need of fluid, then it could be a really cheap fix. Buy fluid at the hardware store. Order a new small rubber gasket appropriate to your model (very cheap) that seals the fill screw. The fill screw will be on the side of the compass, just under the dome and metal trim ring. At the helm, start taking out screws until the fixture comes out of helm. You might have to break sealant. Hopefully, there is enough play in the compass light power cord to pull the compass out and rotate it to access the fill screw and hole (if not, then read more about my project below for tips). Use a plastic syringe jammed into the hole to inject fluid until it spills out. I thought this would do it for me. But, as I said earlier, after a day or two a bubble would appear. So, I repeated the fill process ~3 times over a few days until the bubble did not reappear.​

    My project was a little more involved (but still easy) as I also replaced the dome:
    Make sure you have the parts specific to your model (although a lot of models use the same replacement parts).
    Parts:
    1) Big o-ring to seal dome to base
    2) Small o-ring to seal fill screw
    3) Large rubber diaphragm for bottom of fixture that accounts for thermal expansion of fluid
    4) One quart of compass fluid (i.e. mineral spirits) from local hardware store​

    When I removed my compass from the boat, I had to cut the compass light power cable. I would cut the cable in the middle. Make sure you have cable to work with for the reinstall on both the "boat side" and the "compass side" of the project. When I reattached it, instead of using butt connectors, I used a quick disconnect fitting (of course marine grade waterproof, etc. is the best). So, when I next remove my compass, I won't have to cut the cable again.

    Process for dome replacement (the best I can recall):
    1. Remove compass from boat (as described earlier).
    2. Once you remove enough trim pieces and screws, the dome lifts right off of the compass body. Replace the big o-ring that seals dome to base.
    3. Drain remaining fluid. Remove fill screw and replace small o-ring.
    4. Remove some screws from bottom and/or lower sides of fixture. This reveals the rubber diaphragm along with compensating magnets. Messing with the magnets is for another thread (I didn't mess with mine). Replace the diaphragm.
    5. Reverse steps to reassemble compass.
    6. Go through the fill and then reinstallation processes described above.
    7. Have fun navigating!
    Finally, I did most of the work at my kitchen table. This produced much better results than balancing things precariously on--and dropping screws into--the pedestal.
     


  13. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,317 posts, 447 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    Thanks very much! Where did you get the parts, directly from Ritchie?
     


  14. jnorten

    jnorten

    Joined Jan 26, 2019
    11 posts, 3 likes
    Catalina 30, Mark I
    At Last US Waukegan, IL
    The Ritchie site redirects you to distributors. You can choose by geographic location or "online retailers".

    Here is the online retailer I used. I recommend them. Just make sure you know the make and model and order the proper parts.

    https://www.vikingcompass.com
     


  15. CYQK

    CYQK

    Joined Sep 11, 2009
    374 posts, 20 likes
    beneteau first 42
    US kenora
    Have a brand new one in my boat and the boat is still on the hard!!!
    Bubble appeared this spring so it looks like i need to refill the fluid as well
     


  16. Justin_NSA

    Justin_NSA

    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    5,721 posts, 1,257 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    Thanks for all the helpful info! I will try to get the gaskets and refill myself. What do I have to lose?

    Now my speed indicator is not reading. Sits at 0.0. Could be my paddle wheel is stuck. I still have GPS
     


  17. Justin_NSA

    Justin_NSA

    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    5,721 posts, 1,257 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    LOL. They are on Pick Pocket Rd.
    They quoted me much less than $100 to repair my compass. I figure ordering parts and doing it myself would almost be that much. I am boxing it up tonight
     


    JamesG161 likes this.
  18. Calif. Ted

    Calif. Ted

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    2,229 posts, 196 likes
    Catalina 320
    US Dana Point
    Refinishing the hatchboards I asked my wife to pick-up some mineral spirits or thinner at Walmart, she returned with a bottle of low VOC brush cleaner. She said "They gave me a funny look when I asked for mineral spirits and said this is the same". It's not, it's a thick milky something, they outlawed thinner years ago. I'm going to need to drive to Nevada and load up on contraband High VOC liquids and fireworks.
     


  19. Justin_NSA

    Justin_NSA

    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    5,721 posts, 1,257 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    Must be a Left Coast thing. I have Mineral Spirits, brush cleaner, denatured alcohol etc. on my garage shelf. Can get all at the big box stores.
     




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