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Liquid in compass


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quite a few liquids over the years, several oils, alcohols, white spirits etc. Best is purified kerosene. BUT if it's old, the old fluid could be radioactive - in touch with the radium florescent markers for years. It is quite dangerous!

Where did the fluid go? First, before refilling, you need to fix the problem!

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As rigger said, call the expert. He will tell you.

You do need to be cautious what goes back in, because some liquids can react with what the lens is made from and/or seals.

The most common fluid to be found is purified Kerosene. That was probably what was in yours due to that "camphor-like smell" you noted. BUT, Kero can also damage some compasses, so make sure you ask the expert. Mineral oil is another that tends to be gentle of compasses. All the other liquids used can be really bad in the wrong compass.

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Sorry erice, in a good compass there should be no "smell" from the liquid. It's in a sealed container (unless something is wrong) and the expansion/contraction is allowed for, often with a rubber diaphragm. A smell would mean it's leaking....

 

As BP said, at sea you have to do what you can. Here you can take it to the compass repair place - Dave's details listed above.

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Yeah I had a lemon I bought new in about 1984 or so , a Sestrel conquest. The diaphragms in them all failed worldwide and meant they discoloured and developed bubbles within a couple of years of new. Might have contributed to the failure of the company too IIRC, it was supposed to be a top quality unit.

Dave had the correct fluid for it. After one rebuild and no hope I ended up replacing the stock Sestrel melting diapragm with some perspex sheet and eked out another 20 years or so.

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yes, the best would be the local "pro"

 

for diy, proper compass fluid, as in the link

 

failing that, 1 of the local "spirits"

 

all just

 

imho

 

of course

 

ask 10 people

 

you don't 1 answer

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Cos there isn't one answer. an old compass made of metal and sealed with cork or some rubberised stuff from the 30's might take gin or vodka or olive oil for all we know , but a more modern compass will be full of differing types of plastics which will turn into blobs at the hint of alchohol or the acid in cooking oil ( witness what people say about what to free up a head with) ,Like my stupid sestrel . That had to be exactly the right fluid or there would be no guarantee, cept there wasn't that anyway :crazy:

So the OP needs to talk to plastimo or someone like Dave in the link to find out what options he has. Eh.

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Also depending on what the Clear Dome is made from. Whether it be Acrylic, Polycarbonate, ABS etc, each can have a weakness to different liquids. Some liquids can cause crazing, milking or softening of the lens or dome or whatever they call that thing.

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Shell used to do an oil that a lot of the manufacturers used, I'm sorry but I can't remember the name of it but when you start looking into their tech specs for it (because I didn't expect to buy it in less than 40 gallon drums) it was a light mineral oil for the food industry and a base for other human friendly stuff. The long and short of it is baby oil, I use the unscented stuff, it's the right viscosity but you can thin it with alcohol. More importantly chill the filled compass down in the fridge/freezer with the bung out until it's cold all the way through and then top it up again and replace the bung. This reduces the volume of the oil and the diaphragm has no pressure on it then later when it cools down it doesn't suck air in when the the oil contracts. But first find out where the old oil went or you'll be doing it all again.

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Thanks for all the info and replies. I found that the dome was cracked around the base where it sits in the housing. I couldn't see how It came out and eventually decided it was glued there. I may try to glue it again but it's pretty old. May have to splash out.

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