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S&S Swan Maintenance - Compass repair
17 July 2018 - 13:47
#1
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 55

Compass repair

My Swan 40 hull number 45 has a Henry Browne Sestrel compass.     A few years ago an air bubble developed which disappeared after a few months, I don't know why.   Last winter this happened again but the bubble, about 3 cm in diameter, is persisting this time.  I am based in Italy at present.  Does anyone know any quick fixes or can recommend a professional compass repairer ?

17 July 2018 - 13:56
#2
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 878

Dear Richard,

Fuselli in Genoa: info@fusellifassio.it

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

03 September 2018 - 20:19
#3
Join Date: 11 November 2017
Posts: 25

Hi, 

 

Put your compass and very pure white spirit (lamp oil) into freezer. Open the filling screw. Then fill it when the both are very cold. Do not empty your compass.

before

after filling when liquid was still cold

final result

04 September 2018 - 10:04
#4
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 444

Last month I fixed my Suunto compass (a D-165 like the one of JereQ) by changing the dome which was badly cracked and filling it again. Notwithstanding my efforts with a syringe, I could not avoid a little bubble to remain at the top of the dome while at home but, with my surprise, as soon as the compass was set in its place - probably due to the sun warming it - it disappeared completely.

The fluid I used was "Petrolio Bianco" in Italian, or "White Spirit" in English but be careful because some brands are slightly yellow; a transparent one I found was dubbed as "Petrolio bianco lampante" in Italian.

Now I have another problem I would like to solve myself: some of the reference needles (the lubber lines) need a new white coating. Does anyone have a suggestion on the paint I can use?

Daniel, 411/004 Luna Menguante

04 September 2018 - 14:26
#5
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 55

To JereQ

I suppose the filler hole is underneath the compass so I have to remove it from the binnacle.  Correct ?

Many thanks

04 September 2018 - 16:03
#6
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1528

Dear Daniele,

Thank you for the helpful information.

It is likely your compass dome showed crazing caused by sunlight, and it would be advisable to cover it when not in use.

White Spirit dissolves some paints, and one which is completely immune to this is required for the job. Suunto may have used a phosphorescent paint.
Kind regards
Lars

12 September 2018 - 20:45
#7
Join Date: 11 November 2017
Posts: 25

To JereQ

I suppose the filler hole is underneath the compass so I have to remove it from the binnacle.  Correct ?

Many thanks

Hello,

 

Yes I think so. The filling screw of mine compass was on the side. Check also this:

 

https://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Documents/1735_msds.pdf

 

12 September 2018 - 20:51
#8
Join Date: 11 November 2017
Posts: 25

To JereQ

I suppose the filler hole is underneath the compass so I have to remove it from the binnacle.  Correct ?

Many thanks

Hello,

 

Yes I think so. The filling screw of mine compass was on the side. Check also this:

 

https://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Documents/1735_msds.pdf

 

27 January 2021 - 20:27
#9
Join Date: 31 October 2020
Posts: 7

Hello, 

I have also the Sestrel compass and maybe a winner in the bubble-size contest. I'm pretty confident that the liquid is white spirit (smells the same, but is less viscous than turpentine).

Does anyone know where to get a new compass light assembly, or a replacement bulb for the existing one?

28 January 2021 - 03:46
#10
Join Date: 19 December 2019
Posts: 23

Hi, 

These are the guys for Sestrel Spares:

https://www.sirs.co.uk/marine/repairs_and_spares

 

And we used this to top up our Danforth although worth checking which fluid

Amazon - Lamp Oil Clear

 

Agree with previous comments about using the freezer!

 

Cheers,

Dan 

(43/059)

28 January 2021 - 08:40
#11
Join Date: 31 October 2020
Posts: 7

Hello Dan, 

thanks! This makes sense. If the liquid is changed from lamp oil to white spirit, it would explain the bubble size. I'll try to get a spare part kit and post the pics from a maintenence excercise.  

Kr. Veli-Matti

28 January 2021 - 09:16
#12
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 878

Dear Hanhi,

compass liquid code is: EXXSOL D80 (I think it's better to completely change it instead of refilling, if you are not sure there is the same liquid now)

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

06 March 2021 - 21:07
#13
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 74

I used RITCHIE SH-0154 Compass Fluid (Isopar L).

Most compasses have a very flexible diaphragm on the bottom, it is to compensate for temperature and also works to compensate for loss of a little fluid. So you find the hole on the side of the compass for filling. It is just under the big flange and there is a screw in it. put the compass on a support with this screw pointing up, then open the screw. The weight of the remaining fluid will expand the diaphragm and with a surgical syringe you can fill the oil to the brim. This is important: Fill it all the way to the top of the threaded hole. Poke the oil a little with the syringe to remove what little air may be trapped in the screw hole. When you re-insert the screw a little oil will come out. You have now filled your compass but put it on a shelf for a few days and look for a bubble to re-appear. If it does then do the job again. You can buy a new plastic top and seal rings, even new pivot pin and jewel.

09 April 2021 - 09:38
#14
Join Date: 31 October 2020
Posts: 7

Thanks again for all relplies and help. 

 

Neither S.i.r.s (UK) nor Cassens-Plath (Germany) sell spares anymore for Sestrel compasses. I found the spares from Steger Jr. from Germany. There, Rainer Bandholz was really helpful in finding the right spares. For anyone in need, here are the contact details: 

Steger jr. <steger.jr@freenet.de>

Steger Jr.
Holzkoppelweg 17
24118 Kiel
Germany
+49 431 542263

 

Now I have everything I need to restore the classic compass to it's original glory. 

Fair Winds, 

Veli-Matti (s/y Hanhi)

 

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