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Old 29-08-2015, 21:35   #1
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After installing a lot of electronics, my bulkhead compass is way off.

I was looking at my autopilt compass and assumed it was off because it and the bulkhead big fluid compass were reading about 30-40 degrees apart.

I thought for sure the electronic one was wrong but when I got out my little handheld compass it matched the autopilot one.

I didn't install any electroncs near the bulkhead compass, what would make it so far off and what can I do to fix it?
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Old 29-08-2015, 22:07   #2
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Re: After installing a lot of electronics, my bulkhead compass is way off.

Did you install something magnetic within a few feet of the compass? Common items that are magnetic include speakers and steel cookware. There may be other magnetic items so look around for anything that could act as a magnet.

Next, turn off all power in the boat. Literally everything, including AC shore power and all DC at the batteries even battery operated stuff.

If the compass is still off by the same amount then it probably needs to be "adjusted". You didn't give the model of the compass but most "big fluid" compasses have compensation magnets that are used to "compensate" the compass so it points north no matter which way the boat is pointed. The adjustment of these is somewhat complicated. So much so that there are people that adjust compasses for a living.

If turning off all power in the boat allows the compass to swing back then you know it is electrical. DC current is what makes a compass swing away from north.
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Old 29-08-2015, 23:54   #3
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Re: After installing a lot of electronics, my bulkhead compass is way off.

It was working well before my install. I didn't put anything on that side of the companionway, but I have stuff on the other side and that is within a couple feet. I also reorganized and maybe there are metal objects underneath the compass.

I'll try your ideas about turning everything off and see if that makes a difference. That would tell a lot.

The compass brand is a common brand but I don't hear of them making compasses. It's not ritchey. I forget. I think it starts with a d. It's big. Maybe 6-8 in diameter and it has a switch to light up at night.
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:43   #4
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Re: After installing a lot of electronics, my bulkhead compass is way off.

Electronic chsartplotters,, even tablets or smart phones with built in gps will throw off a compass 40 to 60 degrees if the electronics are within a foot or so the closer they get the worse the deviation.

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