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Old 13-11-2018, 18:03   #31
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Iíve had Danforth Constellation. Sestrel. Aquameter.
Iíve had various repairs over the years,
Particularly the Aquameter globes were yellowed.
Many of these companies are long gone.
I just replaced a Plastimo 135 with a Ritchie. The Plastimo had a growing bubble and was a factory sealed unrepairable unit.
Not too happy about not being able to repair it.
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Old 14-11-2018, 00:55   #32
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Banks View Post
My last boat had a Ritchie--but I also have used the Japanese Saura and had no problems with it beyond those that any magnetic compass has--keep wiring well away from them and have them properly adjusted and correctly swung.


I am waiting for the day someone invents an electronic gyro compass that can be used on small vessels.
Never happen.

You can buy a number of electronic magnetic compass modules for a few dollars a piece. The GY 271 and GY 511 modules are two of these. The gyro compass is obsolete technology.
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Old 16-11-2018, 04:24   #33
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Thanks for all the advice. Although Ritchie is at the top of the recommended list, they aren't answering my emails (to sales@ritchienavigation.com).

Does anyone know if Plastimo compasses use glass for their domes? Or is it, as the name implies, plastic? The Plastimo would fit our existing mounting situation better. The Ritchie would require grinding a bit off both our mount & the flange of the compass itself. Thanks!
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Old 16-11-2018, 04:36   #34
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Whatever you decide on, making a white cover (from a waterproof material) will go a long way to preserving your compass. It keeps the sun off and heat out.
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Old 16-11-2018, 04:47   #35
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Ritchie globemaster. This thing is the only thing on the boat that just does what itís supposed to day in and day out.
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Old 16-11-2018, 07:29   #36
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
Thanks for all the advice. Although Ritchie is at the top of the recommended list, they aren't answering my emails (to sales@ritchienavigation.com).

Does anyone know if Plastimo compasses use glass for their domes? Or is it, as the name implies, plastic? The Plastimo would fit our existing mounting situation better. The Ritchie would require grinding a bit off both our mount & the flange of the compass itself. Thanks!
Mine has a glass dome - I actually think it is borosilicate, not glass - and a plastic cover, the plastic cover cracked in a couple of places over the years and I had to repair it with epoxy. The dome has not clouded or yellowed noticeably.
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Old 16-11-2018, 17:59   #37
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

My Ritchie Globmaster is still going strong after 34 years. Last year I had it serviced for the first time as the dome had surface scratches. It was found to have a seized compensator adjusting arm during disassembly. I had the lamp upgraded to LED's and the card polished along with the dome replacement. It looks fabulous and is ready for another 34 years of service.
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Old 19-11-2018, 11:22   #38
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

I've had a Sestrial Moore for 32 years now. Took it with me when I sold my old boat and bought a new one. Glass still clear, no bubbles and never given a moments trouble. Changed the light to LED but that's it.
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Old 21-11-2018, 03:30   #39
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

[QUOTE=HankOnthewater
My compass had a large air bubble and perspex dome was bit crazed and yellowish, I guess due to age >30 years. Then I decided to polish the dome, which was surprisingly thin ie 2 mm, but it improved the visuals dramatically and decision was made to keep the old compass on the boat and money in my pocket. Rinsed the bowl, removed the crud, I refilled with new fluid; for this compass it was white spirits. Just now in the process replacing the single light with 3 small LEDs.
[/QUOTE]

How did you get the spirits into the bowl?
I have a Ritchie that had a growing bubble. I bought the expensive recommended fluid and tried a couple of plastic syringes from a chemist to inject through the filling hole, but the rubber seal on the syringes kept failing.
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Old 22-11-2018, 20:54   #40
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Ritchie, I've had some ancient Ritchie compasses that were just as dead accurate and readable as the day they were new. As I set off now on a 5 year trip I have a Ritchie Globemaster at the helm.
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Old 22-11-2018, 21:47   #41
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

My Ritchie Globemaster lost its fluid when it was about 15 years old, but it was relatively easy to get a kit and fix the seals, which lasted until I sold the boat 11 years later. I think I had the kit shipped into Pago Pago.
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Old 23-11-2018, 10:07   #42
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Island Marine Instruments.
Repairs, parts, realistic advice.
Compass Adjusting and Repair, Contact, Navigation Instrument Service, Island Marine Instrument Co Inc
Talk to Bill 425 258 4120
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Old 29-11-2018, 15:36   #43
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Again, I'd like to thank everyone who contributed here. This is really what CF is meant to be! I wanted to wrap this up before this thread turned into a zombie.

My count of recommendations to date:
  • 15 Ritchie
  • 4 Plastimo
  • 2 Danforth
  • 2 Sestral Moore (no longer made)
Ritchie did finally get back to me. We found their Globemaster SB-500 would fit, so I ordered it from Defender (had to phone them, as these compasses are custom made & drop shipped, so not in their normal online catalog).

But then Ritchie said our compass would only be finished on the date our daughter flies out to meet us in NE Indonesia (hopefully bringing our new compass). Flurries of phone calls later (Skype is Wonderful!) & Ritchie agreed to expedite the construction (for free!) . Ritchie also contacted Defender, who agreed to upgrade our shipping to 1-day (it had to go clear across the US), also for free (despite my offering to pay).

Assuming everything happens as it's supposed to, I will be a happy camper. Our mounting location needed a bit of modification, as the Ritchie is deeper than our old Plath, but our aluminum cover should still fit over the new compass.
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Old 29-11-2018, 16:44   #44
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruffa View Post
How did you get the spirits into the bowl?
I have a Ritchie that had a growing bubble. I bought the expensive recommended fluid and tried a couple of plastic syringes from a chemist to inject through the filling hole, but the rubber seal on the syringes kept failing.
Indeed I used a syringe, but white spirits did not affect the rubber seal on the plunger. Alcohol will, and by the looks of it, oils as well.
Maybe you can use a small plastic funnel, or if the spout of the funnel is still too big, use the syringe (taking the plunger out) as a funnel, with or without the plastic funnel on top of that.

Regarding leaking seal, maybe get an oversized ring/washer, and give it a light smear of silicone grease, or even lanoline grease.
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Old 29-11-2018, 18:07   #45
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Re: Reliable Compasses for Cruising

"purchased in San Francisco.... and before long (somewhere around 30 deg S IIRC) it hung up and stopped working.
And that's actually sort of normal. Conventional compass construction is such that you either buy one built for the northern or southern hemisphere, and expect that even if the compass keeps working, it will no longer be accurate in the other hemisphere.

The exception is those cheap $1.49 automobile "ball" compasses that use a small air bubble in the top of the ball instead of having a jewel bearing. They don't care what hemisphere they are used in.(G)

There are some independent shops (like Robert White & Co., out of Boston) that will repair and refurbish compasses properly. And IIRC Ritchie used to offer a whole new compass at a significant discount, rather than perform repairs on an old one.

Five years sounds like Plastimo are just using cheap rubber for their seals, and cheap rubber will rot out in five years time.
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