Tag Archives: Ritche

Compass repair, again.

I tossed out the mounting frame from the original compass as I assumed I would never see it, then I got the compass…. It’s an OEM Suunto compass with a fancy Hunter logo inside, but for some reason the globe is full of “stuff” floating around. Looks like it was filled with dirty lake water?!

Black goo, very sticky goo.
Black goo, very sticky goo.

In the mean time, I sourced a well used Ritchie compass and fit it into the pedestal with a few strokes of a rasp. This compass however had a distinct lack of fluid. Not a problem, Ritchie is known for being rebuild-able, right? Now that it is winter project time, I opened the compass to discover a heaping glob of black goo inside. Hmm. Caulking perhaps? Sealant?

Upon further inspection I realize that I am looking at the bottom of the dial, how does the fluid stay in?

I find a parts-book online and see that there is supposed to be a rubber diaphragm inside – that explains the big blob of black stuff.

20131214_132349The diaphragm is about $20, the fluid $15 etc etc, being the frugal Scotsman and practical German! I figure, hey, there’s got to be a homemade solution here in the shop.

I cut a disk out of an oil can and put in some squeeze-cheese gasket, Permatex 2, screwed it all together, tossed in some lamp oil and splash of mineral oil. Seems to be holding.

20131214_141432I must say I’m a bit baffled that the fluid melted the diaphragm so completely. Did they not test the rubber? It seems like planned obsolescence but I suppose this is what they were referring to as “rebuildable”! ‘ cause you are ¬†going to have to at some point. It reminds me of the arguments I’ve heard about American cars, cheap abundant parts versus slightly more expensive import parts.20131214_141528

I’m under no illusions that this fix will withstand the full expansion pressures of a summer’s sun, I’m sure there’s a reason for a rubber diaphragm, but I am optimistic that under the shade of the Bimini it might not piss itself in a day.

To be continued….