Bandit's Compass

The compass of a boat is the most important piece of equipment you have.

For us, being on the river means there is no use for a compass in reality. We don't use the chart plotter for navigational purposes but to add waypoints along the river like pubs etc... The banks of the river are never more than 100 feet apart, in fact. However, we do plan to use Bandit at sea in the near future. When we bought Bandit, we were told that the compass' backlight had failed and that we would have to replace either the entire unit or the LED. This was something on our less important jobs list. I remembered today that we needed to look at the compass and thought I'd have a look at it there and then to see what was going on. LED's are so reliable that it sounded unlikely that it had broken. We also wanted to remove the compass as the plastic dome had fogged up and it made it nearly impossible to read.

Our goal was to attempt to mend the compass that Bandit was fitted with 25 years ago at the factory. We felt like it was a key part to Bandit where it had been there since new. I began to disassemble the compass remembering that there would be alcohol inside that the compass itself floats on. After carefully removing the cap, I was a little confused. There was no liquid. As it turns out, the compass works on a gyroscope theory which was quite interesting. It was quite fascinating to look at how this gyroscope system works.

I then cleaned up the plastic dome. The 'fog' turned out to be just a film of dust or grime on the inside which has collected over the last 25 years. I also took it apart and cleaned all the plastic housing too. The LED had in fact failed so we will need to get another one or make up another set up for a backlight.

The compass is now in complete working order again and looks a lot better than it did at the beginning. Another job off the list!

One clean compass

All fitted and working as it should


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