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Hull Automobile compass

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Have posted some pictures (hopefully) of a little item I picked up a while ago, nice undamaged compass. Is this a make that would have been used on military vehicles and the like? Also it does work but it appears that it is only half full of liquid. Is this an issue; if it is is there an easy repair?

 

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Many thanks

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A WW2 Hull compass in Bakelite, commonly found screwed to the screen pillar on jeeps, Dodges, and the like.

 

The fluid is "compass fluid' and can be bought as such, but it is an alcohol and tends to vanish with age. I'd suggest that if there is enough fluid in it for it to work you should leave it - not sure how easy they are to fill.

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To refill you need to get the glass bowl out. Use a knife or small scraper under the edge of the bowl and gently go round prizing it up. Be very gentle though, the glass can crack easily.

Once you get it moving it should come out quite easily. The next job is to unscrew the brass cap on the back of the bowl. These can be very stubborn. you could try tapping around it to free it up, or some heat. Not a naked flame though.

All being well it will come apart and you'll have a puddle on your bench :). I should have said do the above over a bowl.

 

Refilling can be done with compass oil, although I never found any! Baby oil, a bit thick but it does work, or lamp oil.

Either fill the glass bowl and while holding upright put it back together and hope you don't get any air bubbles, or put everything in a large bowl of the oil and assemble in the oil. No bubbles. A small bubble won't matter either way you do it.

 

Hope that helps

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There are plenty of companies that proffesionally rebuild compases. The liquid is probably pure alcahol, and it eveaporates over time. You will also need to swing the compass. Ah that takes me back..... a long time ago helped a guy who worked on aircraft. Compass swinging involved taking the aircraft out to a specially laid out pad of concrete with no metal. The plane was then aligned on 10 degree intervals and variation from calcuated magnetic bearing listed. You have to do the same with the lights on as this can have quite a marked diffrence. REMEBER Tired Vigins Make Dull Company! True North, +/- Varation = Magnetic course, =/- Deviation= Compass course. Much easier on boats and ships as you have room for Kelvin's Balls. :-D

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There are plenty of companies that professionally rebuild compasses. :-D

 

Erm, know of any companies in particular Tony? I have a DUKW / Weasel Pioneer compass here that is leaking fluid and I dread taking it apart. Could do with a good compass / instrument rebuild recommendation.

 

Gordon

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