How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

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How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby cefrancke » Mar 17, 2011 3:11 pm

Plain and simple:

Instruments:
Suunto Compass KB-14 / 360R
Suunto Clinometer PM-5 / 360PC

Need:
Clean eyepiece (the "optics")
Clean viewer (the "round side-window")
Replace "damping liquid"

Questions:
1. How to remove the instrument from the aluminum housing/body ?
2. Is the liquid Mineral Oil or Glycerin ? If neither, what is it, or, which of the two would be the best substitute?
3. Recommended method to repair cracks, openings, in the instrument's "plastic container".
4. Recommended method to insert "damping liquid". (syringe?)

Given:
Instrument:
There is a gasket above the view window. This can be removed easily.
There is a retaining screw (?) on the side of the housing. This can be removed easily.
The instrument, however, is not budging.

All quoted ("") text is as per the Suunto manual.


Thanks in Advance. 2011-Mar-17
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby NZcaver » Mar 17, 2011 6:59 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Some of your questions have come up previously in this topic, however most of what you want to know remains unanswered. It's my understanding that the compass/clino housings are sealed bubbles which are inserted into the aluminum body of the instrument and would take a lot of (careful) pressure to remove. And when/if you do, you'd still need to drill a hole in the bubble to add the damping fluid and then seal it up again.

In my experience, most people don't bother repairing Suuntos. If it still works with a bubble in it, keep using it. If not, write it off and buy replacements on eBay. That's what I do. The individual compass and clino units are less common, but Tandem units show up all the time for around $100 or less when satellite TV installers are cleaning out their gear.
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby HKalnitz » Mar 17, 2011 10:20 pm

First: Try to pry out compass Cartridge
Second: Break It
Image

Third: Write that one up to bad luck and try again with your clino
Fourth: Break it
Image

Fifth: Curse Rant and rave, convince yourself you really can do it and try again on your spare set
Six : Break it
Image

Seventh: Scoop all the broken shit up and send it off to Forestry supplies like you should have in the first place
Eighth: Get the repair quote and decide to shop on ebay
Ninth: Get almost new tandem for 125$

Seriously - You can push the compass card out with an appropriate sized socket from a socket set. Apply pressure very carefully and it will pop the bottom plate out and the spring. You can clean them, and put them back in, but once the cartridge is compromised, there is very little you can do - I have never heard of anyone adding liquid into the cartridge. Forestry supply does a great job, but all they will do is replace the cartridge. Additionally the more recent cartridges are significantly weaker/ thinner then the older ones
I don't know what liquid is in the cartridge, but it smells real bad
Howard

PS - I DIDN"T break all of these instruments (I am not THAT hard on equipment) I asked forestry supplies to send me a few bad ones for show and tell at a grotto meeting, and a few days later a dripping, stinky envelope showed up at my house full of cartridges that had not been fully drained (thus I know what the liquid smells like). The postman was pissed at me for weeks, I was sure he was going to sic Homeland Security on me...
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 17, 2011 10:27 pm

Lol Howard I almost fell out of my chair. That was great.

As I read this, I was wondering how he planned on recalibrading the instruments when he was finished...........
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby cefrancke » Mar 18, 2011 5:44 am

I accomplished the dismantling....

1-1/4 inch pvc pipe with 1/8 inch thickness....

ImageImage

Fit perfectly into the viewing window....
ImageImageImage

Just a little pressure, "roll" you palm on top to distribute the pressure...and voila!
ImageImageImage

Final results, no damage to instrument (although it is already damaged, after inspection, the retaining screw had been over tightened and caused a small crack in the plastic housing)
Image

Next... on to injecting a fluid and resealing the crack and injection hole.....
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby HKalnitz » Mar 18, 2011 6:21 am

Good Job so far...

I am interested to see if you succeed with adding the liquid
From my experience, it was thinner then I expected, and (like I said) quite acidic smelling. It needs to be non-expanding (thinking on this, are there any liquids that do expand?), freeze resistent, and inert. I think mineral oil or glycerin will slow the card too much. I was thinking along the lines of a glycol - maybe a clear RV antifreeze? I could probably put some mineral oil in a broken cartridge I have and see how it rotates...

Many of us remember the green suuntos. at one point in time the liquid that suunto put in the cartridge degraded the pin and the liquid turned green. Looked cute for a while then got so green you could no longer read the bearing. Caused fights between my wife and I because I could not believe it could get that bad untill she made me look through the damned thing. So the liquid must be inert to the other contents of the cartridge.

You have an older cartridge - they have the solid color bottoms. The new cartriges are clear through-out and a lot thinner then the old - probably by a factor of 50%. When the new ones break, it seems to be more catastrophic. You may be able to get an older one to reseal, but I am not sure about the new ones. You wont be able to heat seal them I believe, maybe an epoxy or superglue?

The cartriges have tabs that seat quite well in the bodies - you will probably have to check it on a compass course, but I haven't had a lot of problem getting a cleaned cartridge back in the body correctly. I have never placed a new one - No-one will sell the cartridge that I could find...

If you are successful - this would make a great presentation at the Survey and Cartography Session at convention.....

Howard
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby cefrancke » Mar 25, 2011 3:56 pm

All,

I've successfully made a hole in the plastic casing.
I did not "re-use" , what appears to be, the original hole/port for the damping liquid.
I created a new hole near the original, about a centimeter away, on the side.
I used a "baby/diaper pin" about 1 millimeter thick.
I heated it and carefully pushed through. I heated and pushed twice before it went through.

The liquid is the problem.
The original liquid could be removed using a 30 guage "Reli-On" syringe.

I then used store bought (walm-rt) Mineral Oil (fortified with a synthetic Vitamin E).

This liquid (Mineral Oil) had difficulty going through the syringe. Too thick.
I did manage to get some in the instrument, however upon inspection the liquid seems to be
"foamy", ie, very very small bubbles in the mix. Also, the liquid had lacked complete clarity as it seemed
to have "currents" through it, or perhaps it was the residual of the original damping liquid in the mix.

The Mineral Oil did not have the same smell, while the original has a "petroleum" smell, say like WD-40.
Also, the original damping liquid seems visibly thinner. (evidenced by the syringe results)

Mineral Oil has a viscosity from >3 cSt depending on manufacturer.
Glycerine / Glycerol viscosity is much higher >1000cSt

It may not even matter, the viscosity, but the original liquid is definitely thinner than the store bought Mineral Oil
I used.

Any ideas on what this could be? And do you think it matters, as long as it's not corrosive and it's clear?

I know we can do it, we're so close.... 2011-Mar-25
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby HKalnitz » Mar 28, 2011 7:08 am

You have gotten my interest now...
At work I ususally use pascals when defining viscosity. One is a straight definition, while stokes seems to be a kinetic measurement. I either will work in this problem, we just wat to find the lowest miilipascal/cS fluid. Remember water is about 1 Mpa
I originally suggested RV antifreeze, which is propylene Glycol. To my surprise it has a high mPA (25-100mPA depending on temperature). I believe the stuff I was using is diluted, bringing its viscosity down, but greatly reducing its anti freeze capabilities. Further investigation shows that to bring it down less then Mineral oil, may increase its freezing temperature up to 10 degrees F. In reality we don't often survey there, but I have been known to leave my instruments in the car overnight by accident, and the temperatures can easily dip below that. Expansion due to freezing will crack the case, possibly beyond repair.

Most oils range from 30mPA and higer - including the lightiest canolas. I think all oils are out of the question....
(http://physics.info/viscosity/)

However - here is one I forgot - the alcohols - Isopropyl at 2.4 mPA, or ethyl at 1.1 mPA. These shouldn't freeze. Maybe a trip back to your walmarts for rubbing alcohol?

Further research on the net confirms this:
(http://iimarine.com.au/magnetic.compass ... php#liquid)

You want to damp the card slightly - too little and it will swing too much, too much and will take forever to rotate (I even found a refernce to slow compass rotation leading to loss of a naval battle - we forget how important compasses were to the pre-technological world).

Howard
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby Aaron Addison » Mar 28, 2011 9:44 am

Back in the late 1980s I tried refilling a broken compass with alcohol and it reacted with something in the compass turning everything a pinkish color.

Even at that, it was beyond my skill to get all of the air bubbles out of the compass and reseal it. There always seemed to be a couple of small bubbles that were hiding.

AA
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby ian mckenzie » Mar 29, 2011 3:04 pm

This was published in Compass & Tape and The Canadian Caver eons ago: http://members.shaw.ca/karst.almighty/k ... Suunto.pdf
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby cefrancke » Mar 30, 2011 2:32 pm

I'm honing in on "Poly-dimethyl-siloxane", aka "Dimethyl-poly-siloxane".

This seems to be the common chemical synonym for Silicone Oil.

Companies that sell it, seem to have it in different "weights", which of course mean different viscosities.

A sample of some Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) do not have viscosity data. I may have to contact the manufacturer directly.

I think it's safe to shoot for viscosity >1 and <3.

According to ads on the web for silicone (miniature car, airgun enthusiasts), viscosity seems to be as low as 100cSt.

Does this seem thin enough?
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby Aaron Addison » Apr 4, 2011 8:34 am

Here is a picture of an older Suunto for sale on ebay. It would appear to have the dampening liquid that turned blue.

http://goo.gl/tZz6h
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby HKalnitz » Apr 4, 2011 2:26 pm

Yup - thats the color, although I remember it more green then blue. Eventually it will get so bad, that you cannot see through it. I will bring one to the Survey and cartography sessions for show and tell.

I was walking through Walmart the other day, and went through the 'camping' section. There they have cheap compasses. Building on what Ian( I think ) said - can you buy a few cheap compasses and use the liquid from them? This should remove some of the guessing about liquids for just a few dollars....
Perhapse I would put it in the freezer first to make sure it isn't just water.....
Think of it as a bone marrow transplant for compasses.

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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby cefrancke » Apr 29, 2011 4:21 pm

All,

I have finally found some "silicone" oil (aka silicone shock fluid) marketed by Team Associated (TA), made by Lucas Oil. TA markets various "weights" of their silicone oil for Radio Controlled (RC) 1/8 scale racing cars. You may have seen them in parking lots near hobby stores. The oil is used for the shocks and differential gears of the race cars. The Losi company also makes this "silicone" oil.

Anyway, I bought the lowest viscosity on the shelf of TA Silicone oil, 10wt = 100cst. $3.50 hobby store in Austin, TX.

The oil has no "smell" like the petroleum smell of the original fluid and the silicone oil seems a tad thicker.

BUT..... the oil flows through the syringe slowly, yet fast enough to begin the refill of the Inclinometer Capsule.

I estimate the capsule will take about 1/4 to 1/3 oz. of fluid.

I highly recommend a larger syringe gauge for faster application.

I will have pictures later, of the application process.

Now on to the closing up of the crack and the newly made orifice....

Does anyone recommend a "glue", epoxy or whatever that would be effective under these conditions?
Capsule is of unknown plastic.
Will be in contact, albeit small, with this "silicone" oil
Would be resistant to impact, ie, no cracking of the "glue" under kinetic stress, squeezing, dropping etc.
Would be resistant to reasonable, seasonal, temperature changes.
Insensitive to sunlight.
Perhaps would be able to "fuse" with the plastic, comparable to how a "weld" works with welding steel.

Thanks in Advance.

We're really close to success.....

2011-April-29
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Re: How to Disassemble a Suunto Compass / Clino

Postby cefrancke » Apr 30, 2011 2:22 am

All,

OK, I finished filling the capsule with silicone oil ( 10wt. = 100cst ).

ImageImage .......Starting....filling....
ImageImage.....Almost there.....
Image.....DONE!!!

The new liquid is thicker (100cst) than the original, so the inclinometer is a bit sluggish, but behaves appropriately to "the eye".
The liquid is clear with no bubbles or "currents" distracting or making it difficult to read.
I have no way to easily "measure" its degree of accuracy. Time will tell.

I do recommend a thinner silicone oil, if it's possible to get (this was the lowest the hobby store had, also TA doesn't have a lower "weight" on its website). Maybe a 25-50 cst, would improve sluggishness.

I have yet to "seal" the crack and the injection portal.

So the question remains:
Does anyone recommend a "glue", epoxy or whatever that would be effective under these conditions?
Capsule is of unknown plastic.
Will be in contact, albeit small, with this "silicone" oil
Would be resistant to impact, ie, no cracking of the "glue" under kinetic stress, squeezing, dropping etc.
Would be resistant to reasonable, seasonal, temperature changes.
Insensitive to sunlight.
Perhaps would be able to "fuse" with the plastic, comparable to how a "weld" works with welding steel.

Thanks in Advance.

I can taste it.....

2011-April-30
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