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GAUSSIN ERROR When a vessel is altering course to port or starboard, different parts of the vessel's structure are cutting

the Earth's magnetic field at different rates. EMF's induced in the ship's structure cause electric currents to flow and the magnetic fields associated with these 'eddy' currents may cause deviations to the compass. Lenz's law states that the magnetic fields which develop will be such as to oppose the motion causing them. Thus if a vessel is swinging to starboard, magnetic fields will develop with a polarity which attempts to swing the ship to port and the compass card will be deflected in that sense. For a ship swinging to port the compass card would be deflected to the right.

Compass settles quickly

Compass Needle deflected to left (West)

Gaussin error is therefore Westerly for a vessel swinging to starboard from a Northerly course. While the swing continues the name of the deviation is constant. The eddy currents will die out and the error will become zero within a few minutes of a vessel coming on to a steady course. When a vessel is swung to adjust compasses it is necessary to keep the ship's head steady on each heading for a few minutes before the deviation is observed to ensure that it is not distorted by Gaussin error.

RETENTIVE ERROR When a vessel steers a steady course for some considerable time, the vibration of the ship and the influence of the earth's magnetic field combine to cause a gradual magnetic change in parts of a vessel's structure. If the vessel then changes course, this change in the magnetism will initially be retained but will gradually decay. Magnetism of this type is known as sub-permanent magnetism and the error it gives 'rise' to is known as retentive error.

Compass takes time to settle quickly Compass Needle deflected to left (West)

Red Pole develops

If as in the figure a vessel steers a steady northerly course for an extended period, the vessel's subpermanent magnetism will acquire a red pole forward. If the vessel then alters course to starboard the red and blue poles will be temporarily retained and will cause westerly deviation. The deviation caused in this way is similar to that due to Gaussin error for alterations of course less than 180. The difference is that Gaussin error is due to an unsettling of the ship's induced magnetism due to the actual swerving of the ship in azimuth whilst retentive error is due to sub permanent magnetism developed while the ship is steering a steady course. The effect of Gaussin error is quickly lost when a vessel steadies on a new course but the effect of retentive error is only lost over a much longer period of time.




This method may be used when the ship has already been in commission and has had her compasses previously adjusted. i) The existing amount of Flinders Bar is altered only if there is reason to believe that a different length is necessary. ii) The spheres are tested for any retained magnetism by turning them in position. If they have not become magnetised, they are left in position. iii) Using an estimated value of 0.8 or 0.9 for the ship's multiplier, correct for Heeling Error with the vertical force instrument. iv) Head E compass remove ALL deviations by adjusting the F & A magnets. v) Head S compass remove ALL deviations by adjusting the athwartship magnets. vi) Head W compass remove HALF deviations by adjusting the F & A magnets. vii) Head N compass remove ALL deviations by adjusting the athwartship magnets. viii) On any NE quadrantal heading by compass remove HALF deviation by adjusting the spheres. ix) On any SE or NW quadrantal heading by compass remove HALF deviation by adjusting the spheres. The adjustment made in vi) may upset those in iv) & v) so these should now be repeated with the ship on the opposite headings and half the remaining deviation, if more than 2, removed by adjusting the appropriate magnets. These adjustments may in turn upset the setting of the spheres in vi) so that with the ship on a quadrantal heading, half the remaining deviations if more than 2, should be removed by adjusting the spheres. vii) Swing for a table of residual deviations.