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O-ring maintenence

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#1 bremner



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Posted 25 February 2018 - 05:20 AM

I've had my Olympus PT-EP13 for a wacking 8 dives, faithfully greasing the o-ring before every outing (2 dives at the most).

This seems to be the manufacturer's recommendation. I don't really mind, but I wonder if this is maybe a bit overkill. I'm headed on a liveaboard and I'm wondering if I really need to grease the O-ring 4 or 5 times a day,


So how faithful are people with this in general?

#2 TaxiDiver14


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Posted 25 February 2018 - 07:42 AM

I've had my Olympus PT-EP13 for a wacking 8 dives, faithfully greasing the o-ring before every outing (2 dives at the most).
This seems to be the manufacturer's recommendation. I don't really mind, but I wonder if this is maybe a bit overkill. I'm headed on a liveaboard and I'm wondering if I really need to grease the O-ring 4 or 5 times a day,
So how faithful are people with this in general?

I do not touch any o-ring on any liveaboard (18-26 dives). When I get home I wash them with neutral soap, dry them, very very little greas and ready for next liveaboard...

#3 pbalves


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Posted 25 February 2018 - 08:03 AM

I do as TaxiDriver, except if the are muck or sandy dives in the middle. In that case I might do some maintenance (wash the o-ring in still water, clean the groove of the o-ring with a soft lining, small amount of grease on the o-ring) and ready for the next dive.
Besides that, I only open the housing if needed (for changing battery if the camera, or change the lens/port.

#4 ChrisRoss


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Posted 25 February 2018 - 04:08 PM

I tend to do mine after each day's diving, but I am mostly in areas that are quite sandy.  I would want to look at the o-ring and sealing surface before just closing it up again.   I would do what you feel comfortable with depending on the potential for contamination to get - sandy areas, availability of a clean work area to open the housing, how hairy you are and how much you shed hairs etc.


A vacuum system would of course give you some additional confidence if you had one available. 

#5 bubffm


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Posted 26 February 2018 - 01:53 AM

Like TaxiDiver, I think the more you fiddle with the o-ring the more chances of fault. "Don't break a working system" - as they say.  After the trip I clean the ring at home with water and maybe some mild chemical-free soap as I clean all my other equipment. 


After a dozen muck dives it may get an extra cleaning depending on the amount of dirt/sand.  Did 35 dives in Anilao without extra cleaning.

#6 TimG


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Posted 26 February 2018 - 09:50 AM

I'm with the majority here: I only clean the o-ring on a trip if it has got particularly sandy or gritty when I open the housing to change battery/card etc. I then give everything a good clean at the end of the trip.


I spent a year diving pretty much twice a day and would clean the housing o-ring every couple of weeks. The port o-rings maybe slightly more often but again, based on the sand/grit that might have been around.

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#7 scubamarli



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Posted 28 February 2018 - 10:55 AM

Here's a tip. Get some food grade silicon spray. Take a small bottle (dollar store travel spray bottle). Take a couple of J-cloths or other lint free cloths and some cotton swabs. I am one for cleaning my housing main o-ring when I open it, which is usually once at the end of the day. Grease attracts dirt. I am often shocked at how much junk can collect on the oring and groove, but I do a lot of muck diving. Always dampen the cotton swab with the silicon spray, so as not to leave any fibers behind. I do the same with the port oring and extensions, if I am changing lenses. If not, I'll clean it once or twice in a trip.

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#8 samsonlee


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Posted 03 March 2018 - 06:19 AM

Generally I meticulously clean and lube it before a dive trip. Then I leave it alone unless spending a lot of time on the bottom in which case sand can get in it. I check for any hairs that might have gotten there way in as well. It would be interesting to see when people think it should be changed(new one). I've had mine for years and had no issues.

#9 diver dave1

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 06:00 AM

Whenever I break a seal, I remove the O-ring, clean it and the seating area.  Before re-sealing it, I inspect the area with magnifying glasses and a bright flashlight/torch.

I avoid breaking the seal for as long as possible.  Usually only opening to change from wide angle to macro.


My camera has space for 2 SD cards and the battery lasts several days so this is usually not the thing driving breaking a seal.

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#10 ChrigelKarrer


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Posted 11 March 2018 - 12:39 PM

There are 2 types of use for o-rings:

1° sealing by compression (back door of the housing or light canisters for example)
2° sealing turning things (like knobs, dials, ports, etc)

Grease on o-rings working by compression is not very important as there is no friction, and lowering friction is the reason for the grease.
Grease on o-rings sealing turning stuff is very important to reduce friction as the friction will reduce slowly the o-ring diameter.

Basic rubber orings can benefit of silicone grease as this grease avoid that they dry out and start to develop fine cracks


In all the 10 years i never flooded a camera because of the lack of grease,
the only thing i flooded was one of my Z-240 strobes as i pinched the o-ring while screwing on the battery cap.
This would have ben avoided if i had greased the o-ring before screwing the cap on as the lubrificated o-ring may not have become pinched from the turning movement.


Hugyfot says that their red o-rings don't need lubrification so i never lubrificate them, the black rubber port o-rings get lubrificated if i switch ports

To lubrificate a o-ring put a tiny amount (pin needle head size) of grease on your clean index finger,
rub your index finger and thumb to distribute it evenly and turn the clean o-ring between your fingers so that he becomes shiny but no grease is visible.
Clean with a lint-free towel (for lens/eyeglasses use) the groove where the o-ring seats and push the o-ring back in it's seat.
Doublecheck if the o-ring is seated well!


Unfortunately most of the o-rings sealing turning or sliding axles/pins are so hidden and inaccessible that you need to disassemble them completely.
A quick and dirty fix for sticking buttons is to use a toothpick or paper clip to smear a very small amount of grease to the pressed down pin of the button.
Release the button and press/release for several time to see if the button is sliding better.

The buttons and dials of housing should be serviced each year and this is not a simple task as you need to have good micrometric skills to remove the c-clips
holding the pin/axle in place. You need also a kit of new c-clips, watchmaker tools, new o-rings and maybe new springs too.
And for some housings (Nauticam) you need a very good memory to remember how the parts where assembled.


A vacum leck detector will help greatly to avoid a flooded rig!!!



Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 11 March 2018 - 12:47 PM.

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