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buoyance arms review


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#81 Nunomix

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 11:45 PM

Ive been emailing with John today and he told me earlier that he suspected some interaction with the Loctite. It seems that that has been confirmed now. Loctite 277 (and probably other loctite as well) is not recommended for use with thermoplastics, which is what the ball ends are made of. It can cause stress cracking, which is exactly what you see there. John probably emailed you the PDF with the loctite specs, but if not, you can find it here.. Check page 2 under General Information.

So the conclusion is..avoid Loctite with these arms ..

Cor


What is loctite? The only thing being used with the arms are the clamps. Is this some kind of material used in clamps? Or is it the screw? But if it is the screw, aren't the screws provided by John anyway?

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#82 pakman

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 02:36 AM

What is loctite?


It's a brand of adhesive that is usually used to secure screws/ bolts...

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#83 cor

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 04:01 AM

I dont think you need loctite anyways. Why would you want to fasten the screw permanently to the arms? That way it's impossible to adjust or replace the floats. Ive never used loctite but if I read it correctly you need to heat the screw to 250C to undo the effects of the loctite.

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#84 Scuba_SI

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 04:32 AM

For stuff like this i often dip my screws in a little neoprene glue before tightening them up. It prevents vibration undoing them, but with small heave can be undone easily.

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#85 Nunomix

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 04:43 AM

I am getting confused here. When you use these arms you have to use some material to fasten the screws? Dont they just "screw" properly by themselves?

Cheers

Nuno
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#86 cor

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 04:54 AM

I am getting confused here. When you use these arms you have to use some material to fasten the screws? Dont they just "screw" properly by themselves?

Cheers

Nuno

They screw properly just fine. I have no idea why people want to use loctite or glue or whatever, but it's probably some form of extra peace of mind.

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#87 LChan

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 06:45 AM

Loctite is popular here in the states to prevent screws from backing out.

It would be a bit embarrassing to have a screw back out, and your strobe dangling by your sync cord. :rolleyes:
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#88 paquito

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 06:58 AM

It might be suggested that the arm fittings be reversed so that the screw sticks out and through the ball end and you only need to place a recessed nut on the end, then you could just use a simple nyloc nut to secure it? Nylon filled nuts are readily available, inexpensive, and wont back off unless you unscrew them. This might take some communication and work, but just a suggestion? :rolleyes:

#89 bobf

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 08:28 AM

It might be suggested that the arm fittings be reversed so that the screw sticks out and through the ball end and you only need to place a recessed nut on the end, then you could just use a simple nyloc nut to secure it? Nylon filled nuts are readily available, inexpensive, and wont back off unless you unscrew them. This might take some communication and work, but just a suggestion? :rolleyes:


and if the threads were made of the same material as the arm (aluminum?), then the nylon part of the locknut would/could also act as a barrier between dissimilar metals touching each other underwater...............
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#90 Kory Nakatsu

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:01 AM

All,

I apologize for the confusion this has caused. I used a drop of locktite on the tip of each set screw becuase I knew that I couldn't tighten them with much force, as that would put stress on the ball end. I was able to remove all of the screws yesterday after warming them with a soldering iron, they came right out.

As Larry pointed out, my concern was having one of them loosen and fall out during a dive. It's worth noting that at no time did the locktite come in contact with the ball end itself. John suspects that possibly the fumes alone could have caused the reaction. Also worth noting that only 3 of the 8 cracked yet I used locktite on all of them (not suggesting that this is an acceptable failure rate...)

The fact is that I am not convinced that the cracks were caused by the locktite on the set screws. The ball ends I just received from John are obviously different than the originals so I am wondering why. At the moment, I suspect that the cracks were caused by the force of the set screw on the ball end in conjunction with the force applied by the clamp, arm, strobe, etc.

It is NOT my intention in any way to suggest that John is offering product that is defective in any way and I have been very please with his responsiveness to this. Having said that, I think it's premature to blame the locktite.
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#91 cor

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:58 AM

All,

I apologize for the confusion this has caused. I used a drop of locktite on the tip of each set screw becuase I knew that I couldn't tighten them with much force, as that would put stress on the ball end. I was able to remove all of the screws yesterday after warming them with a soldering iron, they came right out.


Did you do any diving without loctite or a lot of force to tighten them? Ive done literally over 200 dives with these arms, and the least of my concerns was screws coming loose. It may just not be an issue.

As Larry pointed out, my concern was having one of them loosen and fall out during a dive. It's worth noting that at no time did the locktite come in contact with the ball end itself. John suspects that possibly the fumes alone could have caused the reaction. Also worth noting that only 3 of the 8 cracked yet I used locktite on all of them (not suggesting that this is an acceptable failure rate...)

I would find even 1 of 8 cracking an unacceptable failure rate if the cracks were caused by normal, to be expected forces. These things have large strobes attached to them, they should be able to handle that, and for me sofar they have. (except for the older ball ends, they were made of a totally different material which was faulty).

The fact is that I am not convinced that the cracks were caused by the locktite on the set screws. The ball ends I just received from John are obviously different than the originals so I am wondering why. At the moment, I suspect that the cracks were caused by the force of the set screw on the ball end in conjunction with the force applied by the clamp, arm, strobe, etc.

Can you put 2 images online of each of the ball ends? Im not aware of anything changing in the ball ends between my review and today. If you ordered these arms after my review you really should have new ball ends made of the correct material. This is an image of the new style ball ends.

My first language isnt english, so when you say 'set screw' do you mean the bit at the end of the arm? If you put a drop in there, put the ball end over it, and then screw in a screw, wouldnt that drop be forced out of the hole in between the ball end and the screw?

Cor
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#92 Kory Nakatsu

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 10:45 AM

Did you do any diving without loctite or a lot of force to tighten them? Ive done literally over 200 dives with these arms, and the least of my concerns was screws coming loose. It may just not be an issue.
I would find even 1 of 8 cracking an unacceptable failure rate if the cracks were caused by normal, to be expected forces.

The fact that I haven't had these in the water at all is exactly my point. They cracked in relatively static circumstances. I assembled my housing, arms, and strobes, then it all sat untouched for 3 weeks. Upon receiving my new order from John, I dissassembled it all and noticed the cracks. It is very possible that I did overtighten them as the direction of the cracks is very consistent (downward from the screw) however, I went to great lengths not to knowing that I would use the locktite as the failsafe.

These things have large strobes attached to them, they should be able to handle that, and for me sofar they have. (except for the older ball ends, they were made of a totally different material which was faulty).

You're exactly right. I believe that I have the older, faulty ball ends as you can see differences in color of the material, the seam around the perimeter, and the width of the cut on top. The older ball end is on the right in these pictures.
_KRN4200.jpg _KRN4201.jpg

If you ordered these arms after my review you really should have new ball ends made of the correct material. This is an image of the new style ball ends.

I can't tell by looking at your image whether yours have that seam or not.

My first language isnt english, so when you say 'set screw' do you mean the bit at the end of the arm? If you put a drop in there, put the ball end over it, and then screw in a screw, wouldnt that drop be forced out of the hole in between the ball end and the screw?

Your English is very good actually. By "set screw", I am referring to the screw itself, not the threaded (female) end of the arm. I put the drop of locktite on the end of the screw itself, then inserted it through the ball end and tightened. Thanks for your help on this.

Edited by Kory Nakatsu, 15 March 2007 - 02:05 PM.

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#93 LChan

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 12:33 PM

I have both the "new" and "old" ball ends.

While talking with John two months ago, he told me he was switching to the new ball ends because of cost.

So, while the materials are probably similar, I don't think I would recommend putting Loctite on the "new" ball ends either.
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#94 malodiver

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 05:31 PM

Jack,

Thanks for the great report. Just a few questions - What arm length(s) and floats did you use for both WA and macro?

I am thinking of adding a StiX arm and float to my focus light to compensate for the macro port but don't know if it will be enough. Thank you.

Kory


Sorry for the long delay. I'm still trying to catch up coming back.

SPECIFICS OF MY SETUP:
1. Macro setup with SeaCam D2X, 105 macro, 2 Inon 240's and Fisheye FIX LED48DX focus light ; I needed 2 - 9 inch arms on each side and the float port collar and my unit was still mildly negatively bouyont.
2. Wide angle with 9 inch super port, dual Inon 240's and 10.5 lens; I used one 12 inch arm and one ULCS arm one each side.
3. Wide angle with 9 inch super dome, extension ring, 12 - 24 Zoom, dual 240 Inon strobes: Two 12 inch arms on each side, but removed two floats from one arm on each side.

The beauty of this system is you can add and subtract floats on each arm to fine tune it for each lens set up and your individual preference: Mild positive, neutral, mild positive bouyant.

Jack Malo

#95 bmyates

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 07:38 AM

OK, just thought I'd offer my thoughts (and a few photos) after a week of diving with these new arms/floats on a Socorro trip (gallery can be found at http://www.seattleya...m/UW Photos.htm ).

I did about 20 dives (I stopped keeping a dive log years ago, so don't know precisely how many), with almost all of the dives reaching 100 feet (that's where the hammerheads were), and the deepest being 125 ft, so the arms were exposed to a fair amount of pressure. Some observations:

- The floats held up suprisingly well in terms of maintaining their shape and buoyancy. Only one of them showed any deformation from pressure, and that was just a mild "caving in" on one side. I would expect them to hold their shape for hundreds of dives at moderate depths (e.g., 50-100 ft), but would be somewhat concerned if I were doing constant deep (e.g., 120 ft+) diving with them.

- I found them very easy to use, and not awkward or "in the way' at all when adjusting strobe position, etc. The only way in which they affected handling the camera at all was that the boat crew were forced to take the camera from me using the housing arms, rather than the strobe arms...not necessarily a bad thing.

- I spray painted the floats black, and the paint job didn't hold up all that well. As you can see in the attached photos (taken at the end of the dive trip), the outside of the floats seemed to "fray" (presumably some of the outermost closed cells broke open), and the paint came off, especially around the edges. This had no real functional impact, and the resulting "greyish" look was OK, but they would certainly look nicer if they were manufactured in black originally instead of white.

- I didn't use loctite or anything else to hold the screws in. And I didn't re-tighten any of the screws over the course of the week of diving; I just screwed them in initially with moderate "hand-tightening" - cognizant that I might crack the balls if I made them too tight (BTW, none of the balls cracked). When disassembling the arms I found only one screw that had worked its way slightly loose (was partly unscrewed). IOW, if a person checked all the screws every 2 or 3 days for tightness, I doubt that they'd ever have any screws come out.

- I found the plastic balls to hold somewhat less "surely" than UCLS ball-ends. That may be because I was afraid to tighten the clamps (I was using UCLS clamps, BTW) for fear of cracking the balls, but I found that the arm segments tended to be slightly more "floppy" than I'm used to. Not enough to be a real problem, and again, it may be "user error" -- just thought I'd mention it. I'm used to those metal UCLS arms/balls, where there's no such thing as "too" tight.

- Bottom line: I'll definitely use them again - I think they're a very nice, lightweight, compact design, and -- while I'd prefer that the floats be black and the balls be more "UCLS-like" (e.g., with rubber o-rings for better grip when tightened) -- I'm satisfied that they do a good job for their designed purpose. The real test will be when I use them with big macro lenses (I was using them with the Seacam superdome and all wide angle lenses on this trip), but I think they'll really help balance the beast with almost any lens...

Attached Images

  • 2007_03_29__0846__4.6mm_small.JPG
  • 2007_03_29__0847__4.6mm_small.JPG
  • 2007_03_29__0850__4.6mm_small.JPG

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#96 yahsemtough

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 09:30 AM

Thakks for your observations Bruce.

I have mine but have not been able to test them out. I will be using my TLC clamps so I will post up later how they hold out in terms of ridgidity and hold.

I do look forward to them as I have had many a sore shoulder from one arming my macro rig in the past. Aquatica being a heavier housing.

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#97 Kory Nakatsu

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 09:43 AM

Bruce,

Thanks for the update. It apprears from your pictures, that you have a total of 27oz. of float buoyancy. How did that work out under water with your WA setup? Was it neutral, negative, etc.? After seeing your paint, I may forego the shrink tubing on mine and just paint them all black or blue and let them fade at will. Thanks again.
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#98 bmyates

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 09:59 AM

...It apprears from your pictures, that you have a total of 27oz. of float buoyancy. How did that work out under water with your WA setup? Was it neutral, negative, etc.? After seeing your paint, I may forego the shrink tubing on mine and just paint them all black or blue and let them fade at will...


My rig was still negative by perhaps a pound or two, Kory, but close enough neutral that it was totally comfortable to work with (no wrist strain, etc.). When I put a big macro lens on (e.g., Sigma 150), I'll likely add a few more of the big floats, and probably even put on one of the buoyancy collars I made myself based on James Wiseman's suggestions (do a search and you should find his excellent writeup and instructions). I didn't use those or any other buoyancy "device" on this trip - just these new float arms.

Bear in mind that the Seacam 1D series housing is the heaviest (most negative) housing I've ever used or even seen, especially with the special viewfinders (I use the S180, which is a little brick all by itself!). For most other housings, I would think that a float arm setup like I used on this trip would provide enough buoyancy to remove most or all wrist strain...

BTW, I'm anxious to see the new buoyant arms by UCLS. They make great products, so I'm hoping their new arms will be enough more buoyant than the old ones to give these arms with floats a run for their money! ;-)

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#99 pakman

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 04:41 AM

Has anyone tried just simple black duct tape (gaffer tape) over the foam stix floats? I've been using simple pool noodles but the one's I've got are a nasty red... So I've tightly wrapped them in black duct tape purely for aesthetics... The duct tape seems to hold even after a week of diving in salt water.

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#100 bmyates

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 08:37 AM

Has anyone tried just simple black duct tape (gaffer tape) over the foam stix floats? I've been using simple pool noodles but the one's I've got are a nasty red... So I've tightly wrapped them in black duct tape purely for aesthetics... The duct tape seems to hold even after a week of diving in salt water.


The problem with tape would be the same as shrink tubing previously mentioned. The floats are not smooth-surfaced, so water would get underneath the tape and be very difficult to flush out/dry out. I would expect that you'd end up with floats that would leak/ooze old disgusting moldy, smelly, putrid water into your bag/case all the way home from diving. In short...yuck. :glare: :D

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