Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Getting inside a DS50


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 casbba

casbba

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 31 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bicheno, Tasmania

Posted 01 October 2010 - 01:51 PM

I've got an Ikelite DS50 that's been flooded and Ikelite have said isn't worth the cost of repair. I'm just curious to get inside it and have a look. I've managed to turn the front port anti-clockwise using the four guide holes, but it only moves about 15mm before it stops. I'm assuming the whole assembly should then slide forward and out, but getting hold of it is another matter.

Any clues?

#2 casbba

casbba

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 31 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bicheno, Tasmania

Posted 01 October 2010 - 11:37 PM

Figured it out...so please disregard

#3 Deco Rico

Deco Rico

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Dire Straits of Bass, Tasmania

Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:49 AM

Would be great if you could say how you did it?

#4 JimG

JimG

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 265 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Yorkshire, UK
  • Interests:Photography - underwater and avian, natural history

Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:26 AM

If it is like the old Substrobe - and it is the same outer casing - pull out the ready-light lens on the rear with a pair of pincers. It is a conical shaped thing that is a tight fit down a hole and sits on an 0-ring. Use compressed air to then blow out the lens - it doesn't need much and I used a car tyre pump.

Jim Greenfield - Canon 5D Mark 3/Aquatica
My Web Site


#5 Deco Rico

Deco Rico

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Dire Straits of Bass, Tasmania

Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:55 AM

That's a great suggestion Jim. I really like the idea that the thing is just sucking itself together with a bit of negative air pressure! Explains a lot about the lack of visible fixings.

Unfrotunately the design must have changed -- I can't see any way anything could fit around the ready-light on this one.
It's slightly recessed into the back of the case and there is no gap even for very narrow tweezers :-(

So if not the ready light... where? The sync cable seems impossible to unscrew, the battery compartment is a dead end... :-(

#6 Deco Rico

Deco Rico

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Dire Straits of Bass, Tasmania

Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:42 PM

Just to follow up on this. I heard from casbba via Flickr, and after banging heads together I have also worked it out. I'll post a teardown (with photos) soon. It should work for the DS-50, DS-51 and AF-35 as they are all basically the same case.

In a nutshell, turning the lens does actually unlock it, but it is still held in place by a combination of sand, dried salt, other marine gunk, excess plastic from poorly molded parts, and possibly a bit of negative pressure inside the case. I sourced a totally dead AF-35 to experiment on, unlocked the lens and put the strobe lens-up in fairly hot water (around 60C). After a few minutes the lens had lifted to the point where I could get a very fine (1.4mm) flat-bladed screwdriver down the side of the lens and prise it out. Be careful as there is a large O-ring just inside.

I then repeated this on two dead, but not entirely flooded, AF-35s and revived both. One had a slight leak at the power switch on the back which caused the switch to misbehave and drain batteries, but not enough to damage the PCB. Cleaning the switch O-ring and a good scrub of the PCB had it back to working order. The other had had water in the battery compartment only and the battery terminals had completely rusted out. This was harder as I had to rig up some new terminals, but it now works as well.

So, "No user-serviceable parts inside" my arse.

#7 Deco Rico

Deco Rico

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Dire Straits of Bass, Tasmania

Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:06 AM

Here's my teardown of the Ikelite AF-35 strobe, it describes how I got two failed AF-35s back into working order. Since the Ikelite DS-50 and DS-51 strobe casings are basically identical, I expect this also applies to them. Hopefully this helps someone.

Warnings

1. Opening your strobe will void your warranty. I'd suggest only doing this if (a) you think you know what is wrong and how you would fix it, and (b) you are pretty sure that having Ikelite repair your strobe is not cost effective. Why not shoot them an email explaining the problem first. From some countries the cost of postage to the US will make the repair not cost-effective, even if Ikelite will repair it for free.
2. Your strobe contains a large capacitor, which is a dangerous electronic component that stores electric charge. It can give you a severe electric shock, even after the strobe is turned off and the batteries removed.
3. This guide may have errors. In fact I may be a complete idiot. Following the advice of a complete idiot may damage or destroy your strobe.
Basically, you open a strobe at your own risk.

Removing the front lens cover

1. Remove the batteries. If the strobe has recently been powered up, try to ensure it is fully discharged by turning it on and off a few times. If it flashes, that is a good sign, but doesn't guarantee the capacitor is fully discharged. So be careful!!
2. Remove the screw that holds the strobe head onto the strobe arm and also holds the front cover on.
3. Slide the front cover (dark grey on the DS-50/51, black on the AF-35) off the front of the strobe. You may need a little leverage, like a thin flat-bladed screwdriver worked carefully into the crack. This can't really damage anything.
4. The front lens is held on from the inside by two screw heads (circled in green). To unlock the front lens, you need to rotate it about 10 degrees clockwise. Ikelite would do this with a special tool that fits into the 4 small shallow holes around the edge of the lens (circled in yellow). (In the photo, the sticker under the lens has been removed so you can see the locking mechanism.)
Posted Image
I used two thin allen keys held in a vice, it worked very well. Otherwise you need to rig up your own tool.
Posted Image
Even after unlocking the front lens, it probably won't fall out as it is held in place by an O-ring, as well as sand, salt and other muck stuck in the gap, and excess plastic around the locking screws. There may also be a bit of negative pressure inside the strobe "sucking" the lens into place. The lens fits very snugly into the strobe and there is no room to work a tool down the side of the lens. So we need to resort to the Ideal Gas Law....
5. Get a container of warm water -- around 60C/140F seems to work well. Check that the strobe's battery door and sync cable connector are watertight. Put the strobe in with the lens facing upwards, keeping the lens above the water level so that water doesn't get in. The strobe will be buoyant, so be careful it does not tip. After a few minutes you should notice the lens has lifted slightly on one side, and you will be able to work a very thin tool into the gap and gradually lever the lens out. Don't push the tool more than a few mm down as there is an O-ring around the outside of the lens that could be damaged.

Inside the strobe is a PCB, dominated by a large capacitor (circled in green). Remember that large capacitors are dangerous and can give you a severe electric shock. On the other side of the PCB is a small incandescent lamp (location circled in yellow) that appears to show the amount of charge in the capacitor (this is separate to the lamp visible from outside the strobe). There are two short wires connecting the PCB to the battery compartment. Unfortunately these wires are too short to lift the PCB out while they are connected.
Posted Image
This last photo shows excess plastic around one of the two locking screws that hold the front lens on. This is partly why the lens is hard to get off, even after unlocking it.
Posted Image
What you do next depends on the fault. I have fixed two faults, as follows:

Fixing a flooded battery compartment

The first strobe had a flood confined to the battery compartment, and the spring terminals inside the battery compartment were rusted out while the rest of the strobe was fine. Here is how I fixed this:
1. Undo the wires to the battery terminals using a 3/16" socket driver. Each battery terminal has a 3/16" nut, under that is the wire itself, under that is a washer, and finally a tiny O-ring. You may need to use a Philips head screwdriver in the battery compartment to stop the screw turning as you turn the nut. Don't undo the middle nut which is attached to the post inside the battery compartment.
Posted Image
You can also see why trying to unscrew the screws from inside the battery compartment is a bad idea -- the nut on the inside also turns, winds the wire around itself and eventually the wire would break.
2. Remove the screws and the small PCB with the battery terminals from the battery compartment.
3. Solder up some new terminals on the PCB. The photo below shows how it is SUPPOSED to look :-) Check your work with a multimeter.
Posted Image
4. Reassemble by reversing the steps above. You might clean the parts in an ultrasonic cleaner first.
Note that these terminals are initially watertight (or at least, they are meant to be). After disassembling and reassembling them, they almost certainly won't be. Ikelite used some kind of brittle sealant that cracks off when the nut is undone, and I don't know how to repair this. So, don't flood your battery compartment again as the water will probably reach the PCB and kill your strobe stone dead!!

Fixing a minor leak in the power switch

The second strobe had a slight leak through the power switch on the back, which was just enough to short out the switch. The result was that the strobe would stay turned on after use, even with the switch turned to the "off" position, until the batteries were flat. Here is how I fixed this:
1. The PCB has two short wires connecting it to the battery compartment, unfortunately these wires are too short to lift the PCB out. I disconnected the wires from the battery terminals as explained above, but in retrospect I should have just cut the wires and rejoined them afterwards. It would have been quicker, and also the terminals of this strobe were (probably) watertight before I undid them, and almost certainly weren't watertight after I reassembled them.
2. With a fine marker pen, mark the position of the top of the PCB on the inside of the strobe. This will help with reassembly. Lift the PCB out of the strobe. Did I mention that large capacitors are dangerous?
3. Look for corrosion on the PCB. As expected, I found corrosion around the electronic switch on the PCB (left). Compare this with the other, undamaged strobe (right). I scrubbed the corrosion away with an old toothbrush. Also look inside the strobe's case for dried salt etc which may indicate leaks.
Posted Image
4. Unscrew the Philips head screw inside the strobe that holds the plastic parts of the power switch in place. Carefully remove the plastic parts -- one inside, one outside -- as there is a tiny loose ball bearing under the outer plastic part that can get lost. This photo shows the ball bearing, and the spring on the underside of the outer plastic part that the ball bearing fits against:
Posted Image
5. Remove the switch's O-ring from outside the strobe, clean it and check for sand and damage. In this photo you can also see the dimples that the ball bearing sits in when the switch is turned:
Posted Image
6. Re-seat the cleaned O-ring and reassemble the plastic parts of the power switch into the strobe, with the ball bearing in place. Tighten the screw well as I think my leak was caused by the screw being slightly loose.
7. Turn the plastic parts of the power switch to the "Off" position, and turn the electronic switch on the PCB to position "9". This ensures the two will fit together when the PCB is reinserted. Slide in the PCB until it reaches the mark you made earlier.
8. Reconnect the battery terminals. If you cut the wires at step 1, check that the joins are insulated properly and can't come undone, as they will always do so at the worst possible time (when there are 6 mermaids dancing in front of your camera).
  • r4e likes this

#8 Deco Rico

Deco Rico

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Dire Straits of Bass, Tasmania

Posted 09 February 2014 - 04:17 PM

For some reason, the photos above no longer open full size when clicked on.
So here are links to the full size photos. (Click the links, not the photos)

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35a_zps711a581a.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35b_zps1c0114ed.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35d_zps5df41ebe.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35f_zps34e4f448.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35g_zps2a1a4516.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35h_zpsf6e67955.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35i_zps4c262101.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35l_zpsf61f486e.jpg

Click HERE to enlarge
th_af35m_zpse0d7c654.jpg

Edited by Deco Rico, 09 February 2014 - 04:52 PM.


#9 Nuno A

Nuno A

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts

Posted 19 November 2014 - 06:08 AM

Hi. Ive read your post !! I've a ds51 and the battery compartment has flooded because of a battery burst. The springs and other contacts need replacement. I've called Ikelite they said it's was a simple repair but I live in Europe and the shipping cost plus the repair is higher then buying a new one. So I thought since I've nothing to loose and if the problem is in the contacts inside the battery compartment maybe a regular electrician of cellular phones or something a like could fix it. I know that's difficult question but I just want an opinion. Do you think my idea is correct or should I just sell it for spare parts on ebay ??

#10 Cerianthus

Cerianthus

    Tiger Shark

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 653 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hasselt, Overijssel, Netherlands

Posted 20 November 2014 - 07:34 AM

Try to contact Kevin from aquaphot.com. He repairs Ikelite stuff as well and is in Europe (UK)
Gerard

My photo's on flickr
Crop the world ! (Using Canon 20D, 60mm, 100mm, 10-17mm FE, Ikelite)

#11 Nuno A

Nuno A

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts

Posted 23 November 2014 - 06:31 AM

Thank you !!!

#12 Deco Rico

Deco Rico

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Dire Straits of Bass, Tasmania

Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:02 PM

I think any friend of yours who has had a bit of experience fixing gadgets and soldering could probably fix this for you. I'm guessing you are not comfortable attempting it yourself. (That said it may be cheaper (and more satisfying!) to get an inexpensive soldering iron kit and learn the simple skills involved! :-))

If the postage to aquaphot is cheap enough, that option may give greatest peace of mind.

#13 Nuno A

Nuno A

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts

Posted Yesterday, 01:36 AM

Thank for your advice, that's what I'm going to do.