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Nauticam 9" Glass Dome Port problem.


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#1 Drew

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 06:01 AM

I saw 2 instances of the Nauticam 9" dome port popping off, both times in the last 4 weeks from 2 different domes, all of which were bought in the last 5 mths in South Africa. They happened on land without huge pressure changes but a bit of jolting from the surf launches. The first one happened when it was sitting in the car. Apparently the SA local dealer says the O-ring used were a bit thin, so there's a thicker o-ring kit that supposedly fixes this issue.
Since these were relatively new domes, I'm assuming that this issue is from the manufacturing side of things? Or is this just an issue with old stock being sold without the updated o-rings.
The 2 guys who suffered this problem could've suffered catastrophic floods if they didn't check that the port was still intact on the plate assembly (not something one would need to check for!). One guy was so fearful, only having one body, that he started handing his camera up dome up etc. He'd asked for the O-rings to be sent out on location but they never arrived after 12 days. It never did fall off again.

The same issue was mentioned by another member in this thread:
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=40405

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#2 Drew

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:16 PM

I've received word from Edward Lai of Nauticam, acknowledging the issue and gave this reply:

A little bit of background information is that we bought the glass dome element from a manufacturer who also supply to other dome port makers. So we were able to learn and compare the way of assembling the glass dome onto the port body from other experienced makers.
Basically most dome port makers either glue the glass dome onto the port body, or use an o-ring press fitted between the glass dome and the port body. As a nature of our industry (very small quantities), glass dome manufacturing is not a very precise process comparing to other means of machining in our industry (such as CNC machining).

Same as other dome port makers are facing with, gluing the glass dome can be an extreme messy work, and using an o-ring may limit the maximum positive pressure it can withstand from inside of the housing. Although there is no such thing as a standard for the maximum positive pressure, most makers we know are testing the glass dome port with an internal pressure of 0.25 to 0.3 bar before shipment.

There are various cases the pressure difference between the inside of the housing and that of the outside can be more than 0.25 bar. For example, flying the housing with the glass dome port attached. In the UK case, the user assembled the rig the moment it was brought in house from outside of the building which was around 5 degrees C, visualizing condensation on most part of the camera and the inside of the housing, closed the housing and took it into a pool of 27 degrees and stayed there for 2 hours. We believe not only had the air inside expanded, but also the condensation might have turned into water vapour with such temperature difference over that period.

We are of course not satisfied with the existing assembling method, and have been finding other ways of attaching the glass dome onto the port body. We just don't want to announce the solution before perfect test result is achieved. I will definitely keep you informed of the progress of the new method, hopefully within the next 2 to 3 weeks.


Edward's reference to the UK incident is probably not the same as the one I linked in my previous post. Edward also says that there was a dome o-ring replacement kit but it is difficult to insert by the end user. However, that kit is not part of the new solution he mentions in his email.

From what has been said, and anecdotal experience, convulsive jolting and pressure change may cause the dome glass to pop off. There have been 3 confirmed incidents and Edward brings up a possible 4th. As a precaution for owners, check the dome before entering the water, hand the housing up dome port up and of course contact your dealer regarding the update. Thank you to Edward/Nauticam for answering my queries.

Drew
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"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.