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What toolkit for housing/camera repairs?


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#1 nathanm

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:05 PM

Things break on a trip, and you need to be able to fix them. I want to put together a tool kit that is small enough to go on dive trips, but complete enough to fix almost any camera or housing problem.

Recently I have had to do things like repack the o-ring in the buttons of a housing - which involved removing and replacing tiny retaining rings, and gently retrieving the o-ring from the housing body. Easy with the right tools, but a bit fiddly with the tools I borrowed from the dive boat. I have had to borrow plumber’s strap wrenches to separate a port extension tube from, or use a borrowed screwdriver made for eyeglasses to tighten a loose screw on a lens mount.

I’m a bit tired of having to borrow these tools , so I want a set of my own. I want the tool set to be small enough to come with me on dive trips. Of course a housing and ports and cameras is pretty big already, and I usually dive with family members so we already have a ton of stuff – having a little bit more won’t hurt that much.

Here are some of the things I think I need:
Allen wrench set – metric (is standard/imperial used much?)
Screwdriver set for tiny screws on cameras
Needle nose pliers/forceps for retaining rings and other tasks
Strap wrenches, or something similar for removing extension tubes.
A few key wrenches would be nice.
Some housings come with tools – Nauticam housings come with a nice Allen wrench set, and an o-ring removal tool for example. But even so, it isn’t a full set of the tools you might need to fix things on the housing.
Between myself and my family we have equipment from several manufacturers – Sea and Sea, Inon, Nauticam, Ikelite and Seacam. We also have both Canon and Nikon cameras. So that means we may need a somewhat broader set of tools than somebody with less equipment diversity.

I am sure that Wetpixel members have a lot more experience than I do. What is the set you would recommend?

Another issue is that many of the tool sets out there are pretty poor quality. When it comes to “jeweler’s screwdrivers” there are lots of cheap sets that are just terrible. I want decent quality stuff. I also would like it to be stainless if at all possible, so that it won’t rust. It would be great to get specific brand recommendations or sources.

Spare parts and supplies are also part of the kit. Of course I have spare o-rings and grease, but there are other parts that may be worth stocking up on. On a recent dive trip I dropped the little screw that is used to seat the camera in the tripod socket for my Seacam system. It is just a standard ¼” x 20 tripod screw on a thumbwheel – which would normally be easy to replace, but not out in sea where I happened to be. I found it, fortunately, but I’m going to order a spare.

Improvisational supplies are fair game too – duct tape, electrical tape, fast setting epoxy and epoxy putty may make the cut.

Anyway, I am hoping that many of you will have suggestions.

#2 blibecap

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 07:20 PM

For the “jeweler’s screwdrivers” you can buy a set at several stores that have a handle and several smaller bits such as torx, Phillips, reed pierce, square, hex and strait. Here is a set http://www.harborfre...zers-97517.html

for the allen wenches you can use folding sets like what is seen here http://www.harborfre...keys-94905.html

Extra o-rings set screws etc are nice but it always seems that you don't have the one odd ball part you need.

Hope that is some help.
Bill Libecap
Cincinnati, Oh
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Home of the Housing Sentry, the ultimate leak prevention system.

#3 scorpio_fish

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:35 AM

This is a good thread:

My kit includes:

Allen set (imperial)
Small allens (assorted metric and imperials)
Vice grips (small needle nose)
Crescent wrench - small
Needle nose pliers
Small Channel lock
Super Glue
Gorilla Tape
Wide, short, tiny, long screw drivers.
Plug adapters.
Cable ties of many sizes.
Rubber pieces for control knobs.
small variety of o-rings.


There's a time when I needed a strap wrench, but didn't have one. Boats usually have plenty of tools, but all tend to be on the large size. That's why I carry the smaller versions. The need to solder comes up often, but I don't carry anything.

You really need to look at what you have to determine what Allen wrenches you need, e.g. removing port plugs on your reg. That's why I carry both imperial and metric.
"Me, fail English?.........Unpossible!"

#4 jcclink

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

I would suggest a complete rebuild kit for the housing. This includes ALL the o-rings & new snap rings (C-rings) for the button control shafts. Any electronic parts like hot shoe adapter, bulkhead connector, etc. I also have spare latches & small misc screws that could become lost when removed. Mechanical failures can usually be fixed. Electronic stuff will eventually become a paper weight.

Edited by jcclink, 02 April 2012 - 03:43 PM.

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#5 bvanant

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:35 PM

I would suggest a complete rebuild kit for the housing. This includes ALL the o-rings & new snap rings (C-rings) for the button control shafts. Any electronic parts like hot shoe adapter, bulkhead connector, etc. I also have spare latches & small misc screws that could become lost when removed. Mechanical failures can usually be fixed. Electronic stuff will eventually become a paper weight.

For hex keys, I have a set of all of the available metric and imperial up to 6 mm. They live in two small zip-lock bags. I have two stainless adjustable wrenches that I got in Japan, very short and easy to pack. You can also get them from McMaster. I have an old pill box that contains all the common o-ring sizes labeled for what they are for plus a couple of high pressure swivels. For screwdrivers, I use this set from McMaster (http://www.mcmaster....renches/=gxqo3g) it has most of what you need to get by. I have a couple of regulator caps for when my D9 transmitter starts to leak because someone on the boat picked up my tank by the transmitter. We also have two stubby screwdrivers (one + one -) for putting camera trays on the camera. Two strap wrenches because one is never enough to remove the port from the extension. Since I have optically fired strobes I no longer carry a bulkhead fitting but I do have a few spare ends to make fiber optics to housing/strobe. I have one small needle nose and one wire cutter pliers and three pairs of hemostats (one straight, two curved).
Bill

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Canon 7d, Nauticam, Lots of glass, Olympus OMD-EM5, Nauticam, 60 macro, 45 macro, 8 mm fisheye, Inon, S&S, Athena Strobes plus lots of fiddly bits.
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