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Subal ND800 / D800E Controls Problem

subal housings nd800 nikon d800E nikon

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#1 funkyspelunker

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:10 AM

Hi All,

I've been having a frustrating time with a malfunctioning control on my Subal ND800 housing (shooting D800E). I've corresponded with both Subal and Backscatter and have tried to troubleshoot via email and phone, but haven't had any success in finding a solution, so I'm hoping that someone here might have run into this problem and found a solution already.

One of the controls on my ND800 housing does not operate as intended, it's the "UP" button on the multi-selector on the back of the camera. When pressing the "UP" button instead of moving the AF point up, it moves diagonally upward and to the right, sometimes even in an arc with the last positions going downward and to the right.

My best guess is that this is an issue having to do with too tight of tolerances and fit, since the problem only arises at depth, when there is a tiny amount of compression between the main housing and the backplate with the controls due to the main o-ring being squeezed.

Here's a video with the camera in Live View mode so that you can see what I mean. Have a look at what happens to the AF point when the UP button is pushed.



I do notice that if I push on the button really gently it goes upward at first, and pushing harder (as in when you're just using it regularly) makes it float upward and to the right. However, I'm a little hesitant to start grinding down the pin on the other side of the button just yet, hoping that someone out there might have another fix or confirmed that this would do the trick.

I know that what really needs to happen is this housing needs to be looked at by Backscatter in person with my camera body in hand. However, I'm on a 4 month trip in Southeast Asia and it's just not feasible to ship or fly everything to Monterey from here right now. Also, since the issue can't be reproduced on dry land I know it's not going to be a snap to get this sorted out even if/when I do get it back to Backscatter. I would be much, much happier to get it fixed here and so I can enjoy shooting this rig for the remainder of my trips.

It's a very annoying problem to have as I use the multi-selector often as some of you might, and I've already missed quite a few shots as a direct result of this problem :'(. Any helpful advice or solution would be greatly appreciated!

I have two D800E bodies and the problem is the same with both of them.

Thanks a bunch, fingers crossed.

Edited by funkyspelunker, 03 January 2013 - 01:15 AM.


#2 funkyspelunker

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:15 AM

Mods, if this was posted to the wrong forum please feel free to move the topic.

Moved to SLR/housing forum-admin.

#3 fforbes

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:11 AM

It sounds like you may have identified the problem, but just in case it might just be a tiny grain of sand or salt lodged around the "up" button, you might want to stick the housing in a fresh water tank and really work all the buttons. I have a Subal D800 housing and, on a really silty day, my right side button got stuck. Pushing on the buttons, a lot, finally released it.

It can't hurt and might be the easy fix. Good luck
Fletcher

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#4 funkyspelunker

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:17 AM

Haven't identified the problem yet. Interesting thought about the grain of sand but I doubt it. I've been pretty vigilant about freshwater rinse tanks between dives and do a healthy about of button pushes at the beginning and end of each soak. Can't hurt though and I appreciate the thought. Glad to hear hour housing is working well ;)

#5 dhowie01

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 06:26 PM

I have had the same problems with ND800 and D800 at depth but not on land, ie top button not work properly or right button gets stuck. It seemed a little better when I pushed the camera further into the housing on its right back, but not a good solution.

 

I look forward to hearing a solution

 Don


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#6 John Bantin

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 11:29 PM

Looks like two parts of the control (12 o'clock and 3 o'clock) are getting pressed simultaneously.


Edited by John Bantin, 10 May 2013 - 11:29 PM.

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#7 Nige Wade

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:17 AM

I had a similar problem with my Subal ND800 with the 3 o'clock button on the game pad controller not lining up properly when under pressure (underwater) I had to return it to Subal for re-calibration, it took them just a week to sort it out, works fine now.

I think there were a few teething problems with this particular housing model with such fine tolerances on the controls.

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#8 funkyspelunker

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:12 AM

I'm happy to report that I've fixed the issue for good now. The problem was that the tolerances were too tight. All five buttons (including the center) were pushing on the multi selector even at the rest position. It just so happened that my top button was pushing a little harder than the others. 

 

Here's what I did to solve the problem:

 

Put a dab of toothpaste on each of the buttons on the inside of the backplate, installed backplate on the housing without main o-ring seal. Taking off the backplate you can see approximately where the buttons are hitting and which ones are hitting hard. I then took a simple ivory board/nail file (it's all I had with me) and started shaving away at the inside of the buttons. Shaving down one button would create the problem for another button, as they were all pushing too hard (so relieving the pressure on one caused another to then be depressed too far at rest). I had to do this over and over again, diving the kit each time, until I got it just right. Even though it sounds logical that having the backplate on with no o-ring would mimic the housing at depth - it doesn't. I don't know why, maybe it's the additional pressure on the buttons, but when I finally got the unit working properly with no o-ring on the surface it still misbehaved after about 50-60 feet. So, I kept shaving and eventually it works as intended now, after many frustrating dives and quite a few missed shots because of the misbehaving multi-selector button. I ultimately had to take off quite a bit of material from the backside of those buttons, but I recommend going slow and doing this in steps as you don't want to end up taking off too much. It will require numerous test dives between shaving sessions.

 

PS - be really careful about scratching the *acrylic* display window as you file down the backside of the buttons. I ended up scratching up the display window because I was so focused on shaving down the buttons and didn't see the file hitting the acrylic at first. I suggest putting something over the inside of the display window while you do this.

 

I hope that this helps the rest of you.


Edited by funkyspelunker, 11 May 2013 - 01:15 AM.


#9 gecko1

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 04:11 PM

I had similar issues with my Subal D800 housing. In addition to the problem you're describing I also had issues with other buttons depressing when the camera was at depth which crippled the camera - for instance I couldn't review images or change the focus position. After several trips back and forth to Backscatter it's now all sorted out and works fine. A bit frustrating that it took that much effort but I'm happily shooting now.

 

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#10 dhowie01

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 01:47 AM

Clinton

Can you tell me what Backscatter did to fix the problem.

Thanks

 Don


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#11 gecko1

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:00 PM

I'm not certain how they fixed it.

 

Clinton


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#12 gdfallon

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:16 AM

I have the same problem with my D800 in the Subal housing. The buttons work fine on the surface, although a tiny bit hard to push. On my last dive at about 50 feet the multi-selector at the 3 o'clock position did not work. Glad to hear that Backscatter fixed it and I'll send my housing back to them.



#13 dhowie01

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 06:15 PM

Can anyone advise me how backscatter fixed problem with multiselector buttons getting stuck down 

thanks

Don


don





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