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Add on to the Airlock Vacuum thread


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#1 saudio

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:53 PM

I read the entire Airlock thread with great interest since I have experienced a catastrophic (by catastrophic I mean irreparable damage to camera or lens) flood myself. Mine, however, was caused by a user error that would not have been prevented by a vacuum system.

 

And that leads me to this thread.  I'm curious if the vacuum system reveals leaks significant enough to damage cameras, that would not be otherwise be detected by the old and faithful bubble check in a fresh water tank.  I do realize that dunking in a tank does not put any appreciable pressure on the o-rings, but it will show you if you have a serous leak. 

 

I'm curious about how many photogs at this site have experienced a catastrophic flood (and I specify catastrophic because leaks that don't cause damage to me are of no real concern beyond alerting the diver of a problem) AFTER doing a careful check of the housing in a rinse tank prior to the dive?  

 

I'm trying to get an idea of the actual, rather than theoretical reduction of risk you achieve by adding the pressure system vs a careful examination of the housing in a rinse tank.  After all, it costs $500 and it's yet more stuff to keep up with.  $500 is cheap if it saves your camera, of course. 



#2 blibecap

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:30 PM

I read the entire Airlock thread with great interest since I have experienced a catastrophic (by catastrophic I mean irreparable damage to camera or lens) flood myself. Mine, however, was caused by a user error that would not have been prevented by a vacuum system.

 

Can you please explain this ? 

 

 

 

 

And that leads me to this thread.  I'm curious if the vacuum system reveals leaks significant enough to damage cameras, that would not be otherwise be detected by the old and faithful bubble check in a fresh water tank.  I do realize that dunking in a tank does not put any appreciable pressure on the o-rings, but it will show you if you have a serous leak. 

 

The answer to this is a yes if you let it sit long enough. Also it helps detect leaks from knobs and push buttons as it is hard to actuate all your knobs and buttons while doing a quick dip in the tank. 

 

 

 

I'm trying to get an idea of the actual, rather than theoretical reduction of risk you achieve by adding the pressure system vs a careful examination of the housing in a rinse tank.  After all, it costs $500 and it's yet more stuff to keep up with.  $500 is cheap if it saves your camera, of course. 

 

It's more than saving your camera, it saves the camera, lens, housing and dive trip. Lets face it no one is a happy camper after a camera flood. 

 

 


Bill Libecap
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http://www.UwCameraStuff.com
Home of the Housing Sentry, the ultimate leak prevention system.

#3 saudio

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 04:47 AM

I read the entire Airlock thread with great interest since I have experienced a catastrophic (by catastrophic I mean irreparable damage to camera or lens) flood myself. Mine, however, was caused by a user error that would not have been prevented by a vacuum system.

 

Can you please explain this ? 

 

I was having problems with one of the controls on the Nauticam, and I opened the housing on the boat between dives to reseat the camera.  Upon closing the housing, I missed a latch, and flooded it in the rinse tank.

 

 

 

 

 

And that leads me to this thread.  I'm curious if the vacuum system reveals leaks significant enough to damage cameras, that would not be otherwise be detected by the old and faithful bubble check in a fresh water tank.  I do realize that dunking in a tank does not put any appreciable pressure on the o-rings, but it will show you if you have a serous leak. 

 

The answer to this is a yes if you let it sit long enough. Also it helps detect leaks from knobs and push buttons as it is hard to actuate all your knobs and buttons while doing a quick dip in the tank. 

 

I would guess, and this is only a guess, that control leaks that develop during a trip would be far less likely to occur, and less likely to cause damage, than main housing and port o rings.  Also, I assume a vacuum system cannot tell you where a small leak is occurring, so having that information would only mean reassembling the housing, testing again, and retiring the kit for the rest of the trip if there is still a slight leak.  There is no real point here, I'm just thinking out loud about what you do with small leak information once you have it. 

 

I'm trying to get an idea of the actual, rather than theoretical reduction of risk you achieve by adding the pressure system vs a careful examination of the housing in a rinse tank.  After all, it costs $500 and it's yet more stuff to keep up with.  $500 is cheap if it saves your camera, of course. 

 

It's more than saving your camera, it saves the camera, lens, housing and dive trip. Lets face it no one is a happy camper after a camera flood. 

 

 



#4 blibecap

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:09 AM

 

I read the entire Airlock thread with great interest since I have experienced a catastrophic (by catastrophic I mean irreparable damage to camera or lens) flood myself. Mine, however, was caused by a user error that would not have been prevented by a vacuum system.

 

Can you please explain this ? 

 

I was having problems with one of the controls on the Nauticam, and I opened the housing on the boat between dives to reseat the camera.  Upon closing the housing, I missed a latch, and flooded it in the rinse tank.

 

The Vacuum system would have saved this. You would have never have been able to hold a vacuum. Yes I take my light weight (less than 1 lb) pump on the boat with me just in case. 

 

 

 

And that leads me to this thread.  I'm curious if the vacuum system reveals leaks significant enough to damage cameras, that would not be otherwise be detected by the old and faithful bubble check in a fresh water tank.  I do realize that dunking in a tank does not put any appreciable pressure on the o-rings, but it will show you if you have a serous leak. 

 

The answer to this is a yes if you let it sit long enough. Also it helps detect leaks from knobs and push buttons as it is hard to actuate all your knobs and buttons while doing a quick dip in the tank. 

 

I would guess, and this is only a guess, that control leaks that develop during a trip would be far less likely to occur, and less likely to cause damage, than main housing and port o rings.  Also, I assume a vacuum system cannot tell you where a small leak is occurring, so having that information would only mean reassembling the housing, testing again, and retiring the kit for the rest of the trip if there is still a slight leak.  There is no real point here, I'm just thinking out loud about what you do with small leak information once you have it. 

 

 

If you have a small leak, fill the housing with paper towels etc. and weights. pull a vacuum on the housing and submerge it for a while. release the vacuum, carefully remove the paper towels to see where they are wet, that is where you leak is. 

 

 

I'm trying to get an idea of the actual, rather than theoretical reduction of risk you achieve by adding the pressure system vs a careful examination of the housing in a rinse tank.  After all, it costs $500 and it's yet more stuff to keep up with.  $500 is cheap if it saves your camera, of course. 

 

It's more than saving your camera, it saves the camera, lens, housing and dive trip. Lets face it no one is a happy camper after a camera flood. 

 

 

 


Bill Libecap
Cincinnati, Oh
http://www.UwCameraStuff.com
Home of the Housing Sentry, the ultimate leak prevention system.

#5 saudio

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:39 AM

 

 

I read the entire Airlock thread with great interest since I have experienced a catastrophic (by catastrophic I mean irreparable damage to camera or lens) flood myself. Mine, however, was caused by a user error that would not have been prevented by a vacuum system.

 

Can you please explain this ? 

 

I was having problems with one of the controls on the Nauticam, and I opened the housing on the boat between dives to reseat the camera.  Upon closing the housing, I missed a latch, and flooded it in the rinse tank.

 

The Vacuum system would have saved this. You would have never have been able to hold a vacuum. Yes I take my light weight (less than 1 lb) pump on the boat with me just in case. 

 

True, but if I had just bothered to look for bubbles in the rinse tank it also would not have been the disaster it turned out to be.  And that is the point of this thread.  Not at all to discourage people from using a vacuum system, just to explore whether it actually saves cameras that would not have been saved by a dunk in a rinse tank. 

 

 

 

 

And that leads me to this thread.  I'm curious if the vacuum system reveals leaks significant enough to damage cameras, that would not be otherwise be detected by the old and faithful bubble check in a fresh water tank.  I do realize that dunking in a tank does not put any appreciable pressure on the o-rings, but it will show you if you have a serous leak. 

 

The answer to this is a yes if you let it sit long enough. Also it helps detect leaks from knobs and push buttons as it is hard to actuate all your knobs and buttons while doing a quick dip in the tank. 

 

I would guess, and this is only a guess, that control leaks that develop during a trip would be far less likely to occur, and less likely to cause damage, than main housing and port o rings.  Also, I assume a vacuum system cannot tell you where a small leak is occurring, so having that information would only mean reassembling the housing, testing again, and retiring the kit for the rest of the trip if there is still a slight leak.  There is no real point here, I'm just thinking out loud about what you do with small leak information once you have it. 

 

 

If you have a small leak, fill the housing with paper towels etc. and weights. pull a vacuum on the housing and submerge it for a while. release the vacuum, carefully remove the paper towels to see where they are wet, that is where you leak is. 

 

 

Good thinking on that one.  Are control leaks field repairable? 

 

 

 

I'm trying to get an idea of the actual, rather than theoretical reduction of risk you achieve by adding the pressure system vs a careful examination of the housing in a rinse tank.  After all, it costs $500 and it's yet more stuff to keep up with.  $500 is cheap if it saves your camera, of course. 

 

It's more than saving your camera, it saves the camera, lens, housing and dive trip. Lets face it no one is a happy camper after a camera flood. 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by saudio, 28 May 2013 - 06:40 AM.


#6 blibecap

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:58 AM

A lot of leaks can be found by a quick dunk in the rinse tank and proper observations. A lot of cameras are flooded in the rinse tank  because of human error and not watching the camera that should be attached to your hand. Humans do stupid things especially when there in a hurry. The vacuum system helps notify you of problems before you get the housing wet. 

 

As far are field repairable I guess it depends on the skill of the individual doing the repairs and the availability of parts. My housing manufacture (ikelite) has a inexpensive kit (o-rings, washers and clips)  that I can repair any of my controls or push buttons. 


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Home of the Housing Sentry, the ultimate leak prevention system.

#7 jefdriesen

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 07:12 AM

While a vacuum system isn't 100% reliable, I'm convinced it's still more reliable than a simple bubble check. For two reasons: (1) if you see bubbles, you already have some water entering the housing, and your camera might already be ruined. The vacuum system will warn before any damage is done! (2) if the leak is so small that even the vacuum system can't detect it, then I'm pretty sure you won't see any bubbles either!


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#8 okuma

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 07:48 PM

Several years ago I pinched a body O ring and noticed it at 40'  - a total flood.

 

The vacuum system would have prevented this.

 

I now have 2 Vid units.


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#9 Steve Williams

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

I saw the aftermath of a guy flooding a brand new 5D MK III with 100mm lens this week.  He got in a hurry and pinched the elctrical cable in the o-ring.  One big glub as he was doing the bubble check and it was all over.  A vacuum system would have shown the problem easily, but nothing is going to work if we get in a hurry.

 

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#10 saudio

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:37 AM

Several years ago I pinched a body O ring and noticed it at 40'  - a total flood.

 

The vacuum system would have prevented this.

 

I now have 2 Vid units.

Did you bubble check it in a rinse tank before diving? 



#11 saudio

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:46 AM

I saw the aftermath of a guy flooding a brand new 5D MK III with 100mm lens this week.  He got in a hurry and pinched the elctrical cable in the o-ring.  One big glub as he was doing the bubble check and it was all over.  A vacuum system would have shown the problem easily, but nothing is going to work if we get in a hurry.

 

Steve

Ah, now here is an example I was looking for and a point worth considering.  If you have a foul up so bad that it can flood the housing and ruin the camera while briefly in a rinse tank, that is certainly a camera that would have been saved by a vacuum system.  And you are very correct about being an a hurry or simply being careless.  I know my flood has changed my habits.  For one thing, I try to plan my dives so I can do at least three dives without opening the housing.  Large memory card and a fresh camera battery.  And I'm much more careful and meticulous with my o-ring maintenance and with assembling my rig. 

 

I'm curious, for those who use a vacuum system, do you now forgo the bubble check?  Is it even necessary any more?  That might be another reason to use a vacuum system, to avoid the line at the rinse tank before the dive. 



#12 andy_deitsch

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:48 PM

I had a chance to look at and play with the Backscatter Airlock system yesterday on a friends housing.

I personally have the Housing Sentry on my housing so it was interesting to compare.

I have to say that I think the pump that comes with the Airlock is very kludgey. It looks like a DIY setup. It uses a wine vacuum system with the "cork" glued into the end of the hand pump. My friends pump broke when the "cork" somehow blew a seal so he had to go buy a new one and crazy glue it back in. Creating a vacuum requires two hands.

The actual valve on both the Airlock and the Housing Sentry are the same. The Airlock just has it on a 90 degree moveable elbow.

For what its worth, for my money, I am glad I have the housing sentry. The Airlock is more expensive and the pump that it comes with is lousy and requires two hands whereas my pump allows me to use one hand to create the vacuum.

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#13 CheungyDiver

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:35 PM

hi Andy

 

Yup and its the same valve used by myself and others for more than a decade. Repackaged, recycled and a dollop of marketing plus blinking lights and suddenly a must have. I have my hand pump with vacuum gauge also used for almost a decade. Still working.

 

cheers

D


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