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Housing rinsing techniques


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#21 633squadron

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 06:33 AM

After shore dives in Monterey, I find that the housing has scattered sand particles on it that don't come off after a soak in fresh water. I also see a bit of sand on the O-ring, although there's no water in the housing itself. Not sure what's going on. I'm tempted to blow off the outside sand with a can of compressed air or CO2, or maybe even a hair dry with the heat turned off.

 

I put the housing with the camera inside in a 5-gallon bucket pre-filled with warm water on my way home from diving. Home Depot sells watertight lid attachments for buckets with a screw-on lid.

 

On a boat, I dunk my camera in the rinse bucket after a dive and then put it in a secure place if one exists. Unfortunately, the only dive boat in Monterey that had a dedicated camera table stopped running. :(



#22 Tim Digger

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 02:13 AM

I use an Ikelite rig, my concerns re salt crystals are solely in the push buttons. Salt water gets trapped in these and only dries slowly and may take a week out of water to become supersaturated and start to crystalize, I believe it is vital to remove all salt from within button holes before prolonged storage (more than a couple of days). Therefore:-

 I may dunk after a dive but don't obsess about it, at the end of a trip before flying home I will get a tank of fresh clean water and reassemble housing without camera and repeatedly press buttons and use an air nozzle from my reg to dry out water before dunk and button press again. Repeat thrice.

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#23 Oceanshutter

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 05:15 PM

I use an ikelite housing, so I tend to rinse after every dive, and work out the buttons. Ike's tend to get stuck buttons, so I always do this.
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#24 reefseeker

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:42 PM

Hi all,

 

The discussion over on the Airlock thread has come round to the topic of housing rinsing.

 

This has been discussed on here before, but not for some time, so I felt a new thread is appropriate.

 

My own practice is to only rinse the housing at the end of the day's diving, typically with camera  and lens removed. I will often do this in the shower-when I am rinsing myself too!

 

My rationale on this is:

 

1. I am loath to run the risk of a rinse bucket flood. Once the camera and lens are removed, they and (perhaps more crucially) the images from the dive are not at risk.

2. My housing is anodized so is protected against any short term corrosive effects of sea water. Actually, it has sacrificial anodes too.

3. Any salt crystal formation is external to seals-the seal itself precludes the ingress of salty water from getting under it. 

4. Rinse buckets are often quite full of salt anyway-depending on how often the water is changed.

5. Anecdotal evidence suggest that boat crews and other divers seem to have an uncanny knack of helping flood housings by twisting ports, undoing latches etc.

 

I do give my housings a "long soak" once I am at home-normally by diving with them in fresh water.

 

What do others do?

 

Adam

 

Always carry a spray bottle of "Salt Away" .. stuff I use to rinse out my outboard engine... works great.. then when done and going to put away, wipe on tire shine, and put all my arm joints (ultra lite stuff) in a plastic bad with a lot of tire shine and seal it up till next time. My stuff looks better than new. Makes everything shine and smooth working better than new. Only other tip is smell some different brands, some have really nice smell some smell oily..



#25 adamhanlon

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 01:13 PM

Thanks for the replies.

 

Has anyone actually experienced a control shaft or control shaft O ring seizing around a shaft? I have had buttons stick, but this is normally due to (my) user error, rather than any salt build up.

 

Applying any lubricant runs the risk of actually attracting dust and sand into the seal does it not?

 

I'm afraid the analogy to regulators doesn't work-they tend to free flow because (a) there are some very heavy duty forces involved in opening and closing a valve that releases 200 bar of air and (b) the bit that leaks (HP seat) should never be rinsed anyway!

 

Using any compound on any housing sound perilous-even the type of grease that we use can affect O rings-unless I know for sure that there is nothing harmful for my housing's components, I wouldn't use it....

 

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#26 AllisonFinch

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 10:08 PM

For myself it is the salt that is of potential concern and perhaps more worrying is fine sand particles in combination with salt crystals. Would not

that combination, if not adequately attended to, lend to possible wear and tear of the seals about control shafts?

 

Cheers,

Jim.

I do pretty much the same, but I never use spray silicone! I understand it has additives that play heck with O-rings.



#27 cneal

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:40 AM

It has been my experience that beside most rinse tanks is the hose used to fill it without a nozzle. I just use the hose and carefully rinse all of the controls and o-ring seals including the strobes. After a trip I will asemble the housing and strobes and soak for a few hours.

 

Once a year I replace all of the easily replaced o-rings. And send the housing for service after two or three years where everythinhg is replaced.



#28 Alastair

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 06:49 PM

I rinse mine with fresh Water and maybe a quick rinse in a tank, but never leave it as you can never trust anyone to look after your gear as well as you.  in addition i have seen people try to remove housings from crowded rinse tubs by electrical sync cords etc.  a rinse in fresh water does not harm and neither does working the buttons.  i never coat mine with anything and just relube the main orings prior to each dive, more to check them as even in storage they are lubed in their own zip lock bags to prevent drying. 

 

When diving in highly saline water i take extra care.  In the waters of the gulf and Western indian ocean the level of salinity is extremely high.  In this environment i always tub soaked my cameras after a weekend or even a days diving more because i am concerned of abrasive salt crystal being in contact of the shaft and scoring a sealing surface.  At the pressure a housing works at probably not really ever an issue, but on one of my housings i have seen damage on not the shaft but the aluminium bodyinside the shaft bore - from salt - either as corrosion or physical scoring -not sure.  As the air temp was around 42C i am inclined to think that heat, Salinity and Ph might have been the combination to have caused weeping across the seal?

 

So for me that rinse is removing salt (appearance?), cooling the housing and also ensuring that we are at a neutral Ph balance... and the last thing is that means that you are looking over your gear prior to the next dive...


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#29 jonny shaw

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:27 PM

When I have a shower the housing gets one too, stubbed my toe on it a few times and scratched a few hotel baths in my time

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#30 tdpriest

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 02:39 AM

 

Always carry a spray bottle of "Salt Away" .. stuff I use to rinse out my outboard engine... works great.

 

And almost certainly rots o-rings. To remove salt, water is good. To remove stubborn deposits, a little vinegar in water. It's best to use a silicone-compatible grease of the o-rings, and, if you buy an industrial grease, it's not too expensive to use on the other moving parts.



#31 tdpriest

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 02:42 AM

When diving in highly saline water i take extra care.  In the waters of the gulf and Western indian ocean the level of salinity is extremely high.  In this environment i always tub soaked my cameras after a weekend or even a days diving more because i am concerned of abrasive salt crystal being in contact of the shaft and scoring a sealing surface.  At the pressure a housing works at probably not really ever an issue, but on one of my housings i have seen damage on not the shaft but the aluminium bodyinside the shaft bore - from salt - either as corrosion or physical scoring -not sure.  As the air temp was around 42C i am inclined to think that heat, Salinity and Ph might have been the combination to have caused weeping across the seal?

 

I would suspect electrolytic corrosion. The better housings often include a sacrificial anode. Some components, notoriously the early Sea&Sea TTL adapters, are very prone to electrolytic corrosion.



#32 jonny shaw

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 07:24 PM

Actually what is the effect of weak vinegar solution on o rings

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#33 dpaustex

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 06:18 PM

All good points. I personally go for a quick rinse, then a longer soak, between dives.

 

The issue is the salt crystals. The crystalline structure does not differentiate between o-rings or metal, so if the crystals form, the issue is how much salt water is there. The amount of salt in the water is small, but it can build up. One would assume that on the next dive, they would go back into solution.

 

I have treated some housings poorly in the past, and one or two of the buttons sprung a very slow leak. Why didn't the other buttons on the same housing leak, too?  I have no idea.  However, I have changed my post-dive routine to not reviewing pix on the boat ride back (unless the housing has been at least dunked), and quickly rinsing it off, then a post-dive soak for 15-20 mins. Since that time, I have had no drips or issues with any of the buttons, and three diffferent housing brands. I do follow mfr's instructions on post-dive care (each mfr seems to be a little different on this).  Most of what I have seen on floods results from banged ports in the rinse bucket, or sloppy main seal procedures (and dangerous things like opening it on the dive boat, when people realize they didn't connect the fitting to their hot-shoe).

 

For muck divers, I would think a bigger issue would potentially be the sand/debris. Often your housing is literally pushed down into the sand, trying to get that low-angle shot.  The sand is much more abrasive than the salt, and doesn't dissolve away.

 

I happen to own a lot of heavy construction equipment, and we have hydraulic systems that operate around 4500 psi (over 300 bar). The lift cylinders on this equipment all have "cleaners" on the cylinders, to wipe dirt/grime off of them, as the cylinders move. I know that dirt takes a toll on these cylindes moving back-and-forth, similar to the push-buttons on housing, and it is an expensive and time-consuming process to repack the seals. I do know that dirt causes issues there, and I would assume it is the same issue on the tiny scale of our camera housings.  I know we try and keep dirt off the cylinders, to prolong their life.   Long story, but I personally think a good rinse helps mitigate problems with salt and dirt residue.