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How did you flood?


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#1 diverdoug1

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 07:52 PM

I just returned from Lembeh Resort. I was there the week following the Wetpixel group, and (unfortunately) I heard that there were a number of camera floods. I am always interested in hearing about how other U/W photographers have had floods, in hopes of learning from other peoples mistakes. Initially I was tempted to post on the Wetpixel / Lembeh class thread to ask what happened, but I did not want to bring up bad memories on such a happy thread, AND why limit the discussion to just those few unlucky divers. SO...for those of us who have experienced the dreaded flood, please share the details of your tale of woe and any lessons learned. I will go first.
I have had 3 camera/lens destroying floods in the past 30 years.

1. Nikonos 3, greased the main o-ring, but did not replace it before the next dive. Lesson learned-being anal is a good thing when it comes to camera maintenance, but only if the "anality" continues through camera set-up.

2. Ikelite housed D70 with long macro port in the rinse tank of the Nekton Pilot while I was taking off my BC, the port bumped off in rinse tank when another camera was placed in the same tank - Lesson learned, my camera is never in a rinse tank unless it is being held or watched closely be me.

3. Ikelite housed D300 with a long macro port which was bumped partially off by a divemaster when placing my camera on the camera table in Palau. I did not notice and when I did my bubble test before the next dive..."BLUB"! Lessons learned...bubble checks are not as good as a vacuum test, Ikelite port retention is lacking when it comes to long macro ports, and don't assume your rig is in the same condition as it was the last time you took your eyes off of it.

Edited by diverdoug1, 04 November 2013 - 08:00 PM.


#2 Balrog

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:10 PM

1. Ike Housing - Replaced button O rings and didn't get one fully seated in it's recess. Not a full flood but started to dribble at 10m. Just a sock and a lump of lead got damp.

 

2. Fisheye Fix housing - Trapped the corner of a silica sachet in the door seal. Trashed a G11. Would have seen it, had it been a clear housing.


Edited by Balrog, 04 November 2013 - 10:10 PM.


#3 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:42 AM

1 INON D-2000:

pinched the battery compartment o-ring while screwing it tight, battery shortage fried electronics, full loss

 

1 INON Z-240:

battery compartment developed a tiny hair crack for unknown reasons, 2 drops of water corroded and fried electronics, full loss

 

No housings flooded so far, but probably because of that:
- i never use rinse tanks, i rinse my housing at home, mostly showering with her

- i never use silicia gel sachet (or other things like the hydrophone cable who can get trapped)

- i almost never open the housings on the boat

- i doublecheck the o-rings before i close the housing

- i have a vacum leak detector in my Hugyfot housings

 

Chris


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#4 tdpriest

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:01 AM

(1) Assembling my housing after two many (free) Margharitas in Mexico.

 

(2) A large dome port exploding unexpectedly because of internal pressure and a design flaw.

 

(3) I took an Inon Z240 into a swimming pool without an o-ring: not only did the flooded strobe flash, but it still works!

 

Luckily, or even due to diligent camera care, I survived the Lembeh Workshop. Have you seen the video? There are some delightful images of housing-free cameras...

 

... underwater!

 

PS: I've just ordered a Nauticam negative-pressure system, convinced by the enthusiasts and experts on the Lembeh Workshop.


Edited by tdpriest, 05 November 2013 - 01:06 AM.


#5 John Bantin

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:39 AM

Nikon RS - faulty design - second dive with it.

Nikon F801 Seacam - hasty assembly after reloading on a boat during my first shark feed.

Fuji S2 Pro - Subal - dome port rotated and fell off as it was handed down to me in the water.

Fuji S2 Pro - Subal - dome port rotated during Zodiac ride but camera/lens saved.

 

Finally changed to negative pressure leak test with Hugyfot (the only manufacturer to offer such a system several years back) and never looked back. Now Nauticam offer such a system I'm sure that there will be less resistance to it on this site.


Edited by John Bantin, 05 November 2013 - 02:40 AM.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#6 E_viking

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:57 AM

Falling asleep in the Hammock between dives. This resulted in me getting stressed and still more or less asleep when changing lense&port.

I missed to close one of the latches on the Housing... Resulting in a flood ... Thinking: How could I be so xxx stupid....

 

Yes John this would not happen  with a pressure leak test. I already have one :-)

 

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#7 divengolf

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 10:33 AM

At Anilao, Philippines, I flooded an Aquatica housing and a D70. The push button for deleting photos came loose. The E-ring clip in the housing broke allowing the button shaft to back out and sea water to come into the housing. I was deep when the leak alarm went off and by the time I got to the surface, the camera was fried. Fortunately another diver on the trip had a spare D70 which she graciously sold to me, so my trip wasn't ruined. The memory chip in the flooded camera was fine.

 

Also flooded a couple Ikelite strobe batteries. One where the internal nut on the shaft of the locking lever came off. No obvious reason for the second one.

 

I've done well over 500 dives with various cameras, so I count myself lucky. But I am very careful about prep. I've left my camera on board a few times when I was rushed.

 

I have recently bought a rig to create a slight vacuum in the housing after final assembly. Hopefully this will eliminate problems associated with faulty setup. If I start to lose vacuum, I get a warning light. I let the housing set for 30 minutes after establishing the vacuum to insure that everything is sealed before I get it wet. First trial is next month.

 

BTW I got my vacuum system from Vivid Housings with a special fitting for Aquatica. They have special fittings for most housings.


Edited by divengolf, 05 November 2013 - 02:22 PM.


#8 eric black

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:58 PM

not a matter of if, its a matter of when-

Aquatica housing a Nikon n90s- the main o-ring came out of the groove in one corner unbeknownst to me right before I clipped the back closed- instant fish bowl upon entering the water. DOA at the surface.

 

Some times all is not lost though-

On a Colorado River raft trip through the Grand Canyon had my wifes Canon snappy digital camera in a ziplock to protect it from the rapids while it was in my pants pocket- took it for a swim at the end of a hot day and got it quite wet- complete malfunction at the time-removed the battery immediately, dried it and the memory card out as well as I could- upon my return home it fired right up and still works to this day and no images were lost.



#9 divengolf

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:19 PM

not a matter of if, its a matter of when-

Aquatica housing a Nikon n90s- the main o-ring came out of the groove in one corner unbeknownst to me right before I clipped the back closed- instant fish bowl upon entering the water. DOA at the surface.

 

Some times all is not lost though-

On a Colorado River raft trip through the Grand Canyon had my wifes Canon snappy digital camera in a ziplock to protect it from the rapids while it was in my pants pocket- took it for a swim at the end of a hot day and got it quite wet- complete malfunction at the time-removed the battery immediately, dried it and the memory card out as well as I could- upon my return home it fired right up and still works to this day and no images were lost.

 Fresh water is much kinder to electronics than salt water.



#10 peterbkk

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:49 PM

Touch wood, salt over the shoulder, crossed fingers, etc. but I have never had a flood in over 30 years of diving with cameras. Maybe a bit lucky but I attribute it to 3 policies: always buy quality equipment, get it serviced regularly by a reputable service person and be absolutely anal about cleaning o-rings, checking and double-checking everything.

Of course, now that I have tempted Murphy, anything could happen on my next dive...

Regards
Peter

#11 CheungyDiver

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:38 PM

Don't temp Murphy Peter. Fit a Cheungy vacuum check :). 15 years with 'passive' vacuum check. No flood. Zip. before two floods all due to me having left my brain switched off - silly user mistakes. 


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#12 tdpriest

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 05:41 AM

Finally changed to negative pressure leak test with Hugyfot (the only manufacturer to offer such a system several years back) and never looked back. Now Nauticam offer such a system I'm sure that there will be less resistance to it on this site.

 
Surely the "resistance" was because Hugyfot were forced into inventing the vacuum system when their original redesigned housing mechanism wasn't very good? The current popularity is because vacuum leak detectors have been taken up by some eminent practitioners recently...

... and (recession-led?) paranoia!

Edited by tdpriest, 07 November 2013 - 05:47 AM.


#13 frogfone

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:57 AM

  • Canon 300D and Tokina 12-24mm- Rinse tank after a bumpy trip back to Marsa Shagra on the back of a truck.  One of the locking clips on the ikelite front port had come undone. Very old film housing that had been converted with only 2 clips.
  • 10 Bar housing - few minor leaks due to hairs/sand on the o ring.  Big housing with absorbent sachet in the bottom saved the day. 
  • Sea & Sea strobe - fibre on the o ring seal.  Thankfully only the batteries went BANG!
  • Sea & Sea housing (EMPTY).  Whole front port fell off just as we were getting into the water.  Roddy had used the wrong o ring on the port which meant it twisted off with no effort what so ever.  Thankfully another diver who was getting out spotted it in the kelp so he didn't lose a flat port and spotting torch which would have been hard to swallow as well as a totally flooded housing!

After that little lot I insisted on having a leak sentinel installed onto his RDX450 housing.  We don't tend to dive in places with great camera rooms and lighting is usually very poor in most dive resorts we've been to.  That and user error seem to be our main problem. 

 

We now have a Olympus TG1 and a housing fitted with a leak sentinel so I should no longer have to worry about flooded cameras any more.

 

Sharon



#14 gina

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 09:43 AM

I was using an Ikelite housing with the little slider port clips.  I suspect that when the camera was handed down to me off the boat someone must have grabbed the housing by the port and loosened it.  I took my camera/housing and started to descend, only to watch the housing fill with water :(

 

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#15 Otara

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:46 PM

Ikelite - using the 10-17mm port on the 8 inch dome where you cant see the clips, far as I can tell one of the clips popped while rotating the port.  Port design since changed.  Lost camera, lens survived.

 

Small leak on Nauticam at zoom knob.  Turned out no loctite being used on early versions, apparently is now.  No camera or lens loss.  Retested and didnt leak, but zoom failed to work for 17-70mm entire trip as a result, because it was out of alignment and I blamed my lens being too stiff instead of realising the real culprit.  Again, since changed apparently.  I was very very lucky it didnt unwind entirely, as I hadnt really figured out what was causing the problem and assumed it was just a grain of sand or the like.

 

I have the Leak Sentinel earlier version but unfortunately it also sticks out too far to use with my tokina and 8 inch dome, which is an ikelite/nauticam combo and rather unusual so hardly foreseeable, just bad luck.  So it means it ends up too much swapping around is needed, which increases room for mistakes with someone like me.  Ill update when I next plan to do a trip as apparently its since been shortened - I mostly do macro now, so its not a big issue.

 

The obvious lesson here seems to be dont buy version 1!

 

Otara

 

 



#16 divengolf

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 04:49 AM

Has anyone who uses a vacuum system ever had a leak? Circumstances?

 

My thought is that in addition to verifying that everything is airtight before starting the dive, the vacuum increases the pressure differential to reduce the chance of ports being rotated, etc. before the dive or when very shallow. Once you get below a few feet, the vacuum in the housing in inconsequential in the pressure difference between the inside and outside of the housing. Typical internal pressure is about 0.8 bar with the vacuum compared to 1 bar without the vacuum.



#17 JohnE

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 01:05 PM

Has anyone who uses a vacuum system ever had a leak? Circumstances?

 

My thought is that in addition to verifying that everything is airtight before starting the dive, the vacuum increases the pressure differential to reduce the chance of ports being rotated, etc. before the dive or when very shallow. Once you get below a few feet, the vacuum in the housing in inconsequential in the pressure difference between the inside and outside of the housing. Typical internal pressure is about 0.8 bar with the vacuum compared to 1 bar without the vacuum.

 

If you were able to pull a complete vacuum on the housing, it would be equivalent to 33 feet / 10m of water.  But vacuum checks are much lower, so your observation is correct: the pressure difference from vacuum becomes and increasingly smaller part of the overall differential as you go deeper.  

 

However..  once an o-ring is engaged under pressure, it will only fail under two conditions:

* Extreme pressures.  A housing will flex and warp under extreme pressure, changing the o-ring groove characteristics, and resulting in a leak.  This will happen long before the pressure increases to a point that the o-ring actually extrudes.  We have tested housings to such depths here at Gates, and have interesting examples of how things fail.  

* Mechanical change in the o-ring seal.  An impact, for example, to a plexiglass window, or the previously mentioned gland.  

 

Leaving a vacuum in place after checking the seals keeps the o-rings energized.  It keeps everything tight while you are gearing up and getting in the water.  And also while in the rinse tank -- one of the most notorious places to incur a leak.  

 

J-



#18 JohnE

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:42 PM

For anyone interested in History......

 

The vacuum check idea goes back at least to 1993.  Howard Hall needed a way to verify integrity of the IMAX Salido housing containing 3D camera equipment worth $2,500,000. The vacuum system was devised, and indeed resulted in a safe dry camera every time.  He and Bob Cranston have since employed the vacuum checker on every underwater housing.  

 

2003: Gates designed and built 2 custom F900 housings for Bob and Howard which included a vacuum check port.  It was our introduction to the system.  Shortly thereafter it became part of our standard factory test.  It allowed quick identification of leaks, but more importantly it revealed a way to test for shallow water leaks a.k.a. the dreaded rinse tank failure. This experience led us to standardize 3 different vacuum and pressure checks on every housing to weed out all failure modes.

 

Gates 'productized' the system in 2007 with the fitting name Seal Check. It was introduced in tandem with DEEP RED, our first cinema-grade system.  We felt customers would appreciate peace of mind knowing their $50K+ camera investment was safe *before* entering the water.  Seal check has proven itself many times, averting disaster from mistakes, abuse and damage (like from security inspections) that we all know happens in the field.  For professionals it has not only saved equipment, but their production and paycheck as well. When you have to come back with the shots, failure is not an option.  

 

As noted by others in this thread, the obvious benefits have resulted in the vacuum check system being adopted by nearly every manufacturer and several dealers (e.g. Backscatter).  

 

Final note:  The vacuum check system may extend all the way back to the 70's.   I'm asking around to find out more....

 

Cheers,

 

J-

 



#19 johnspierce

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:48 PM

Interesting history lesson, thanks! The first vacuum system I saw in actual use was on a RED camera in a Gates housing.

Nikon D800 | Aquatica Housing | Inon Z-240


#20 Gudge

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 11:04 PM

 

Final note:  The vacuum check system may extend all the way back to the 70's.   I'm asking around to find out more....

I think you will find that doing a vacuum check to ensure that the seals on submersible enclosures are functioning correctly goes back a very long way.  I spent a large chunk of my life as a Submarine Engineer Officer in the Australian Navy.  The last thing we did before going to sea and diving after an extended period in harbour for maintenance was to close all the hatches, pull a vacuum inside the submarine and monitor over a period of time to ensure that none of the seals on hatches, periscopes etc were leaking air into the boat.  This has been a standard maintenance procedure in submarines for a long time.  If a vacuum check is good to keep me dry when the submarine dives (water in the people tank is not a good thing :) ) it's good enough to ensure my camera stays dry when I take it diving.


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