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Member Since 14 Sep 2009
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:11 PM

Topics I've Started

Scratched dome ports

09 January 2016 - 04:04 PM

A lot of my diving involves swimming through small spaces in the dark and I realised early on I was going to have a problem with keeping my dome port scratch-free. I chose an 8" acrylic dome port for my Aquatica because it was big enough for my rectilinear 14mm lens, small enough to fit through holes, and light enough to carry around. Easier to buff out and cheaper to replace were also considerations.


After I got my first scratch I went and bought some acrylic polishing paste and polished it mostly out. Dive and repeat...after two years I gave up and bought a second dome port. The idea was to use the pre-scratched one for the difficult dives but since those were the ones I wanted the best photos from, it didn't really work and the second one rapidly ended up scratched. Before Xmas I tried this:

Attached File  Dome port.jpg   146.66KB   28 downloads


Then I went to Truk Lagoon and scratched it again. 




My 5DII is now 6.5 years old and in the next 18 months or so I am looking to replace it. I'm unlikely to stay with an Aquatica housing for the new camera as I haven't been happy with its performance below 60m. Buying a third Aquatica 8" dome port now seems silly. 


Other options:

1. A glass Aquatica 9.25" port. Drawbacks - bigger, heavier in and out of the water, expensive. Pros - harder to scratch?? Cons - impossible to polish.

2. A non-Aquatica port for forwards compatibility. I couldn't work out whether some of the Zen options can be swapped between different housing brands, and if so, whether adaptors are required.

3. A better dome cover system. My current neoprene cover comes with me on dives but requires two and a half hands to put it on the dome, so I usually leave it off for the whole dive. A cover system that flicked on and off with one hand would be great. Is there anything out there?

4. Polish the least-damaged port again and deal with it...does anyone know how much acrylic you can remove before the depth rating starts to suffer?


What would you do?

Fixing cooked Z240s

11 February 2015 - 03:17 AM

People may be aware that I've had a whinge in the past about my Inon z240s becoming unreliable over time, and dying on occasion for no apparent reason (at the time). The ready light would come on, the strobe would "fire" and little to no light would come out. The eventual diagnosed cause was overheating and I seemed to kill one on every tropical trip I took. Too many photos, too quickly, on full power in 30 degree water burns out the flash tubes.

I had the full internals of one replaced by the service centre in Australia which cost half as much as a new strobe. Since then I've tried to be more careful (moving to macro helped) but the tubes have still progressively been going brown and eventually failing. Recently I gave the one completely dead strobe I had to an engineering friend who took it apart, inspected the insides and ordered some generic flash tubes from the Internet. He put it all back together and after a pressure test I took it underwater. We weren't confident that the flash tubes would match in colour or power....but they did! The below shot has the fixed strobe mounted on one side mount tank and an untouched one on the other side.

So, if you find yourself with 6 inons but only 3 actually working at full power...that thing about having to replace the whole guts of the thing just to replace the tubes is not true. On the other hand, get someone who knows what they are doing to do it for you because the charge stored in the capacitor inside is enough to kill you, even after several months. And if you can't find anyone, I'd be most happy to buy your broken non-flooded strobes from you :-)

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