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Bill Macdonald

Member Since 22 Mar 2007
Offline Last Active Nov 14 2008 01:54 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Sea & Sea HC-1 housing on-off switch

12 November 2008 - 07:42 PM

Life is Good!

I was able to get from Sea & Sea / Tusa the phone # for Devon Thompkins
at the newly opened Pacific Housing Repair (831) 751-3885. He assured me that the problem is a
minor repair, can do later, and has nothing to do with the "O ring" integrity.

True enough, I just made a dive in a new site here in Lembeh with good results. The camera goes on & off fine no taping needed.
But once again drew, you are right, a kit of spares should be added to my list of stock gear, besides the
o-ring package. So, today from lice on a sponge to wide angle shots, I was able to capture it all.

Housing systems are like family, you never want to put them at risk. Being able, once again, to get help from WETPIXEL
and Sea & Sea responding immediately with the contact info was huge. It helps that I am teaching u/w video here and reminded Sea & Sea
that I am using their housing as an example of a flexible system (c/u - w/a).

I also made the issue part of the class, by showing the students the WETPIXEL site on a big screen, and how from beginner to advanced it is an excellent resource.
I pointed to Drew and said he will most likely respond. So the whole episode is a learning experience for all, and the students potential issues in the future. Only one
of 10 knew about WETPIXEL before, so now they are tuned in.

Lemons to lemonade.

Thanks again Drew!


BTW: if I unscrewed some small screw it would end up bouncing somewhere out of sight, so I try to operate within my limitations.

If you are not willing to do exploration into the housing and field repairs, then gaffer tape the switch to ON and just use the housing. IF the o-ring is intact and the rod isn't broken, it shouldn't leak. Fix it when you get back. I've had lanc boards fail before on S&S and using reflective material, I just reflected the IR signal to the camera for a functional housing. You don't need a spare housing. Spare parts are easier to carry and often do the job. Spare o-rings not just for the bulkhead but various little moving parts around the housing are always good. If S&S USA doesn't want to help, approach dealers overseas to buy spare parts. S&S Japan is notorious for being slow on parts since they only indent during certain parts of the year.

In Topic: Sea & Sea HC-1 housing on-off switch

12 November 2008 - 01:02 PM


Thanks a bunch for answering the bell on this one. What you describe is precisely how it feels, the housing was recently serviced by
Dan Blodgett (Sub Aquatic Camera Repair, Salinas, CA) and pressure tested. Pool test to 8 ft yesterday, and will ocean test today
w/o camera, at the KBR house reef, close to the camera room and dock, so I'm not out on a boat to test, in case there is a leak.
Next time, hang the charges, I'm bringing back-up. I will email Sea & Sea / Tabata but their authorized repair is no longer repairing
(another story). So we shall see with water test. I'm kinda all thumbs when it comes to self repair, wouldn't want to make a bad situation worse.

The whole issue of travel with weight restrictions is a new challenge. The other problem I have experienced is NOT having sufficient time between
dive excursions to address repair issues before your next departure date. The Japanese "speaking" HC-1 for example had a $ 1000.00 board
replacement done twice, and both Sony parts from the main USA distributor (I was told) spoke Japanese, why Sony stocked them here is a good question.
The replacement rate of models is moving too fast in my book. I came from 16mm film and over decades we got to know our emulsions and how the
film reacted in different situations, now you are almost out of date and your model is discontinued within a child-birth time, less than a year it seems. GRRR.
Dive computer, repair issues remain after twice sending to manufacturer (so using back-up there). 50 lbs vs 70 lbs X 2 bags = 40 lbs less gear (back-up).

Drew thanks again, really appreciate the consideration. I spoke to Michaela Brockstedt of Wetpixel at DEMA about the assistance I got with the camera issues
when the "moisture alarm" gave me headaches in Yap.

Less frustrated in Lembeh


A floppy switch means the recessed catch and/or spring is broken on the inside... IF I remember the S&S housings correctly. The switch is connected to lanc board and you can remove it all to check the switch. That's the first thing I'd do. If you feel you must save the lanc board, remove it and also remove the o-ring to check integrity. As long as the o-ring and rod are intact, it should not leak.
I'd email S&S directly to confirm or the dealer where you bought from. Good luck.

In Topic: Sea & Sea HC-1 housing on-off switch

11 November 2008 - 07:13 PM

Update:No leak during Pool test to 8ft
operated control continuously
optimistic but still real edgy about this.


In Topic: Gates Housing for Sony PMW-EX1

06 September 2008 - 09:54 AM

Wagsy, I completely agree with you...while these great new cams are simply wonderful, they are not made with uw shooters in mind...you would think that the manufacturers of housings would want to provide the ability to shoot with their housings to meet the ability of the cams themselves. Producing less than suitable monitors, and charging outrageous prices for them to boot, just seems to me to be nothing but greed and a lack of consideration for their clients, the uw shooter. Using the housings eyepieces is an incredible challange and they are as tiny as one could get to boot. To my eye, it would cost the housing maker less money to build a housing that incorporates the LCD screen and not have to rely upon an expensive and incompetent monitor.


This will sound old school, but looking through the viewfinder, not employing a monitor, is the way to go for me.
I have been dragging around monitors, but never get around to using them underwater, except for the L&M Bluefin.
Reason: while monitors are great for framing, they do not provide critical focus and weigh more. I am a fan of
neutral buoyancy, and slip-stream diving. Loading yourself up with gear, hinders you from free swimming and
capturing the motion with-in the action.

Having said that, I also rely on more technology as my eyes suffer from age related issues, for instance, I am glad the follow focus
has improved as my eyeball critical focus has slipped somewhat.

good luck

Bill Macdonald

In Topic: OPC suggests CA banning plastic bags and containers to protect oceans

06 September 2008 - 09:19 AM

Well it takes a lot of lifestyle changes to reduce plastic waste. Reusing containers, no more plastic liners and for new parents, no more plastic nappies (cornstarch nappies are better but you really should learn how to wash them :)). There are so many ways we can cut down plastic waste. Unfortunately, we've built a lifestyle around the plastic world, so suddenly cutting it out is nigh impossible for most. I manage to cut 95% when I'm at home but once I travel, it's so much more difficult in places like Asia. Africa on the hand is much better amazingly.


Lifestyle change indeed. That will get us thinking clearly about the "plastic pollution" problem.
But where do folks go for detailed BMPs and other helpful information?

Try: http://www.plasticde...bliography.html

This site is the result of a state wide project a few years ago and has the best information on the
"plastic synthetic" dilemma, and urban run-off challenges.

There is a video that goes with this site, here's a 5 minute segment from the 25 minute film:

The www site above has great links and a way to study this problem in depth.

Photographers can best help by shooting pictures that demonstrate the impact of plastic debris.
The shot of a turtle choking on a plastic bag has been seen by millions, also photogrphs from
Midway island depicting dead albatross chicks with their "bolus" choking with plastic debris have
helped. Charismatic megafauna impacts on birds and turtles get big play. What is REALLY needed
(IMHO) is a shot of plastic dust particles being ingested at the zooplankton level.
Such a photo does not exist. We know that birds fish and turtles confuse plastic for food, but does
the zooplankton? If zooplankton consume plastic particles, there is a huge contamination prospect
for the entire ocean food web. Any science photographers out there?

Hope this helps direct interested individuals to best BMPs and understanding of this dire issue.

One thing we do when we travel to Raja Ampat, Halmahera or other remote areas: we take all the plastic wrappers back with us.
DV tape plastics, medical plastic, bottle cap wrappings, etc get put in a zip lock and are used for padding. Not put in
the general vessel / resort trash. Not a difficult thing to do when traveling.

Bill Macdonald