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Domeport turning accidentally

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Hello,

 

I am using the superdome with my Seacam D2x housing.

Since I have the superdome, I realized that it can be screwed into the housing with quite little resistance. Even easier it turns when I use the extension ring to house the 12-24 lens.

It happened topside (in the boat) already a few times, that I found the dome unscrewed a bit after I picked up my equipment.

When the camera is placed "domeport down" on the floor and will be moved or picked up without care, the dome/housing might be turned a little bit.

This is mostly caused by the huge own mass of the domeport.

When I move the housing UW suddenly to the left, the domeport will unscrew itself.

After a few minutes of my last dive, I found the domeport turned approx. 30° to the left . Before, I jumped backwards into the sea when holding the camera on my chest. I didn't panic, because compared to the full thread, 30° seem not to be much. After the dive, I detected several drops of water inside the domeport.

It was a scary situation, although I surely knew that the housing isn't fully flooded.

After opening the housing, I detected several drops on the camera, inside the housing and inside the extension ring. It seemed to me that the water must have leaked through the gap between extension ring and domeport.

I unscrewed the domeport with thread upwards and found the whole thread full of water.

Now I am scared to use my domeport. Did anybody experience similar situations?

Does anybody have an idea how to fix my problem (Thicker o-ring?).

I am already thinking to drill a small whole into the dome-protector and fix a securing hook.

 

 

Hoping for your advice,

cheers, Thilo

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Hi All,

 

This is a problem with the Subal Housing I had hoped that they would use some sort of port lock like the Sea & Sea Housing when i changed from a D100 to D2x housing- not so.

I make it part of my prep before entering the water to check the port position especially after the rig has been handled by a boatman etc.

I know at least 1 pro who has had a D2x flodded because of this and they are considering changing to a Nexus housing.

While I have not had a problem as the port seems to be firm to turn, I am sure it could happen, I never jump into the water with a camera, from a boat get the boatman to hand it to you, from a pier entry use a rope to lower the camera before entering the water.

If I am using the Dome port with a 70mm extension for the 17-55dx lens I am very careful.

 

Normally a port lock requires the housing back to be removed to unlock the port - a small price to pay for the added security against flooding.

 

maybe someone could suggest a DIY fix? until Subal get their act together ( sorry I am annoyed with Subal at the moment - I have been waiting 6 months for a GS 180 viewfinder for my D2X Housing)

Not happy Jan (Australian joke)

 

best regards

ron.

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After I threw away one camera and my first 12-24mm zoom I took Frogfish's advice and use a large lump of gaffer tape (Duck tape). It doesn't stop it but it does give a clue to tell me if it has been turned.

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Gaffer tape works for me.

 

The design excellence of the Subal port system cost me 2 camera's in 3 days.

 

You would think they would start to listen.

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I found a good solution for me now. My target was to stop the superdome from turning. Furthermore I wanted the whole gear to to have a safe upright stand.

Normally the Superdome is bigger than the housing and if you put down the housing down, it will put force on the dome and its thread. Most people lay this set-up on a desk with the superdome faced down, but I do not like it because I carry the gear upright with the Seacam handle in the upper srew socket.

I simply made a plexiglass plate to equalize the difference between housing and lower edge of the superdome. At the same time, a small pin attached to this plate, fits into one of the hexagon head screws of the dome and blocks it against turning.

Difficult to explain,- you better have a look to the attached images...

post-3594-1150019445_thumb.jpg

post-3594-1150019521_thumb.jpg

post-3594-1150019578_thumb.jpg

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had exactly the same problems with my superdome, both on an F100 housing and D2X. It gets worse when you use extension rings. I've had a couple of missed heartbeats with this issue so now theres 2 things I do when my housing is passed to me - clip it on, and check the dome! I never jump with the housing in hand

 

Oddly, the fisheye port is a very tight, secure fit, so there must be some really small machining differences between this and the superdome.

 

Maybe Steve Frink or Paul Kay can get some feedback from Harald at Seacam?

 

Cheers

 

Steve

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HI All,

 

I will add my bit when I use my 12/24wa with the extension ring the

 

the ring can turn with great ease & this has concerned me, but as John

 

has said I have never jumped in with my housing it has always been passed to

 

me. All of my other ports are tight to fit . But I have never had any water

 

pass through the seal in to the housing.

 

Andy :unsure::unsure:

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I got an e-mail from Harald Hordosch at Seacam that caused the resurection of this old thread. Actually, it all started with conversations between Paul Nicklen and me, when I found out his superdome was turning too easily while on location in the frigid parts of the world that he knows so very well. It occurred to me it probably had something to do with his port extension (he was using a 16-35 Canon lens with a PVL35 as I recall). I figured there was undoubtedly a difference in the way the delrin contracted with extreme cold versus the contraction of the aluminum of the housing and the superdome.

 

This is not specific to Seacam, btw, but is potentially a fact of life with every aluminum housing with port extensions made out of something other than aluminum. I don't think there are than many shooters out there experiencing the problem, just because it is a pretty extreme condition that makes it happen in the first place. But it only takes one to justify a solution.

 

After pondering the problem, Harald came up with the following, in his words:

 

1)           OFF SHORE O-RING SD

 

              This o-ring is harder and prevents the PVL / SD combination to move too slightly.

 

            

2)           PVL ALUMINIUM EXTENSIONS

 

              This solution prevents a different shrinking of different materials and the combination will be more stable by using the standard o-rings.

 

              (Recommended also for deep diving)

 

 

3)           SD FIXATION UNIT

 

              This new designed accessory can be mounted between the tripod screw of the housing and the middle fixation screw at the SD.

 

              With a few variable fixation holes it is possible to use different extensions. This system is easy to install and is an absolute secure solution to fix the SD port combination.

 

 

So, there you go. We call it the SD Stabilizer and it is in transit from Austria at the moment. I'll post some pix when they arrive.             

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Another solution:

-mount adhesive backed velcro (hook-type) tape to bottom of housing and back of dome port

-use velco tape (15mm x 200mm, loop-type) to keep the dome port from rotating by sticking it to the back of the dome and wrapping to the velcro patch on the bottom of your housing

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I use an Aquatica system, and resorted to the same technique described above by John. There's far too much movement when the port first goes on, though I found I could reduce it by moderating my use of silicone gel. My previous housing was a Sea and Sea, and I do miss that port lock. In Fiji, the port managed to completely unscrew itself over a 90-minute journey by fast boat, where the repeated juddering turned it – it was something of an emotional moment for me when it popped off just as I picked up the housing at the end of the journey.

 

Since then, I've developed a habit of checking the port every now and then, just as rebreather divers have to keep an eye on their PPO2. If I'm on a bumpy journey, I use waterproof tape to ensure the port stays in place and it serves as a warning if the port does move around.

 

No disrespect meant to Aquatica here - it's the best housing I've used so far, but nothing is perfect. For me, its only other problem is the port shade, which attaches to the dome in a rather primitive fashion. I made the mistake of transporting the dome shade in my dive kit bag, and it snapped along one of its thin sections. If this happens to anyone - I recommend repairing with a binding product such as 'Instant Steel', but learn from my mistake and make room for the port shade in a photo-bag or peli-case.

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I won't be so kind as everyone else. I too use the duct tape port lock on my Aquatica housing. Everyone on the dive boats asks me about it and I have to explain that the port design is simply brain-dead. The design is clearly modeled after the camera/lens bayonette. But unlike the camera design, which has an inexpensive spring pin to keep the lens from rotating, they have a nicely greased o-ring which slides VERY smoothly with the slightest torque. That combined with the fact that when you set the housing on a table, it rests on the dome port, which acts to pull the dome off if it has rotated out of position, and you have a recipe for disaster.

 

When I first picked up my housing, this obvious design blunder leaped out at me as a major problem. It is particularly annoying since they could solve this trivially. Each bayonette has an A and a B side. On the outside of each A piece, you put a small block with a hole. On the outside of each B piece, you put a spring pin. Then you simply slide the pin back when you rotate the bayonette into place. The pin slides into the mating hole and cannot accidentally rotate out of position unless you pull the pin back. No fuss, no muss. Total cost would be around $10. I explained this to Norma at the Aquatica Booth at the 2006 Long Beach Scuba show, and she said that they were working on a lock and that they would retrofit my housing when it became available. A year later, and there is no such lock.

 

The reason I am so bitter is that this STUPID design bit me on the ass last weekend. I had my dome port installed with an extension ring. I had two pieces of duct tape installed (one for each end of the extension). I had to change lenses on the boat, so I removed duct tape from one side and then realized that I had forgotten to bring the roll, and the wet tape would no longer stick. So I did the last dive without one of my "locks". When I went to soak my rig in a bucket after returning home, the damned port fell off and flooded the camera. I managed to save the lens, but my 5D is dead. Now I get to see how good my insurance really is.

 

The most frustrating thing about this whole episode is that it was entirely predictable, and entirely preventable. You would think that after building housings for 25 years, they would have worked out the basics, like how to prevent the housing from coming apart inadvertently. It reminds me of a Far Side cartoon I saw years ago. It showed a passenger sitting in a seat reaching for the overhead light button. Right next to the switch is a button labeled "Wings Fall Off". The Aquatica port design is the equivalent of a wings fall off button. Sure it was my fault for not double and triple checking that the port hadn't rotated itself out of position, but an ounce of prevention is worth $3000 of dead camera. As this thread shows, I am not the only one to be so burned.

Edited by drsteve

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Amigos,

 

I don't want anyone to think I don't have sympathy for a flooded camera. Problem is, it happens if you dive and shoot long enough :)

 

Having owned an Aquatica years ago with thread on ports I have related the same problem which I solved with duct tape. And have recommended his simple but unelegant solution in numerous previous posts to lessen the chance of flooding. That said, I have to say this situation is exactly why I hate the idea of port extensions. One more damn o-ring to come loose, potentially flooding the whole system!!!!!

 

As an Ikelite zealot I think getting a fixed length port sized to the specific lens length you are using is heads above in simplicity. I know people "think" they are saving all this weight, etc. if they have different ports versus extensions, especially in the macro to tele-macro set ups many seem to be trying out these days. Maybe I'm just a dinosaur in not having so many lens combinations. And maybe many manufacturers don't make fixed length ports like Ikelite does.

 

Many Ikelite users have been clamoring for them to offer a flat port with extensions like they've done with the 8" dome port. After using their design of dome port extensions for almost two years, I have yet to see one leak (or flood) on my system or fellow Ikelite users. Their dome port extension botttoms out securely, and if they DO come out with a flat one I trust the extensions will work the same.

 

The big difference is the final conection to the housing, by two locks people lament as not being strong enough. But which have proven over time to be reliable in easy and tough conditions the world over. It "clicks" exactly as people here are asking for on their port designs....

 

Kinda' interesting someone solved this with a simple molded solution over 30 years ago......

 

Soooooo.........The moral is, use duct tape if you have threaded ports and extensions!!!!

 

dhaas

 

P.S. - In 1990 when I got to spend 5 days with David Doubiliet (National Geographic Photographer) who was using Aquatica threaded port housings, I watched him slather a ton of grease on those port o-rings, then crank every port on as tight as he physically could. When I asked him why so tight, he responded common diving depths won't compress the o-ring much tighter than he was cranking it down. So he had a "tight seal" already :lol:

 

He didn't get any water in his 5 housings in those 5 days......Food for thought......

 

P.P.S. - I take a flexible rubber belt oil flilter "strap wrench" for my Ikelite 8" dome port extensions. Might be a handy tool for installing and uninstalling ANY brand extensions.....

 

 

post-244-1181005633_thumb.jpg

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If you tighten threaded ports properly (very hand tight) there is no need for duct tape. They are much more secure than a bayonet type port which can rotate easily in some cases. I have found that installing a port hand tight sometimes requires a strap wrench to remove it.

Edited by jcclink

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Dave,

 

I think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Why worry about orings for extension rings when there are two tiny clips holding your port on?

 

Cheers

James

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I don't want anyone to think I don't have sympathy for a flooded camera. Problem is, it happens if you dive and shoot long enough :lol:

 

Agreed, but an obvious (and easily corrected) design flaw shouldn't be the reason. I don't have any problem with the bayonette system or with extension rings. That part of the design is sound. It is the lack of a port lock that dooms the Aquatica design. I also have to point out that the Ikelite port system isn't much better. In my opinion, the two little locking clips that hold on the port are pretty lame.

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James and Steve,

 

Since everyone on this forum is usually GA GA about equipment specifications, and this thread laments super expensive port systems flooding their cameras, I find it amusing that two simple plastic port locks that actually WORK are still dissed :lol: With likely dozens, no make that hundreds more Ikelite housings being used in the REAL world compared to the sum total of other brands.....

 

EVERY person I know who has had AGUA in a housing, no matter what brand / design eventually looks in the mirror and admits it was something they did or did not do during assembly. I watch people dip their housings in a dunk tank for 2 seconds, letting it sink and then walk away, never pulling it out and LOOKING for water dribbling in at low pressure......Or they jump in, have someone hand them their camera and they are futzing around with their snorkel, their BC, their whatever as their housing slowly fills with salty water :D

 

I'll stack my time (and numerous fellow shooters) in the water with my Ikelite set ups against anyone out there. And I ain't anything special......Dave Fleetham, Doug Perrine and a few others I know have put more hours on an Ikelite "lame" port system than most shooters will in their lifetime.

 

So the proof is in the actual use.....Learn how your individual housing works and seals, and what to look for and then go use it. Don't fret, imagine or develop MORE unecessary engineering gizmos such as buoyancy arms which I find especially amusing. For all that $$$ you'd think this would be something companies could figure out.....

 

I know I sound like a broken record. But this thread started off talking about a design that ISN'T working for SOME, not all, Wetpixellites. And likely could be improved with minor engineering. But then many companies don't talk to full time or extensive users of their equipment soliciting advice...... :)

 

I have found many (if not most) housing users have never been shown by someone what to look for and then pay attention to. Key points on assembly, what to "maintenance" and what to leave alone such as cords connected for a trip if they didn't leak and worked on the first dive! Plus what to check ASAP before and immediately upon entry. Plus this unending BS about rinse tanks and endless soaking. What a crock of you know what..... :)

 

OK, my rant is done for June 5th!

 

All in fun......It seriously would be great to dive with so many people here and share tips and tricks. We might actually get around to discussing photos.......

 

Time to go to work :)

 

Cheers!

 

dhaas

post-244-1181046452_thumb.jpg

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I love my Subal housing, ergonomics etc. However, if that port turns too much one day and floods...I'm gonna hate it!

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"Don't fret, imagine or develop MORE unecessary engineering gizmos such as buoyancy arms which I find especially amusing. For all that $$$ you'd think this would be something companies could figure out....."

 

Because some of us are unhappy with our port sealing systems we shouldn't worry about bouyancy? You would consider a bouyancy arm an "engineering gizmo"? Not following your logic here, but it seems you're sneering at others for things you haven't thought of yourself or that you don't need with your rig. I personally like my housings to handle well and I have plenty of attention to give to all aspects of setup. It's not like a bouyancy arm prevents me from maintaining my port seals.

 

I never had a flood in my Nexus housings, nor have any of the half dozen people I dive with including one who had the third housing imported into the US and logs at least 6 trips a year since then. I don't think it's possible to flood a properly assembled Nexus port nor is it possible to inadvertantly unscrew one, break one through dropping or misassemble one other than through gross negligence. It's as bulletproof as it gets. I'm hoping Subal is as good but I honestly don't like quarter-turn bayonets as much. I don't need the convenience between dives and I like the security of a real thread.

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I can personally attest that the Seacam port can rotate 90 degrees without risk of flooding. I know this from when I got to intimately know a lemon shark and ended up with my port "looking funny" afterwards. After a few seconds I realized why and tightened the port back up.

 

That's just not possible with a 90 degree bayonet port, and I doubt that the clip system would have held either.

 

I was pretty impressed.

 

Cheers

James

 

With all that said, I used to own a Sea and Sea housing and was really impressed with their bayonet port-lock system.

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Since everyone on this forum is usually GA GA about equipment specifications, and this thread laments super expensive port systems flooding their cameras, I find it amusing that two simple plastic port locks that actually WORK are still dissed :lol: With likely dozens, no make that hundreds more Ikelite housings being used in the REAL world compared to the sum total of other brands.....

 

Dave, I know you love your Ikelite housings, but you seem blind to their shortcomings. Not to put too fine a point on it, in my small circle of shooters I know of at least three dead cameras that have resulted from the "simple plastic port locks that actually WORK." I also know that two of them occurred to a common friend, which means that you are simply ignoring failures that you know about. No vendor publishes statistics on how often their equipment fails, so all we have are anecdotal stories. I strongly suspect that failure rate is much higher than vendors or their reps imply. You will pardon me if I take your statement about "hundreds" of working Ikelite systems with a grain of salt. What counts is not the number of systems sold, but the probability of failure per dive. This statistic is not likely to be released by any vendor (if they even know), so claims that one system is more reliable than another, are hard to verify.

 

In the airline industry, every accident is analyzed to try to figure out how to make a better product. The dive industry similarly analyzes fatalities to understand how to improve training and life support equipment. For some reason the UW photography market just seems complacent about obvious failure points. My personal bias is that since that all of the systems seal and work if you treat them with kid gloves, the vendors have culpable deniability. They can always point to user failure as the cause of a flood. In my case, it was certainly my fault for not double and triple checking that the port hadn't inadvertently rotated out of position. However that doesn't mean that the design isn't flawed.

Edited by drsteve

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Steve,

 

sorry to hear about your 5D. I hope your insurance turns out to be up to scratch.

 

My ikelite port hasnt been tested in such a way that it gave. I did slip one time on a rock, while walking to the water. The housing and maybe the port (a very big MD sized housing) took quite a hit. The camera tray (that is a slide in in these older housings) was loose, (as was the attached camera). After a dive with toilet paper instead of the camera it turned out alright.

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Hey Steve,

 

I know Will Chen and his Ikelite floods, and if we're counting port leak / flood problems in this one thread 3 people of the "other" systems (including you) are sharing their experiences with supposedly "better" port sealing systems. You are correct no one is going to release repair data, flood problems etc. which is why these forums exist. But as with any forum out there on the internet, individual experiences and opinions are just that. Mine included!

 

If you read my posts, I said I do not intend to be sneering about design, personal product choices, etc. Same to Craig, my own relevance to the buoyancy arm issue is that if a housing mfr. knows what camera will be used in a housing, how much space is inside and wall thickness, blah, blah they should certainly be able to get their housings closer to barely negative. Not like a brick where then the end user (that would be you guys :lol: need to add more things to their rigs so you can go take pictures comfortably....That's all I meant in comparing feature sets of systems. This is an extremely old issue for anyone who had fellow shooters ownthe Nikonos RS systems. They were (are) bricks.....

 

I think I have posted over the years many helpful ideas to solve shooter's problems no matter what system they are using.

 

Am I biased to using Ikelite successfully for many, many years. Absolutely......Just like the Nexus, Subal, Seacam, Sea and Sea and everyone else here....

 

So use or don't use duct tape. It's your choice :)

 

As I've said, no harm intended.....

 

dhaas

 

P.S. - James, you're not supposed to feed the Lemon sharks. Anything! Including housings :)

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For some reason the UW photography market just seems complacent about obvious failure points. My personal bias is that since that all of the systems seal and work if you treat them with kid gloves, the vendors have culpable deniability. They can always point to user failure as the cause of a flood. In my case, it was certainly my fault for not double and triple checking that the port hadn't inadvertently rotated out of position. However that doesn't mean that the design isn't flawed.

I completely agree. Port engineering isn't good simply because it can be made to work when handled properly, it's good when it works when handled in the expected manner. Engineers take expected usage into account but, sadly, our port systems (and sync cords) aren't really engineered. If this quality of work were in a more traditional industry, the engineers involved would be fired!

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Sorry, Dave, you slipped in while I was posting.

 

I agree with you that housing manufacturers should take bouyancy into account. Some do while others consider travel size because that's what their costumers frequently (and foolishly) want. Sadly, it's more complicated than that because strobe and arm manufacturers are culpable too. It's amazing that such a small, light strobe as an Inon could be heavy in the water yet it is.

 

Since I glowed on the superiority of Nexus ports earlier, I will also say that they are very heavy. Nexus is one that targets the smallest possible size. That, combined with their heavy aluminum construction and heavy macro lenses, makes their rigs a beast sometimes. Bouyancy arms and port floats are helpful there.

 

There's a lot to be said for plastic ports as it controls cost and saves weight. I just wish that manufacturers would strive to make their port interfaces idiotproof.

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David,

 

I would also like my Ikelite 20D housing with double DS-50 strobes (see signature) a little lighter under water.....

 

it is alright to use, but it lacks the neutral buoyancy of that Ikelite MD housing in the earlier post (coupled with an Ai flash). On the other hand, that needed the added weight in the handles

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