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Flood threat with a Subal Dome Port ?

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Hello,

 

Recently I discovered that the surrounding plastic part of my DP-FE2 dome port was broken - see picture

 

It appeared to me that it was not really important as I believe it has no structural role and is only there to prevent direct sunlight to reach the lens.

 

After having removed this plastic cap, I checked the surrounding of the dome and found strange marks at three locations around the glass (every 120° around the dome) - see picture and picture

 

I was wondering if this could be the beginning of a water entry ????

 

Can anyone confirm that the DP-FE2 port can be used without the plastic cap ?

Could anyone tell me if this is a serious flood threat or if it is just normal ?

 

Your comments and advises would be very welcome.

 

Thank's a lot !

 

PS : Sorry for my poor english but I do my best !!!!

 

Benoît

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Hi Benoit,

 

Welcome to the forum. I don't think it will flood without the pastic protection, but lets wait to hear from someone that tried it. If nobody know for sure you could try taking the housing with the dome (and without the camera) for a dip in a pool, if it doesn't flood you will have your answer.

 

Luiz

 

P.S.: I will transfer this post to the dSLR area.

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I have never dived without the plastic protector on my FE2 ports, but I did once drop my D100 housing and pop the plastic protector off - this didn't cause a flood with the dome - although I had reattached the protector before I went diving.

 

Alex

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Does the shade happen to attach with 3 set screws located 120 deg apart?

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"shade" is the good word tu use instead of "mark"....

no, the three shades are located away from the only screw that fix the plastic collar on the port.

 

I'm still trying to understand how is built this domeport ! Is the dome glass bonded ?

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The first picture I'm looking at looks like a void between the dome and the collar.

If I'm not mistaken the dome was potted with silicone and for some reason it did not fill correctly. If the area is void under the dome or very close to the bottom I would be concerned.

 

Marc

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Benoit,

 

Do you have any idea how the sunshade broke? This is not flimsy - I've always thought this was a pretty solid piece of work.

 

Frogfish

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I think the sunshade broke when I put down my housing on the boat but I did it very carefully !

I really believe the part is not as solid as it looks. Furthermore, when I try to reinstall the sunshade on the port to check if I could fix it with glue, the existing gap (3mm) between the two "broken surfaces" prevent me to do so and make me feel that the stress in the part must be high.

 

My advise : NEVER put a housing on its dome port facing down, if the collar breaks the glass will hit the bottom.....

 

Regarding the shades between the glass and the collar, I agree with Mark. I also believe the glass is bonded to the collar with silicone and the shades can be areas where the silicone thickness must be very thin.

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Hi Benoît

 

I had exactly the same, the plastic shade around the FE2 port cracked and broke off (knocked right out off my hands on the boat by a diver turning around with a tank on!) I have since used a glue to bond the shade back to the port in several pieces, but am left with quite a large gap. I have also taped right around the shade to hold it together. I have done 50 dives like this with no flooding and don't believe the shade effects the port at all.

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I think there must be a generic problem. I broke mine at the beginning of the year. It fell off in three parts after it received a knock. I am still waiting for the replacement. It is held on by one steel grub screw that through electrolysis cannor be removed from the aluminium mounting. I had to saw it off and hope that the other hole tapped in the mount will work for me. I wonder if I will still own a Subal housing by the time it arrives from Austria!

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I think there must be a generic problem. I broke mine at the beginning of the year. It fell off in three parts after it received a knock. I am still waiting for the replacement. It is held on by one steel grub screw that through electrolysis cannor be removed from the aluminium mounting. I had to saw it off and hope that the other hole tapped in the mount will work for me. I wonder if I will still own a Subal housing by the time it arrives from Austria!

 

Jeez, John, you've been having bad luck with Subal gear. The port flood, and now this. I wonder if the specs on the DP-FE2 might have changed.

 

The shade on mine has always seemed rock solid, and i would have sworn that it was made from metal, some kind of anodized aluminum, rather than plastic, but I could be wrong. (I also thought that this piece seemed over-engineered and definitely overweight, until now that is.)

 

Robert

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My shade/collar broke without ANY significant trauma, and I am hearing from more and more people with the same issue. I suspect that there is some defect in design, or material. After replacing the collar, everything was fine, so the watertight integrity of the port is not affected by this problem.

 

Hal

Edited by maelstrom

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Jeez, John, you've been having bad luck with Subal gear. The port flood, and now this. I wonder if the specs on the DP-FE2 might have changed.

 

The shade on mine has always seemed rock solid, and i would have sworn that it was made from metal, some kind of anodized aluminum, rather than plastic, but I could be wrong. (I also thought that this piece seemed over-engineered and definitely overweight, until now that is.)

 

Robert

 

I think the earlier ones were aluminum (did I spell it right?) but then they went over to a material that breaks like Bakelite (I know that at least YOU will have heard of that, Robert!).

 

I've solved all my housing problems. Went and bought a Sea & Sea housing. I know it's not cool among aficianados but I works just like the NX90 that I used for a few years before I eventually was persuaded to swap from to a Nexus. (I've got of a cupboard full of kit. I just wished I took the stuff that worked away with me!)

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The dome port shade on my Subal DP-FE2 - 2005 vintage, plastic, broke while in a box, resting. I had it on a dive in February, 9 degrees Centigrade, came back to it last week and it was cracked open at the thinner part just as shown here. I think it is a design fault - if I push it back together as tightly as I can on the dome port it leaves a gap of about 5mm. It must be under considerable tension at normal to cold temperatures.

 

I know this type of plastic expands quite a bit when warmed up - I had trouble fitting the zoom ring on the 12-24 lens and was told to put it in hot water for a few minutes, dry it, then fit it. This works a treat as it goes on easily then and grips tight once it cools down. From comments here I see that is also how you get the port shade back on. Like John I also had some considerable electrolysis on the screw, it doesn't hold the shade on, a ledge on the port and contraction does that, the screw just stops it turning round. Mine came out (reluctantly), but I'm going to whack it full of grease before I put it back in.

 

Has anyone received free replacements for these shades?

 

Bernard

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Has anyone received free replacements for these shades?

 

A friend of mine had their shade break underwater just while they were swimming along. They received a new style shade made of a hard rubbery material (as opposed to the hard plastic of the original shade) free from the shop (Reef Photo & Video) where they purchased the dome port from.

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Mine broke into billions and billions of pieces after a nasty drop. Since been replaced. It's a dome shade and has nothing to due with potential leakage.

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I've solved all my housing problems. Went and bought a Sea & Sea housing. I know it's not cool among aficianados but I works just like the NX90 that I used for a few years before I eventually was persuaded to swap from to a Nexus.

 

hey, I was just curious, why aren't the Sea & Sea housings cool among aficianados? I just got a Sea & sea housing for my nikon D80. I'm not defending it, I'm genuinely curious why they aren't cool. Lack of buttons for all controls? material? leaks? let me know what I'm missing out on! ;)

 

Scott

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I had one break after a minor knock. Ocean Optics told me there was a problem with them and provided a replacement which was a different material, much more flexible.

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hey, I was just curious, why aren't the Sea & Sea housings cool among aficianados? I just got a Sea & sea housing for my nikon D80. I'm not defending it, I'm genuinely curious why they aren't cool. Lack of buttons for all controls? material? leaks? let me know what I'm missing out on! ;)

 

Scott

 

This is my take on it (right or wrong):

In the UK underwater photography was dominated by members of BSoUP. One of the founder members also imported Subal housings so if you wanted to be part of the club, that's what you got. Although I was never a member of BSoUP my first housing was a Subal but when I switched to Seacam I noticed I was no longer taken seriously. Seacam became respectable by becoming more expensive than Subal. Sea & Sea are cheaper - especially if you buy direct from Japan!

I have housings by all the major manufacturers and decided to opt for another Sea & Sea for the D200. It's not cool but my pictures are!

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Hi Benoit,

 

"Can anyone confirm that the DP-FE2 port can be used without the plastic cap ?

Could anyone tell me if this is a serious flood threat or if it is just normal ?"

 

The collar is mostly there for scratch protection of the dome. You should be able to dive temporarily without it. Subal knows about this problem and from what I've heard will replace it with a new non-defective collar free of charge.

 

My collar broke into 3 pieces while on a dive trip last year. The dome was comfortably resting on a table when it happened. Since I needed the dome and could not obtain a replacement I simply crazy glued the shade back on. This worked for three and half dives. During the middle of my fourth dive the collar pieces came off but I continued shooting without it for several more dives being really careful not to scratch the port. After the trip I ordered a replacement collar. Back then there was no warranty and I received the same collar (which is still intact). I recently spoke with several subal dealers. Subal now has a new collar available and will replace the old one under warranty.

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Last Dec on a trip, a friend's broke. We applied duct tape and all was OK for the trip. It was replaced free of charge. I purchased 2 Subal domes in February and they were thicker and of a more flexible, rubber material. I believe Subal was previously making them from a more rigid material that was prone to breaking. See your dealer for a replacement!

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Both my FE2 Subal domes have been fine. I think that the early Subal domes were fine - there was then a batch that caused all these problems - and they are now OK again.

 

Alex

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On the question of flooding, when I showed the loose O-rings on my ports to the guys at Subal, they told me they were not Subal factory-supplied O-rings! So, goodbye blue O-rings, hello tighter factory-supplied black ones!

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Blue o-rings on a Subal? Sounds like those self lubricating Sea and Sea O-rings. The FE2 dome uses the thicker o-rings. If somewheres 3rd party o-rings were substituted they may have been the wrong thickness.

 

Knock on wood but my dome shade has been fine. It has taken quite a beating also. It was one one of the early ones I believe.

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Glad to see this thread. Just found that my sunshade is broken this morning :ninja:

Last time I used it was last August and it has been sitting in my stormcase all these times. I went diving in January but did not use it. Of course now as I am packing for my Palau trip (leaving this afternoon), I found the problem. Oh well.. at least I have time to run out and get some duct tape :rolleyes:

Also my wet alarm sensor battery is dead! Now I am very paranoid, not a good way to start a trip, I am afraid ;)

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