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buoyance arms review

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When I talked with John this morning, he said he was quite busy with orders from wetpixelers.

 

he mentioned that he is going to research getting the floats colored as well as finding the correct paint that would be compatable with the floats.

 

Cor-

thanks for hooking us up.

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I was joking Cor. That is one of the downfalls of internet instead of personal interaction I guess. I, too, talked to John and he said that all he has done today has been related to the arms / floats / wetpixel.

 

I didn't mean to offend.

 

Dave

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I was joking Cor. That is one of the downfalls of internet instead of personal interaction I guess. I, too, talked to John and he said that all he has done today has been related to the arms / floats / wetpixel.

 

I didn't mean to offend.

 

Dave

Not offended at all, just wanted to make it clear :)

 

Cor

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he mentioned that he is going to research getting the floats colored as well as finding the correct paint that would be compatable with the floats.

 

So who's gonna order the first pink set? :)

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Probably my wife! Although, I do all of the photo stuff. :)

post-6097-1170123866_thumb.jpg

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IMSushi... maybe you'll need to swap drysuits with the wife!

 

Hey pakman B)

 

I'm using 4 X 3oz floats and 8 X 1.5oz floats with my subal housing, d2x, wide dome, 10.5 lens, S&S YS110's and the 4X9" arm combo.

 

The rig is very slightly negative, but not so much that I trust to lay it down in the sand and hope it doesn't roll off into the never never. :lol:

 

-(really bella)

 

thanks Julie... think I'll order some extra foam in both sizes just to be safe. The one's I don't need I'll just dangle off my tank as shark bait... :)

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Just got my S&S Glass Dome Port. Tried it in the bathtub and it went down like a brick. Tried with the Patima BC on top and still went to the bottom. :blink: I guess I have to spend some more money again and get some of these buoyancy arms as well.

 

375721675_1400269880.jpg

 

My questions are the following:

 

1. I used until so far the S&S arms. Are the ball ends for these arms the same size as the S&S?

 

2. To use with the S&S YS-110 the last arm in each side needs have the "screw end" instead of the ball end. I have the small screw ends from my S&S Arm set. Do these work fine or will they be too heavy?

 

3. The same question for the clamps. I have 4 S&S clamps. Are they too heavy? I will still have to get 2 more clamps in order to put the small "screw ends"

 

Thanks !!

 

Nuno

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1. I used until so far the S&S arms. Are the ball ends for these arms the same size as the S&S?

 

2. To use with the S&S YS-110 the last arm in each side needs have the "screw end" instead of the ball end. I have the small screw ends from my S&S Arm set. Do these work fine or will they be too heavy?

 

3. The same question for the clamps. I have 4 S&S clamps. Are they too heavy? I will still have to get 2 more clamps in order to put the small "screw ends"

 

1. dont know...post a closeup of your ball ends. But why does it matter?

 

2. I have YS110's and use specific ends that match the YS110's and then have a ball end at the other side. Check these images.. should work fine. it adds a little bit of weight though.

 

 

strobe1.jpgstrobe2.jpg

 

I did not even know there were arms that hooked straight into s&s strobes :blink:

 

3. I double they're any heavier than my ULCS clamps, so just try them. You can always buy lighter clamps if it doesnt work.

 

Cor

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1. dont know...post a closeup of your ball ends. But why does it matter?

 

2. I have YS110's and use specific ends that match the YS110's and then have a ball end at the other side. Check these images.. should work fine. it adds a little bit of weight though.

post-1029-1170284304_thumb.jpgpost-1029-1170284313_thumb.jpg

 

I did not even know there were arms that hooked straight into s&s strobes :blink:

 

3. I double they're any heavier than my ULCS clamps, so just try them. You can always buy lighter clamps if it doesnt work.

 

Cor

Hi Cor,

 

Thanks for your quick answer. The reason why I ask is because I want to be sure the ball ends from the Stix arms will be the same size as the ball end in my housing so that the clamp fits properly

 

375940059_7a36ee0b8e.jpg

 

Below a picture of my small arm that hooks straight to the strobe. What is the brand of your specific end for the YS-110?

 

375940079_7d17dfd0f7.jpg

 

Cheers

 

Nuno Sanches e Silva

Edited by Nunomix

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Hi Cor,

 

Thanks for your quick answer. The reason why I ask is because I want to be sure the ball ends from the Stix arms will be the same size as the ball end in my housing so that the clamp fits properly

 

 

Below a picture of my small arm that hooks straight to the strobe. What is the brand of your specific end for the YS-110?

 

 

Cheers

 

Nuno Sanches e Silva

The little arm piece that goes into the S&S strobe is from Ultralight. Ultralight seems to be the exact same size ball end as StiX, or at least close enough not to matter. Maybe John knows if S&S uses a different size, or maybe someone here mixes S&S ball ends with ULCS ball ends.

 

Cor

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Cor has really done a great job here (and displayed much caring), posting this detailed write-up and experiences using the arms/floats.

 

But I personally am going to follow consumers using them for a bit here. I'm sure John is a great engineer and these arms will probably be wonderful.....

 

Usually I jump in and am willing to be the first to try newer stuff....... , but I did hear from someone who knows that there used to be a strobe arm company (out of business now), that used plastic or composite ball-joints with "disastrous" results.

 

Now I'm sure these new arms by John are well-tested and won't fail but I'm bent towards caution with non-moulded ball-joints (by that I mean ball joints made not as one solid piece with the arm). You can imagine what might happen to a heavy rig if one broke at the wrong time.

 

Plus I would like to know how much weight these arms actually displace. The Nikon d200/Subal is more negative than the D2X/Subal. Has anyone really been able to get the d200 neutral or near with these arms? I've found it takes a LOT of buoyancy to achieve just slight negative-weight of Subal ND20/Nikon d200/S& S 110s.

 

So far 2 Patima BCs, one on each 8" arm are working very well for my rig and I want to try a corecell foam buoyancy collar for the 105vr port in combination at depth. I wish arms would handle it all, but I'm skeptical that they will.

 

Still these are sharp looking and a very, very positive step in the right direction!!!

 

Thanks Cor and John!! I will be watching how these preform and possibly getting some in the future.

 

PS How about painting the floats camo??? I heard Gary Atkinson swear that different and bright colors would fool certain sharks and keep you safe........., but then I'm not in the habit of believing everything I hear.... :blink:

 

Best, Carol

Edited by seagrant

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Plus I would like to know how much weight these arms actually displace. The Nikon d200/Subal is more negative than the D2X/Subal. Has anyone really been able to get the d200 neutral or near with these arms? I've found it takes a LOT of buoyancy to achieve just slight negative-weight of Subal ND20/Nikon d200/S& S 110s.

 

Best, Carol

 

 

Just for informations sake, John himself shoots with a Subal/D200 rig.

 

This is what John wrote to me after a week in Bonaire :

 

 

I spent most of the time with (2)Ikelite DS-125's and a Sigma 17-70 macro

lens behind a SWB small dome port on a 50mm extension ring using 540g (6x90)

of flotation on 9" inner arms. This setup had slightly negative buoyancy but

was close enough to neutral that I didn't bother to fine tune it. I did try

another combination that proved slightly positive but I really didn't like

it. I used 12' outer arms because of the wide to macro lens.

 

For a 105 macro lens behind a FP60 flat port with two 33mm extension rings I

believe (4) SX-9 9" arms with (3) SX-40 floats on each arm provides a nice

solution. This is slightly negative but still quite comfortable. Replacing

the outermost floats with SX-90's will bring the system 100 grams closer to

neutral while not interfering with strobe positioning.

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Usually I jump in and am willing to be the first to try newer stuff....... , but I did hear from someone who knows that there used to be a strobe arm company (out of business now), that used plastic or composite ball-joints with "disastrous" results.

 

Now I'm sure these new arms by John are well-tested and won't fail but I'm bent towards caution with non-moulded ball-joints (by that I mean ball joints made not as one solid piece with the arm). You can imagine what might happen to a heavy rig if one broke at the wrong time.

Hi Carol, I totally understand your sentiment. It took me a year to buy a D2x once it was out, and dont forget ive known about these arms for over 2 years. If i hadnt been in the position to try them out, I would probably have done exactly the same as you. Unlike you, im usually not willing to be the first to try out newer stuff, I get to do that at work all too often :blink:

 

And it absolutely does not hurt to wait and see....

 

Yesterday I had a problem with the arms that could possibly affect some people. I usually dive on Nitrox, so I rarely go below 110 feet. I decided to go to 130+ feet to see what would happen, and 1 of the 16 floats we had with us visibly changed shape. I had never ever seen that before. It popped back into shape when we came back up. Im shipping it to John today so he can inspect it with a microscope (his main business is microscopes, I think he makes them).

 

To me this doesn't make much of a difference other than the wish to figure out why. Even at that depth I could handle it easily, although it felt more negative. That is to be expected though, 130 feet is quite deep, but I wish I had noticed this earlier. :( I'll be keeping in touch with John to figure this thing out.

 

I dont think though that a cracked ball would make you drop your housing if thats what you're worried about. Unless the ball would totally disintegrate, the clamps would keep the cracked pieces together. I dont think this will happen though, but..you never know, it is brand new and unproven and thus risky..so again, I totally understand where you come from :)

 

I know my review was really optimistic, but that wasnt so much because of physical attributes but because of personal experience. I have tried so many things (i have a minor tendinitis problem) , this is the first thing that actually worked and doesnt make my housing look like a borg cube.

 

Plus I would like to know how much weight these arms actually displace. The Nikon d200/Subal is more negative than the D2X/Subal. Has anyone really been able to get the d200 neutral or near with these arms? I've found it takes a LOT of buoyancy to achieve just slight negative-weight of Subal ND20/Nikon d200/S& S 110s.

 

So far 2 Patima BCs, one on each 8" arm are working very well for my rig and I want to try a corecell foam buoyancy collar for the 105vr port in combination at depth. I wish arms would handle it all, but I'm skeptical that they will.

 

If it works, dont fix it :D I believe Johm himself uses a D200/Subal combo, maybe he can answer that.... Read Julie's post :(

 

Cor

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Thanks so much Cor and Julie!!

 

It really looks like these arms are easy to use and position, plus, yes they don't look like a "Borg Cube"..... (but then that wouldn't be so bad to a Borg now.....)

 

I think James Wiseman had a similar "deformity" situation with his foam buoyancy collar in Bali, my dive guide Yan told me it crushed a bit (said very nicely with his big smile and gestures.....). But James said it didn't really effect future diving performance of the collar.

 

Plus I think asking anything to preform exactly properly at 130ft plus is a little optimistic. Fortunately we don't spend much time down there anyway to cause too much strain......

 

Julie, it is funny how the different ports and lenses effect the Subal (and other housing) weight specs so much. With the Subal larger optical glass dome port and a fixed Nikon 16mm lens the Subal/d200 is quite negative (almost 4 lbs negative depending of course on strobes, I use the 110s, etc.). About the same with the 60 port. I haven't tried the 105vr yet as far as negative weight? I see John got it only slightly negative with the combination he listed, but the new Subal 105vr port w/o extension rings might be more negative? Or less negative? I guess it depends on the weight of the pieces plus the volume of air trapped inside different configurations, displacement, etc etc. I hate physics!!!! :blink:

 

I bet these arms will work great and I may just order myself some in the future!! :)

 

Tons of Thanks, Carol

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I just moved from film to D200/Subal and have a significant investment in Ultralite arms as both my wife and I shoot, so I'll be keeping them!

In looking at foam material, polyethylene seems to be a good bet, but in the higher densities, >6lb/sq ft. I have some samples that I'll evaluate at depth for compression and then develop a method to get them around Ultralite arms(higher densities do not stretch!). In about 2 months, I'll post a 'how to' report.

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post-4865-1171392855_thumb.jpgI did this the simple way - spent about $3 -$4 on plumbing insulation - cut it into appropriate lengths and wrapped around my flash arms. A 5 foot length is about the length that it comes in. If it lasts more than 25 dives - great - if not - so be it. I also made a collar of 8 mm foam for my DS125's and wrapped them around the front. Found that in my local hobby store. Shipping and handling - $0. Value - maybe priceless - maybe not. It couldn't hurt.

Andy

:lol:

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I did this the simple way - spent about $3 -$4 on plumbing insulation...

 

Let us know how that works uw, Andy. I'm afraid you will find that soft foam insulation like that compresses dramatically at depth, and will be virtually worthless below 50 ft or so. The closed-cell foam people use that seems to work is "hard," stiff stuff that you can't compress with your fingers/hands, and thus resists compression under pressure. OTOH, you might find that your insulation works fine at shallow depths, in which case we'd all like to know!

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I placed my second order with John at 4th Generation Designs yesterday and after a lengthy (and much appreciated) conversation with him, learned a couple things I thought worthy of sharing.

 

1. On the topic of painting the floats, the issue at hand is not whether paint will affect the material or it's effectiveness - it's simply a matter of finding a paint that will not peel off over time. He suggested a glue based prime coat, then paint. Upon receiving my first order, I painted mine with a direct coat of Ford blue tractor spray and have soaked them extensively over the last week with no apparent sign of flaking. Final results TBD.

 

2. An even better idea he shared was to use 1 1/4" black shrink tubing around each float set. On his recommendation, I ordered a 4' package from Mouser Electronics, part number 562-Q2Z114-48N5 - $32.46. Shorter lengths are also available but I am doing my wife's arms as well. Before doing this, I will establish my deired buoyancy with both macro and WA configurations, then seal it up. It should look pretty cool if I don't screw something up.

 

Once complete, I will post pics of the results for those that may be interested. Thanks again to Cor for the lead on this one...

 

Kory

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1. On the topic of painting the floats, the issue at hand is not whether paint will affect the material or it's effectiveness - it's simply a matter of finding a paint that will not peel off over time. He suggested a glue based prime coat, then paint. Upon receiving my first order, I painted mine with a direct coat of Ford blue tractor spray and have soaked them extensively over the last week with no apparent sign of flaking. Final results TBD.

 

Id love to hear your results with this paint after a few dives.

 

2. An even better idea he shared was to use 1 1/4" black shrink tubing around each float set. On his recommendation, I ordered a 4' package from Mouser Electronics, part number 562-Q2Z114-48N5 - $32.46. Shorter lengths are also available but I am doing my wife's arms as well. Before doing this, I will establish my deired buoyancy with both macro and WA configurations, then seal it up. It should look pretty cool if I don't screw something up.

 

I have 4' piece of this tubing here right now. I havent gotten around to applying it to the floats yet. Im planning to take it diving a few times and see if it sticks. Maybe leave my housing in the pool overnight.

 

Cor

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Id love to hear your results with this paint after a few dives.

 

Ditto. My only concern with the shrink tubing is that would allow water in underneath the tape, and there'll be no way to really dry it out. I would envision that getting pretty stinky and messy (e.g., always leaking a little bit of water--salt water--into my camera case on the way home). If there's some paint that really sticks/stays on long-term, that seems like a better option to me. I was thinking a marine epoxy-based paint might work well...

 

BTW, I received my order of floats and arms, and they're considerably smaller/more compact than I expected. B) Can't wait to get them wet and give them a try to see if they're sufficient to neutralize my Seacam monster! :lol: Certainly worth a try!

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Well, I didn't get around to ordering the stix arms in time for my Palau trip coming up this Fri. Instead, I've cut up an old camping pad made from closed cell foam and rolled them tightly around my arms... But they're soft so I reckon it'll compress quickly at depth. Hopefully will provide some buoyancy in the shallows...

 

Meanwhile, looking forward to hearing back from the rest of you who get a chance to use the stix arms...

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First of all, anyone get their arms yet?

 

Second, I played around with some shrink tubing. Ive done maybe 5 dives with this now, and it seems to work ok. I went to 140 feet yesterday and the tubing does come loose a bit because the floats shrink slightly at that depth. So it's important to have a bit of an edge around the sides. It also seemed like at depth the material became softer. Maybe that was my imagination. I also do think this could leave some salt water behind that's hard to dry. Paint may be a better option. Someone tried some paint yet? If not, anyone want to suggest some type of paint so I can try it out?

 

Here's some photos. Eric, will this still attract Tigers? :) (the remaining white floats will be fixed later, they're different size floats).

 

132002501-S-1.jpg132002507-S-1.jpg

 

Regards,

 

Cor

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...I played around with some shrink tubing...could leave some salt water behind that's hard to dry. Paint may be a better option. Someone tried some paint yet?

 

Cor,

 

Those look really sharp with the shrink tubing! I'm going to try some black marine spray paint on mine and will try them out on several dozen dives at Socorro in late March, and will report back as to how the paint holds up...

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Cor,

 

Those look really sharp with the shrink tubing! I'm going to try some black marine spray paint on mine and will try them out on several dozen dives at Socorro in late March, and will report back as to how the paint holds up...

Do you buy that paint at a shipyard or something? Im in yachtie heaven here in the Virgin Islands so im sure I should be able to find some paint. Any brand/type that you can share so I can go look around?

 

Did you get your housing wet yet Bruce?

 

Cor

Edited by cor

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