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otter

What to do with my L&M Mako

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I purchased a PC-110 and L&M Mako with Sunray Halogen Lights about 6 years ago. for the most part, I only shoot warm water locations which is 3 - 4 times a year (another issue). On my last trip, I noticed that the infrared controls of the lights from the handles no longer work. During the trip one of the batteries finally failed (it didn't get a lot usage, but it was 'old'). I suspect the other will not be far behind.

 

While I have been relatively happy with output, the limitations of the camera/housing (e.g. no controls for WB or Exposure) have created pockets of disappointment. Now I take responsibility for a large part of it (not researching enough), but I am trying to figure out whether its worth paying the ~$120/each for these proprietary batteries; something like $300 for the annual service or whether its time to upgrade to HD.

 

There is no upgrade path with this housing. I am thinking about upgrading the lighting to HIDs. I have been reading about the challenges with the HC-7.

 

I realize in writing this, its rather obtuse, but I am not sure where to go next...

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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The PC 110 was a decent one chip cam in its day(long past) and was a good entry camcorder for someone just entering the uw video endeavor. What to do with it will demand an insightful investigation of where you want to go with uw films. If you are thinking that you would like to start entering competitions, shoot promos or footage than the time to move on up to a higher end system left the gate awhile ago. If you have been happy with the type of shooting/film making that you have been doing than repairing the system will still be far less than buying a whole new one. Remember that most good housings cost more than the camcorder itself. While I have been an HID user for several years now, there is much to be said for the warmth that a good halogen light provides. In fact, I use to bring two sets of lights with me, HIDs for day and Halogens for night. My current HIDs are great for both. Also, rather than the HC-7 you might want to investigate a Sony A1-U.

Ultimately, you will need to decide on your motives in filming.

Steve B)

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Two things to look at that may save you some money.

On my last trip, I noticed that the infrared controls of the lights from the handles no longer work
Have you replaced the batteries in the handgrips?
During the trip one of the batteries finally failed (it didn't get a lot usage, but it was 'old'). I suspect the other will not be far behind
Check to make sure the pins and receptacles on the wet connectors are clean and free of corrosion. Dirty connections will shorten burn time.

Dan

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I doubt those handgrip batteries are really proprietary. I bought spare handgrip batteries for my Bluefin from a local electrical shop.

 

You might want to hold onto those lights even if you sell the housing and buy a different brand. I've now got 3 sets of Sunray halogen lights. For macro in dark places and at night they're excellent. As Dan referred to I had problems with the connectors in the past and with my latest set of lights I've avoided problems by putting plenty of silicon grease on those 3 pins before each assembly.

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Excellent points and good ones to ponder. With a nearly fully operational system, I am hard pressed to drop in the recycling bin. I also realize that while my friends are impressed with the quality, thats about as far as it will go.....oh well, such is technology!

 

As for the battery situation, sorry for being unclear. The battery that seems to be failing is the in the pods, not the handles. It took a full charge, but when I turn it on, it immediately drops down to the next brightest and then next, and then off. I can repeat it over and over again. I swapped batteries/pods and the problem followed the battery.

 

On that note, assuming I need to replace the battery in the POD, are there any other manufacturers?

 

As for the infrared and checking the battery in the left grip, excellent point. I will definitely check it out.

 

Thanks

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Otter,

If it were me, I would send the entire system, sans camcorder, to L & M to check out the pods, lights and light batteries. Replacing the handle batteries, or at least, carrying extras would be a smart move as well. If you need new pod batteries they will tell you, but, perhaps if it is a different problem, at least that would be taken care of. Then when all is as it should be, you can decide to keep the system or sell it and move up. Either way, should you decide to sell the system, it will need to be in good working order for you to sell it ethically.

Steve B)

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There is no upgrade path with this housing.

 

Maybe you have already researched this, but when I was looking to upgrade to a new housing I called L&M and asked them directly about upgrading. I explained my situation, let them know I wanted to spend a good sum of cash on a new L&M housing, and they were willing to work with me. They have me credit on my old housing towards the new housing.

 

The best part of this story is the fact that my trade-in housing was an Ikelite and Ikelite lighting setup. They gave me $1K for my old housing :lol:

 

Ryan

Edited by scubanerd

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As for the battery situation, sorry for being unclear. The battery that seems to be failing is the in the pods, not the handles. It took a full charge, but when I turn it on, it immediately drops down to the next brightest and then next, and then off. I can repeat it over and over again. I swapped batteries/pods and the problem followed the battery.

 

On that note, assuming I need to replace the battery in the POD, are there any other manufacturers?

The life of those batteries does shorten after a while. I've got quite a few that are more or less dead.

 

I think you can only get them from L&M and they are really expensive. There's a guy in an electronics shop here in Phuket who reckons he can order the individual Ni-MH cells and rebuild them for much less money than buying new ones so one day I might try that.

 

The key to holding reasonably good life with these batteries is to fully charge them after your trip, before storage. I always do this now and I give them another charge after some months if they're not used for a long time. This strategy also works well for Li-ion camera batteries. Always charge them up before storage.

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On the care issue for a battery Nick is absolutely correct. One other thing that can help, if you haven't been using the batteries for awhile and intend to go on a trip, is to charge the battery, then discharge them (I just put them in the sink and let them burn) and recharge them one more time. Then I pack and go.

Steve B)

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Otter,

If it were me, I would send the entire system, sans camcorder, to L & M to check out the pods, lights and light batteries. Replacing the handle batteries, or at least, carrying extras would be a smart move as well. If you need new pod batteries they will tell you, but, perhaps if it is a different problem, at least that would be taken care of. Then when all is as it should be, you can decide to keep the system or sell it and move up. Either way, should you decide to sell the system, it will need to be in good working order for you to sell it ethically.

Steve B)

 

Certainly, I would either sell it with full disclosure or have it completely repaired. I am just not sure the system 's value would equal the repair cost.....

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Easy to find out, sent the system to L & M for an estimate. If it is too high for you they will send it back and you are out only shipping to them. You do need to call them first to get a work order. Ask for Paul in service, he will be very helpful.

Steve B)

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