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tarzana

Ikelite Sunstrobe DS 51

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I have taken my single sunstrobe DS 51 on a second vacation and had it flood for the second time. I know how to grease an o ring and close it properly since i had a nikonos 103 for 18 years and no flooding occurred at any time.

 

the first time it flooded in borneo. i used it for about 8 dives and it flooded (it worked on the last dive then back on the boat it was quite apparent that sea juice got inside!) this last time in Puerto Galera i took it for a test drive to 90 feet and and it was aok.. went for a second dive and it again worked fine the whole dive and when i came up the dreaded black liquid came out of the battery case when i opened it.

 

i just talked to the ikelite repair department and they said that i could be tightening it just one quarter turn too much. if this is so ( and i do not think i overdid it) this strobe is a very delicate creature.

 

has anyone else had any problems with theirs?

 

tarzana

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I had one leak in fresh water that did no damage. I think I didn't tighten the screw up enough. I think the instructions are a bit misleading as they say don't use a tool to tighten the screw but on the web site it suggests using a coin. I always use a coin to tighten the back now and so far so good.

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We purchased 2 of them over a year ago. We have had 3 floods. Other than a specific Princeton Tec light, I consider the DS51 the worst dive item I've ever purchased.

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only once and 100% my fault.

 

I had the compartment of a DS-50 flood because i didnt tighten it at all. (the batteries were just charged, so i thought I let it cool down before tightening, during the 2,5 hour drive. I forgot to do so before the dive. It was tight enough to work somewhat during the dive, only during rinsing i discovered a rust trail from the battery compartment.

 

I just spend a week diving with double DS-51 s with no problems. I greased the screw a bit, and the oring itself only slightly (and not every time when replacing batteries, sometimes just wiping it clean). I dont use coin, but hand tighten it till i am not able to turn it anymore.

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I've used various DS51's and SS50's for a while and haven't flooded one yet. They use a face sealing o-ring that needs to be pre-loaded with just the right amount of tension I think. Too little and it doesn't seal. Too much and you warp the door so that the o-ring doesn't seal.

 

I wish I could tell you how many "foot pounds" of torque to put on the knob :-) I just tighten it as finger tight as I can get w/o straining.

 

The Nikonos strobes use a bore sealing o-ring that does not require this type of treatment - so is much more forgiving. That's what the SS and DS200's use also and incidentally so do the Inon strobes.

 

Cheers

James

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thank you everyone for answering this query. The saga continues:

 

after I got my strobe back, i counted the turns it took to open the strobe's hatch, i then greased the o ring with the grease given by ike (can you use the nikonos grease?) then i closed it the same number of turns. when i took it in the water right away a few bubbles started to come out of the hatch area. i immediately brought the camera to the boat and a guy rinsed out the battery case area. i checked it later and because this was done right away it did not damage it enough so it will not flash but you can see a bit of oxidation inside. if i had taken it down water would have continued to come in.

 

i totally exasperated with this strobe. i decided to not dive with it here in Okinawa again and just take the whole set up to palau in 3 more days and hope for the best there. if it floods again i am going to ask for a refund! i know how to ready a strobe for a dive as i have had a nikonos strobe since 1985...somehow i have not had luck with this sunstrobe 51!!!

 

that is interesting, james your explanation about the difference btw the nikonos and the ike strobe’s o ring sealing properties. also how long exactly have you been using your sunstrobe 51's?

 

the reason that i bought the ike was its ttl capability. i wanted to buy the second one but at this point I do not have much confidence in this piece of equipment. Are there any other options for strobes for Canon G9 that are good quality, less problematic and have the TTL capability?

 

Also apologies for not replying sooner but I did not get an email saying that anyone replied to my question. I guess something got turned off in my settings cause I was getting them before!

 

Thanks once again

Tarzana

 

One more thing. I do LOVE my G9 camera and when the strobe works it is magical.. if you want to see my photo book from borneo (uw work done before the first flood!) you may do so by going to

http://harwanko.com/travel-logs.htm and clicking on the Borneo book

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I've got a total of 3 DS50s, which haven't changed the DS51 in terms of the battery door seal, and none of them have ever flooded in my posession. All three were bought used. One (the oldest, both in my ownership and in serial number) does show some damage to the battery orientation label that indicates there was wetness inside the battery compartment at one point or another...but that's it. When you first submerge them you might see a few bubbles as the channel around the door itself floods (with surface tension it might hold bubbles inside for a bit), but that should be over very quickly.

 

A few suggestions:

 

DO clean the o-ring mating channel on the strobe side. With face-sealing o-rings this is just as important as keeping the o-ring exposed face clean itself. Excess grease can build up in an apparent hard surface but will still be porous (or worse yet attract sand, etc.)

 

DON'T overgrease these o-rings. They're face-sealing so you don't need 'lubrication' to allow mating surfaces to slip over them...just enough to keep them the slightest bit glossy will do. Any more actually does more harm than good, since it breaks the surface tension of water, and potentially lets debris (hair, etc) stick to the ring.

 

DON"T overtighten. Hand-tighten as much as you can (unless you're the Hulk, in which case back off even from that) and then at most another quarter-turn with a coin. Under water it's water pressure that holds the seal anyway, the screw is really just for the surface.

 

DON"T leave them out in the sun, or put batteries in when hot and freshly charged, or otherwise do something that could lead to too much hot air pushing its way out past the o-ring and leaving too much of a negative pressure interior vs. more normal ambient temperatures. Once near the surface in cooler surroundings, they might 'suck' water past the seal.

 

DON'T use any batteries with any damage to them. A single drop to the ground can 'dent' the negative or positive cylindrical end to the point where the batteries don't make good contact and the strobe won't work, and/or might also somehow contribute to the door not pushing down flat. I did have this problem (in the sense that the strobe wouldn't fire with a particular battery or two, which were just not seating properly). There's really no excess space in that compartment at all.

 

I've only got a sum total of about 35 dives on these three strobes - 15 on the first one and 20 on the newer set of two - but I think I can say your experiences seem like really bad odds. I'd have thought if the design overall was that bad, with 3 old ones I'd have seen at least one failure by now. Or maybe it's a matter of 'infant mortality' and I'm sampling data only from "survivors"? :P

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Change the hatch. If you can, send the strobe back to ikelite. If you are not happy with this options, change strobe brand.

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Rodriquezfelix. i am on my way to palau and will not send it back to ikelite at this point. i have reported that there was a bit of damage inside the last time that it started to flood. it has been back twice to ikelite already! if it does flood again that is what i will do but for now i need to try it again and hope for the best.

 

rtrski. thanks for your tips. the bubble i saw am pretty sure were the beginning of another flood because when i opened the hatch there was rust and before the submersion there was none. ikelite had hinted that maybe i had tightened it too much but maybe they were wrong...thanks for your tips. i will hope to keep the water out so that i can get good shots at jellyfish lake and the other great sites in palau.

 

tarzana

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I used a DS50 for 3 years and over 80 dives and not once did I flood the battery compartment. I did flood the bulkhead once, but that was because I forgot to tighten the sync cord knob.

 

A friend bought a new DS51 and it flooded on the first dive. He sent it back to Ikelite and they repaired it and replaced the battery door and he hasn't had a problem since. I suspect it was a faulty door. He now has a second one which also hasn't had any problems.

 

My guess is yours maybe a faulty battery door.

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success on the first day in palau ;)

 

how often do you grease the o rings and clean the o-ring mating channels? we are going out for about 3 dives a day. would you do it every day if u were doing 3 dives

 

thank u all for your suggestions!

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success on the first day in palau ;)

 

how often do you grease the o rings and clean the o-ring mating channels? we are going out for about 3 dives a day. would you do it every day if u were doing 3 dives

 

thank u all for your suggestions!

post-2520-1213997603_thumb.jpg

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I would check/clean them every time you open the strobe, and grease them once per day.

 

Cheers

James

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