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sunnyboy010101

How do you store your housing & strobes

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I'm not a newbie to underwater photography, but I am a newbie to DLSR housing UW photography.

 

I bought a used NA-D7 housing, arms and strobes. It's a large step-up from my current rig, and raises the question: How to best store the housing and strobes on land?

 

The housing came with 4 strobe arms, 2 long & 2 shorter. The arms look like dumbells (i.e. not the light aluminum struts but rods with 1" balls on the ends). There are also some floats that attach to the rods.

 

In the photo from the buyer everything was assembled, but of course it all came in pieces for shipping.

 

So when you store your housing on land between dives, do you leave the strobes attached to the arms and the arms attached to the housing, or do you disassemble all that stuff into "parts"?

 

As to the housing, I'm currently storing it with the port removed so as to not squish the o-ring between dives. Also I'm keeping the housing back loosely on the front, but all latches open - again to keep from compressing the o-ring.

 

The strobes are DS125's and I'm keeping the battery packs loosely connected but not latched (again for o-rings).

 

Am I doing this properly, or is there a "pro" way to store the housing and strobes and arms between dives.

 

Thanks.

-R

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It probably depends on how often you dive. I have been diving on average at least every other week lately, so I leave everything assembled. Just swap out batteries.

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I usually dive with a camera every week, or at least every two weeks.

 

My current camera setup is a G16 in an Ikelite TTL housing with a single DS51 on an arm and a sola 1200 light on flex line on the other handle. What I've been doing is leaving he housing open and loosening the locks for the strobe arm segments.

 

Before the dive I insert the camera, close the back, tighten the arms and install DS51 batteries, then take a test shot with strobe to be sure it's all good to go.

 

Sounds like that will be the way to go with the new housing and arms as well.

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I dive less often, but at least once a month and sometime twice. I disassemble everything for cleaning, and then reassemble. My housing has a hinged back with a rotary latch, which I leave engaged but loose to preserve the O-ring. Same with the strobe battery compartments. Once reassembled, I keep the entire rig in one of those large soft coolers which are padded and waterproof, so it doubles as my personal rinse tank on the boat so I do not have to deal with the collective one. This is by far the best storage solution I have ever seen. When I am ready to dive, just insert the camera, and the batteries in the strobes and you are good to go.

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I've bought a cheap soft cooling bag which I use as my "camera bag" for diving. Between dive trips, I remove the camera from the housing, take out the batteries from the strobes, store all my UW photo gear in the cooling bag together with the rest of my diving gear, and store my UW camera together with my topside camera gear.

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Thanks. I have one of those bags I bought when I used to go on boats more frequently. It would hold the assembled camera quite securely, so I'll probably use that. I may store the housing back separately with the two strobe batteries (i.e. in a box) but we'll see how it sorts out.

 

First i have to assemble it all again and then take the housing only for a dive to make sure it's A-OK before using it with a camera. Given it's for a D7 (mk I) it has the moisture detector but no vacuum system. Those are pricey.

 

But then, *everything* for a underwater DLSR is expensive. Very, very expensive And all in $US (for us in Canada, anyway).

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Two more questions

 

1. For those storing the housing and arms assembled, do you also leave the port on the housing between dives?

 

2. I have two different length strobe arms, a 5in and an 8in (two of each). Looking at web photos, I see some set-ups with the short arms connected to the camera (and long arms to the strobes) and others reversed - long arms connected to the camera and short arms to the strobes.

 

I can't see any preference at this point, so I'm wondering if there is a "standard" way to configure the long and short arms, and is there a reason for that config? Or does it matter?

Edited by sunnyboy010101

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I leave the port on, but that's because I only have 1 port that works for all 3 of my lenses.

 

Short one closest to the camera. With the long one closest, you can't get the strobe as close in when taking macro shots. Also, since the mounting points are raised up, if you put the shorter one first, then you can have the strobe rest on the ground when the camera is set down.

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Thanks very much.

 

Do you remove the port occasionally?

 

I realize that if you just use one port, it makes sense leaving it on. After all, my G16 housing does have ports you can change, but I'm pretty sure most everyone just leaves the port it came with on always. I certainly do.

 

There's the two competing issues - leave it on an the o-ring may take a 'set', but if you remove a functional, dry port you risk 'doing something' that might cause it to leak. Certainly I prefer the latter with my G16. Besides, I didn't buy the other port so I'd be taking it off for no reason really. The same logic can probably be applied to the Nauticam. Put on the port, test the housing empty in water and then just leave it alone until I buy another port and need to change.

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If you aren't going to change the port, then I wouldn't take a port off. If you know it's dry and seals well, all you would do is open it up to future failure from a careless O-ring cleaning. You don't periodically pull out O-rings from buttons do you? Same concept there.

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Thanks again.

 

Last question for now - what about the strobe sync cord?

 

For my G16 housing and DS51 strobe, I normally leave the sync cable connected all the time. I do slide back the strain relief to be sure my rinse water gets there, but that's all. I only disconnect the sync cord for maintenance or troubleshooting. Otherwise, like you said - you don't routinely pull o-rings off buttons. Once the seal is made and good, I tend to leave well enough alone. The only thing I do before each dive is make sure all connections are still tight.

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If you aren't going to change the port, then I wouldn't take a port off. If you know it's dry and seals well, all you would do is open it up to future failure from a careless O-ring cleaning. You don't periodically pull out O-rings from buttons do you? Same concept there.

 

I use my system weekly for perhaps nine months of the year, then montly over the winter. I tend to leave stuff together following the point made above... if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I tend to store it with the back unlatched.

 

Having said that, I do pull everything apart every once in a while to clean and lube. Bear in mind that I dive primarily in fresh water, so salt isn't a concern. I am preparing to head off to Belize shortly, and I spent most of yesterday cleaning and lubing and replacing some o-rings... including the ones on my sync cables, although I haven't done this in years.

 

I wanted to mention though, that I removed the small extension ring on my 8" dome... something I rarely do, since that's the only place I use it. It was clearly dry and I could feel a bit of a "ridge" in it. I replaced that one. (I have a new 4" dome coming this week, so this ring is going to get moved around a bit.)

 

Regarding the o-rings around buttons... I don't think you will find a manufacturer that DOESN'T recommend that your housing shouldn't be completely overhauled from time to time. Those small, hidden o-rings dry out, and likely get bits of debris in them.

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Slightly related question. Today I installed the port and then water tested the housing (large bin full of water). No problems.

 

However, when I was done and the housing dry, I found the rubber wheel that fits on the mode controller wheel (sets P, Av, At, M etc) had fallen off the control. Closer look revealed the rubber wheel had a break in it.

 

This is a tiny part and I don't see it in parts lists, certainly not from dealers.I'm thinking as it's just a single break and seems otherwise sound I could glue it and just keep using it. How do you all deal with this type of thing?

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This is a tiny part and I don't see it in parts lists, certainly not from dealers.I'm thinking as it's just a single break and seems otherwise sound I could glue it and just keep using it. How do you all deal with this type of thing?

 

Whatever way you can! I have had funny little things happen over the years. Most recently, I tiny spring that retracts the focus lock control got mangled. I took some macro images of it, and sent them to Aquatica. They sent me a replacement in the mail.

 

I've had the little vinyl/rubber tips wear out on controls... I used a tiny strip of Duct Tape wrapped around the end until once again, Aquatica sent me a little bag of them...

 

I had one of the female battery connections come unstuck from the housing on my Ikelite 161. When I lifted the battery pack out, the female terminal tried to pull out of the strobe body. I could feel the resistance and was able to fix it with a tiny bit of marine epoxy.

 

The rubber ring around my Tokina lens came lose... No time to send it to Tokina to repair as I was leaving on a trip, so a few drops of Krazy Glue stuck it "temporarily". That was three years ago.

 

My point is, you do what you need to to keep diving and shooting. I'd send a pic of your rubber wheel to the manufacturer but glue it in the mean time (assuming you can replace it ok). It it's "good as new" then you'll have a spare.

Edited by Stoo

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Thanks Stoo. I did send Nauticam a photo today with the same questions (glue or replace). Here's the photo...

 

Just trying to figure out which glue to use. I'm thinking a very thin smear of 5-min epoxy might be best. I never have any crazy glue around because the tubes always crystallize before the second use (it's usually a long time between when I need it). :-)

post-46059-0-42782900-1488860692_thumb.jpg

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Did you know you can buy Krazy Glue in what are basically single-use tubes? There's a few of them sold together, but they're kinda handy!

 

I suspect that the trick with that particular repair is that if the adhesive creates any "thickness" the hole diameter might end up larger than the shaft it presumably sticks on.

 

Is it soft rubber, or is it hard plastic? At Home Depot they have a really good "adhesives" display with about two dozen different types with a listing of what each will stick...

Edited by Stoo

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Stoo, that is too cool! I'll have to look for them. It's rubber, but somewhat hard. Not squishy and soft like sponge rubber or neoprene, but more like the consistency of a car tire material.

 

Worst case I can always glue it to the shaft. That type of repair is usually pretty easy to remove and clean up later if necessary.

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