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water buffalo

Do you like having a vacuum system?

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I just received a quote for an Ikelite D500 housing and they asked me if I also wanted a quote on the vacuum kit. I have owned Ike housings for the D70s, D80 and D300 and never had a problem. So I ask myself, is this leak detection system worth another $185?

 

It certainly makes sense to protect my investment, but never having owned one I wonder it it's a gimmick or a necessity. If you have one - for any housing - do you think it is a justifiable expense?

Edited by water buffalo

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Absolutely!

 

I'm on my second Nauticam housing where I added a vacuum system. I've been using the valve sold by Bill Libecap since 2011.

Been evacuating my system since 2011 (when everyone on the dive boat teased me about my "male enhancement device" (it's actually a brake fluid changing pump)) to now (when it seems almost everyone has some form of a vacuum device).

 

It is a form of insurance, on top of vigilance.

I've been able to catch events where the case o-ring popped out of the trough at closure, prior to jumping in and flooding my camera.

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Yep. I have been using one on a Nauticam housing for several years and would never again get in the water without one. Peace of mind and another layer of safety are easily worth the incremental 3% in cost

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Absolutely! Will work wonders for your piece of mind. I too have it on my Nauticam housings. Not a bad price at $185. A wine pump works for the Nauticam design :starfish: .

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I have one in my new housing, I've been using it for about a year now.

 

I'm very careful in my preparation and maintenance, and so far, after about ten years of using cameras I haven't flooded one or a strobe.

 

The vacuum system does add a layer of peace of mind, but I find it sometimes as an annoyance, one more thing to do before and after diving. I kinda like having it, but I didn't feel like I needed one before I got this one. So for me I could go either way. I have it, so I use it, but I wouldn't miss it too much if it were gone.

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I agree with the the guys: definitely. It's well worth it.

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I don't like having a vacuum system, I LOVE it!! It means you can be even lazier about checking O-rings than normal. I have a Leak Sentinal in a Nauticam and wouldn't be without it.

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The Ikelite system is quite different than the Nauticam in that you simply draw air out with their pump and see if there are any leaks. You would need to repeat this right before diving as well to check that a small leak hasn't happened in the meantime. Nauticam, Aquatica and third party Leak Sentinel measures the pressure on a constant basis and adjusts for pressure and temperature differences before and during your dive. If a small leak occurs, a light changes to yellow and lets you know that you might have an issue.

 

The good news is that Vivid's Leak Sentinel can be easily installed in the Ikelite vacuum port (or an unused control on older housings.

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I have the Leak Sentinel (in a Nauticam Housing) and can absolutely recommend it. As Jack mentioned, it constantly monitors the vacuum, even if you switch it off in the evening and back on in the morning!

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Thank you everyone for your feedback. I did order the Ikelite version after seeing the first few responses but wish I had seen the info about the Leak Sentinel first. It is pricier but I like the fact that it is constantly monitoring.

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My first dive out with the camera, my latches on an Aquatica had popped open in rough surf. Must have gotten caught on kelp, my weight belt or something. The vacuum system kept my gear dry. It has happened a few more times (I am a freediver, so admittedly am a bit more energetic than scuba divers).

 

It's also worth it for peace of mind - I seal up my camera before I leave, and check again at the dive site. If the vacuum is maintained, then I am much more confident. Without that check the vacuum has been maintained, it's always nerve-wracking to dunk the camera in the water.

I am looking into a second housing now, and absolutely will invest in a vacuum system for it.

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We have the "Vivid" systems on both housings.

Purchased the first ones and then upgraded to the current ones.

"Don't leave home with out them"!!

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I have Backscatter housing suckers installed on my Seacam housings for the Nikon D3X, Canon 1DX and Canon 1D4 so I must be sold to the concept! I draw the vacuum down to -10" to further compress the O-rings since I shoot a lot in shallow water. The internal pressure is thus about 2/3 of 1 atmosphere. See: http://www.backscatter.com/Backscatter-AirLock-Vacuum-Manual-System-Bulkhead

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I resisted when buying my NA D500, as I've never felt I needed one before. It's great for your peace of mind, but I did find it a pain when the little green light wouldn't come on when changing to my dome in the boat halfway through this year's Shootout. Went back to macro, that wouldn't work either. Turns out you have to reset the switch or push the button in front when you pull the port. RTFM better I guess. Definitely worth it, though.

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My dive buddy just got a new D500 and Nauticam housing. After putting a new dome on it, he found it would not hold a vacuum. After many hours of puzzlement, he found a dog hair on the main, not port o-ring. Problem solved, and brand new camera saved. Dove once with a guy who had a Red Epic. His housing would not hold a vacuum, but he dove with it anyway because he had "insurance". Maybe, he just wanted cash or a new camera. The housing flooded almost immediately.

 

I have never had a flood or leak with my Nauticam vacuum system. Once, the vacuum was slowly lost, and I did not take it diving. That probably saved my camera.

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I have Backscatter housing suckers installed on my Seacam housings for the Nikon D3X, Canon 1DX and Canon 1D4 so I must be sold to the concept! I draw the vacuum down to -10" to further compress the O-rings since I shoot a lot in shallow water. The internal pressure is thus about 2/3 of 1 atmosphere. See: http://www.backscatter.com/Backscatter-AirLock-Vacuum-Manual-System-Bulkhead

I am also using the Backscatter system. Like it very much.

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I have Vivid's V Leak Sentinel in my subal and love it. I like it better than the one that do not show you a light when all is well. I love the green light while diving-meaning all is well.

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I have the Bill Liebcap vacuum system on my Ikelite housing. The vacuum keeps it closed even if the latches are not done up. And the warning lights let me know if there is a leak.
The warning lights are important. I had vacuum sealed my housing, went for a dive and noticed moisture in the housing, The lights warned me. A slight crack in the dome, where the dome was cemented to the base was letting in a slight amount of moisture.
I, at first thought it was condensation but the salt crystals surprised me. Leak is now fixed.

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