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Yorkie88

Seafrogs A6XXX salted line buoyancy

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Hi all,

I recently bought a used a6xxx salted line housing, the previous owner had a leak on one of the top dial controls but said it's been taken apart, cleaned and re assembled but not tested. It does feel like there is a bit of play on the shaft part but I don't know if that's normal or not - it needs to move so some play might be acceptable.

I'm planning on taking it out empty to check it this weekend (saltwater) but wondered if anyone knew roughly how buoyant it would be so I can guess how much weight to put in/on it.

Knowing that it had previously leaked is a risk, but at 1/3 of the new price I figured it was worth a shot...... should just be o-rings for the seal I guess and seafrogs said they might be able to sell me some spare o-rings if it leaks after testing.

Cheers

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Depending on what port you have mounted, and without a camera inside, you'll probably need about 1.5-2kg of weight to sink it. Less with a macro port, more with an 8" dome. With a tray, arms and strobes, I'm carrying about 500g of weights on the port (reverse side of the dome base) to make it neutral with 8" dome, and swap regular arms for float arms with long macro port and 90mm macro lens - otherwise it goes seriously negative without the dome.

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That is why most people with expensive cameras have vacuum systems. That said, DO NOT TEST IN SALT WATER. Test in a fresh water at home. Even so, housings are under pressure at depth. So, the results of a foot or two of water may give some piece of mind you won't know until at depth. So if the home test passes, then on the ocean attach a line with more than enough weight and let'r go.  Drop at least 30+ feet. Upon retrieval, you will have your answer without risking the camera.

Vacuum systems are not that expensive and cheaper than gear insurance!

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8 hours ago, Barmaglot said:

Depending on what port you have mounted, and without a camera inside, you'll probably need about 1.5-2kg of weight to sink it. Less with a macro port, more with an 8" dome. With a tray, arms and strobes, I'm carrying about 500g of weights on the port (reverse side of the dome base) to make it neutral with 8" dome, and swap regular arms for float arms with long macro port and 90mm macro lens - otherwise it goes seriously negative without the dome.

It's the standard flat port so I think I'll see if I can get a 2kg to put in, doesn't matter too much if it's a bit negative, I'll just clip it off to a d ring to make sure I don't drop it.

It'll be a shallow shore dive anyway so no real danger of losing it!

 

Cheers

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7 hours ago, bill1946 said:

That is why most people with expensive cameras have vacuum systems. That said, DO NOT TEST IN SALT WATER. Test in a fresh water at home. Even so, housings are under pressure at depth. So, the results of a foot or two of water may give some piece of mind you won't know until at depth. So if the home test passes, then on the ocean attach a line with more than enough weight and let'r go.  Drop at least 30+ feet. Upon retrieval, you will have your answer without risking the camera.

Vacuum systems are not that expensive and cheaper than gear insurance!

I'm thinking about a vacuum port for the future, thought I'd check it's somewhat waterproof before adding that on.

 

The dive site is only about 8m/24ft so it won't be a great pressure check, but better than land... slightly.

 

I'll stick it in the bath or something tonight to check for anything obvious.

Cheers

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Housings are actually more likely to leak in shallow water, the deeper you go the more force pushing on the o-ring.  The o-ring needs to be loaded to seal.  That's why rinse tanks are the site for many floods.

 

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3 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

Housings are actually more likely to leak in shallow water, the deeper you go the more force pushing on the o-ring.  The o-ring needs to be loaded to seal.  That's why rinse tanks are the site for many floods.

 

And this is another reason the vacuum systems are nice....they preload those o-rings a bit.

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4 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

Housings are actually more likely to leak in shallow water, the deeper you go the more force pushing on the o-ring.  The o-ring needs to be loaded to seal.  That's why rinse tanks are the site for many floods.

 

Thanks Chris, good to know - the shallow test dive may be more useful than I gave it credit for.

Hopefully it won't leak anyway........but if it does then I'll look at stripping the relevant controls out and reassembling it myself, then testing again.

Worst case scenario is that I have to buy a new housing (which I was going to do before I got this one anyway) and I have this one for spare parts....maybe seafrogs could sell me one with the macro port or a dome and no standard flat port :sorry:

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Annoyingly the weight I borrowed from the shop is a bit too big (they don't have soft weights as far as I know) so I might have to postpone the test.

I'll take it along anyway and see if the DM reckons I'd get by with it floating around if I just wear the extra weight...... doubt it though. Probably a better idea to just do it next time and arrange some soft weights in advance

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Too large? Or too heavy? If it slightly overweight, I wouldn't worry. If too large, just tie it on. It doesn't have to be fancy or inside the housing.

It's when the housing is excessively positively buoyant that it gets really annoying. I wanted to do a camera-less test of my Subal housing with an 8" domeport a few weeks ago in Bonaire. The damn thing was trying to drag me up the surface all the time.

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Too large (would stop it closing) and it doesn't have any holes.

Might be doing a pool session in a few weeks so that is probably a better place to test it.

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Put it inside a string bag tied to the housing?

Even if it did fit inside, I'd be wary of doing that in case the weight starts jumping about and damages one of the internal housing controls

 

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Yeah I had wrapped in a couple of socks to avoid that but was dubious about it anyway.

I have a neoprene pouch from my sealife, maybe I'll stick it in that and thread it on to the lanyard, see how that looks/feels. Shame I don't have any ankle weights to clip round the port :lol:

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The weight in a pouch worked! :lol:

The housing leaked though :(

 

It was half expected, just need to decide whether to try and fix it or just get a whole new one now. Probably about 10-15ml after a 45 minutes dive at 4-5m, pushing all the buttons while down there

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Good news, bad news eh?!

You couldn't detect which control was causing the leak? Might be worth repeating with, say, tissue paper stuffed inside. If you can surface soon after you know there's a leak, you might be able to narrow down the location. Or, alternatively, could you send the housing to the manufacturer and get them to service it for you - and then pressure test?

 

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Yeah, couldn't really see where it was from but the guy I bought it from did say it previously leaked from one of the dials on the top.

I've emailed seafrogs to see if they sell the back half separately but I doubt they will! Next time I can test it in the pool, will see if I can get something that will show up where it leaks, maybe some cereal box cardboard around the edges or something - should go dark where it leaks then hopefully

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Yeah, the cereal box is a good idea. That should darken slowly if it's a small leak.

You'll only need to go to 4-5m  - but maybe that's not feasible in a pool.

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So they don't sell the back on its own, or aren't willing to due to me not buying it direct from them (which I expected really), and they also don't sell the housing with any other ports, you always have to get the standard one.

 

They did say I can buy the dial that I suspect is the issue and some spare o rings so I'll try that out. If that doesn't work then I'll just have to buy a whole new one.

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