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I recently got a new Ikelite housing for my mirrorless camera.  I installed the vacuum pump port and did a test and noticed a tiny leak (visible only after a full day of sitting), but this was expected since I hadn't cleaned or lubricated any o-rings yet.  So I just went through and removed lint and such and added silicone to the main o-ring on the back of the housing, the one for the port, and the one for the port extension.  It looks like it is still leaking.  I also should note that I had installed both the vacuum pump port and the port for the strobe cable, so that gives me 5 possible leak sources of my own doing.  I trust the other buttons and such done by the company itself.

So my question is, is there an easy way to identify which o-ring is the cause of the leak?  Or do I just have to keep trying each one individually until I register no leak?

Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

When you say you noticed a tiny leak, was this with a gauge?  Is it possible the temperature changed.  If it is colder the pressure inside will fall, if it is hotter it will rise.  It has to change a reasonable amount to detect.  A change 20 to 25°C would result in a pressure change of +0.02 bar or plus 0.3 psi

On the o-rings if they seal initially, then lubricating should not make any difference.  The lube does not provide the seal it just allows the o-ring to move in the seal channel so it can press against the surface in response to external pressure. 

The rear o-ring on ikelite housings does not need lubricant as it just presses against the back door, it does not need to move -there is no sliding between the o-ring and the part when you install it - unlike the port o-ring which needs lube.

If you installed the ports initially without lube you may have twisted or damaged your o-ring there when pushing on the port. Inspect your o-rings for twists or nicks and be sure they they sit properly in their groove.   Use magnification and good lighting to closely check the o-ring condition.

Also when you installed the vacuum port and bulkhead did you check the seats and o-rings were clean and did you lightly lubricate the o-rings on each of those ports?

Edited by ChrisRoss
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Pack the inside with clean paper and submerse for a time.

Open case and look for wet spot location.

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Hey guys.  I'm only just getting the time to circle back to this.  It currently is losing vacuum at around 0.25-0.5 inches of mercury in around 12-15 hours.  After a few days it gets around 1 inch or mercury lower than its starting point of 10.  I am leaving the pump connected the whole time since that has the gauge on it.  I don't know if there is a chance of the leak there or where the tubing connects to the plugs.  I doubt this is temperature related since it is just sitting on a table in my temperature controlled living room not near a window.  I've never used a vacuum pump before, but I would assume it should be perfectly stable no matter how long, right?

I have time today to do more thorough checks.  I have the paper towels in it now but haven't submerged it yet.  That is the plan later today.

That you both!

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14 minutes ago, peterclark said:

Hey guys.  I'm only just getting the time to circle back to this.  It currently is losing vacuum at around 0.25-0.5 inches of mercury in around 12-15 hours.  After a few days it gets around 1 inch or mercury lower than its starting point of 10.  I am leaving the pump connected the whole time since that has the gauge on it.  I don't know if there is a chance of the leak there or where the tubing connects to the plugs.  I doubt this is temperature related since it is just sitting on a table in my temperature controlled living room not near a window.  I've never used a vacuum pump before, but I would assume it should be perfectly stable no matter how long, right?

I have time today to do more thorough checks.  I have the paper towels in it now but haven't submerged it yet.  That is the plan later today.

That you both!

There might very well be a leak in your evacuation device. It probably has a check valve to keep the atmosphere from leaking in that leaks just a bit. I would disconnect it and close up the evac. port on the housing like you would for diving and remeasure after a day and see if the pressure goes up as you have noted.

It is going up and not down. The 10 on the gauge in inches is actually -10 or about 1/3 of an atmosphere down from starting pressure. So what is left in the housing is about 2/3 of an atmosphere absolute.

If it also leaks with the evac device disconnected then it will be time to consider were the leak might be in the housing starting with the main o-ring and the port o-ring -- one at a time using a process of elimination.

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Excellent thank you.  I've disconnected it now and will check again tomorrow.

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Good luck!!

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Your last reply, Peter Clark, six days ago was: "I've disconnected it now and will check again tomorrow."

So what happened?  Please tell us what you have done and found.

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Sorry.  I've been rather distracted recently (and still working, just from home).  That and since my trip was canceled the rush was gone.

Anyway, after disconnecting it and leaving it a day, when I reconnected I saw the drop had still happened, so not in the pump/gauge.  When I did the water soak, I didn't leave it submerged long enough (maybe 15 minutes) so no water visible, so I'll need to try again for maybe a couple of hours.  I took off and cleaned the port and main o rings, but no luck.  I'll probably end up removing the connector for the strobe sync cable and replace with the plug that came with the housing since I installed that and it has an o ring (no lube on that one per the instructions).  I'm betting it is either from that connector or the vacuum valve o ring itself.

Also it should be noted that my house has 2 golden retrievers, so hair is EVERYWHERE!  Every time I check an o ring, have to be careful not to get new hair on them.

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It might be more revealing if the housing is left in the water for several hours, or even overnight, seeing as this is low pressure, not depth, immersion.  Happy water dowsing!

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On 3/21/2020 at 3:19 PM, peterclark said:

Also it should be noted that my house has 2 golden retrievers, so hair is EVERYWHERE!  Every time I check an o ring, have to be careful not to get new hair on them.

Lol, I can certainly understand that part.  Whenever I clean up the dog hairs from my single Golden, it looks like I should be able knit a sweater from all the hair.

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