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Kraken de Mabini

Vivid Vacuum Leak detector, some comments.

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Emil Jaranilla (1) has asked for suggestions on a housing vacuum leak detector in the Classifieds Section, and here are some thoughts.

Vacuum leak detectors use the change in air pressure inside the housing to detect a leak. The detector is electronic and quite small, it uses a small battery for power.  The detector screws into the threaded bulkhead (threaded hole plugged with a screw plug) found in most larger camera housings;  the thread is M14 or M16 x 1 mm.  The detector has a green LED to signal if the vacuum is OK,  or a pressure drop has occurred, a red LED blinks. 

After the camera has been mounted and the housing has been closed, air is pumped out of the housing with a hand pump or a small electric pump until the green LED blinks. I have used the Vivid electric pump for the past three or so years and it has worked well.   
Maintenance of the vacuum leak detector is simple, just keep it clean and check before dives that it is screwed in properly.  Changing the battery takes about two minutes, I carry two spare batteries and O rings.

 

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Here is a photo of the entire assembly, with the vacuum pump at the bottom; the disassembled leak detector is shown above the 6 mm hex wrench. The electronic vacuum detector is the small round disk in the top middle, the blue battery is under it; the Allen hex wrench is used to tighten the mount ring; the electric pump is at the bottom with its screw-on hose on the left.   

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The vacuum leak detector unit on the left, with the electronic vacuum detector unit on the right, it is the small white disc.

The Vivid Vacuum Leak Detector can be purchased from a camera dealer or directly from Miso Milivojevic - info@vividhousings.com

Note: The moisture-water detector is a different and separate unit built by the manufacturer into most new larger camera housings; it has two bare electrodes mounted inside the housing’s bottom, so if water enters, current will flow between the electrodes to flash an alarm light and ring a loud bell or buzzer.  
Both units, vacuum and moisture, are essential for the safe operation of an underwater camera housing.
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1. 

 

Edited by Kraken de Mabini

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I added a leak sentinel v5 to my seafrogs housing, and I agree, it's excellent!

 

Can you share the o-ring dimensions or specs? I want to order a couple spares for my save a dive kit.

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Lewis88,

I have a LS Ver 4 which I believe is a different configuration than the V 5. Email Miso and he'll get you the correct info.

To add to Kraken's excellent write up, my opinion is that the LS will best detect a small leak due to the pressure change prior to the start of a dive assuming that you allow it a few minutes. As I recall with the V4, it takes about a reduction of absolute pressure of 0.1 ata to change the light from blinking red to solid green as you pump down. Then an increase in absolute pressure of about 0.05 ata to cause the light to flash red indicating a leak. Miso gave me these numbers some years ago, so this is from memory. Depending on the volume of your housing, dome, etc., amount of air (or water) required to trip the red LS alarm can be significant.

So I feel that the LS 4 (or any similar vacuum system) is best used for predive leak check allowing a good amount of time after pumping down the housing. Usually I prepare my housing the night before and allow lots of time under the vacuum. If I have to open the housing midday, I try to allow at least 15 and preferably 30 minutes after getting the solid green.

Once in the water, I mostly rely on the internal leak detector as a drop or two of salt water (or condensation) will trigger it giving you a chance to save your camera, etc. Far less water will trigger the leak detector than will trigger the red light on the LS4 IMO. If you ever get the leak alarm UW, immediately point your port straight down and hold that position until out of the water and able to open your housing. That way the water should accumulate in the port. If it's a small amount of water, you may be able to save your camera, etc.

Also I am a big proponent of the LS system. Miso has a real winner in his design and support. I would suggest that you buy directly from Miso. He ships promptly. It took about a week to get my LS from him. I'm in the states.

Harry

 

 

Edited by divengolf
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+1 for the Vivid. Used it almost from its inception. Great bit of kit and phenomenal service from Miso

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The O rings used by the Leak Sentinel with a 14 x 1 male screw thread are 15 x 1 mm, The O-Ring Store has them.  The O ring sits in a front-facing groove and needs to be removed and replaced with care.  

The battery is a CR 1/3N  3 V. blue color. These batteries differ slightly in length depending on the manufacturer, as the blue batteries are slightly longer than the steel colored ones; the blue ones fit the holder well.  A piece of aluminum foil can be used to shim the shorter batteries.  

Edited by Kraken de Mabini

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Also happy with my Leak Sentinel detector.

For a new installation, I would strongly recommend the V5 XB, for which the battery is located in the housing, which makes changing it much easier. 

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47 minutes ago, Algwyn said:

Also happy with my Leak Sentinel detector.

For a new installation, I would strongly recommend the V5 XB, for which the battery is located in the housing, which makes changing it much easier. 

Totally agree with Algywn. I've had both the models with the external electronics and battery (V3 and V4) and with the internal option (V5 XB). 

Fitting everything into the housing takes a little time and patience to get nice cable runs and making sure nothing is in the way of the camera slide. But once that's done, the internal system makes life a lot easier for changing the battery and reducing the external profile.

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I agree with both of you. I got my housing used with a v5 already installed. if I was buying new, I would have gone XB.

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