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pbalves

Aquatica housing malfunction

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Hi.
I am posting this because I need the help from the community. 
I own 2 Aquatica Housings, one for Canon 40D/50D, and one for Canon 7DMKII.
On the 7DMKII, I had a problem since ever with the main dial knot getting sticky. 
2 years ago it got worst and some times the knob was turning but not acting the dial.
3 weeks ago I decided that it was time to solve the issue, to have the housing in perfect shape for the diving opening after COVID.
I disassembled the mechanism and found that one of the gear wheels of the mechanism is cracked, and is responsible for the problem. 
In the movie you can see the problem of the mechanism, https://youtu.be/cIYewkvQmF0, and in the picture you can see the cracked gear wheel. 
During the dismantle of the mechanism, one of the screws that are securing it got damaged (he screw reacted with the aluminium of the housing and got stucked, and when taking it out, it got the head damaged)
I contacted Aquatica to ask them for help. I asked them for a gear wheel and also for the information about the screw (screw reference). Aquatica is Canadian company, uses US screws, in Europe Is not easy to find those as all the screws used/sold here are DIN.
Aquatica answered, asking when was last serviced the housing.
I answered them that besides this problem, the housing is working perfectly and all the o-rings are in good shape and all the buttons working smoothly, that I was only wanting the gear wheel and a pair of screws, and kindly asked them the price for the parts and shipment to Portugal.
Full silence since then.
So, I need your help.
Where can I find a gear wheel to replace the one that is cracked?
How can I know the correct reference of the screw?
Thanks!
Pedro Alves

Gear Wheel.png

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You might find one in a small parts hobby type store.     For example in Australia  this company sells small gears:  https://www.smallparts.com.au/store/categories/gears+inch+spur+categories/?v=6896

Apparently diametral pitch is an imperial measurement they use to specify the gears they sell.  You would need OD, number of teeth, thickness and bore diameter to specify the gear.

It might be a frustrating exercise to find a match - many gears place the grub screw in a hub rather than between teeth and may be too long for the shaft and the bore for the shaft would also need to match.

If the gear is plastic it may be possible to 3D print one - if you could do this any type of grub screw of about the right size could be used to lock it on the shaft.

Looking at the various websites of gear suppliers and the confusing array of gears available  you might be better trying different avenues to get an Aquatica part - try Backscatter or one of the other big US UW retailers that carry Aquatica to see if they can source the part for you.

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Is the gear metal? Brass, aluminium? Or plastic? Superglue might work on the crack. If the gear is plastic, there is a two part Superglue which may be better; it depends on the type of plastic. I would get a metric threading tap slightly larger than the hole for which you can find a machine screw in Europe and fix it that way.

61CdkOJzO8L._AC_SX522_.jpg

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4 minutes ago, PeteAtkinson said:

Is the gear metal? Brass, aluminium? Or plastic? Superglue might work on the crack. If the gear is plastic, there is a two part Superglue which may be better; it depends on the type of plastic. I would get a metric threading tap slightly larger than the hole for which you can find a machine screw in Europe and fix it that way.

 

Just be aware standard superglue doesn't work well on plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene - the special grade is certainly needed for them.

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Thanks Chris and Pete

The gear wheel is plastic. I do not know if it is Delrin or what type of plastic.

I will do some further investigation.

But to be honest I am quite disappointed with Aquatica. They should be more worried about customer satisfaction and ready to do the extra mile to grant that the costumer keeps happy with the equipment they supply.  

There are several exemples here on Wetpixel of other brands that seems to go for that extra mile, like Nauticam and Retra…

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Yes there is a crack in plastic gear and it needs fixing. But are you sure that is the root cause to the original problem? It could as well be the rubber friction gear that causes the problem (slipping), or a missing (slipped out of place) compression spring within the front friction assembly. Or some (occasional) jamming elsewhere in the mechanism which in turn caused fatigue in the plastic gear and it cracked.

Concerning the screw that got damaged during disassembly, that particular mechanism entity contains several screws of different sizes and shapes. You will need inch based measurement tools in order to measure the screw carefully and then try to find a replacement.

--

I do agree with you concerning customer satisfaction. And Aquatica has often exceeded expectations here. Perhaps they just missed your message? The problem however is that for a 10-30 euro part, just the communication and logistics effort is easily beyond 100 euros. Thus it makes a lot more sense to manage slight issues, like fixing the slipping of a dial, as part of a thorough annual/biannual housing service. E.g. as a housing service center we do keep in stock hundreds of types/sizes of inch and mm screws, circlips, spring pins, washers, various springs and other general purpose parts just in case any of these are lost or broken. These are in addition to housing specific maintenance kits. Literally 5 digit euros tied to these. But sorry no, we do not have that particular gear in stock. And in general, the spare parts for camera housings is not a volume business, i.e. it is economically not worth selling parts separately.

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It is not a rubber belt. It is a timing belt.

in the movie is possible to see that the knob gets sucked always on the same spot of the gear wheel. And time to time the gear jumps dents on the cracked part.

the gears on the other side of the timing belt are running smoothly.

I believe that when assembling the gear wheel, too much strength has been putted on the screw pin and the wheel got cracked or at least weakened. With time and use it got worst.

it is impossible the mails to be missed. They were answered till I said I was not interested in a service, that I was only interested in the parts. I sent the mails to all the mail addresses I found on the site.

this is not an expensive part. Less than 2€ (Including a pair of screws). And Aquatica could said that it is a 30€ part and propose to sell it and do it quickly, to grant a happy customer.

a customer centric company would not think twice. The parts would be shipped for free. Aquatica still did not solve the issue (even paying the parts), and 3 weeks has passed since I sent them the first mail.

 

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I believe they Will prefer that u send the housing to a service centre to get it fixed than to diy it... likely that is the model of business that they have, thus the lack in response in such area... or it could just be that they overlooked your email reply...u can drop them another email to follow up :)

Sent from my SM-N981B using Tapatalk

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Now I had a chance to view your video on my mobile Phone in full screen mode and the binding together with the sound is quite obvious. 

The rubber friction gear I referred to is the final gear that is the counterpart to the respective camera dial. Irrespective of housing brand, I have fixed many cases where this friction gear slips, sometimes only in one direction. 

During maintenance one often needs to disassemble other parts as well together with their o rings. I have seen many o rings in excellent condition but also a fair share of cracked, worn or spliced o rings, some from diy cases. In order to guarantee no leaks, it usually makes sense to replace all the o rings at the same time. Also the reputation of better brands is dependent of not having any unnecessary leaks. 

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4 hours ago, pbalves said:

it is impossible the mails to be missed. They were answered till I said I was not interested in a service, that I was only interested in the parts. I sent the mails to all the mail addresses I found on the site.

I would suggest it is entirely possible to miss emails - happens all the time that they get lost in the inbox if there is significant volume of incoming mail.  I see it all the time that an email is opened and read but action does not occur immediately so it drops down the inbox and disappears.  I would suggest an email chaser is sent as I would expect any company to respond to say whether or not they are able to supply the part you need - not to just ignore you.  

The other option is to contact their authorised service centers to see if they can supply parts.:  https://www.aquatica.ca/en/service_centers.html

 

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Manufacturers would improve their relationship with customers by listing all parts for any housing, with thread, length etc for screws and module, teeth, diameter and material for any gear, hardness and size for every O-ring. Every service process could be shown in a video. It's not rocket science (well maybe the Nauticam multi-selector is...) If the customer can't learn to do it, for sure he will have a friend who can. Sending housings for service (Something I have never done in 40 years using other peoples' housings) can be a nightmare when Customs kidnap your housing for ransom on its return. Upskilling the photographers is simpler than asking manufacturers to provide tiny parts at a realistic cost.

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I also have an experience of having a problem communicating mail with Aquatica.
I got a reply, but I was rather confused by the inaccurate answer.
For example, the newly purchased housing accessories were different in shape from the manual and could not be installed. This is the connection accessory of the lens adapter and the button that detaches the lens.
When I inquired via email, they said there was no problem, but the service center put it together again and solved the problem.
The service center said the assembly of the accessories was reversed.
I understand the frustration of this forum creator.

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Hi again.

First of all thanks for all the support, help and ideas you all gave me.

Sunday afternoon and Monday were full of investigation and search for a solution for the problem I have.

With the help of a metric pachymeter for measurement of the screw and the phone camera to magnify the screw to count the number of threads, and some calculations and 

 support of internet converter, plus some digging regarding US standard screws, I have reached to the screw definition: 4-40 X 3/8 Inch Countersunk

For sorting the gear wheel, I found a fantastic site that allows us to design in the site the gear you need and them they have a service to print it in 3D, in a plastic material that gets more resistant than the injected mold plastics.

https://www.igus.com/info/3d-printing-service

Picked up the pachymeter again and developed the part in the cad system just with the input of some of the parameters, like number of teeth, module, width and hole diameter. 4 parts ordered! 3 to replace the broken one and the other 2 that work together with that, to avoid different materials to be working together and one extra for any accident on the assembly.

At that moment, I still needed to get the “exquisite” screws for an European (non UK). And also some grub screws to fix the gear wheel…

I found an UK site that have both US sized screws and Metric. And so, I ordered from www.accu.co.uk a pair of screws to replace the damaged ones, 5 grub screws M2.5x3 and a drill to apply the grub screws to the gear wheels.

And now, a just need to wait for the return of the mail….

I will give more feedback of it when I get the parts.

 

And the cherry on top of the cake, after all the investigation, calculation, development and ordering of the different parts, I finally got and answer from Aquatica….

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Posted (edited)

Well, finally I have my housing working and in good shape.

The new 3D printed gear wells arrived, also all the hardware (the damaged screw replacement, the grub screws and the drill) also arrived and I have been able to install it back in the housing.

I became a fan of the gear wells 3D printing site (and other bits)! I got it quicker and cheaper than from the housing manufacturer.

It is working, and back in place. The vacuum system assures that everything has been mounted back in the proper way.

Now I need to go underwater.

Thanks all for the support and ideas you gave me to get this sorted out.

IMG_3039.png

Edited by pbalves

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I'm glad that worked out, and thanks for the useful links!

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