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Kraken de Mabini

Underwater Equipment Reliability and similar questions., with immediate replies.

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 'How long do strobes "live"? ', DynamicDivers recently asked (1), an interesting question for all underwater equipment. For a useful reply, one has to sharpen the question a bit: We might ask if the strobe we are thinking of buying has a record of failures. Amazingly, the relevant world-wide, published information can be had immediately and at no cost, based on the incredible power of on-line search engines, such as Google. The key is to be fairly specific, and include in the query the item’s name and subject of interest, and if so desired, where the information was published. For example:

“[Underwater strobe name] [failure, burn out, flooding, etc] [publication]”, and more specifically,
”Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobe failures, Wetpixel.com”.  

A general query, such as “Best underwater strobe, 2021” brought up Brent Durand’s 'Strobe Comparison Chart 2021', with lots of data, but no critical evaluations. as the query was too broad. Better to be a bit more specific:  

“Used underwater housing problems ”,  or 
“(strobe or camera housing make) underwater flooding”. 

To the query “Underwater strobe flash tube failures”, Google's reply included related searches headed: 'Underwater strobe light, strobe light troubleshooting, strobe light repairs, etc.'  

When asked about specific equipment, failure type and venue, Google will cough up a surprising list of replies, all thanks to those who take the trouble to report their experiences, usually instructive, at times amusing, and which might even save us from a bad purchase.

Reference:
1. How Long Do Strobes "Live"? https://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?/topic/68166-how-long-do-strobes-live/&tab=comments#comment-431036

 

 

Edited by Kraken de Mabini

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But of course this is not useful information about reliability in any way. There is way too much selection bias and without knowing the denominator (i.e. total number of strobes being used) all you can surmise is that some strobes of some specific type have some problems. I think that there was a really useful discussion by Alex a while back that talked about which strobes failed most while on his trips. I think that S&S was most likely to fail particularly the D2 and the Z240 appeared to be quite reliable. Of course this is another biased set of data (only the broken strobes were discussed, with no data on how many of the strobes were actually used) but probably can be thought of as close to truth.

Bill

It would be useful but very unlikely for manufacturers to give out data like MTBF but like charging times it might turn out to be mostly fiction.

 

Bill

Edited by bvanant

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Bill is correct in his points, and unfortunately also in his emphasis on the lack of underwater strobe failure data, including make, model, electronic failures, housing leaks, flash tube burn outs, mean time between failures MTBF, etc., the data we diver/photographers would like to use to guide our strobe choices. 

A possible source of failure information might be for uw photographers to form an international group and establish a data base and a cooperative dialogue with the manufacturers. For example, the group could maintain a publicly available strobe data base , to include make, model, date of purchase, and later on, strobe performance (hopefully excellent) or any failure or problem.  An organized, wide base of uw photographers might then develop synergy with the strobe designers/manufacturers.   
 

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