Jump to content
ashic

Housing / strobe maintenance

Recommended Posts

I see that we need to clean and lubricate the o-rings of our housing and strobes. Do we do this before a dive, or after? Or both? And should we do this every day we dive, or is it a once in a while thing? I've been diving with the seafrogs housing for the A7iii for about three years... Granted, very rarely... And other than just cleaning the main o-ring without taking it out, I haven't really done any maintenance. Should I clean and lubricate more regularly? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you google around on WP, ashic, you'll see this has been covered many times and produces a variety of responses.

Almost everyone will advise a good post-dive soak in fresh water and operating all the buttons to help flush out salt.

Removing the main o-ring after a dive is, generally,. done by many not after every dive but perhaps once at the end of a day of multiple dives or if one site was especially sandy.

Cleaning the main o-ring at the end of a trip seems an obvious thing to do; and then applying o-ring lubricant before the next use. I tend not to store the main o-ring lubricated: there's no point. But I do make sure it is clean before storage.

In all the housings I have had, I've very rarely had any of them serviced after racking up, say, 100 dives a year for 3-4 years. 

Apart from the main o-ring and any port o-rings there really isn't anything else that most users would clean or lubricate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with Tim, it depends - if you are diving from a boat in clean tropical waters and never going near the bottom, grit is not likely.  If you are doing macro dives in Lembeh with black sand  or shore dives in Sydney with a bit of swell and surge stirring up the sand then Grit is a given.  If you get grit in o-ring it starts off on the outside and does no harm but it'll move when you open the housing - so cleaning and close inspection is essential after each opening.  I would still clean them at least daily on a trip.

Hairs are are a constant hazard - if you have long hair or a pet, a hair falling across an o-ring is a constant hazard and close inspection is needed.  You also need to be on the lookout for water drops clinging to the o-ring which could end up inside and cause a fogging problem.  So a close inspection each time you open the housing is needed. 

A good long soak to get the salt out is vital, eventually salt crystals form and can abrade control button o-rings or suck in moisture eventually causing them to corrode (yes even stainless steel) in storage.  And you need to work the buttons there is little driving force for fresh water to displace salt unless you press the buttons a few times during a soak.  I do a soak before opening the housing and a longer soak after any extended trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As one who is diving more infrequently these days, when I get home from a trip, I do an extended soak working all buttons and levers as described above. After that I remove the housing and strobe battery compartment O-rings for cleaning and storage. I lubricate the O-rings well before placing them in a plastic bag. I do not leave the O-rings in place when the housing & strobes are sitting unused for a couple months. I also have a vacuum system to verify that the O-rings are holding before every dive. Good for my peace of mind

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, divengolf said:

As one who is diving more infrequently these days, when I get home from a trip, I do an extended soak working all buttons and levers as described above. After that I remove the housing and strobe battery compartment O-rings for cleaning and storage. I lubricate the O-rings well before placing them in a plastic bag. I do not leave the O-rings in place when the housing & strobes are sitting unused for a couple months. I also have a vacuum system to verify that the O-rings are holding before every dive. Good for my peace of mind

Pulling off and lubricating the orings likely does more harm than good unless they are really gritty. Just a tiny film of tribolube on them and reseal the battery cover. It will stay much cleaner and safer than pulling them off and putting them in a bag. Every step of that operation stretches the orings and exposes them to dirt that the lube will cling to. 

If it's an Ikelite strobe then you should not use any lube at all since they have compression orings.

Edited by davehicks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In gritty areas, specially after macro dives, the oring’s should be taken out, washed, dried and lubricated with grease (the right one for the specific oring type).

As said before in other posts over the subject, the grease is only to allow the oring to move and work properly. The grease itself does not have a direct role on the sealing. Too much grease is bad. Too much grease attracts and holds more dirt and increases the risk of failure of the seal. You should not see any grease on the oring. It must be only shiny.

Do not forget to clean the oring groove before putting the greased oring in place again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One Inon strobes the battery compartment oring is not  well exposed and generally does not get any grit. I shore dive in the grittiest of gritty environments in Puget sound. I never see any grit on these things. With Ikelite strobes it's the same. The locking lever gets gritty, but not the orings. As long as your rinse and soak the rig before disassembly this should not be much of a problem.

I've not owned a Sea&Sea strobe before, so I can't speak to those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my case I had already 2 small leaks on my Inon Z240 strobes.

Once was due to the use of a second o-ring on the top of the cap (an idea I saw several years ago here on wet pixel, that at the time seemed it would increase the safety of the battery compartment due to double o-rings, big mistake, as the main o-ring did not got properly placed inside the cap, and the added o-ring does not work well due to the top of the inner part of the strobe not being designed to seal against a o-ring). So, not related with the actual topic, but something that happened to one of my strobes and now I strongly recommend not going that way.

The other time I had a small leak on the other Inon Strobe, it was due to stretch of the o-ring due to lack of grease plus some grit.

The Inon closure system is a simple one, but not the safest one in my opinion. It needs several turns on the cap to close it and is result in several stretches on the o-ring, which might result in o-ring not places properly (if not well greased) and might result in damage of the plastic surface where the o-ring seals due to grit on the o-ring and the turning/screwing of the o-ring)

Luckly the battery compartment of the Inon strobes are sealed and as the leaks were minor (2 or 3 drops of water inside the compartment), the strobes still work fine.

The learning I had from these incidents is that when opening the strobes or the housing after a macro dive (specially muck dive), always remove the o-ring, clean the groove, wash, dry and lube the o-ring and place it again on its place.

Even because due to the way I use the strobes, on macro dives, the cap of the battery compartment gets pretty close to the sand whenever taking photos on the seabed.

I never grease the o-rings with them inside the groove. that does nor allows me to inspect properly the o-ring and the groove.

I also do not open the housing or the battery compartments of the strobes between dives if I do not need to replace batteries.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, pbalves said:

In my case I had already 2 small leaks on my Inon Z240 strobes.

Once was due to the use of a second o-ring on the top of the cap (an idea I saw several years ago here on wet pixel, that at the time seemed it would increase the safety of the battery compartment due to double o-rings, big mistake, as the main o-ring did not got properly placed inside the cap, and the added o-ring does not work well due to the top of the inner part of the strobe not being designed to seal against a o-ring). So, not related with the actual topic, but something that happened to one of my strobes and now I strongly recommend not going that way.

The other time I had a small leak on the other Inon Strobe, it was due to stretch of the o-ring due to lack of grease plus some grit.

The Inon closure system is a simple one, but not the safest one in my opinion. It needs several turns on the cap to close it and is result in several stretches on the o-ring, which might result in o-ring not places properly (if not well greased) and might result in damage of the plastic surface where the o-ring seals due to grit on the o-ring and the turning/screwing of the o-ring)

Luckly the battery compartment of the Inon strobes are sealed and as the leaks were minor (2 or 3 drops of water inside the compartment), the strobes still work fine.

The learning I had from these incidents is that when opening the strobes or the housing after a macro dive (specially muck dive), always remove the o-ring, clean the groove, wash, dry and lube the o-ring and place it again on its place.

Even because due to the way I use the strobes, on macro dives, the cap of the battery compartment gets pretty close to the sand whenever taking photos on the seabed.

I never grease the o-rings with them inside the groove. that does nor allows me to inspect properly the o-ring and the groove.

I also do not open the housing or the battery compartments of the strobes between dives if I do not need to replace batteries.  

I agree on the INON o-rings - but I use a little more grease on them and a very light smear of grease on the cap and it just screws on with little resistance.  I always clean up the o-rings at every battery change and I've been using the same o-rings now for around 4-5 years and they are still totally fine.   The other concern I have with o-rings is every time I open the housing or strobe cap there's water drops clinging to the o-rings and I don't want to be pushing those inside the housing, so I pop them off give the o-ring a shake and wipe the grooveand inspect the ring for debris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every time you remove an oring you stretch it out.

Loose and floppy orings will bunch up and leak.

Motto: Less touching is safer.

You don't need to remove the oring to apply a film of tribolube to the ring, and you can add a film to the inner cap surface as well. 

I'm seen people on liveaboards take out camera housing back orings (which don't need to be lubed at all!!!) and lube them while pulling them through their fingers like Taffy. And then they wonder why their camera flooded...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...