• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Testing Empty Housing

Discussion in 'Tips and Techniques' started by divinh, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    738
    289
    63
    My camera housing travels in checked luggage, padded with a towel and lots of clothes.

    On my first two dives, I take the housing down empty, to check for leaks.

    Yesterday, I was advised not to take down my housing empty because it may crack, the person citing having seen many GoPro housings die that way. The only reason I can think that might be the case is if the camera, in the case, supplied needed structural support? Or there are tons of knock-off GoPro housings of questionable materials?

    I've done bucket tests at home that were good, but once at depth, the housing leaks. Since then, I've been testing at depth before putting in the camera. However, given this new information, am I just temping fate for cracks?

    My housing is for a Canon G12.
     
  2. Johnoly

    Johnoly Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location:
    2,245
    1,562
    113
    There are plenty of GoPro look-a-likes that will bend and deform under pressure and usually it starts with the buttons being depressed and not working. If a housing needs the camera inside of it to provide structural support,,,,,that also means the areas around the o-ring seal are also going to bend and that's a leak source.

    I've seen others (including me) dive with an empty housing to test for leaks. But one of the best tests I saw last year on a boat was a diver clipped off her dive reel to the camera with a napkin inside & a 2lb boat weight. She tossed it over the side when we got the to the dive site and watched the 20ft black marks on her string as they spooled out. The string had 1 mark for 20',,2 marks for 40', 3 marks for 60', etc. When it got the the depth she wanted and let it sit for 30 seconds, she reeled it back up. Checked the napkin inside, stowed her reel on her BCD, loaded the camera back inside, and jumped in. Total time was about 5 minutes and she was last off the boat,,,,but not by much. Very cool pre-check that she did and didn't miss anything of the dives.
     
  3. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    738
    289
    63
    Sounds like a great technique that doesn't require diving with it first and wasting one, if not two dives, of the day.

    Also, I say napkin is the way to go. I did tissue paper before and it was a mess to clean up after a leak.

    I dove with the housing and camera inside today. Worked well!

     
    Stoo and Johnoly like this.
  4. giffenk

    giffenk Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: toronto
    4,924
    2,403
    113
    You should be able to do a sanity check yourself by examining your housing. Does your back door squeeze your camera?

    As noted above the large flat back door is most susceptible to inward bending due to pressure. If the door bends too much then often you will get buttons pressing on the camera - which causes odd behaviour.

    So: Are there stand offs on the back door that press into the back of the camera body? If so then the camera is likely providing some amount of structural support for the door. How much? I have a Meikon G16 housing that has 4 pads on the backdoor that hold the camera in place. They are placed at the edges of the camera nearish to the ends of the door. I claim they do not provide any significant support for the door. I could be wrong?

    What brand of housing do you have!
     
  5. Hoag

    Hoag Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    1,382
    991
    113
    @DIVENH are you asking about the first two dives when you get a new housing or the first two on a trip or...?

    The reason that I am asking is simply to point out that if you do this as a regular practice, you may not be gaining the security that you think. It may be obvious, but if you take it on a dive & yup, it is sealed. Things look good. But then you have to open it up (breaking that seal) and put your camera in.
     
    giffenk likes this.
  6. caruso

    caruso Banned

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Long Island, NY
    1,662
    1,189
    113
    The concern about an empty housing leaking has nothing to do with the camera providing structural support, and everything to do with the empty space inside the housing that is normally occupied by the mass of the camera. All that extra air is going to compress and create a lot of negative pressure inside the housing subjecting it to stresses it was never designed or tested for.

    No camera housing should be taken to depth empty. If you want to test it, fill it with solid material that is of no value to you.
     
    Kharon likes this.
  7. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    738
    289
    63
    The largest possible support is a rectangular brace around the LCD panel. It's mostly made of rubber(?) and has "supports" that hold it in place.

    It's a Canon housing, WP-DC34. Though official, it did leak when I first tested it at depth. It passed the bucket test before that, for 24 hours. The issue was a well reported one: mold lines that created hair width compromise on the seals. I followed instructions from a website and filed them down. It's been working since.
     
  8. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    738
    289
    63
    First two dives on a trip, just to ensure nothing got broken in transport. I'm more concerned about broken knobs, buttons and levers. The o-ring is packed separately and installed after arrival.

    I check the o-ring on each installation of the camera.
     
  9. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    738
    289
    63
    Ah, this what I was curious about, as to rationale!
     
  10. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    1,379
    566
    113
    I flooded my last camera when I got complacent and didn’t clean the salt deposits from the housing surfaces where the seal sits. I now clean these after every camera opening, it’s surprising how much crude can accumulate.
     

Share This Page