Browsing articles in "Diving Junkies Dive Kit"

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector

Universal Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector.

One of the things missing from my Olympus PT-EP06L housing and the Olympus extras was a leak detector so I started looking on the internet like you do, at first I was taken to the more popular sites such as Cameras Underwater, Bristol Cameras and the like and was shocked to see the price of an underwater camera housing leak detector to be up in the £70-£100 range. Knowing these things wouldn’t be that difficult to make I thought I would look to see if any kits were available from Maplins and found something that would do the job was less than £5 for the water alarm kit and would need a 9v battery that I didn’t have room for inside the housing, as well as some modification, yet I would also have to buy a soldering iron, solder and the like.

Then I stumbled across a site called uwleakdetector.com based in Australia, where a young man called Jeff had made a universal detector with a flashing led and had taken the time to sort out how it would fit into almost any housing, I ordered one from him with an easy PayPal payment that worked out at less than £25 (US$36) including postage and waited for it to be delivered.

It arrived 2 days ago, had to sign for it and was shocked as I opened it and realised what it was as I wasn’t expecting it for another couple of weeks but it arrived in 14 days, RESULT!. I took the kit out and had a look at the bundle of goodies, Jeff had been in communication to let me know he had posted it 14 days earlier and gave me the link to the instructions on how to fit it in my housing and his response to an email I sent him was waiting for me the next morning here in the UK, talk about great customer service for something so small, could teach a few companies I won’t name a thing or two.

What’s in the Kit.

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector

Fitting the Universal Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector.

It really is simple enough using the included parts, from the 3 pieces of blue tack to the velcro on the back of the unit itself. Below are the 3 photos from the installation as I followed Jeff’s instructions, which I won’t give away but can be found on his site anyway.

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector_2

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector_3

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector_4

The obvious thing is to make sure the blue tack and the led do not press against the door as he explains in the instructions, the last thing you would want is for the leak detector to cause a leak and with very careful positioning and a bit of molding over the wire it fitted perfectly. I then put my cut to size women’s pad back in place over the detector as you can see in the last photo, and then cleaned the gutters out from the mess it creates when I pull it out but it is worth it. Showing what you will see if you get a flood is the animation below with it in an Ikelite housing, I did test it by licking my finger and placing it across the sensor and it lit up like a Christmas tree on steroids.

Ikelite-DSLR-Animation

This is a product I am more than happy with, it was easy to fit, reasonably priced if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making one yourself when you have to buy all the kit to do it, and Jeff is one of the nicest blokes you could wish to deal with competing globally against the larger companies; making a product that is clearly more adaptable as he makes it to fit in Ikelite, standard Canon, Patima, Nexus and other housings, if he hasn’t tried one yet I am sure he would give it a go.

All round this is something that is worth every penny to help protect your camera in its underwater housing so drop Jeff a line and be warned instead of losing your camera to a housing flood.

uwleak-header

Oceanic Blast Snorkel Review

Oceanic released this snorkel a while ago and it is very simplistic in its design, the attachment clip to the mask is robust and easy to clip on and off the mask. The great thing about it is that as a spare snorkel it folds up easily and can be squeezed into a pocket. They have recently replaced it with the Enzo snorkel but it is the same thing with a black end piece and new name.

Oceanic Blast Snorkel

Now to be fair it isn’t anything special, just a tube with mouth piece connected and shaped as can be seen to fit round the side of your head; yet that is the beauty of a snorkel as sometimes trying to be something it isn’t makes things over complicated. The Oceanic Blast Snorkel does exactly what it is meant to, be a breathing tube when you are on the surface and unlike many others if you do purchase one of these at less than £7 (approx US$10-15) it will be perfect as either your main snorkel or a back up.

There is no guard to stop water getting in the top (most of these never work properly anyway) and no clearing valve at the base, it is an ideal and cheap first snorkel and is made out of such a tough material that it should last you till you decide to give up diving.

“The great thing about it is that as a spare snorkel it folds up easily and can be squeezed into a pocket”

Pros:-

Basic and simplistic design

Robustly made

Great air flow

Folds nicely to be stored in a pocket

Cheap price

Cons:-

No clearing valve at base

No water guard on end

Cressi Sub Jac Light BC Review

When I first started to dive it was a case of grab whatever fitted from the rack in the school and to be honest at first I was not very impressed with the Scubapro Glide BCs (Buoyancy Control Device) I was using during my training. They were old and well worn school jackets and I found them restrictive and uncomfortable to learn in.

I had so many other things on my mind (like remembering to breathe) that I was becoming a little dis-illusioned by a BC that inflated around my sides making me feel squashed all the time. So my instructor started lending me his old BC after I had done 5 or 6 dives after my Open Water course finished and straight away I felt much more comfortable and the Cressi sub Jac Light BC became my choice every-time I went into the equipment store.

Cressi Sub Jac Light BC

A wing style BC isn’t for everyone and as a complete beginner to diving I would never suggest something that makes life more complicated, especially the BC and Regs, but that is exactly why the Cressi Sub Jac Light is some thing I feel a beginner would benefit greatly from. Because it is a travel BC it is limited in the things it has, such as pockets and D-rings and as a beginner I found I didn’t need anything more than to clip my gauges and octopus to.

The shoulder straps are shaped nicely and seemed to fit my physique well, with a little adjustment it was like a clamp holding the BC to my upper body and the elasticated chest strap made for a tight fit allowing me to relax even more feeling secure in the knowledge it wouldn’t come off. I did notice straight away it had space for 2 tank straps, but as a beginner wasn’t aware how important that could be as the single strap always felt secure on the tank and it was easy to put enough pressure to take the slack out of the band and secure the tank properly, hearing the thunk as the plastic clamp was flipped into position always made me feel re-assured it wouldn’t let the tank slip.

Being comfortable in the water is something every diver finds important, as it was for me, and as my first BC that my instructor and I came to a deal on for me to have it became my baby, it fits me so well I will be sorry for the inevitable day I have to change it and even though other divers warned me of the problems of being pushed forward when on the surface with a wing, found I adapted to it very quickly and wasn’t in any way encumbered by the BC. However at the surface this BC does rise up slightly pulling the cummerbund under my lower rib cage and this is the only real fault I have found but a simple crotch strap fitted between the back plate and the cummerbund would fix this.

It has an integrated weight system that clicked into place securely but allowed the weight pockets to release so easily with a gentle pull, easing another worry off my mind. It also has 3 dump valves, 1 on the lower right rear, right shoulder and on the inflator hose, they are easy to pull with just enough cord so it doesn’t tangle on anything else when in the water in case of an unexpected rise to the surface, and I had a few of those to begin with so they became well used. I was also shown the technique of rolling over to allow the air to fill into different parts of the bladder making it even easier when I needed to use the pull cords.

When I started scuba diving I had no gadgets so didn’t even think about D-rings or clips but for a travel BC the Cressi Sub Jac Light comes with 4 stainless steel D-rings and they are ideally located 1 on each front strap at chest height and 1 under each weight pocket within easy reach to unclip or clip things as needed. It also has a small pocket on the right side under the weight pocket, a little fiddly to get out but just the right size for 1 or 2 items, like slates, line cutter, spare mask (just squeezes in). I can see why they have kept the weight down by not putting too much on it but personally another pocket on the other side would have been handy at not much extra weight and as I am not rich (like most of us in the real world) can’t afford to replace the BC easily so have come up with something that I will post about at a later date.

As a beginner the Cressi Sub Jac Light BC in the wing style would be one I recommend to anyone that is thinking about starting to dive, purely because of its simplicity in design and rugged material while remaining light weight for transporting, it is a shame that Cressi have brought out a new model because finding one of these will be a search on the second hand market but that will bring kit costs down a lot, make sure if you do buy one to get it serviced by a good agent.

“I felt much more comfortable and the Cressi sub Jac Light BC became my choice every-time I went into the equipment store”

Pros:-

Comfortable fit

Ease of use

Lightweight

Dual Strap on Tank (purchased separately if required)

Simplistic Design for a learner

 

Cons:-

Rises up when on surface

Only one pocket

Not manufactured anymore and hard to get hold of

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