How long should a housing hold a vacuum?

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macado

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Apologizes for the stupid question but I'm still fairly new to mid-range camera housings. I've always used crappy point and shoots and never bothered with a vacuum port but I recently purchased a Sony A400 with an Ikelite 200DLM/A Underwater Housing and DLM 6" Dome Port.

I installed a Vivid Leak Sentinel V5 in this housing. I noticed unfortunately that my camera seems to be losing vacuum after about ~3-4 hours. I cleaned the main o-ring seal and dome port o-ring but it seems the issue is still persisting. I noticed this and opted not to dive with the camera so now I'm trying to troubleshoot a bit more. I've timed it a couple times but it seems to lose part of the vacuum after 3-4 hours. When I left it overnight there was still a minor vacuum in the housing

My procedure has been to pump a vacuum until the sensor turns green and then I've been doing 3-4 additional pumps after that to ensure a good vacuum. This morning I woke up and checked the vacuum again and it's alternating between red/green so it seems to be slowly losing vacuum.

I assume this is not safe to dive or is a 4 hour vacuum sufficient? I've obviously got a leak somewhere it seems. I really don't feel like flooding my new camera. This also seemed to happen on a dive last winter but thankfully the camera didn't flood (I was in a cave and couldnt really quickly ascend).

I'm going to order a new o-ring face seal and o-ring for the dome port but if that doesnt work I assume I should send the housing in for service? Are there any other less obvious things I should check or tips/tricks?

The housing is less than year old. I've maybe got 15-20 dives with it (mostly in caves and one or two salt water dives) .
 

Akimbo

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I noticed unfortunately that my camera seems to be losing vacuum after about ~3-4 hours.

Completely loosing vacuum, meaning you can open the back without equalizing, or loose enough vacuum to cause an alarm. If the latter, could it be temperature related?

Edit: Reread your post. Will it equalize completely if you leave it longer? Many dynamic O-ring leaks actually leak faster with lower differential pressure.
 

macado

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Completely loosing vacuum, meaning you can open the back without equalizing, or loose enough vacuum to cause an alarm. If the latter, could it be temperature related?

Not completely loosing vacuum but partial vacuum. It's sitting in my air conditioned house at 70f so there should be no major temperature fluctuations. I did think it could be that when I jumped in the water but it's happening on dry land sitting my living room.
 

macado

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Try leaving it 24 hours to see if it will equalize completely. Do I understand correctly that this is a new vacuum system on this housing?

Not a new vacuum system but a new setup for me all together. I installed the vacuum system when I bought housing in October of last year but admittedly I haven't gotten many dives with the camera setup (15-20 I would estimate).

I'm running another test right now after cleaning the o-rings again. I'll leave it 24 hours and see if it still has a partial vacuum, if any. I just ordered new dome and face o-rings seals from Ikelite since I couldn't find my extras.
 

PatW

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My vacuum system has a green light for good, yellow for less so and red for no seal. Mine will hold green for at least 8 hours and three dives. Also in order to open it, I have to open the valve to let in air for it to equalize. If you have to vent your housing to open it you probably have a good seal. I do not recall my system ever going from green to yellow and I have a bunch of dives with it… a couple 100 at least.
 

Akimbo

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The objective is to determine if the housing is actually leaking or if there is a problem with the electronics. An equalized housing after a long test is irrefutable. Not being able to open the housing after 24+ hours might mean that something is wrong with the sensor, electronics, or battery. Weird stuff happens and it is important to verify what is true.
 

macado

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Right. I don't suspect any issue with the electronics but I could be wrong. I think I am just slowly losing vacuum enough to trigger the sensor.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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