Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Happiness is a Clean O-Ring

Happiness is a Clean O-Ring

by Michael Boom

Underwater photographers are fastidious about the o-rings and o-ring grooves on their housings for good reason: compromise the integrity of an o-ring and you may be giving the delicate electronics inside the housing a salt-water bath. That's why you'll often see a photographer carefully cleaning o-rings and grooves to make sure there are no errant hairs or grains of sand sealed into place, ready to leak on submersion.

One trick to cleaning o-rings and their grooves is to make sure that cleaning doesn't leave behind leak-prone deposits of its own. For example, cleaning out a groove with a cotton swab may leave cotton fibers behind in the groove. Wiping an o-ring clean with fingers that aren't so clean may add grit to the o-ring.

The cosmetics department of almost any drug store offers an elegant solution: cosmetic wedges or, as they say in chic French, eponges triangulaires. For a few bucks you can buy a bulging bag of small triangular fine-pored sponges designed not to leave traces behind when wiping. Their triangular points fit right into an o-ring groove, and you can easily wrap them around a loose o-ring to remove grit. If they get dirty, you can either throw them away or wash them in soapy water to use again. And if their advertising is truthful, they resist swelling, flaking, and crumbling.

What more can can a fastidious photographer ask for?


Mike Boom shoots underwater video in northern California, Hawaii, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. He's written about videography for Rodale's Scuba Diving magazine. You can contact him at lens@geekworks.net.

Article from The Underwater Photographer

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