Backscatter Home Backscatter HomeSearchHousing FinderContact
Backscatter Underwater Photo & Video
GalleriesArticlesTrips & ClassesBooks

Housing Maintenance  Tips to keep your investment safe and running...

Articles » Service & maintenance » Housing Maintenance Tips to keep your investment safe and running...

Font Sizes:
Housing Maintenance Tips to keep your investment safe and running...


Maintenance of O rings is very important to keep your system from experiencing the "F" word, and by the "F" word we mean flood. There is no hard and fast rule on how often they need to be maintained. If you are diving in areas with lots of sand like most shore diving areas then you will need to maintain them pretty much every time you open the housing. On boats like live boards then once a day should suffice. O rings are the barrier that keeps the water away from you camera so their care is extremely important.


Use an O-ring removal tool or the corner of a credit card to ease the O-ring out of its groove. Never, ever use a knife, a pick or any sharp object to remove the O-ring. Using sharp implements can cause damage to the housings groove. You can use two hands by placing a finger on one side of the groove and a second finger about two inches away, then press down and push towards each other which should pop a section out of the groove. Then just use your fingers to pull it out.


You should try and clean your O-rings in an area that is free of possible contaminants like sand, hair, lint etc. Work in a well-lit area. Your fingertips are very sensitive and can detect crud on the O-rings fairly well. Gently pull the O-ring through your fingers which should remove most of the gunk. If you need more cleaning then a dab of dish soap on your fingertips should help clean them. Be careful as they can stretch so don't pull them too hard.


Your O-ring only needs a light sheen to it. A big problem is that people use too much grease. The grease is a lubricant not a sealant. Grease attracts gunk and hair so use the minimal amount. When you are done make sure nothing has attached itself to the clean O-ring such as hair or fibers. Use the grease your manufacturer recommends.


To clean the O-ring groove in the housing we find that the best choice is the small foam makeup applicators you find at beauty supply shops, they are inexpensive and work great. Q-tips have a tendency to leave fibers behind. Once the groove is clean, replace the O-ring making sure it sits properly in the groove. Do a visual check for hair and fibers before sealing up the housing. On the ports, check the threads and do the same O-ring care ritual to make sure they are clean as well. Desiccants are moisture absorbing packets that are useful on polycarbonate (plastic) housings. Condensation occurs inside the housing when you take it from a warm moist environment such as a hot tropical island and then place it into a cooler one like the ocean. The best thing to do is to open and close the housing when you are in your air conditioned room or cabin not outside. Desiccants will help but not always stop the problem. If you must open it outside blow some dry tank air into the housing before closing it up. Condensation is rarely a problem with aluminum housings. If your housing has an AirLock vacuum system make sure you use it every time you seal the housing, it is the best way to ensure watertight integrity.


Strobes and cords need maintenance too. Clean and lubricate the O-rings like you would your housings O-rings. Clean the threads by scrubbing them lightly with a nylon bristle brush like an old tooth brush. Don't leave the cords attached for your entire vacation. Check the connections for water entry. Change and recharge your batteries as needed.


Rinse tanks are friend and foe. A quick dunk before the dive can make sure there are no leaks. Look for bubbles after a few minutes. After the dive, try not to leave your system in the rinse tank. Rinse tanks can get so much use that they can cause your system to get damaged because someone else places their camera on top of yours. A few quick dunks in and out should get most of the salt off. Using soft sided coolers like those sold in boating stores is a great idea. They give you your own personal rinse tank and padding for your system during the ride to and from the dive site. You don't need to fill them completely. Three or four inches of water are fine. When you are on a dive boat don't forget to let the crew know of any special handling you require for your system to make sure it has a safe trip along with you. When you get home you can fill the bath tub, the soft sided cooler or a large bin like the ones chain stores sell for soda with fresh water and place your system in it for a good soak. Work the controls, buttons and dials to help loosen up the salt buildup. Dried salt is sharp and can damage the O-rings in the housing controls if not removed. Remove the handles, tray and strobe arms so nothing gets corroded on. When storing you system for long periods it is a good idea to take it down. You can use an old set of O-rings as storage O-rings. Keep a new set in a zip lock baggie with a little bit of the appropriate O-ring grease smeared inside of it. Change the news ones out for the storage ones before you dive. This will extend the current set you are using. Store the new set inside the housing so you won't forget where they are.


Do NOT seal the system. You want to remove the O-rings, the port or leave the back door open so a vacuum does not occur during flight. It is not the best idea to leave your camera inside the housing when you travel. The bumps and bangs you luggage takes can damage the controls or the camera.


A two year interval is a good starting point. Amount of use and the environment where it is used is a factor in when you should get your equipment serviced. Contact our service department if you have any questions. They can be contacted at 1-831-645-1082 or by email:, they will be glad to discuss what needs to be done and pricing with you. Safe diving and great shooting...

Shoot with Us


EMAIL (please enter it twice)







Underwater Camera Equipment Storage - Extend the Life of Your Gear
How should your gear be stored? Wet or dry? Batteries in or out? Here are a few tips that will help you extend the life of your gear, and make sure it's ready to go when you are.

Underwater Video Housing Maintenance

More Articles »

Backscatter Home Search Housing Finder Contact
    CHECK US OUT ON:  Backscatter on Facebook FACEBOOK   |   Backscatter on Twitter TWITTER BACKSCATTER UNDERWATER VIDEO & PHOTO
225 Cannery Row, Monterey, California 93940 USA
PHONE: +1-831-645-1082
FAX: +1-831-375-1526
SKYPE: backscatter_west
Showroom Hours
16 Manning Street, Suite 103, Derry, NH 03038 USA
PHONE: +1-603-432-1997
SKYPE: backscatter_east
Showroom Hours


Products by category
Products by part number

Download Backscatter Logos


Visit Our Help Center