In the following product tutorial video, Backscatter's Sean Boone walks you through how to set up the all new Backscatter AirLock Vacuum system.
Backscatter's AirLock Vacuum Detection System
Verify o-ring seals BEFORE your diveMost camera housing floods are preventable with good assembly technique, but even the most experienced shooter can get in a rush and make a fatal error. Backscatter is pleased to announce AirLock, our new vacuum verification system for underwater camera housings. By creating negative pressure inside the housing and monitoring the vacuum pressure, the AirLock will verify your housing is leak-proof before you even jump in the water.
The AirLock kit consists of four parts
1) Custom bulkhead for your camera housingBackscatter offers a custom bulkhead for all popular camera housing brands. These are the same bulkheads used on our popular Wahoo monitor housings. Select the model for your housing brand and choose your favorite mounting position. The bulkheads are easy to install yourself. You can move your AirLock system to different housings by simply buying extra bulkheads.
2) Waterproof one-way valveWe selected the best industrial one-way valve made of rugged stainless steel and installed it at a right angle. This low profile valve can be quickly installed on the bulkhead without the use of tools, thus users can choose to remove the valve for easy travel. However, due to our unique right angle design with free rotation, most users will find the valve can just be left on the housing at all times.
3) Inline vacuum gaugeThe anodized aluminum vacuum gauge is easy to read and snaps into the quick release fitting on the one-way valve. This gauge is included on both the AirLock Manual and AirLock Electronic systems. On the AirLock Manual version, this gauge is snapped into the valve to verify that the housing is still at the correct vacuum pressure. Thus even if you find yourself in the middle of the ocean without a battery for your AirLock Electronic, this good ol mechanical gauge will keep you going.
4) Hand pumpTo further make our AirLock system field friendly, we use a "wine saver" type pump to pull the vacuum. These pumps are very lightweight and also could be found on boats and resorts in a pump loss emergency. Our high quality version will pump down most SLR housings in 10-15 pumps.
The AirLock will lock your lens ports and prevent rotationLens ports on SLR camera housings can be accidentally rotated and cause vignetting in the image corners or worse cause a leak. When pumped down to normal vacuum pressures, the AirLock will lock a lens port such that it is impossible to remove by hand. When pumped to a slightly higher vacuum, the AirLock will even prevent port rotation and keep the corners of your image vignette free.
Dive with confidence knowing your camera is safe from floodsIn our underwater photography classes, we always teach students to dunk their camera housing in a fresh water rinse tank and inspect for bubbles which are the symptoms of a leak. Now armed with an AirLock, you can check for leaks without ever getting the camera housing wet. For most people a 10 minute verification of vacuum will be all that's needed to jump in the water. For more critical applications, you can leave a vacuum overnight and verify its integrity in the morning. AirLock is inexpensive insurance that will help you identify a problem before it causes damage.
Why is AirLock the best vacuum system?
Airlock is the most human error proof valveAfter testing many different valve designs, we selected the Swagelok stainless steel valve. It's more expensive, but it was the only valve in our tests that offered the best protection from impact, saltwater corrosion, and most importantly the best protection from user error. With the safety plug left out, only the Swagelok valve would remain waterproof to depths of 100+ feet. Even after an hour at 150 feet, an unplugged Swagelok allows only a few drops of water into the housing. Cheaper valves will fail at very shallow depths if accidentally left unplugged and are more vulnerable to impact damage on a pounding skiff ride to the dive site.
Only Airlock offers a double sealed safety plug designMost "do it yourself" systems using Swagelok valves modify existing Swagelok parts as a safety plug. These DIY safety plugs actually decrease the waterproofness of the valve by disengaging the spring loaded seal. Only the Airlock safety plug offers double the protection with both an active o-ring and spring valve in use at all times.
- With Cap In Place: 600ft/180m
- Without Cap In Place: 120ft/36m
The Airlock is future-proof and moves from camera to cameraThink you might change camera or housing manufacturer in a few years? No problem. One AirLock system is compatible with all underwater housing brands. If you change housing brands in the future, you will only need to buy a new low cost bulkhead adapter for your new camera housing. The Airlock is designed as a one time investment that will move with you from camera to camera.
Low profile 360 degree valve rotation for easy accessCamera housing manufacturers sometimes place bulkheads in hard to reach locations. If you're in a hurry, you don't want to be fighting through a maze of strobe arms and accessories to connect to your vacuum valve. We designed the Airlock to rotate 360 degrees even when under vacuum for quick and easy access on any camera housing. Our right angle design also keeps the valve the lowest profile possible to minimize impacts and snags with other gear.
Removable design for ease of travelWhen our test team tried other systems and homemade hacks, we discovered that most designs were difficult to pack in travel bags and were vulnerable to damage. What was once a sleek housing now had a large wart protrusion. We designed the Airlock with a right angle to make it lower profile and also made it tool-free removable to make packing even the most cumbersome housing a snap. We even include a waterproof cap to keep your housing air tight when the valve is removed.
Backscatter's AirLock Vacuum Detection System