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Fixing camera after immersion

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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We pee deep. Ew!
Sep 24, 2002
I was diving with Jeff Richardson and The111 last Friday and as we were heading out to the middle of Alexander spring, I noticed that I had put my camera in the case incorrectly, and was unable to power it on as a result. I flipped the case open, got things straightened out, and closed it up again. Unfortunately, I must have gotten ome water on the seals, because about 5 minutes later, I noticed that there was water sloshing around in the case -- apparently it only takes a drop on the seal to allow water to get a path into the case. I knew I was taking a risk when I opened the case with wet hands, but I figured I would get away with it :duh.

At any rate, I am now the proud owner of a waterlogged C-5050. So far, it has recovered enough to read the images off the card and the camera's electronics seem to befully recovered, but the optics still have droplets on them.

I'm confident that the electronics will be ok, but I'm worried about getting mineral deposits on the optics and the CCD. Fortunately, the water in the springs is pretty clean so I may luck out.

Does anyone know of a remedy for a camera that has been immersed? I have thought of putting the camera in distilled water in order to soak off any mineral deposits and then maybe putting it in a bath of methanol to draw the water out, but I figured I'd ask around to see if there anyone has better ideas, experience with a similar situation etc.

Thanks in advance!
My only experiance was with my cousins video camcorder, some years ago. He left it on the cabin roof and it rained, hard, all night. Totally soaked the camera. We removed the batteries, dried it out and waited for a week or so, with the camera in an air conditioned space, to complete the drying. On testing, it was none the worse. This happened on my boat, a very salty environment.

Good luck with yours and sorry I missed diving with you.

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I've flooded a couple of film cameras and had to send them in for overhaul. Each time it cost me about 75% of what a whole new camera would have cost. I am not sure if it was worth it to send it in or not, but thats how it worked out.

One flooded in fresh water and the other in salt. The one in salt water I flushed with fresh water and then let it air dry befrore I sent it in- once I got back to the states. I have heard of flushing them with fresh water, and then again with rubbing acohol afterwards to try and save them, but am not sure if that works or not.

Good luck!

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One of the things that we used to do to dry out electronics was to put them in the oven.


We had an older style oven, one that had a pilot light (a newer all electric one won't cut it). And we would put the electronic device on a wooden cutting board and leave it in there. WITHOUT TURNING THE OVEN ON !!!!

The pilot light puts out enough dry, low intensity heat to help speed up the drying process. It would usually dry things out in a couple of days...really suck the moisture right on out.....

I did that with a Nikon F2AS and Nikkor 16mm lens that were inside the housing that got banged about in the surf and leaked. I have also done it with Walkman-type stereo cassette players that had been worn in the rain and flooded. The camera and lens were flushed with freshwater before being put in the oven.

That stuff worked fine after being dried out.....

Of course a less hazardous method is to pack them in a sealed container with plenty of dessicant to help with moisture absorbtion. I have plenty of that stuff around, since we use it when we store firearms, electronics and other sensitive gear in this tropical environment.

If you use the oven method, please be careful, and realize that you are taking a risk. Please don't blame me if you melt down your electronics, or even worse catch something on fire. I have given this out only for informational purposes and as a record of my personal experience. Your results may vary.......
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I got it dried out, but there is a bit of residue in the lens system.

I think that if I soak the camera in distilled water (which I've already done once) and then follow it up quickly w/ anhydrous isopropyl alcohol, it should pull the water away from the lens surfaces while "bad stuff" is still in suspension/solution etc.

Just haven't had the time to do this particular chemistry experiment yet. If it succeeds, I will have two 5050's and I'll use the salvaged for uw photography (less to lose if it floods again).
Another thought:

The water in Florida springs is full of disolved calcium and carbonates from the limestone it runs through. That is probably what is causing the residue. A very slightly acidic solution (dilute vinegar??) should take it off, but some experimentation would be a good idea first. It might play heck with the electronics. Not sure how to test the idea.

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That is pure brilliance. I'd karminate ya, but the karma system was designed by communists and insists that one "spread the manure".

BTW, the Gulf coast ain't half bad for freediving. You ever go out?
Unfortuately my casing flooded, - probably a grain of sand in the casing itself and on the o-ring - and my 5050 is totally (electronically) dead, I'll have to send it to Olympus in Madrid. The funny thing is that the pictures turned out fine! There was about 1/4 volume of water in the casing when I saw it yet it was enough. I didn't think of using alcohol or distilled water as I thought that the electronics wouldn't be able to handle that. I knew that for an old mechanical camera it would be a good solution but didn't think it would apply here.

By phone they told me that they'll take a look but not to get my hopes up, most cameras end up not being fixed. What to do then? Get a new 5050? Upgrade to something else? Go video? I like that idea.

Funniest thing was that I wasn't at all upset!


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How did you get the pics off the camera Adrian? With a card reader? Or does the Camedia software still work with a flooded camera?

Re Calcium Carbonate Deposit:
Rinsing with a weakly acidic solution sounds like a good idea. Rinsing with water probably won't get rid of it all. Think of how a kettle or pan used for boiling water builds up deposits.

If you have an electronics shop nearby, and can access to the electronic boards in the camera (i havent pulled my 5050 apart yet), buy some electronics cleaner, and a compressed air bottle. Between the two of those you can clean up the electronics nice and pretty like, and dry everything off as well. The electronics cleaner should get rid of the deposits on the lens as well. At least the stuff I used for cleaning saltwater corrosion off Converter drives does. It should say on the can what it can and can't clean. Its a spray can, so you'll have to dismantle the camera, not just soak it...

Right now I'll consult my Chem notes, because I remember doing a titration involving CaCO3, so maybe that will be of some help...:hmm
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The pics were safe in the CF card, which apparently didn't get wet or short-circuited.

Famous last words, or rather pics:


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Wow, this is like Deja Vu all over again.

Adrian, the electronics in my camera recovered pretty quickly. I pulled the batteries out as soon as I realized that the camera was waterloged - the applied power is what usually does the damage. Probably to late to do any good, but it turned out that no long-term electronic harm had been done at that point. Like you said, the big relief was that I was able to recover the pictures and movies. Still, it sucks to lose a camera, esp. a sweet deal like a 5050 :(.

The camea is not too hard to disassemble, I made little sketches of each portion of the camera that I took apart and put a little hole in the paper about where the screw would go. I'm a visual thinker and this was a good way to give myself notes on reassembly (they use a variety of screws and it isn't always clear which one belongs where).

I have immersed it in distilled water several times since the initial flooding and the electronics always came back. At this point, I only need to immerse the lens since that's where the deposits are. One issue w/ disassembly is that it's a little hard to get the ribbon cables properly aligned in all the sockets, so sometimes the camer came back w/ certain critical functions not working.

I guess that this is a cautionary tale to all PT-015 owners out there -- the cases actually do flood sometimes.

I think that I might devise a "plastic bag" kind of case for the camera that will allow me to manipulate the controls but will provide some redundancy. I think that a low-volume bag around the camera will work, and if it suddenly gets sucked tight against the case, I'll know that the case failed (and that it's time to call it a day;)).
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i had a digital camera flood once, it turns out tha zip-lock bags arent as good as in the commercials.

to clean the lens i immersed the lens apparatus in contact-lens cleaning solution and in optical lens cleaning solution and the camera works perfectly now with no damage
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Thanks Adrian, I live in terror of taking that once in a lifetime shot, then getting the insides of the camera wet... Good to know theres a chance of the card still working, post catastrophe...:)
Hi Pez,
I quit diving the Gulf a while back.
I guess I'm totally spoiled and maybe saddled with a bubble blowers outlook on Gulf diving. Anyway, clear water is my thing and the Bahamas are close enough for summer diving. Body surfing or the springs have to do the rest of the year.

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