Instructables

Underwater Video Camera / Camcorder Housing for less than $50

Picture of Underwater Video Camera / Camcorder Housing for less than $50
Since getting my first digital camera, and later, my first video camera, I have wanted to push the envelope of what these cameras can do, and where they can go. I have taken them on roller coasters, mounted them on my motorcycle, pulled out the IR filter and taken infrared photos. In short, anything is worth a try (thanks to Instructables for inspiration!).

Putting a camera underwater was another realm to conquer, and having two young children who love the pool gave me a great reason to work on this.

The purpose of this Instructable (my first) is to detail how to build an underwater video camera housing. The end result will be the ability to take underwater video on the cheap - less than $50, significantly less if you have parts on hand.

It took about 3 days to complete this, but most of that was testing for leaks or waiting for the sealant to set. Actual workbench time was less than 2 hours.

My inspiration for this project comes from these Instructables:
http://www.instructables.com/id/ESAN0HCF2FRVIUV/
http://www.instructables.com/id/EKU3DUKR8WEPA8KXRG/

The first showed me how easy and inexpensive this could be, and the second set the bar for aesthetics. Thanks to both Kipkay and Bobby_M! I want to give credit where credit is due.
 
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RC Guy2 years ago
Hey is a cuboidal shape for the housing or a Cylindrical one capable of taking more pressure? And what is a good sealant for taking on high pressures of about 50m-60m. What will be a high pressure taking material other than pvc?
gomiboy (author)  RC Guy2 years ago
After using this for a while, I can honestly say that it would never work outside of swimming-pool depths. The seal at the lid end just isn't cut out for pressure work, and I never could get it to seal to my 100% satisfaction. There are other instructables out there that use large-diameter PVC pipe for the housing, and those would be better places to start for high-pressure enclosures. Good luck!
gallamine6 years ago
A good place to get desiccant to absorb moisture is at your local shoe store - every single shoe box has at least one package in it, and everyone just throws them out anyways.
The new type of cat litter - one brand is 'Silicat' - is the absorbent from those little bags - but in bigger chunks. It's 'silica gel'. A bag of cat litter isn't very expensive, and would last for dozens of dives!
gomiboy (author)  gallamine6 years ago
That's an excellent idea! Even when there is no leakage, there is some moisture that I'm sure can't be good for the camera, and I was wondering what to do about it. Next time we take the kids shoe-shopping, you can be sure I'll ask for a few. Thanks!
jayCswe gomiboy6 years ago
hey i got another tip for u about keeping the moisture out of the housing and it is really effective.. :) use an tampon... :D yes thats right an tampon that ladies use during their "week".... its got excellent moisture/water absorbation... good luck with your next project /j ps/ an tampon is a classic thing to use for housing of cameras while diving... in sweden anyway.. ;)
Actually even better would be a pad. Tampon is a ball of cotton, but pads have a powder that absorbs liquid and forms a gel, put as many "super flow" pads in there, you could hold half a gallon of liquid.
vignesh12304 years ago
I have a idea for the record button! Stick a waterproof pushbutton on the housing and wire the button to a hydraulic syringe like rustlabs said! Works wonders for me!
texabyte6 years ago
I just made a fiber optic camera remote (camera remote with a $30 fiber optic cable glued to it) for my backup canon zr850 ( my regular camera is a sony xdcam ex camera and my company has some big sony studio cameras and a thomson viper) I am very cheap
gomiboy (author)  texabyte6 years ago
This sounds like a fantastic idea! I'm going to test it (dry) tonight - I work with computer and network hardware all day, so a length of scrap fiber cable is easy to come by. Thanks!
arcidae20006 years ago
rustlabs6 years ago
nice instructable! I designed an enclosure for an old super 8 camera once. and since the footage wouldn't be as easy to edit, as it is with modern cameras i had to develop a method of controlling the recording and other buttons. what i came up with was a simple push/pull double syringe sorta hydraulic control. it was nice and easy to seal since i just used small bits of pipe going through the enclosure with a tube on each end connecting the syringes. hopefully the picture will describe it a bit better.
sealed camea interface.bmp
gomiboy (author)  rustlabs6 years ago
Thanks for the idea. The record button is the thing that's given me the biggest problem, and I've wanted to do something that minimized the hole in the housing. I was thinking some kind of anchored cable, but this looks like the ticket, since I think the cable would be harder to seal.
That's a pretty awesome idea. If you added a pin through the top of the reservoir of the syringes you could make sure you don't accidentally pull one end out or push too hard and blow the plunger out of the other. It would also be a good idea to use some non-conductive fluid like cooking oil or distilled water to make sure if an accident or leak does happen you don't short anything out.
cfaslave6 years ago
Count me as impressed! A very nice job - I think I might have to try this myself. Thanks! Brent
Put a wideangle on your cam!! it' fantastic!! good instructable!
phelm6 years ago
why not just pop your camera in a couple of non-lubricated condoms?
gomiboy (author)  phelm6 years ago
My video camera is approximately 9 inches by 5 inches by 3 inches. Perhaps if yours is smaller, you can try that.
rabagley phelm6 years ago
As you descend a few feet, the ambient pressure will first squeeze the camera (pushing all of the buttons) and then crush the camera. The housing not only keeps the camera dry but prevents the camera from having to deal with ambient pressure.
phelm phelm6 years ago
you could make a water detector with a buzzer hooked up to a battery with a alka saltzer in the circuit with a spring to complete. When the alka saltzer melts the sprint pushes against it to complete the circuit. Sorry, bad explanation but i hope you understand what I am saying.
gomiboy (author)  joejoerowley6 years ago
I'm not sure how I would apply it to this project, as the water sensor works pretty well and the alka seltzer sounds a bit messy. However, it sounds like an interesting project that needs a timer, for instance. I'm going to keep that idea in my back pocket for later. Thanks!
MajHunter6 years ago
Very well done. Now to just figure out how to depress the shutter button for a camera. (I don't have a camcorder yet)