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Thru Hull Camera

Old 02-03-2009, 11:15 PM
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Default Thru Hull Camera

Does anyone have any real world experience with these thru hull underwater camera?

What was the quality of the picture? Was the angle of the view wide enough to make it worthwhile? Was it useable / practical? How was the reliability? Was it worth the $$$? Lastly was it worth putting another hole in the hull?

Here are some examples.
AirMar CA500 - $650

Ocean LED - $667

I like to get one for bottom structure searching / viewing while freediving in shallow water. 10'-30' depth in tropical / subtropical water.

If this expensive route for an underwater camera isn't worthwhile. For the limited time that I will need an underwater camera. I can live with the cheap alternative of a cheap underwater plastic periscope. And last alterantive - I can always have a crew put on a mask/snorke/fin for a quick dip to inspect the bottom.
Old 02-04-2009, 01:01 AM
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Default RE: Thru Hull Camera

I've had two of them and liked them both. First, the resolution with black and white is better in low light or murky water. Likewise, black and white requires far less light. So, I bought what is called a lipstick camera in high resolution. They are about 5/8 diameter and 2 inches long. They also run on 12 volts. Then, I bought the cheapest Aqualight through hull light, took the bulb out and dropped in the camera. My Garmin displays video, so I am all set. The 540 line camera is about $160, the 440 line is about $80 on eBay. The aqualight is $ 90 (eBay item 130285683578)
Old 02-04-2009, 06:13 AM
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Default RE: Thru Hull Camera

Kerno do you do any recording from your thru hull camera?? If so what recorder are you using? How do you have it set up? Thanks Mark
Old 02-04-2009, 09:55 AM
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Default RE: Thru Hull Camera

In the Bahamas we called it a look bucket. You take a 5 gallon bucket and cut out the bottom. Leave a small rim around the edge of the bottom so you can attach the new bottom. Cut our a round piece of Plexiglas to fit the bottom. I used 5200 to attach the Plexiglas to the bucket; however, I have seen screws used with some type of caulking. You push the bucket into the water and you can see the bottom. When it is not a look bucket you can use it as a regular bucket.

I also made my own underwater camera for my boat. It works ok. Since I have a 1980 sailboat it had a place for a knot meter paddle wheel (Datamarine). When the paddle wheel knot meter was not in use you could remove it and replace it with a blank plug. I purchased a number of blank plugs and made an underwater camera (same theory as the look bucket - I filled the whole unit with potting compound when it was assembled). I also made an LED light that shows underwater using the same theory.

You can buy the through hull and blanks from Datamarine ($20 - $30 each). You can get nice cameras on ebay. The higher resolution the better. I also found one that had infrared LEDs attached. I would love to find a way to look ahead of the boat. I mainly use the camera to find a sandy patch to drop my anchor. Now I have to slowly motor froward, find a patch, back up slightly, and drop the anchor. When I designed the underwater camera I looked at several Lexan domes for the bottom to get the camera below the boat; however, I did not like the idea of something sticking out below the bottom of the boat. Too many things can go wrong.
Old 02-04-2009, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: Thru Hull Camera

that bucket with a clear bottom idea is cheap and looks to be very effective - however it is probably more hassle than I would want. I wouldn't know where to store the bucket when not being used.

a round periscope where I can store in the horizontal rod holder while not in use would be more practical.

Back to the hand free thru hull mounted camera. Any of you guys have any photos or footage showing how the bottom actually shows up on the screen?

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