What to do if buttons on your underwater camera unit get stuck, and how to prevent that from happening (shore-break)

Imagine finding yourself in the water near the shore on a beautiful day wanting to do what you like, and take some photos of mother nature, but when the perfect wave arrives you click, and nothing happens. Or worse, the shutter release button gets jammed and your camera captures a thousand photos by the time you get to dry land. You wonder to yourself; what could be causing this and how can I prevent it in the future? Because some shots you can't retake. This article will help you understand the reasons, and how to prevent something like this from happening.


Our team shoots a lot on the beach and in hard shore break, so sand in the buttons and not being able to depress them has come to our attention first hand. After countless techniques for getting rid of sand grains and other debris from buttons, we have developed a system that works. Just like any other mechanical thing, your unit needs maintenance, especially if your office is an ocean. Small grains of sand and crystallized salt are the reason for button jams.


To perform the maintenance on your unit you will need a few things:

1. The unit with stuck buttons

2. Silicone grease that is supplied with the unit

3. Access to fresh water

4. A little bit of time and patience (it is tedious, but it’s necessary)


The maintenance


1. Place the unit into a bucket of fresh water and perform a press motion movement on all buttons (individually) for at least 2-3 minutes (when pressing the buttons make sure the buttons are facing the bottom of the bucket, so all the sand grains and salt crystals can freely exit)


* - in case the buttons have been left without washing for a while refer below.


2. After the thorough button rinsing is done, take out the unit and let it sit to dry out in cool dry place (windy beach is not a cool dry place, even if it is in the shade. Small sand particles will get inside the button mechanism and you will have to repeat the process again)


3. It is time to apply silicone grease. Each button has an O-ring inside installed so you will need to apply silicone grease to every single button which you can press (lateral movement buttons excluded) Refer to the pictures below to see where to apply. Put a little bit of silicone in each button, after that press the button around 20 times to let the silicone grease go through and reach O-ring - repeat process for all buttons that you can press (remember about gravity and hold the unit accordingly).


*If you can feel large grains of sand when pressing the buttons and step 1 doesn't work, you can use a high-pressure power washer (of course keep a reasonable distance, not right up to the button) and that will take out all those stubborn sand grains if it's clogged. Proceed to step 2 afterwards.




To prevent button jams all you need to do is to rinse the unit thoroughly and preferably as soon as you exit the ocean, because time on the surface will allow salt water to dry leading to salt crystallization and possible clogging.

1. Rinse the unit with fresh water as soon as possible after your session.

2. Place unit in a bucket of fresh water and press the buttons 15-20 times while submerged (remember that buttons must face bottom of a bucket).

3. Let the unit dry either in a tent or cover it with a towel to minimize the intrusion of dust like sand particles.



Button maintenance should be performed when you start feeling some resistance created by sand or salt crystals in the buttons.

There is no specific schedule on when to perform it, since the use of a unit varies from one individual to another.



We hope this article will help you to prevent any surprises and create some amazing content for your social media!

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