Cracked camera lens on Trident

I’ve managed to crack the camera lens of my Trident. Sofar says they can’t repair anytime soon due to Covid-19 and supplier issues. Anyone tackled this repair? Any thoughts?

There are a few folks with flooded Tridents and are “parting” out what’s left. I’m sure there’d be a lot of disassembly / assembly issues, but maybe you could use a 2nd hand lens? It would be helpful if Sofar Support would provide some helpful instructions / hints. How they do the negative pressure test after assembly, I don’t know.

If you find a way to do it, I too have a damaged hull with a good lens.


Thanks, I’ll look into it!

How did you go with the repair of your lens epley?

I haven’t. There is no information about how to get to the lens, and I haven’t been able to find a replacement. For now, I have a $1,500 paperweight.

Are you willing to upload a photo of the crack?

Kind regards

Here are photos of the crack. I may be able to pry off the glass and replace with polycarbonate or similar, just haven’t taken the time to try.

Different angle.

WOW…that’s a pretty decent crack.

So yes, depending on which adhesive has been used to bond the saphire lens into the hull you should be able to pick it out without damaging the hull and then replace it with an acrylic lens (or maybe a genuine Sofar one).

My engineering brain is now going overtime with details of stress and strain and then the practicalities of removing any moisture that may have already entered the hull. Perhaps the guys at Sofar could help with an adhesive product specification and details of any mechanical factors such as how the camera body might be connected to the lens.

Where are you based?

Based near Seattle. I’ll ask Sofar for some more details. Thanks for pushing me to do this!

You are welcome…let us know how you go. I was hoping you were in Australia so that we could schedule a tinkering session.

Here’s a closeup of the camera and sapphire lens mounting area from the inside of the hull. Don’t know if changes were made since mine with Gen1 motors.

I also have a Gen 1 machine, so should be the same. Thanks for the picture!

Thanks webhoppery, that’s GOLD.

Can you see if the camera body is actually connected to the external lens in any way or if it is merely pressed up against it? The camera body appears to be mechanically connected by a metal bracket to the motherboard area so it may be a separate component. I have never opened a Trident (touch wood) so I am a bit blind to this detail.

If the external lens is a completely separate component to the camera body and lens then it could be carefully picked away from the flanged recess area and a new lens bonded in place with a suitable adhesive.

All we need to know is the specification for the OEM adhesive used to bond the lens to the hull or perhaps its softening temperature to assist with debonding (and the heat tolerance of the hull material to make sure the hull is not damaged). The lens is VERY close to the hull seal so any work in this area will need to be carefully considered.

Alternatively, the lens could be carefully die ground away from the field of view and another lens bonded in place. This lens could be as simple as an acrylic plate (or a polycarbonate plate as already proposed). Needless to say guys but any repair is likely to void all warranties…but it sure beats using Trident to hold paper down on the desk for the rest of time hahaha.

The camera has a hard plastic collar that is flush with the lens. There’s a friction fit with a rubber sleeve in the hull. The camera just pulls out. The mounting bracket has a slot - for manufacturing tolerence or maybe some camera adjustment during assembly? I couldn’t tell if there is any spacing between the lenses or if they touch, but they’ve got to be close.

Laughlin Barker on the Embedded podcast #282 ~50:00 talked about the sapphire lens having the same index of refraction to air or water. I don’t understand the full implications vs an acrylic lens. Laughlin was working at OpenROV at the time on the Trident, which he talked a lot about.

Camera connector is microUSB. Thought someone might be curious about the bottom hull without the PCB.

It was interesting how illuminating with a LED MagLite generated a strobe effect.