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Ikelite substrobe NiCad battery replacement


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#1 wcs563

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:04 PM

I am sure there are some handy divers who have replaced thier Ikelite substrobe battery modules over the years. Since Ikelite is of no help, I must break into my five older NiCad modules and attempt to replace the "D" size cells, which there are 6 per battery pack.
Wondering if I can get any good advice on where to buy the correct "D" NiCads, and even as simple as cracking open the module without destroying it. Thanks for help in advance!
-Dan

#2 ratfish

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 09:54 PM

It sounds like you have an old SS 150/400 type flash battery pack. I really like those units and much prefer the way the case opens to my current DS 200s. It's a shame that Ikelite doesn't support them anymore.

Anyway, it's been a while but if my memory is not playing tricks when you look at the locking ring you will see a sort of metal locking pin. Just push it straight down into the pack with a thin screwdriver or punch or similar. If it doesn't move easily, just push harder. On my packs there was nothing to damage underneath. The pin should slide in and fall down amongst the cells where you can retrieve it later. The locking ring can now be turned clockwise about 90 degrees in the"unlock" direction using just your fingers. It can then be be removed - if it doesn't just fall out a smal lscrewdriver can be used to lift it out - plastic is not at all delicate but it may be a bit fiddly. Once the ring is out, you can lift the top half of the pack to reveal the cells and circuitry. Lift the top half of the pack carefully so that the wiring isn't damaged and so you can see how to put it back together. (If your pack is like mine, the wiring for the LED is just for the charging indicator and with my packs/chargers could be left out when reassembling.)

At this point it is a simple matter of replacing the cells in the pack by un soldering the existing cells and replacing with new, with all the usual precautions about soldering cells. It is worth replacing all cells at the same time - even if only one has failed others are likely to go and it may also be difficult to get matching cells (in terms of capacity etc). A specialized battery supplier is probably the best place to go for the cells and they may have to order them in. Get cells with tabs for soldering (unless you are equipped to weld tabs to the cells yourself- in which case you will know all this) and they should be the the highest capacity nicad D cells you can get hold of (I vaguely remember mine were at least 4000 mah). I guess to be safe nicads would be the way to go - not sure how the flash units circuitry responds to nimh which have largely replaced nicads - and anyway the different model flash units that use this pack may also respond differently - I think the equivalent nimh cells may have lower resistance and maybe that would be bad for the flash circuitry - but I don't really know enough about that to be sure.

Hope that helps.

Edited by ratfish, 30 January 2009 - 09:55 PM.