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Sea & Sea YS-250 Pro Strobe leaking


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#1 Steve Williams

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 04:54 PM

Thanks to Cary Dean I've discovered why one of my 250's was filling with water on the last trip. He mentioned in my trip report thread to check for a crack in the cap. Does this look like it might leak?


Posted Image

It shows up right at the depth of the interior machining face. I know this strobe has never been dropped and has always been carried with me in my hand luggage. I'm wondering if anyone else has seen this. This strobe is one of the early units. Serial number 0045, so S&S may have made some changes since then to avoid the problem, not sure. If not, and you have these strobes you may want to carry an extra battery and cap with you on your next long trip.

It was very hard to see unless you know what you're looking for. I love the power and recycle time of these units. I hate to see a simple failure like this.

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#2 treehugger

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 09:37 AM

Thanks for the heads up. Got my 250's just a couple of months back, will definitely be watching out for anything like this.

#3 sharky1961

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 11:41 AM

Hi Steve,

just 2 weeks ago one of my YS-250 also filled with water. First I thought that it was an o-ring problem. Now I now better it was leaking out of the overpressure knob on the back of the cap.
I cleaned the contacts and Sea&Sea sent me a new cap. Luckely the strobe is fireing again.


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#4 vetdiver

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 01:21 PM

Hi, Steve -

I must preface by saying - the 250's are my strobe of choice - IMO, for wide angle, they cannot be beat!

I have had mine for about 16 months (heavy usage - including many local shore dives) and have experienced cap failure. Same as you - obvious crack with a full flood, and the whole strobe was replaced immediately by Sea and Sea - this was back when I first got them, I think it was their 5th or 6th dive. More recently, I had another cap that gave me a bit of an issue on 2 successive dives, but as we could not see a crack or bubbles, we never could tell what exactly happened - we just replaced the cap and cleaned the compartment and contacts, and the problem disappeared.

Just wanted to say - I no longer place the caps on the strobes when I travel - I put each strobe, wrapped in bubble wrap, in a hard plastic container and place the unscrewed cap next to the strobe in the same container. Perhaps this is overkill, but it seems that an overzealous TSA agent could perhaps screw the caps on too tightly. Of course, now I am left hoping that a cap doesn't get lost completely, but they've been OK for 2 overseas trips - and I keep a backup cap in my bag of tricks, just in case.

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#5 Drew

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 02:11 PM

Could this crack be caused by heat and/or impact? If like most equipment, the strobes are left in the sun, banged about on the boat amongst other things, plastic is more likely to break than say aluminum. Of course, aluminum can rust and crack through over time as well. ;)

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#6 Beach Bum

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:09 PM

Hey Steve

I had the same problem. It seems that this is not an isolated incident. Untill I read your post I thought it was the pressure relief valve that went bad. I already have a replacement but I kept the old one and when I read your post I dug it out and found a crack in it in the same spot as yours. The new cap doesn't appear to be any stronger than the old cap. I think it would be best to have a spare.

Mike

#7 Steve Williams

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 10:48 PM

Could this crack be caused by heat and/or impact?



I guess anything is possible Drew, but in this case it appears to be a fundamental design issue. The crack appears to start and propagate from the interior surface where the threaded portion of the cap ends. I couldn't say whether it's a thermal or mechanical stress issue. It's somehow comforting though to know I'm in the same boat with Allison, Mike, Cary Dean and I'm sure others. I'll give our friends at Backscatter a call and see what's up.

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#8 Timmoranuk

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:27 AM

Hi Steve,

I have absolutely no experience of the YS-250s so take my 2 cents worth with a shovel of salt... ;)

The crack seems to be very similar to one which manifested itself on the screw-on cap of one of my Fisheye FX48DX focus lamps. I am sure this was down to over-tightening on my part. Of course, once the sealing surfaces have engaged with the o-ring, there's no merit in getting out the torque wrench! Having replaced the cap I now just finger tighten the battery caps on my lamps and on my Z-240s.

Hopefully you get better after sales support from Sea & Sea in the US than we do in the UK.
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#9 adamhanlon

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 03:50 AM

Hi Steve,

I did have a similar problem with a YS-30 ages ago.

I didn't attempt to analyze the cause at the time, I think it was just over tightening.

I also couldn't be 100% sure that I hadn't hit it and damaged it....

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#10 Scuba_SI

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 05:58 AM

I think it's overtightening, there are the marks you are supposed to line up when tightening to prevent over tightening. I always (over)tighten mine then remember i'm not supposed to do that and loosen them off.

It's a design fault in my opinion, and the only thing i don't like about these strobes.

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#11 Steve Williams

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 06:01 AM

Interesting thoughts guys, thanks. That must be one of the reasons S&S puts the alignment marks on the 250's. The battery cap has a mark that you align to a mark on the strobe so that over tightening shouldn't happen. I know I have never cranked it down past those marks. It would be easy for S&S to believe that their customers were being over zealous and not realise they have a different problem.

Have fun,
Steve

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#12 Scuba_SI

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 06:12 AM

Hmm, Jinx! Did we type that at the same time? Spooky

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#13 Steve Williams

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:42 AM

Great minds....... Simon ;)

OK, I have the scoop from our friends at Backscatter. They have seen a few failures of the battery cap and believe it is possibly due to three different potential causes. Over tightening will cause the failure as we thought. The cap could also fail if there is an o-ring leak and the battery off gasses resulting in an over pressure in the compartment. If this occurs there is a relief valve that should activate. If the relief valve ever does release it may not reset correctly and they have seen some problems due to this. Backscatter recommends replacing the cap if there has been a leak bad enough to destroy the battery.

This could have been my problem; I had a leak during pool testing prior to the trip and may have got enough of a gas buildup to cause the crack. The batteries are pretty well sealed and itís tempting to try and clean it up and reload but we may be asking for trouble. When I replaced the oring and cleaned out the compartment the relief valve may not have reset (if it released) or the crack might have leaked anyway.

Interestingly our friends at Reef Photo didnít remember seeing a problem with the caps. So it doesnít appear to be a glaring global design issue.

In any case, I think the best guidance is to;

-Be careful tightening,

-Change out the battery cap o-ring on a regular schedule to avoid a problem,

-Carry a spare battery cap ($59US) and battery along with spare o-rings if the worst happens.

Cheers,

Steve

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#14 trouble

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 12:48 AM

Steve,

Interesting reading...I have had 2 YS250s leak, both times the strobes were still firing and there was only a couple of cm of water in the battery compartment. In both cases the strobe was working one day and leaking another.

Sea & Sea via their Aussie distributor replaced them both times...no explanation on what the issue was forthcoming even though I asked. Pretty sure the cap was not cracked like the one in your post.

Great strobes though!

Cheers Dave Y

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#15 Steve Williams

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 06:28 AM

Sea & Sea via their Aussie distributor replaced them both times...no explanation on what the issue was forthcoming even though I asked.


Hi Dave,
That's very weird. The guy didn't tell you why they replaced them? I'd love to know what was behind that.

Have fun,
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#16 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 06:46 AM

I have seen this too. Alex

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#17 Steve Williams

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 09:07 AM

I have seen this too. Alex


Which part Alex? Cracked caps or strobes being replaced for leaking? I'd appreciate any intel you have.

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#18 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 09:11 AM

Someone on one of my trips had a cracked cap on the YS-250 pro. Hard part to replace in the field. We fixed it with some glue, IIRC.

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#19 pmooney

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 01:34 PM

I had number of these strobes all have a slow unexplainable leak ( almost micro drops ) that would amount to a teaspoon of water over a 60 minute dive. No signs of any cracks in the caps at all.
Returned them to the distributor who was able to repeat the experience in the pressure pot and replaced them under warranty each time.

#20 davichin

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 07:59 AM

I also had a cracked cap that led to battery loss. This was a long time ago. After that, I thought that reading the manual could be useful and found that it is needed to tighten the cap to the end and then untighten it until the marks are aligned... If tightened until end, the flat part of the cap rests on the body with no play and receives the stress that leads to cracks, whereas if untightened to align the marks there is no contact in that area and the stress between the cap and the body is transmitted through the screws...

After around two years everything has worked fine with these strobes.
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