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JACohen

Small problem with Seaflash 150

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As a recent owner of two Seaflash D150s there are many aspects of this strobe that I like. I am delighted with the power, the colour of the light and the elegantly engineered Seacam system. However new buyers might want to be aware of a potential problem, a design fault that can result in the batteries ceasing to work.

 

The battery cover is very close to the edge of the strobe and acts as an area for water to get trapped that is very difficult to access in order to dry it out. This has to be totally one hundred percent dry in order to remove the cover as any drops of water reaching the battery can cause it to stop working, something that Seacam considers a user error flood. I have tried a number of ways to dry this, and have ended up using tissues to get right into the edge in order to suck up the water, but even then there are still water drops that won’t dry unless the strobe is left to dry naturally for a period of time. This means a quick battery change between dives is not really practical. One has to take great care when opening the battery compartment, even when it appears to be totally dry, and have a tissue in hand ready to mop up any small drops that are trapped in the ridges of the threads.

 

It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the batteries were not so sensitive, however two small drops caused mine to stop working, which Seacam called a user error flood and charged for the repair. Two drops of water can cause any camera, or any sensitive piece of electronics, to stop working if they fall in the right (or wrong) place. That is a given fact. However, the way that the strobe has been designed means that these two drops of water are much more likely to get into that right (or wrong) place than they would do if the design had been a little different.

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Hi Julian,

After you pointing this problem on our recent Red Sea trip, when I opened my Seaflash I opened them with the battery cover facing the floor so any

drops of water caught between the battery cap & shell fall to the floor & thanks for pointing out this problem as it is a very expensive drop of water.

Take Care,

Regards,

Andy

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In common with most underwater flash units, care should be taken when removing the battery cover from a Seaflash which is still wet, to ensure that no trapped water is dislodged onto the battery or into the battery compartment. My own suggestion is that the the rear of the Seaflash should be dried and then it should then be held with the rear pointing downwards before removing the battery cover. You should inspect and dry the area around where the cover has been removed from before removing the battery to ensure that no water droplets get onto the battery or into the compartment.

 

FWIW the other problem associated with underwater flash units and their battery covers is that they are usually assembled in warmer conditions than they are used in. If they are then opened before they have warmed up to the temperature at which they were assembled there is the danger of suction occuring (due to the lower internal battery chamber pressure) and this can drag in any water droplets too. For this reason I have for many years always opened my flash units (all types) after drying (shaking plus tissue paper) with the battery cover facing downwards. My SB105s (still running ok!) are particularly bad in this respect.

 

I have suggested to Seacam that they add this suggestion to the Seaflash manual in due course so that users are aware of the potential for wet units to get splashed if opened rear upwards whilst still wet and so that it is made clear that there is an appropriate poceedure for removing the battery cap and battery..

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Sounds eminently sensible Paul. And did Seacam pay any attention to your suggestion?

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Sounds eminently sensible Paul. And did Seacam pay any attention to your suggestion?

Yes!

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I also use the Seacam Seaflash 150 as well and haven't found that to be a problem with my battery packs. In fact, unlike Paul I am probably a bit too cavalier with mine, and often change on wet boats and don't obsess overly about the water droplets. I try to dry it as well as I can before opening, of course, and if no towel is handy I turn it upside down for the battery change as well. That's good advise, and probably common sense.

 

As Seacam distributor I'd know if a bunch of batteries are being returned for this issue, but at least in North America we haven't seen it. Did just get one back after a live-aboard that had the battery charging station exposed to the elements in a driving rain on the back deck. More than one battery pack, from various manufacturers, got fried that night.

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In fact, unlike Paul I am probably a bit too cavalier with mine, and often change on wet boats and don't obsess overly about the water droplets.

Many years ago I used a housing which developed an intermittent flash sync problem. It took ages to figure out what the cause was and it was eventually tracked down to one small water droplet (~3mm diameter) which had left a salty residue bridging two tracks on the exposed circuit board used to carry the flash signal. This would stop the flash sync operating at times - presumeably because it never thoroughly dried. One small wipe with a cotton wool bud sorted out the problem which was then solved by varnishing the exposed circuit board. But what it taught me was to be careful about salt water droplets - its not the size so much as the place they manage to fall......

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