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phxazcraig

YS-D1 failing to fire most of the time

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I've been reading horror stories about YS-D2 and other model failures.   I have two YS-D1's, bought in 2014 from Bluewater.  One is fine, but the other started not firing some of the time a few days ago.  I thought I had weak batteries in it.  Sometimes it flashes, sometimes not.   If I set to full power and flash, the red status light briefly turns to green as if it fired OK, but no flash.   Or sometimes a flash.

This strobe has flooded the battery compartment twice, but continued to work OK for a year after the first flood.  The second happened last week, and while the flash recovered, maybe it didn't really.

Does it sound likely that this is a reasonably repairable unit, or is it likely to be as cheap to buy a new strobe?

And... what strobes are out there that are reliable but still as powerful as the YS-D1's?   I have a budget for maybe $500 for a replacement.

Craig

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Just a few days ago Kevin Palmer of ReefPhoto in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida emailed me this:

"We do repair strobes when there are parts. The YS-D1 is worth about zero dollars. Sea & Sea doesn't support it, doesn't have parts - and it was a very unreliable strobe when new, so there is really no interest in those at all. Sea & Sea doesn't even want to support their made-in-China version of the YS-D2 even though it has the same parts and all the same problems as the YS-D2J."

The Sea&Sea battery cover has a seal that can blow when the batteries get wet and release gas, this may explain your second flood.  The contacts and the rotary switches corrode, and malfunction.  Access to the contacts & switches requires removing all of the strobe's circuits, a major undertaking. 

It all adds up to a new strobe, such as the Sea&Sea YS-D2J or Inon D200 or Z330.
 

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8 hours ago, Kraken de Mabini said:

The YS-D1 is worth about zero dollars

That seems a bit over the top.  I have a few D1's and I certainly paid more than zero dollars.  I don't know of anyone giving them away.  I have been happy with mine and have had no issues, all were purchases second hand.  He may be right that they are difficult to repair but they are good strobes worth more than zero dollars.

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 The Sea&Sea YS-D1 and -D2 strobes have received a lot of bad publicity because they were made in China with at times cheap and defective parts.  S&S has learned its lesson and now they are made in Japan as the YS-D2J, to solve the problem, as we all know.
Unfortunately, bad news about the older YS-D1 adn 2 strobes keeps on surfacing, maybe just in small numbers, but it keeps the bad publicity alive.
  As there is no strobe registry or similar to follow their performance, there is no way to gather statistics, consequently most strobe opinions we hear about are venting of frustrations and bad experiences. 
 Kevin Palmer's opinion, quoted in my post, is based on his daily, professional dealings with clients, some of whom may have purchased a strobe that later gave trouble from his store, and with the manufacturers who no longer provide repair parts. I do not envy him the experience.
 So far most UW strobes have been limited to being flash guns, maybe a bit more.  Recently I have read that some newly available strobes, such as the ONE-UW from Italy, with two internal microprocessors, one for TTL and strobe management, another for power management, deliver performances that are said to be pretty amazing.
The new Retras, once they appear, may also be smart performers, let us wait and see.

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I can't say these YS-D1's have been unreliable.  I've got 5 years on them before the one started having issues.  If the YS-D2J is as reliable I'll be happy with them.

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9 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

I can't say these YS-D1's have been unreliable.  I've got 5 years on them before the one started having issues.  If the YS-D2J is as reliable I'll be happy with them.

Agreed. I've got 5 years on my two D1s, one of which was purchased used. No issues. The "zero dollars" comment is likely related to a broken one....if there are no parts and thus not repairable it is wirth nothing. 

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I’ve have had two D1s for a number of years without problem. But with S&S apparently not standing behind their product, according to Reef Photo comment, I’ll not consider any of their products when replacement time comes. In today’s market, it’s inexcusable that a manufacturer would not admit a mistake and cast their customers adrift without support.

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  Let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater, and weigh the facts of each situation. If a strobe is working OK, regardless of its make and model, keep on using it, why not?  If the brand has served us well, continue with it when buying a new strobe.  
 The Sea&Sea YS-D1 does have a poor track record, but that is for just some individual strobes, not all.  If a YS-D1 is still shooting after five or so years, it is a good performer, so it makes sense to treat it as such.
 Sea&Sea did have rough spell, but the recognized the problem and corrected it satisfactorily.  

 That leaves open the question of what Sea&Sea should have done about defective individual strobes.  Some of us feel that a complete restitution was and is indicated.  But that may not have been financially possible for the company, as they had to relocate from China to Japan, a big expensive move. Plus strobe makers are living in  different business environment, one that varies from country to country.  Difficult call.

 How far can a company guarantee and warrant a product that functions underwater and is subject to many kinds of damage, often damage from operator error? To my knowledge, strobes are warranted for one year, and only if they are purchased from an authorized distributor.  

 But service by the company should be available.  To cite a related example, Nikon provides excellent service for its cameras.  I mail my camera to them with a letter, receive a reply within 2 weeks: yes Nikon can fix it, no they can't, and I am happy with Nikon, as at least they responded and tried their best.
The strobe companies and their representatives could do the same: accept the strobe for inspection, reply with their evaluation. Repair parts and working diagrams should be readily available, both to distributors and users, they way automobile parts are. 

 For an uw strobe to be repairable requires the strobe to be designed appropriately.  Current strobes, such as Inon's, have internals that can only be replaced as a block, making the repair cost prohibitive.  The flash tubes also need to be tougher and longer lasting, and the battery compartment needs to be really sealed off from the electronic compartment, limiting flood damage to the batteries. This is not asking too much, for example, Ikelite strobes are designed and famous for a trouble-free, long service life.

 


 

 

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Just to clarify a point. The YSD1 (at least mine) were made in Japan not in China and sourced using mostly Japanese components. As for comparing strobes to cameras, I suspect that there is at least an order of magnitude (probably a factor of 50) in terms of cameras made and strobes made. It is not clear to me that the D1s have major issues. Mine are at least 5 years old, and while there was a firmware upgrade for battery issues, mine are still going strong after more than 600 dives (probably 50k flashes). As for Ikelite, maybe I am an outlier but I do in fact know their service facility quite well. 

 

Bill

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I've had two YSD1s for about 5 years. They were very reliable until a flash tube blew in one of them on my last trip. (I estimate the I had > 20,000 fires on it so I can't complain) It failed exactly as you described. It seemed to lose power at first. Then it would sometimes fire and sometimes not. And even when it was completely dead, it would still return the "All ok green light". When I looked at the face, I could see that the tube was visibly cracked. I sent it to Pacific Housing Repair. Upon inspection, they discovered that the circuitry was fried too and said it wasn't worth fixing. However, they sold me a reconditioned one for a very reasonable cost. I'd give them a try. They are the official S&S service center in the US. Bluewater Photo recommended that I send my failed unit to them.

 

BTW, a trick I learned from PHR is that a Sony remote (from a TV, CD player, Receiver, etc) will trigger the S&S strobes. If you just open the optical port and shoot the Sony remote into it, it will trigger if it's working. It's an easy test.

 

http://www.pacifichousingrepair.com/

 

 

Edited by JohnnyQuest

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On 10/19/2019 at 1:04 PM, JohnnyQuest said:

BTW, a trick I learned from PHR is that a Sony remote (from a TV, CD player, Receiver, etc) will trigger the S&S strobes. If you just open the optical port and shoot the Sony remote into it, it will trigger if it's working. It's an easy test.

 

That's a trick I may try tonight.  I bought a pair of used YS-D1's which seem in fine shape, but I've not test fired them yet.  Seems odd that there is no test button on these devices.

PhxAZCraig

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