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View Full Version : "Diver replacable" computer batteries = built-in attrition?



rtrski
09-07-2007, 10:42
OK, so at the risk of being labeled an idiot (sorry, my wife already beat you to it :smiley2:).

Wife and I had identical rigs with Oceanic Veo250 puck computers on quick-release "Swiv" consoles. Hers was a year older than mine. Battery ran down recently, so I sprung for the battery and o-ring kit and fought my way through that BRUTE of a replacement. Getting the computer out of the rubber boot was bad enough, then opening it with a screwdriver in that little depression to remove the retaining ring (since I didn't have the nifty two-prong tool) was enough of a fight I took a break before actually trying the battery replacement and closure.

I really thought I'd done it right as to holding the door down, making sure it 'squished' the o-ring out evenly, then maintained pressure while I fought the retaining ring into engaging again (with more than a couple of scraped knuckles from wildly slipping screwdrivers to show for it). Of course, our first dive in the FG after the swap, her computer goes "poof" as soon as we hit depth. Veo250: dead on arrival. At least the Spree now has rentals so we only lost one dive, and since we aborted immediately we got to continue the rest of the day on computers instead of switching to tables due to losing the 1st dive saturation statistics.

So here's the point:

a) How many of you have SUCCESSFULLY changed out 'diver replacable' batteries in dive computers?
b) If you have, what brand and type?
c) If you've had similar experiences to mine (and I've still got another of those puppies that will need a battery next year) and have sworn off self-maintenance, have you found dive shops will replace for you - and verify the seal - at semi-reasonable cost? I confess I did not ask ST first.

Basically that back door design was a trap, near as I can see - without specialized fixturing to hold it all in place and the two-prong tool I can't imaging swapping those out on any sort of regular basis with any success rate in double digit percentages, ever. So I can plan on letting someone else do the battery replacement (and I heard horror stories from other divers on the Spree that 'their shop won't do it anymore ... they're also sick of being told it flooded and having to replace it') or just move away from so-called "diver replacable" designs entirely.

BTW, I do successfully swap batteries in an Ike strobe, open/close my camera housing, etc. So I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to checking an o-ring for cleanliness, lightly lubing it with appropriate silicone, using the right durometer o-ring (only manufacturer parts), etc. But that door on the Veo250 was a nightmare - you had to line it up and squish it perfectly to even get the retaining ring to seat, much less try to rotate back to the locked position.

Right now we're leaning toward the Mares Nemo Sport as a replacement for her (she liked the wrist-mount she got rented by the boat and wants to go that direction instead of a console) which is NOT diver replacable - but right now I'm thinking the mail battery swap is more reliable than the DIY route anyway.

Additional comments, anyone??

ReefHound
09-07-2007, 11:17
I can see how you feel that it's better to send it off. I've replaced the batteries on Suuntos, a Mosquito and a Vyper. Maybe Suunto has a more idiot-proof design? It shouldn't be that hard to get a seal. People do it all the time with cameras.

Where did you get the replacement kit? Was the o-ring for sure the right diameter? Did you lube it? Did you clean the seat?

CompuDude
09-07-2007, 11:40
I've never had to replace the battery in my computer, but it's a factory-replace Uwatec so I won't have to send it in for a couple more years anyway.

If the battery life is decent, and you're the type of person who can monitor battery life carefully enough to avoid surprises, I really don't see the appeal of the user-replaceable battery, given the number of stories like this I've heard.

(I've also heard stories of non-replaceable batteries dying and losing out on part of a trip, though, so I guess it's a balancing act as always, but short of a problem with the computer I see that as a user error for not keeping an eye on it as much as the user error for replacing the battery incorrectly... the difference is my computers battery lasts 300+ dives between changes)

Capt Hook
09-07-2007, 11:51
Replaced batts in Tusa-IQ400 and Oceanic Versa Pro, both worked out fine.

ReefHound
09-07-2007, 11:51
Part of the appeal is that it enhances the used market, as a second-hand owner of that uwatec would be looking at a $150 fee to get the battery replaced as opposed to a $5 lithium button battery.

Another part would be the independence factor, being able to do it yourself in 10 minutes in your living room as opposed to a few trips to the LDS and a 2 week wait.

finflippers
09-07-2007, 12:00
I have been changing out my own batteries on my dive computer for 11 years with any problems. I have a Sherwood "The Source" computer and the only tool required is a coin to replace the battery.

ReefHound
09-07-2007, 12:15
I have been changing out my own batteries on my dive computer for 11 years with any problems. I have a Sherwood "The Source" computer and the only tool required is a coin to replace the battery.

Wow! Your computer runs on a coin. :smilie39:

awap
09-07-2007, 12:36
Well, sometimes it is important to use the correct tool and procedures. But it does sound like the new Oceanic closure may not be a very user friendly design. I have older Oceanics that use a coin to open and close the cover. A screwdriver ofr the wrong size coin will damage the slot. And there is nothing terribly tricky about replacing the o-ring or correctly reassembling it. About the only thing you have to watch is the o-ring and its seating surfaces are clean. In the case of the your computer, it sounds like the required tool is a pin spanner. While you might be able to do the job with some needle nose pliers (curved would be best) functioning as the spanner, a screw driver is just not going to work well. I never understood why an Oceanic battery kit containing about $4 worth of batteries and $.10 worth of an o-ring was so expensive.

One of the features I look for in a computer is user replacable batteries. It gives me the options and limits the games the mfgr can play - like discontinuing the battery.

CompuDude
09-07-2007, 12:43
Part of the appeal is that it enhances the used market, as a second-hand owner of that uwatec would be looking at a $150 fee to get the battery replaced as opposed to a $5 lithium button battery.

Another part would be the independence factor, being able to do it yourself in 10 minutes in your living room as opposed to a few trips to the LDS and a 2 week wait.

I'm less worried about the second part of that, given the 3 year lifespan, but I forgot to mention that first part. That's absolutely a major drawback of these units... resale value definitely takes a hit. If you're going to buy one from the original owner, I highly recommend buying from someone you know who can send it in for warranty battery replacement for you, or at the very least, having the seller send it in for a new battery immediately before delivering it to you, so at least you'll have a good long time to use it before needing to deal with more costs.

Fortunately my wife will be inheriting my computer when I upgrade, and the new computer I'll be getting (Uwatec Galileo Sol) has user-replaceable batteries. :D

rtrski
09-07-2007, 12:52
I can see how you feel that it's better to send it off. I've replaced the batteries on Suuntos, a Mosquito and a Vyper. Maybe Suunto has a more idiot-proof design? It shouldn't be that hard to get a seal. People do it all the time with cameras.

Where did you get the replacement kit? Was the o-ring for sure the right diameter? Did you lube it? Did you clean the seat?

Reef:

Yes to all the above (lubed, cleaned seat and door with non-fibrous material (wife's makeup sponge 'que', not cotton q-tips), new ring, battery was home purchased but to exact # in manual, ring was from Oceanic). As I said, I do camera housings, open/close strobe battery doors, all without similar fiasco.

This design has a 'retaining ring' with two of the spanner holes and a small sideways "screwdriver" groove to let you do about a 1/8 rotation to 'lock' and 'unlock' it. Get that off and there's a domed door that sits on an o-ring. First fight is getting that door to unseat from the back after being there for years without using something like a screwdriver that will mar the edge, but eventually fingernails do the trick.

The o-ring fits neatly into a channel in the back of the computer, but the door is 'smaller' than the exposed opening since there's the retaining ring to hold around it. So when you 'seat' the door you must first put the retaining ring over your thumb to have it ready, seat the door and press down uniformly with your thumb, making sure you see the o-ring remaining in position properly along the door edge (and the door seems to have a 'domed' feel, so pressing it down in the center is like balancing on a Pilates ball), then slip the ring down your thumb and try to get it to reseat and rotate. (Again, with a screwdriver, putting force on it 'tangentially' near the outer radius.)

Needless to say, nothing like having a nice big thumbscrew (a la strobe door cover) or a coin-grooved screw-down door (a la strobe preflash/nonpreflash settings panel cover). All of which can still fail if the o-ring is compromised by stuff, or nicked, but I'm comfortably certain it was the installation that went wrong in this case, not a cleaning issue.

The captain and DM on the Spree confirmed they've had nothing but problems with this particular design themselves, so while I accept it was "user error" (clearly the design did hold a seal for 3 years, when properly done) I don't feel too far out of line saying it's a bit of a stretch to call it even remotely "user friendly" or "robust" in design with a 2-piece door like that.

Bottom line, I'm going to make sure any future purchases are either a) entirely the manufacturer's responsibility to replace, albiet probably at a cost, or b ) only buy a 'diver replaceable' unit with a better design than that! The aforementioned coin-slotted screw-on door style (per finflippers, below) sounds much more TRULY "user servicable." Guess I'll start downloading manuals on all the computers my wife likes to help make the decision....

P.S. this was bought 3 years ago, so not sure if this is a "new" Oceanic closure or not. Will check manuals on the other Oceanic puck size computers and see if they're different. Overall we liked the computer - good simple display with nice large #s and indicators....

Miked
09-07-2007, 12:53
I agree with awap. I have had several Oceanic computers- a "Dataplus(?) 3 Versa Pros, and now a VEO 250.
Why so many?
The Data Plus' battery was a snap to change:use a coin to unscrew the cover, then replace the battery and o-ring, and reverse the process.
I loved the computer, but it eventually died.

The 3 VP's-console model #1: leaked after the 1st battery change.
Oceanic replaced it with console model #2. Needing a computer while waiting for the replacement, I traded up to a VP wrist model, using the "dead" DP as a trade in.

Thinking I was being smart-and that maybe some finger dexterity problems (old injuries/arthritis) contributed to the first leak, I had the batteries in console #2 and the wrist module replaced at 2 different dive shops (why 2 dive shops?-long story).
Well- the console battery worked fine, but the wrist module leaked on the first post change dive.

Now I have a VEO250-(from ST, at a great price!!) I love it, but I don't look forward to replacing its battery.

No Misses
09-07-2007, 13:00
I hav an Aeris Atmos AI. Battery replacement is a breeze. I believe I used a quarter to unscrew that cover.

georoc01
09-07-2007, 13:42
OK, so at the risk of being labeled an idiot (sorry, my wife already beat you to it :smiley2:).

Wife and I had identical rigs with Oceanic Veo250 puck computers on quick-release "Swiv" consoles. Hers was a year older than mine. Battery ran down recently, so I sprung for the battery and o-ring kit and fought my way through that BRUTE of a replacement. Getting the computer out of the rubber boot was bad enough, then opening it with a screwdriver in that little depression to remove the retaining ring (since I didn't have the nifty two-prong tool) was enough of a fight I took a break before actually trying the battery replacement and closure.

I really thought I'd done it right as to holding the door down, making sure it 'squished' the o-ring out evenly, then maintained pressure while I fought the retaining ring into engaging again (with more than a couple of scraped knuckles from wildly slipping screwdrivers to show for it). Of course, our first dive in the FG after the swap, her computer goes "poof" as soon as we hit depth. Veo250: dead on arrival. At least the Spree now has rentals so we only lost one dive, and since we aborted immediately we got to continue the rest of the day on computers instead of switching to tables due to losing the 1st dive saturation statistics.

So here's the point:

a) How many of you have SUCCESSFULLY changed out 'diver replacable' batteries in dive computers?
b) If you have, what brand and type?
c) If you've had similar experiences to mine (and I've still got another of those puppies that will need a battery next year) and have sworn off self-maintenance, have you found dive shops will replace for you - and verify the seal - at semi-reasonable cost? I confess I did not ask ST first.

Basically that back door design was a trap, near as I can see - without specialized fixturing to hold it all in place and the two-prong tool I can't imaging swapping those out on any sort of regular basis with any success rate in double digit percentages, ever. So I can plan on letting someone else do the battery replacement (and I heard horror stories from other divers on the Spree that 'their shop won't do it anymore ... they're also sick of being told it flooded and having to replace it') or just move away from so-called "diver replacable" designs entirely.

BTW, I do successfully swap batteries in an Ike strobe, open/close my camera housing, etc. So I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to checking an o-ring for cleanliness, lightly lubing it with appropriate silicone, using the right durometer o-ring (only manufacturer parts), etc. But that door on the Veo250 was a nightmare - you had to line it up and squish it perfectly to even get the retaining ring to seat, much less try to rotate back to the locked position.

Right now we're leaning toward the Mares Nemo Sport as a replacement for her (she liked the wrist-mount she got rented by the boat and wants to go that direction instead of a console) which is NOT diver replacable - but right now I'm thinking the mail battery swap is more reliable than the DIY route anyway.

Additional comments, anyone??

I have an VEO 250 as well. I thought I could replace it, but after wrestling with it and fear of doing what happened to you, I gave up and took it to my LDS. My LDS charges $20 for a battery replacement including new battery and O-Ring. I'd never try and do it again myself unless I was on a trip. I do carry a spare, just in case.

cummings66
09-07-2007, 22:10
I've changed the battery in my VT3 and Genesis React Pro. They both use the same type of battery, in my guess I'd say it's exactly the same in every respect.

You'll cuss the thing trying to get it together and to be honest I didn't feel comfortable with the result because you couldn't see if you had it right or not. I trusted that I had it clean with no hairs or fibers trapped, that part you can test. But once you put it together I think it's somewhat a matter of luck. I honestly believe there could be a better way to do this one.

Zenagirl
09-08-2007, 07:19
I've replaced the batteries on my Aeris AI and my husband's DataMax Pro+2. The Aeris was a breeze with using a quarter for the cover to remove and replace. The Pro+2 has little screws, so took a little bit longer to make sure they were all even, but no leaks so it worked fine.

rtrski
09-08-2007, 21:17
Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like there are many out there that don't use Oceanic's unfriendly 2-piece seal design. I'll keep that in mind when I need a replacement - take the one I still have in to the shop to be done for the first thing, and if it fails, look for the coin-operated door ;) style for a new one.

Probably dropping the cash on a Nemo Sport for the wife Monday....at ST of course. :)

Skinsfan1311
09-11-2007, 11:35
I have an Aeries Atmos 2,(wrist computer) and had to change the battery on the dive boat.

I used the tool included, and it took all of maybe 1 minute, which surprised the hell out of me because I'm not very mechanically inclined......

the gooch
09-11-2007, 14:36
I have an Aeris XR and from the sound of your description the battery door and locking mechanism sound exactly the same. I have replaced my battery using the included tool with no issues.

reefugee
09-11-2007, 15:15
I have never had to replace the battery on my computer yet (but then I have only been diving for a year). However, I am fortunate that my LDS will do the labor for free if I purchase the battery from them. I'd rather let them open it and deal with any potential damage issues. :D

divingmedic
09-11-2007, 16:33
I just use a quater to open my Cochran Commander and replace the batteries.

jo8243
09-17-2007, 16:06
I have replaced my own 3x in a Genesis React and 1x in a Suunto Gecko. I didn't even replace the o-rings. No big deal, just take your time. Clean the o-ring and relube before reinstalling. That will help it go back together easier.

BobArnold8265
09-17-2007, 22:06
Anyone out there changed a battery in a Suunto Vyper ??? Both mine and my Wife's will need replacement very soon. I've never done it before. Do I need to buy a replacement kit or simply clean and lube the existing o-ring. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

keyshunter
09-18-2007, 07:07
Anyone out there changed a battery in a Suunto Vyper ??? Both mine and my Wife's will need replacement very soon. I've never done it before. Do I need to buy a replacement kit or simply clean and lube the existing o-ring. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The Vyper/Gekko battery replacement is extremely simple. Battery is about $2.50 at Walmart. Just be sure to carefully inspect the o-ring for damage, and the o-ring and both seating surfaces for cleanliness. I use a magnifier. Replace the o-ring if damaged. Lightly grease (just shiny) the o-ring. Do not touch or get grease on the battery contact surfaces. Reassamble. If all else fails, read the manual.

asxinu
09-18-2007, 09:03
I've got a Oceanic VT3 and have successfully replaced the battery. It is a little unnerving as you put the cover on and then clip the cover in place, you think, "Did I do that right? Maybe I should try again...". Well, you just have to trust that the instructions work and they did.

DevilDiver
09-18-2007, 09:13
Well since it looks like you need to replace your computer i sugest you look at the Aeris XR 2 if you want something similar. The computer pops out of the boot very easy and it is simple to change the battery. ST has it for less than you old model. If you want the quick disconect I believe it cost more....
Hope this helps!!:smiley20:

http://www.scubatoys.com/store/gauges/pics/aeris/XR2.jpg (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?product_id=AerisXR23)

Aeris XR 2 3 Gauge Nitrox Computer Console


The AERIS XR 2 is the newest addition to our sophisticated line of dive computers. Small in size, but with easy-to-read oversized digits, bar graphs, and intuitive icons. The AERIS XR 2 is loaded with features but still very user friendly with two operating buttons.

Air, Nitrox or Gauge Modes
PC Downloadable
Customize the information presented during a dive with a press of a button
Backlight
Water and manual activation
Safety stop count-down timer
Audible alarm with flashing LED warning light
User-replaceable batteries
Temperature
Compass
Optional Quick Disconnect Hose

Price: $499.95

charlesml3
09-19-2007, 14:06
Sure, I've replaced the battery on my Oceanic Datamax Pro Plus several times. I bought a little Philips head screwdriver and keep in my dive bag just for this reason. Four screws and the cover lifts off. You can leave the screws in the cover.

Swap the battery and put the cover right back on. I even swapped it once on a little 6-pack boat headed out of Cozumel. No biggie.

-Charles

Tod
09-19-2007, 15:21
I have an older Cochran Commander that has been really good to me. It came with, and I kid you not, a "battery replacement tool" that consisted of a small clear plastic bag with a sticky lable indicating "battery replacement tool" on the outside and a brand new quarter on the inside! :D

It uses two N size batteries and they're really easy to install. Unless you cross thread it or tear one of the two o-rings on the cap, it is rather difficult to make it leak.

reservecops
09-19-2007, 15:41
With the Veo pucks, I've found that replacing the battery is fairly straightforward.

Contrary to what the instructions say, put the O-ring in the groove of the computer and then put the cover on, squish, and lock the ring. It is best if you use the tool that came with it, but quite frankly, if the cover is seated correctly, it won't matter.

I tried it numerous times the other way around (O-ring on the cover and then try to seat the cover on the computer, as per the instructions), and it simply would not seat completely. Doing it the other way around, I can (now) don and doff the cover all day long with ease.

You can actually "feel" when the cover is completely seated and, while keeping constant pressure on it, you can turn the O-ring with ease. Once you do it and understand what it feels like, you'll be like, "OH, THAT'S why it wasn't sealed!"

ertechsg
09-19-2007, 16:09
I just stop by ST and have them do it while I look around... vt pro

ChrisA
09-20-2007, 02:41
[QUOTE=rtrskia) How many of you have SUCCESSFULLY changed out 'diver replacable' batteries in dive computers?
b) If you have, what brand and type?
c) have you found dive shops will replace for you - and verify the seal - at semi-reasonable cost? I confess I did not ask ST first.[/QUOTE]

Swapping batteries in my Mares/Dacor is dead easy with no tools required. and it takes size AAA. I use the backlight a lot so I'm replacing them every four or five weeks. Several years of this and still OK. I bought this computer because I dive a lot at night and backlights burn up batteries. Also the Dacors are designed so that a flooded battery compartment does not destroy the computer.

The guy at my local shop will put the battery into my old "hockey puck" computer for the price of the battery. but then he knows me because I'm in there a lot buying air or whatever and he charges way over to top for the battery. Takes him two minutes and I'm out maybe $5.

One thing, NEVER, NEVER go on a trip with any kind of newly serviced gear. Always do a few dives near home first. If gear will ever screw up it's right after service. All the time one of my buddies will say "My reg is just out of the shop, let's stay kind of shallow." I do the same after any kind of change.

marchand
09-20-2007, 11:17
I have a Dacor Darwin now know as the mares m2, i believe. Easy as pie to change the batteries. All you havt to do is look at it for a couple seconds and you can figure it out.

rtrski
09-20-2007, 16:07
With the Veo pucks, I've found that replacing the battery is fairly straightforward.

Contrary to what the instructions say, put the O-ring in the groove of the computer and then put the cover on, squish, and lock the ring. It is best if you use the tool that came with it, but quite frankly, if the cover is seated correctly, it won't matter.

I tried it numerous times the other way around (O-ring on the cover and then try to seat the cover on the computer, as per the instructions), and it simply would not seat completely. Doing it the other way around, I can (now) don and doff the cover all day long with ease.

You can actually "feel" when the cover is completely seated and, while keeping constant pressure on it, you can turn the O-ring with ease. Once you do it and understand what it feels like, you'll be like, "OH, THAT'S why it wasn't sealed!"

I did put the o-ring in the computer groove. I could feel the cover was skating around, but couldn't get enough pressure to feel it ever 'seat' cleanly.

As for the tool...yours came with a tool???? Sounds like I was missing something having bought the regulator/computer/console fully assembled... I was using that damn tangential screwdriver push routine.

Regardless, I won't trust a 2-piece cover like that again. A quarter-slot in a screw-down cover seems far more foolproof for this fool. :D

PhantomCat
10-03-2007, 09:06
I have the SUunto Stinger, I love it. I hate that it cost me $60-80 at LDS's (who just send it off somewhere) to get the dang battery replaced. I do wish I had a user replacable battery.

chuckm
10-03-2007, 15:39
Last year I replaced the battery on my Oceanic Versa Pro. I found it to be a major pain. Getting the o-ring to stay seated while applying pressure and twisting at the same time was difficult. I ended up taking it back apart twice because I wasn't sure it was properly sealed. Once it was all said and done I half expected it to flood first time in the water but it turned out fine.

Aspendiver
10-10-2007, 16:33
I have a Dacor Darwin air integrated computer; identical to the Mares Airlab, and changing the batteries is cake. It uses AAAs, so you can find replacements anywhere. I use rechargeables. Because the batteries are so easy to change, the computer has a "backlight always on" feature, which is nice.

kyfriedchipper
10-10-2007, 17:28
From the posts here, seems like the Oceanic Atom or Geo are fairly easy to change out. That's good - because I'm planning on buying one soon!

Scubastud16
10-10-2007, 17:57
Yes KYfriend, they are both pretty easy to change.

CaptainRon
10-10-2007, 19:20
I am looking at getting the Aeris XR1 with my dive package. Does anyone know if this is this a user replaceable battery?

charlesml3
10-11-2007, 09:18
The Oceanic Pro Plus II battery is also easily replaced. You'll need a small Phillips screwdriver but that's about it. I'm also a fan of that computer because of the big display.

-Charles

rfreddo
10-11-2007, 09:58
Has anyone found (or looked for, for that matter) a source for the o-rings that go on the Dacor / Mares battery compartment cover? Larry / Joe?

I understand that the battery compartments are physically separated from the "guts" on those brands, which was great design feature, but I'd like to replace the o-ring when replacing batteries just as a belt and suspenders measure.

Thanks!

SoSiouxme
10-11-2007, 11:33
I have a Suunto Mosquito and have never changed the battery. Every year I take it to my LDS and pay them $15 for the kit and have them do it.

moodymermaid
10-15-2007, 13:06
General Question -

Has anyone tried replacing the battery on the Mares Nemo Sport?
I'm really leaning toward that computer, but since my LDS doesn't carry it, I can't really check it out.

It looks like Mares didn't used to have user-replaceable batteries, so I'm not sure if folks have much experience with these - I'm afraid that the watch style computers may be harder than others in this respect.

thanks,

MM

bubble-head
10-15-2007, 18:56
Your VEO 250 should have come with the two prong tool. Mine was in the bottom of the box. I don't know what I would have done without it. The battery change was a pain but, other than that, I really like the 250.

Carlitoboy
10-20-2007, 13:10
Slight bend to the topic of this thread, sorry!!! ...

I'd like to change my battery on my Veo 250. I just got it, I played with it for about 2 hours, tested the back light for no more the 60 seconds since recieving it, only dove with it twice and the battery icon is already flashing for a change. The battery included in the DC by Oceanic was probably a dud. But anyway, I just want to change the battery and keep the existing o-ring. I just wanted to get opinions out there about not changing o-rings on battery changes. If there is no damage to the exisiting o-ring, would it hurt to just relube it and reuse it? I haven't read anything about impacting Manufacturer warranty...???

Thoughts?