Update from Shearwater: Battery Contact Issues on Petrel 1

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Update from Shearwater: Battery Contact Issues on Petrel 1

March 02, 2015 - 15:10
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Shearwater has a strong commitment to quality. In the year following the launch of the Petrel 1 dive computer, we received reports of divers who were having battery issues with their dive computers. While the number of these reports was small compared to the total number of units sold, we nevertheless took them very seriously.

Upon conducting a root cause analysis, we suspected that the issue most likely stemmed from an issue with the battery contacts. This problem can result in lower than expected battery life or, in some cases, the computer resetting underwater. We then changed to using full gold plating on all contacts in January 2014. Zero problems have been reported on gold plated units, confirming our suspicions.

Easy Steps You Can Take

While gold plating (as on all Petrels since Jan. 2014) is the best solution, these steps will allow the older contacts to be used trouble-free.

Step 1: Remove the battery cap and clean the battery terminals, cap washer, and cap spring with a pencil eraser or steel wool. Be careful not to scratch o-ring surfaces (don’t clean inside the Petrel).

Step 2: Apply an electrical contact lubricant to the battery terminals, the washer perimeter, and the spring tip. A common lubricant to use is Deoxit Gold, available at many hardware and electronics stores.

Other Tips:

Saft (3.6V) and Lithium Ion (3.7V) batteries have fewer problems because their higher voltage means lower current draw and therefore fewer problems with contact resistance. However, the above steps are still recommended.-
Don’t leave alkaline batteries installed during long term storage (> 2 months) or allow them to discharge fully. Full discharge results in corrosive acids and gases being released. If you think you might forget to remove the battery, use a different type like the Saft LS14500, Lithium Ion, or Energizer Ultimate Lithium.
Detailed cleaning and lubricating instructions are here.
If you continue to have problems with your Petrel 1, please contact Shearwater at info@shearwater.com so we can assist you.

How To Determine If My Petrel 1 Is Affected?

Petrels manufactured after Jan. 2014 already have gold contacts and do not need to be serviced. All Petrel 2 models already have gold contacts, and are not affected.

If unsure, look at the battery cap for a gold plated spring and washer. The gold will be bright, shiny, and yellow. The older bronze contacts will look duller; possibly with visible corrosion and a brownish color.

Sources and references

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