Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Caver Diver at Little Brother Cenote at Chac Mool Mexico

Hans and the Handy HID Lights.

I have been diving for the last 4 years with two 10 Watt Sartek HID lights. I love my Sarteks. The build quality is excellent and the batteries rock. The lights have been all over the word and have spent a lot of time off the coast of NJ wreck diving and cave diving. They have really taken a beating. Each light has been back to Sartek once in those 4 years. The first went back because I blew the ballast in my bag. It was returned to me in 4 days, all fixed up and with a new rotor switch. I was very happy. The second light went back because the switch boot failed. It flooded just a tiny bit; just enough to let the wires and switch corrode. As far as I am concerned both light have served me well.

About two weeks ago, after a dive at Chac Mol, I opened the canister on one of the Sartek’s and found a little moister in the can. I thought to myself, “Oh, that must be some condensation. Interesting.” The battery was a little corroded. I decided to switch out batteries the next day and go for two more dives at Sac Aktun (Grand Cenote). I dove with Patrick and Katie, we did two dives totaling 169 minutes. One run was up to Lithium Sunset and the other over to the Cuzan Ha loop. At the end when I was cleaning up, I opened the light to disconnect the battery and I found about 1/8 cup of water in the can. I definitely had a flood. The light was still functioning; however the battery connectors were looking pretty bad. I examined the unit and found that I had punctured the cable at just outside the elbow. I think I put the can on butt mount and then pull the cord to get more slack and I was pulling on it when it had a nasty twist in it. Or the thing just wore out after being abused for so long. The score is now 1 Sartek HID out of order and two batteries.

I switched over to Allie’s Sartek and kept diving. I immediately bought a new HID from Protec for Allie, an MR11. I used Allie’s light a couple of times and it died on two dives in less then ½ hour. This was a complete bummer. Additionally, a new phenomenon developed, it only starts about 85% of the time.

The first time this non-starting issue occurred was when Patrick was borrowing the light during my side mount class. He turned it on and nothing. We waited a couple of minutes, he flipped the switch and it worked. This same thing happened to me while I was shadowing Allie’s full cave. We finished a lights out drill, I flipped the switch and nothing. I tapped the head and it came on. The score is now 2 lights dead and three batteries. Luckily, it was the end of the day. That night I went to Aquanauts and bought myself a second MR11.

Aquanauts didn’t want me to dive the new battery the next day, so they lent me a battery. That battery lasted 12 minutes on the first dive. The dead light prompted a light trade underwater with Steve. We completed the trade in 3-4 minutes in the cave. It was a cool experience. Now, I have Steve’s 21watt light saber. All goes well for the dive. Then we start the second dive. It is down stream at Taj. It was a training dive. We do another lights out drill. I switch the light saber on and it lasts about 4-5 minutes and dies. We exit the cave on backup lights and all is well. The score is now: 2 dead Sarteks, 1 dead Dive Rite and 1 dead Halcyon.

I go home and very dutiful charge the loaner battery from Aquanauts. I show up at Minotauro today very confident and proud that I am sure I have a charged battery. My chest was all puffed up. I know I did the right thing. Allie and I get in the water to do our S drill for dive one and guess what? My MR11 has a very nice blue light. It is the sign of another dead battery. This one lasted just about an hour before dying. This prompted my second light exchange with Steve, who was very understanding.

It is almost comical, every day this week, we actually had a light failure during Allie’s full cave. No need to simulate a light failure, I was providing them. The Sartek’s are going back to the states on Friday. I now own 2 Sarteks and 2 Dive Right MR11 lights. Tomorrow, I will bring 1 extra MR11 battery, courtesy of Patrick. With my luck, two out of three Dive Rite batteries will work. I hope.

My opinion is the Sartek lights are superior to the Dive Right lights. The build on the Sarteks is better. The charger actually works correctly without any fudging. And the batteries are way less finicky. If I purchase anymore big lights, I am going to spend the money and go with Sartek. Additionally, I think I am going to convert both lights into LION. It is a couple of hundred bucks, but the burn time goes up significantly.

How is that for some awesome alliteration in the title? I just tickle myself.

1 comment

1 Hammerhead { 03.28.08 at 1:56 pm }

With your luck, I think I’ll bring my own light….just in case.