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Terrible experience with Sea & Sea and YS-D1s

Discussion in 'Sea&Sea' started by tomstgeorge, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. tomstgeorge

    tomstgeorge Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Tulum, Mexico
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    I purchased two YS-D1 strobes in the US back in late May 2015 and initially was very happy with them. However 3 months later after about two dozen dives one of the strobes flooded on a 12m dive. It was the main compartment that flooded and battery compartment and sync connector where both bone dry.

    I'm living in Mexico at the moment so I arranged a return authorisation with TUSA (US distributor) and had to wait for a friend to take it back to the US and send it in for me, and after about 10 days they shipped out a replacement strobe and I found someone else to bring it down to me in Mexico. Finally got the strobe back early November.

    So far so good, I mean I was bummed that the strobe flooded but understand that sometimes these things happen and that it was dealt with quite reasonably and fairly promptly by TUSA / Sea & Sea.

    However 3 months later, after about a dozen dives, the replacement unit does exactly the same thing. Main compartment floods on a shallow dive. Ok now I'm not happy. I again arrange return authorisation, find someone to take it stateside and send it in. And wait..... I hear nothing.... after 2 weeks I email Tusa to ask for an update. They reply they received the strobe on 4th April and sent them to Japan for evolution on 6th April. I wait another 2 weeks.... and ask for an update... nothing. I email them once a week to ask for a status and they say they are waiting on Sea & Sea Japan. Finally on the 16th May they are ready to ship the repaired unit. So over 6 weeks to turnaround.... ok really not happy with that at all. Getting sick of Sea & Sea now strobes.

    Finally get my strobes back here in Mexico at the end of May just in time for a trip to dive Banco Chinchorro and to photograph the Crocodiles. Test the strobe out of the water before the trip and all looks good. First dive of the trip and the repaired strobe dies after 2 shots.... Light goes off, and won't come back on again. Swap batteries out for some spares (Eneloop Pros) for the second dive and the strobe turns itself off after firing when set to anywhere over about 3/4 power. But it does come back on if you turn it off for a bit and then back on. Possibly the widespread firmware / power issue I would guess. Either way they didn't test this strobe properly before they sent it to me (I guess they just used the parts from a strobe someone else sent in for repair, which would be ok if they at least had decent quality control).

    I contact Tusa explain that the repaired strobe they sent me does not work, that I am not very happy at the prospect of sending it in again and going back to one strobe for another ~8 weeks at least and is there any way to deal with this issue more promptly. They ignore this email. After a week I send another one and they simply send me a return authorisation form in reply. I ask for a manager / supervisor phone number and they ignore this email too.

    I know some people are very happy with their YS-D1s, and I know other people that have had nothing but problems with them. I was considering getting some YS-D2s but I've also heard some bad stories about those too so will be steering clear of them also. Actually I don't think I will be buying Sea & Sea again... their products are great if they work, but if you have issues... well, good luck.

    Can anyone recommend Inon or Ikelite as having better customer service? I'm getting pretty close to just throwing the YS-D1s in the bin and buying another brand.
     
  2. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    2,959
    2,579
    113
    I have been using Ikelite strobes for about 30 years... old 225s (still in the basement, still work) and more recently, 161s. I have my camera in the water on about 130 dives a year. The 161s are about 4 years old, and have performed flawlessly. One battery is perhaps slowing down a bit (that strobe was used so maybe 6 years old) but it's far from a need to replace it.

    I can't comment on Ikelite's Customer Service. Never needed it.

    Oh wait, that's incorrect. I called them a year ago wondering about getting a set of sync chord o-rings, thinking I would replace them since they were all originals and get a lot of use.

    They sent me three sets. By courier. No charge.

    If my stuff fell off of the boat in 6000 feet of water, I would buy the same strobes again.

    I have friends that are heavy users of INON and seem to like them. I prefer the big-a$$ rechargeable battery... Super fast recycle time... like, I can't "outshoot" them.

    About 5 years ago, I borrowed a friends little P&S camera. He had S&S strobes. I had to jury-rig both battery doors to make certain they the compartment stayed dry. (My friend is careless and rough with his stuff, so this could have been the result of abuse!

    The strobes worked ok, but I wasn't impressed with the quality of the construction... seemed pretty light-duty.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  3. Cali_diver

    Cali_diver ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: California
    955
    499
    63
    If you are looking for advice for buying strobes other than Sea &Sea, I would post in the Strobes and lighting forum not the Sea & Sea forum. If you are looking for advice from Sea & Sea then you are in the right place.

    I only had one firmware problem with the YS-D1's way back when they first came out but I have 3 trips in a row since Dec. ruined by the new YS-D2's that I bought. Luckily I have had the old YS-D1's as a back-up. Strobe choices are few unfortunately. I wish they updated and upgraded strobes like they do housings, cameras and even dive lights.

    The Ikes are great but quite large. The Inon Z-240 is probably the closest to the YS-D1 and they seem to be a bit more reliable, but it is really hard to tell. There are so many YS-D1's and 2's on the market that you are bound to hear about more problems.

    Good luck and sorry for all your troubles.
     
  4. giffenk

    giffenk Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: toronto
    4,924
    2,403
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    A flood of the main compartment is very rare. Did they give any indication what caused it?
     
  5. tomstgeorge

    tomstgeorge Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Tulum, Mexico
    6
    0
    1
    Thanks Stoo - I have only heard good things about the Ikelite DS-161s - but they are a pretty expensive option at over $1,100 if you include the optical adaptors, plus they're a bit on the big and heavy side. I shot with a micro four thirds camera (Olympus O-MD EM-5) so a small package is high up on my requirements. But I think you are correct in that it is probably the way go if you want reliability.

    And thanks Cali_divegirl - I have been offered a couple of used Inon Z-240s by a good friend so I'm going to give those a try and see if I prefer them over the Sea & Seas. Either way I'm not going on a dive trip again without a spare strobe!

    Giffenk - no they did not give any indication, but I can only assume a manufacturing defect either with the main seal or with a button / switch o-ring. Given I managed to have one flood, swiftly followed by the replacement flooding I can't imagine it's all that rare. I have heard anecdotal reports of this happening to others as well.

    Happy to report Tusa (US distributor) have reached out to me to arrange getting this sorted as quickly as possible so I will be calling them tomorrow to see what they can do.

    I tried the strobe again today out of the water to make sure the problem can be replicated when I send it in. I put in freshly charged Eneloops in and it appeared to be working fine firing it on full power once every couple of minutes. Left it for a few hours and when I picked it up the whole unit was warm even though it had been turned off for several hours. Hmm... so clearly an issue but not quite what I originally thought.

    I now believe the problem is actually some sort of short or parasitic drain that is draining the batteries of their charge before even getting in the water and / or contributing to making the strobe overheat in use.


    -tsg
     
  6. JackConnick

    JackConnick Optical Ocean Sales ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    1,744
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    Note that the reason your strobe went back to Japan to be fixed is that you probably did not buy from a US dealer. TUSA has no choice but to send it to Japan.
    The battery drain issue is a known issue and is simple to repair (software).
     
    Cali_diver likes this.
  7. tomstgeorge

    tomstgeorge Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Tulum, Mexico
    6
    0
    1
    Hey Jack thanks for your input. Actually both my YS-D1s were purchased from an authorized US dealer so for whatever reason they decided to send it to Japan it wasn't because of that.

    [Note: I didn't get them from you I'm afraid but rest assured I did buy my Nauticam housing, dome port, mini-extension and all my strobe arms + clamps from OOS ;-) ]

    From where I'm standing it's not really an issue of whether it's an easy fix or not. The issue is that I've had a unit flood, it's replacement flood, and then a repair that took way too long and wasn't checked to ensure it's got the latest firmware (if that is indeed the issue) before being sent out. I've owned these strobes for a year and for a good part of that year I've only had one working strobe... and it's still ongoing... and I have to send it in for a third time.

    Compounding the problem is that now I'm in Mexico and need to get the strobe to the US and back again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
  8. JackConnick

    JackConnick Optical Ocean Sales ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    1,744
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    Go through your dealer for these types of repairs. A good dealer will have some experience with these issues and should be able to help get it through the system.
     
  9. tomstgeorge

    tomstgeorge Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Tulum, Mexico
    6
    0
    1
    Just a quick follow up - I'm happy to report that Christian, product manager at Tusa reached out to me and arranged to ship me a new strobe immediately rather than having to wait for the usual return and RMA process.

    He was even kind enough to send out a YS-D2 as a free upgrade instead... Luckily I had a friend coming down from the US, who managed to bring me the replacement in time for a photo trip to Belize, from which I've only recently returned.

    So it's good to see Tusa stepping up and providing some good customer service in the end.

    Only problem now is the YS-D2 has some very nice features with the illuminated controls, improved knobs etc which means I'm probably going to have to buy another one, and use my YS-D1 as an off camera slave for cave diving photos.
     
  10. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    7,788
    5,451
    113
    How do you use the YS-D1 as a slave? I thought the sensor was not sufficient to pick up a flash except via the optical cable.
     

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