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Cobalt 1 help: What to do if your battery is dead

Discussion in 'Ocean Concepts' started by RonR, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. RonR

    RonR Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Washington State
    1,266
    472
    83
    The Cobalt 1 was produced between 2010 and 2014. If your Cobalt has a firmware version that starts with a “1”, then it is a Cobalt 1. Serial #’s would begin with xx10, xx11, xx12, or xx13, the last two digits representing the year of manufacture.

    One potential issue with Cobalt 1’s is what to do if the battery has run down completely in storage. A fully charged battery should provide about 6 months of “sleep mode” power, but left longer, or not fully charged, you may discover the Cobalt won't wake. If the battery goes completely dead, ideally you need to charge it first with the A/C charger. Using the USB charger on a depleted battery will charge the battery, but the unit won't get the reset pulse it needs in order to restart the program. The Cobalt will appear to be dead, but it will actually be in “boot mode”, looking for a firmware update. The display will be off. Once the battery has any charge, connecting A/C won't generate a reset either- you need charge a dead battery by using the A/C charger first.

    However, if you started charging with USB you have several options:
    1. One is to just wait until the battery runs down again and re-start the charging process using the A/C adapter. Since the Cobalt is in boot mode and not sleep, it is using considerable battery power and this may only take a couple of days.
    2. Another is to connect the Cobalt to the updater program on your Mac or PC and try updating the firmware. Essentially the computer is in the mode you put it into when pressing Select in the "Connect to PC" screen. The Mac program is a bit more forgiving in this respect when it comes to recognizing the Cobalt in Boot mode. But either is worth a try. A firmware update forces the Cobalt to reset.
    3. The third option is to open the battery compartment up, remove the battery, and reinstall it. That forces a hard restart. If neither of the other options work I would do this, if only to make sure there is nothing wrong with the battery itself. Computers this age are getting to the point that some of the batteries are needing to be replaced. Typically they don't fail completely, though, they just don't take as much charge or run down more rapidly than usual. Here is a link to an instruction sheet for doing this: Dropbox - BatteryReplace.pdf - Simplify your life
    If your battery is no longer holding as much charge as it should, it may be reaching the end of its lifespan. Replacements can be obtained from Atomic.

    To be clear for everyone else, this is only an issue with the Cobalt 1, pre 2014. Cobalt 2 computers have a built in reset function accessed by holding down the Back and Select buttons for at least 11 seconds. That enables a reset even if you charged a dead battery via USB.
     
    Akimbo likes this.
  2. scott stanton

    scott stanton Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeastern Mass
    26
    10
    3
    RonR et al: I have a 2010 vintage Cobalt 1 that hasn't been used in a year or so. Shortly before that the battery was replaced by "Atomic". I recently tried to charge it with no visible result. I opened the case as described in #3 above but mine doesn't seem to have a connector from the battery: looks like wires from the battery go to the bottom on the small PCB there. It has short lugs on top of the PCB. Is there any way to disconnect this battery?
    SS
     
  3. RonR

    RonR Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Washington State
    1,266
    472
    83
    The small PCB you can see will lift up off the pins that are extending through the case. It constitutes the battery connector. It's removing and replacing that PCB that till give a hard reset on the Cobalt 1. It will only fit back on one way, so don't worry about taking it off.

    When you charged the dead battery did you initiate charging with the A/C charger? USB won't generate a reset for the system and while it will charge the battery the Cobalt's firmware won't boot up without the reset.

    -Ron
     
  4. scott stanton

    scott stanton Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeastern Mass
    26
    10
    3
    OK, Thanks Ron, that was exactly right. The PCB didn't look like a connector and it was a different color than the one in the photo from the pdf above. It lifted right off the pins.
    Yes, thanks to all the info. here I had only tried to charge it with the AC charger.
    I kept it disconnected for several minutes, reconnected, & started to charge again. It took several tries, but the enter time & date screen came up. Once past that it went to the home screen & showed charging... 0%. NOTE I had charged it overnight before I opened it up. After several minutes thee screen went blank. I started it again & it went back to the enter time/date screen. When past that it showed charging...0% again. I left it like this all day: no change.
    SO, I think the battery has failed. Since I have it open... suggestions? Send it to Huish again? I couldn't find anyone that has that battery in stock any more. Know of another replacement?
    Battery numbers: EM724261P 3.7v 2000mAH 7.4Wh
    Oh, and I didn't have a T-9 torx: my T-10 worked fine.
    Thanks SS
     
  5. RonR

    RonR Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Washington State
    1,266
    472
    83
    There are a couple of things to try before writing off the battery. But just to make sure I understand what you are seeing, on the bottom of the Main Menu screen you are seeing Battery Status: Charging 0%- correct? It might help if you could give us the serial number for this Cobalt, that will tell us the board version and what charging components are installed. If yours is 2010 it's probably the earliest production.

    After 5 minutes of inactivity (when the Cobalt is dry) the display will turn off, but you should be able to bring it back up by pressing the Select button, and it should come back to whatever screen it was in when the display was turned off.

    First make sure you have the latest firmware installed. For the Cobalt 1 that is 1.62. You can find the firmware version, the program you need to run on a Mac or Windows PC, and instructions here: Cobalt Firmware Downloads - Atomic Aquatics
    There are a few extra hoops you need to go through if you are trying to do this under Windows 10, these are described under the update tab in the instructions. The Mac version has no special requirements. Just in case you are concerned, the battery status has no impact on updating firmware, the Cobalt will draw power from the USB connection.

    After you have this firmware installed, you can access the battery diagnostics:
    1. Change the user name under Settings-- Personal Info to read ATOMIC <space><space><space><space><space>A. That is, ATOMIC followed by 5 spaces, with an A in the last possible slot.
    2. Navigate to Settings-- System Info and select the Test Alarm button. In addition to hearing the alarm, you should see a screen labeled Battery Status. Take a look at this both with and without your charger connected. One thing we want to make sure of is that your charger is actually charging, and there isn't some problem with it or the adapter.
    3. Let me know what the screen shows- if you can take a picture that would be ideal.
    Then you can change the user name back- or just restart the Cobalt again. The user data is stored in non-volatile memory as of the end of the last dive, so restarting will restore your old settings.

    re. the screws, I think they may actually be a 3/16" hex, but Torx drivers are more common, and sometimes T-10 works.

    -Ron
     
  6. scott stanton

    scott stanton Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeastern Mass
    26
    10
    3
    Ok I think we're making progress. Yes it was showing "charging" and "0%" with no change while connected to the AC charger.
    I was able to check & I have firmware 1.62. My serial # is 5010-0192x (I can give the last number if needed).
    I switched to the USB charger side & plugged that into a wall USB outlet that should be providing 1A plus. "Charging 0%" but after a few minutes it changed to 1% !!!
    After 1/2 hr to 40 min it was up to 7%. I then accessed the diagnostics with the following:
    voltage 3560 mv increasing to 3571
    temp 77 F
    firmware 0x 108
    Ave. current +188 ma increasing to +194
    Flags 0x 136
    charger 0x 1
    time to empty 65535 min
    AC connected YES
    Design capacity 2000 ma
    Flash Error FFFF
    (next screen)
    C1/C2 2558/5796
    C3/C4 390/227
    C5/C6 2250/57
    Temp 75 F
    current depth 1032 mbar
    1/10/20 20:19 81 F
    1/10/20 20:40 75 F
    1/10/20 20:08 1039 mbar
    1/10/20 20:19 1031 mbar
    I then switched back to the AC charger with the following changes:
    Voltage 3515 decreasing
    Ave. current -52 decreasing to -60
    charger 0x 3
    AC connected NO
    I switched back to the USB wall input and the results reverted to close to the previous numbers. I exited and it was charging but down to 5%.
    I will leave plugged in to 100% (hopefully) and update. With any luck, I can get it charged and put back together early tomorrow as I'm leaving for a trip. If I can, I'll edit this with the results. Maybe the battery is OK after all?? And the AC wall charger is bad?
    After about 1hr 10 min charging it's showing 12%.
    EDIT: after 12 hrs (overnight) Charging (80% 2 hrs ago) 95%, voltage 4065, Ave. current +59 ma.
    Just over 13 hrs: 100%. Will see how it holds up on a few dives this week. END
    Thanks for all your help so far. SS
     
  7. RonR

    RonR Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Washington State
    1,266
    472
    83
    Yep, what it sounds like is that the wall charger is bad. The -52 mA drain when the charger is plugged in is a pretty good clue- that's about what you expect to draw with the display on. The +190 for so is to be expected at the start of a charging cycle.

    The charging follows a specific cycle controlled by the charging circuitry, if the battery is very discharged, as yours is, the current input will be held down for a while, then increase as the battery builds charge and finally taper off towards the end of the cycle. USB on the Cobalt will only allow charging at a maximum of 500 mA, so it will take longer than a (functional) wall charger, which will will go up to +1000 mA.

    Any wall charger with the correct voltage (about 5V) and the right plug fitting for the adapter is OK, but don't make the mistake of plugging in a higher voltage- such as a 12 volt- charger as it is possible to damage internal components with excessive voltage. Or just use a USB charger and know that if the battery runs completely down you will need to pull and reset the battery. Any USB charging source is fine. It's best for battery life to keep it stored in the 60-80% charge range.

    Glad there appears to be no problem with the Cobalt.

    Ron
     
  8. cyclealt

    cyclealt Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vancouver, BC
    1
    0
    1
    Hi Ron,
    My cobalt1 battery is fully discharged and will not hold a charge after unplugging from ac. The charger cycles from “charging” to “chargingdone”. When I remove the charger the unit shuts off. I was in Cayman Brac when the earthquake hit and the plug was dislodged from the adapter. Following the chaos I didn’t notice it for a few days and it was too late by then. I’ve opened the battery compartment and disconnect the battery to do a reset and no change. The battery voltage when tested was down to 1.5v. Knowing quite a bit about lithium batteries, there’s no reliable way to recover a battery from that mow a charge. Note would I trust it from then on out to last a dive. There was nothing wrong with the computer before this happened other than the expected reduced run time due to age of the battery.
    I’m back in North America now and only brought the battery back. As I will be returning to Cayman Brac in 6 weeks to help my friends with repairs and all the space I can save to bring supplies is of importance.
    I’ve sent an email to atomic to try and get a battery. How difficult do you think it will be to just get the battery?

    Jim
     
  9. RonR

    RonR Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Washington State
    1,266
    472
    83
    Yes, if the charging adapter was left attached for quite a while without power that would do a good job of draining the battery. Usually they can be recharged even from a pretty deep discharge but as you know it is possible to reach a point of no return with lithium batteries.

    There is a battery diagnostic screen built into recent firmware versions, I will send you a direct message with instructions on how to access it. However you are probably right to get a new battery, particularly if this is the original, as the last Cobalt 1's were made over 6 years ago. Contact me if there is any issue getting the battery from Atomic, and look for a message from me on SB.

    -Ron
     
  10. scott stanton

    scott stanton Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeastern Mass
    26
    10
    3
    An update on my situation: After charging to 100%, I left on a trip. Seems I sealed the battery compartment well enough! So exactly 1 week later and including 2 35 min. dives & prob. 10 min. review of the log, I was down to 56%. I charged to 100% again. 1 week later it was down to 70%, and after 2 weeks it was down to 36%, so it seems to lose 4%-5% of charge per day. My only complaint with this computer had been the short amount of time it would last on standby (about 2 months tops when new). Now even shorter but at least I was able to get it working.
    Thank you RonR.
     

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