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Building A Better Excalibur Battery


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I love my Excalibur but the stock battery pod construction leaves a bit to be desired. My main gripe is the cheap and somewhat brittle plastic pod, especially the battery cap threads as these will crack if tightened too much. Water and fine silt also gets into the fine opening just before the O ring. Small surface cracks seem to appear for no apparent reason 🤬

So I managed to pickup two new underwater camera enclosures that were priced to clear (rated to 200m). These are 15mm thick acrylic cases and very high quality. I was able to get equally high quality suitable connectors for the battery power cable from Aquascan in the UK as Ikelite no longer make this part. 

I also wanted to charge the Lithium 18650 cells externally (and not in a sealed case) as they can generate heat when charging. The 3 x 18650 cells should give quite a long run time…..much the same as the R&B battery.

I’ve got two of these cases now plus the original NiMH pod and the R&B pack.

There is no noticeable extra drag in the water that I can feel even though the case has a somewhat larger profile in the water.

Two stainless bolts secure the cases (as shown).

There is actually room inside for 6 x 18650 cells which would be about a 6000 mAh battery pack 👍

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  • 2 weeks later...

Works perfectly. The case is naturally heavier than the stock battery pods but I don’t notice any extra resistance in the water. The 3 x 18650 cells run for a very long time….I charge them after about 25 hours of use just to be safe. 
I can easily fit a 6ah lithium battery in there but that’s overkill but would run for days. I only did this project because the acrylic cases were being discontinued and I got them very cheap……they were originally over $200 each.

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Hi Tony

I found your post on the battery pack system you came up with. It looks great! 

I spend a lot of time underwater detecting and don't you know a soon as things start getting good my battery need to be changed. 

From what I can tell your battery system will last 2-3 times longer then the battery that come with the Excalibur. Is this correct?

I know its been some years from when you made this post but I was hopping to ask you some questions about your battery pack system and how its been working out for you over the years. Are you still using this battery pack system of have you come up with a newer or better system?

Thank you for your time and information.

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9 hours ago, Chris W said:

Hi Tony

I found your post on the battery pack system you came up with. It looks great! 

I spend a lot of time underwater detecting and don't you know a soon as things start getting good my battery need to be changed. 

From what I can tell your battery system will last 2-3 times longer then the battery that come with the Excalibur. Is this correct?

I know its been some years from when you made this post but I was hopping to ask you some questions about your battery pack system and how its been working out for you over the years. Are you still using this battery pack system of have you come up with a newer or better system?

Thank you for your time and information.

It hasn't been years since he posted this, he just posted it less than 2 weeks ago, on July 29th!

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Looks great Tony! Very clean design and love the old style Ikelite fittings. I know they use to use them for underwater photo setup. I would bet your battery runs over 50 hours easy. 

I've played with a few batteries for the excalibur. Some I just throw together to test them.. Here is a couple. The smaller battery is 18500 which will fit the excalibur stock Pod.

 

 

 

 

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Hello Joe,

Well you’ve got the skill to make just about anything to a high standard👍

In case you ever need the Ikelite style bulkhead connector then Aquascan UK sell the whole assembly. I think they bought the design from Ikelite and now call it the Aqualite connector. Just need to drill two holes through the plastic lid for the two electrical pins to pass through.

Hope you are well👍
Tony

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On 8/8/2022 at 10:49 PM, Chris W said:

Hi Tony

I found your post on the battery pack system you came up with. It looks great! 

I spend a lot of time underwater detecting and don't you know a soon as things start getting good my battery need to be changed. 

From what I can tell your battery system will last 2-3 times longer then the battery that come with the Excalibur. Is this correct?

I know its been some years from when you made this post but I was hopping to ask you some questions about your battery pack system and how its been working out for you over the years. Are you still using this battery pack system of have you come up with a newer or better system?

Thank you for your time and information.

Hello Chris,

No, this is a recent project. Not much more to add to my post really.

Very robust enclosure and can fit up to a 6 cell Lithium setup or any other battery chemistry. I’m guessing a 6 x 18650 battery would run for a 100 hours (Joe would know more about this than me). You could use an off the shelf 11.1 v Lithium battery up to 6ah but I prefer to be able to charge the batteries individually if possible (easier to diagnose or swap out an individual cell if needed) 👍

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Anyone wanting to make a battery for the excalibur this would be the easiest. The 18500 Li-ion 1700 mAh batteries will fit into the stock battery pod. One needs to have 2 next to each other and the other on top. The run time is about 35 hours. Run time for the 18650's with 2200 mAh  3 cell is 57 hours. I would imagine a 6 cell 18650 battery would run easily over 100 hours, but than you have to consider the extra weight of the 3 extra cells. 

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Joe those batteries last forever.  I use um in the MDT 3 years with a constant 4.1 after charge.   Best I ever used was the 3000s fro RNB but I think they stopped making them.

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