Resolving Battery Problems with Petrel 1

I am having issues with my Petrel 1, does this apply to me?

If your computer exhibits the following symptoms, then this document applies to you:

  • Spontaneous Resets
  • Flickering of the Display
  • Lower than expected battery life
  • Fluctuating battery levels

These symptoms typically:

  • Develop slowly over a long period of time with seemingly no changes leading up to the issue
  • Can disappear suddenly with the removal and reinstallation of the battery
  • Present with no visible deterioration of the battery contacts

What’s happening?

These symptoms are caused by a buildup of nonconductive metal oxide and can occur wherever there is metal-to-metal contact that is conducting electricity. This metal oxide is invisible, and can form even in a relatively benign environment. If enough of this nonconductive metal oxide builds up, it will decrease the amount of power received by the computers electronics and result in erratic behavior.

How do I perform an in-field repair?

Shearwater recommends the application of a dielectric contact lubricant to the battery terminals of your computer’s battery. Contact lubricants can be sourced from electronics supply stores. Brands that we have evaluated and approved include Electrolube CG60, DeoxIT Gold and MG Chemicals 801B-P, but there are many suitable products available. If you have issues sourcing these or similar compounds, Silicone Grease can act as a substitute. Apply the lubricant generously to each end of the battery before insertion. Fresh lubrication should be applied after a battery change.


Light sanding of the battery contacts before applying a contact lubricant is also recommended. The use of a pencil or pen eraser should prove effective as a light abrasive for removing built up metal oxide, and can be usefull for reaching the contacts located inisde the Petrel 1’s  battery compartment.

Note: Care should be taken to avoid scratching the o-ring sealing surfaces of the Petrel 1’s battery compartment.

Note: Do not use any abrasives, pencil erasers or otherwise, if the battery contacts of your computer alreday have gold plating. If you are unsure, contact The use of contact lubricants with gold plated contacts is fine, and will only serve to further enhance the reliability of your computer.

I have more questions

For further assistance, please feel free to contact the Shearwater team at

4 Responses

  1. Hi Guys
    I have a Petral that is showing the Battery faults shown on your website. Is there a part number for the modified battery cap as I would sooner replace the battery cap rather than clean it. I understand that this is not a recall and would be happy to pay for the new cap.

    Paul Reed

  2. Excellent article! Thank you very much for your hard work.

  3. Alex Hill

    I’m a dive instructor in Fiji and have a Petrel that I’ve had for a while which has been fantastic. Just recently it has stopped working other than for very short periods when it comes on and says ‘BT init fail’
    What does this mean & what can I d

    • Shearwater Research

      Hello Alex, I’m sorry to hear that your Petrel is having this issue. You can email us at to speak with one of our Customer Care reps about repair.


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