• On September 1st, Maine Sail suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke. One of the most generous members of our sailing community, he has helped thousands. Now it's our turn. Click here to learn more

Repairing an HS35 handset

May 17, 2004
3,466
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Had some trouble with our Simrad HS35 wireless handset that goes with our RS35 VHF. Others with the HS35 or its B&G equivalent H50 might have similar problems in the future so I figured I’d mention our solution. This really could solve two problems with the device - a rare software bug that leaves it unresponsive, or battery failure. Simrad has discontinued the model so there’s no easy way to just replace it other than an expensive VHF upgrade.

The problem started when we put the handset in its charging cradle and its distress light turned on, as if it were charging, but the little charge icon on the screen didn’t come on. We took it back off the cradle but the distress light stayed on, and we couldn’t turn it back on with the power button. None of the buttons, charging cradle, or USB charger seemed to do anything.

We figured we would try to disassemble the handset to see if its battery could be unplugged to reset it. Disassembly was pretty easy - just removing the screws around the perimeter on the back. Once open there’s a wire from the speaker that goes to a connector on the circuit board, and that connector can be pulled apart so the cover with the speaker can be separated from the body. Next there are 2 screws holding in the circuit board and display, so those can be removed, exposing the battery in the back of the device. At that point we got a surprise- the lithium polymer battery had swollen pretty substantially.

1634003077006.jpeg


The original battery was 850 mAH and fit in a recess that’s 48mm x 31mm. We were able to find a replacement on Amazon that 950 mAH and the same size. We spliced the new battery onto the old connector, hooked it all back up, and everything worked fine. There’s also a gasket around the perimeter. The easiest way to reinstall that is to place the gasket back in its recess in the front cover then put the two halves back together.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,904
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Thanks for sharing that info.

i have the B&G equivalent. So far, no charging issues, but at times the handset seems to not change channels correctly. I was hailing a Laker ore boat on Lake Michigan the other day, and the skipper asked to go to channel 8…could not get my handset to change channels…kept changing to 3-channel scan or something.

Is your charging cradle mounted in the cockpit or at the nav station? my charger is at the nav station, where I charge it when not in use. I have thought about moving it out to the helm, but not sure I want to do that.

Greg
 
May 17, 2004
3,466
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Thanks for sharing that info.

i have the B&G equivalent. So far, no charging issues, but at times the handset seems to not change channels correctly. I was hailing a Laker ore boat on Lake Michigan the other day, and the skipper asked to go to channel 8…could not get my handset to change channels…kept changing to 3-channel scan or something.

Is your charging cradle mounted in the cockpit or at the nav station? my charger is at the nav station, where I charge it when not in use. I have thought about moving it out to the helm, but not sure I want to do that.

Greg
You might be able to disassemble it and clean the contacts under the buttons. Those are exposed after the front cover comes off. Also be sure you’re off scan before you try to change channels. While it’s scanning it just ignores channel changes. You need to press scan first to stop scanning, then channel change. Not necessarily intuitive when a big steel thing is coming at you.

We have the cradle in the cabin on a shelf near the nav station too. Earlier this year we bought an extra cradle from Simrad for the helm, because the battery wasn’t holding a charge quite as well. (They still sell the cradle at HS35 VHF Charger Cradle - 12V | Accessory | Simrad USA even though the handset is discontinued). We spliced the wires from the cradle into a 12V plug that we can plug into a jack on our pedestal. Although we just now found out that the handset has a USB jack on the bottom that you can charge it with, so if we had known that we could’ve just used a USB cable and a USB cigarette lighter plug for the helm.

I have read that the cradle isn’t rated for much water exposure, and the same is true of having the USB plug exposed, so neither is a great solution for rainy days, but for a brief charge in dry weather it’s fine. We were still getting about 8 hours from a full charge with the old battery, and with the new 950mAH one we’ll probably get through a whole day sail no problem, so not a common need anyway.
 
Nov 21, 2007
513
Beneteau Oceanis 34 Kingston, WA
Is your charging cradle mounted in the cockpit or at the nav station? my charger is at the nav station, where I charge it when not in use. I have thought about moving it out to the helm, but not sure I want to do that.
My charging cradle died a couple of years ago, took forever for B&G to have replacements available, but once they did they were reasonably priced and an easy replacement of the existing cradle. I think the new one came with quite a pigtail for the wiring connection, it should be easy to add one near the helm. I moved my dead cradle to the helm and use it as a holder for the handset, zip-tied onto a tube next to the chart plotter. I like the idea of having a charger out there, but I'm going to procrastinate until they are obsolete before I try to find another one. ;)
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,904
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Although we just now found out that the handset has a USB jack on the bottom that you can charge it with, so if we had known that we could’ve just used a USB cable and a USB cigarette lighter plug for the helm.
That is a good find! I will have to look at mine and see if has the USB port. That would work great.

thanks again.

Greg
 
Nov 21, 2007
513
Beneteau Oceanis 34 Kingston, WA
The USB port is what I used to charge mine for a year, when there were no charging cradles available.