How do instruments handle external power if internal batteries are installed?
Most Sea-Bird instruments that are designed to be powered internally or externally incorporate diode or'd circuitry, allowing only the voltage that has the greater potential to power the instrument. You can power the instrument externally without running down the internal batteries. This allows you to lab test using external power that has higher voltage than the internal batteries, and then deploy using internal power, knowing that the internal batteries are fresh.
For the SBE 25plus, if external power of 14 volts or higher is applied, the 25plus runs off of the external power, even if the main battery voltage is higher.