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New Blacktip setup...

Discussion in 'Dive Propulsion Vehicles' started by Manatee Diver, Jul 21, 2021 at 11:22 PM.

  1. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    So I ordered a Blacktip Tech. I am trying to figure out what else do I need. Right now it will be used for open water dives, I don't think I am an experienced enough cave diver to use it in the caves just yet (and probably won't be for a long while).

    What spares have you all needed or recommend? Is the rope used for the tow rope and the nose bolt snap rope something common, like DIR stage line?

    How many sets of batteries do you all go through in a day? I ordered a pair of 12ah batteries as they are pretty similar in price for the 9ah at the moment. Two bay charger or a four bay charger?
    laikabear and Ulfhedinn like this.
  2. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    Tow line is common. Don't remember it off the top of my head. Any hardware store.
    Nose snap, I used bungee cord. Right or wrong, it works for me.
    I have to be pretty trigger happy to run 9Ah batteries down in 3 rebreather dives. But I am not going for distance records either. That is the only pair of batteries I have. Got a 2-bay charger for travel reasons. If I add another pair of batteries I can always add another 2-bay charger. I would like to have got the 12Ah batteries for a little better reserve capacity. But they were high dollar items at the time so I cheaped on the 9Ah. I can always upgrade/add batteries later was the thought, never did.

    Just my results, yours will probably vary.
    NothingClever and cathal like this.
  3. RayfromTX

    RayfromTX Student Of Gas Mixology Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel while the cruise ships are gone
    Two bay charger is fine for me even when I dive two scooters. They charge in just 2-3 hours so swapping out the sets is easy enough and the two bay is easier to pack and travel with. I don't want them to sit full all their lives so I actually partially charge them after the dive and top them off in the morning when I wake up.
    NothingClever and Pkishino like this.
  4. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK

    I managed to catch the handle on the dive lift when jumping off a boat. Gravity won, handle nill.

    I got a replacement handle moulding, grip, and trigger return spring. Not expensive and straightforward to fit (although did need to ream the trigger "hole" with a 6mm drill bit as the trigger snagged).

    From that experience I realise that the handle is a definite weak point so need to keep it protected when getting on/off the boat and transporting. Might consider getting another set for the spares box.
    Patrick Sadowski likes this.
  5. geoff w

    geoff w Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: malibu
    Blacktips had been coming with tow lines; wait until yours arrives until you decide you need to go buy another. I like the bolt snap to ride freely on the tow line, but that's a matter of personal preference.

    A bolt snap on the nose definitely helps. A lot of people do the whole paracord macramé thing, I just have a simple line with loops on both ends, a big bolt snap on one end and a stainless o-ring on the other. You can use it to help hand the scooter up and down to crew on a boat.

    Patrick Sadowski is the go-to guy for compass mounts (really, really useful for open water navigation), and now has also come out with a double handle upgrade as well

    A lot of people are now doing wraps on their Blacktips to personalize. If you really want to custom, you can also swap the handle grip from some other mountain bike grip, all kinds of shapes and colors.

    My Dewalt 12 AH batteries last for a really long time. I've never had range anxiety. Try one set before you start buying spares.

    You can also easily customize various settings, like safe start, speed in gears, ramp up rate. Because the firmware is open source based, people are now starting to modify. There's a thread on a version in the works with cruise control, jump-to-speed, and reverse.

    Don't overthink it. Just go out and enjoy diving your Blacktip. It's a very good scooter and amazing for the money
  6. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    Another compass option that a lot use is the Sea Rover Kayak Compass off Amazon.
    Pkishino likes this.
  7. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    Nerd's rock! :cool:

    Compass, depth and PPO2 in one place right in front of you.
  8. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    I prefer the kayak compass over the one in the NERD. Reads where I am pointing, doesn't care where I turn my head to.
    But the NERD compass does work as my backup.
  9. laikabear

    laikabear DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pasadena, CA
    My Blacktip came with the tow rope; I don't know if they are still shipping with them but hopefully so. It's a nice nylon rope. Some leave the bolt snap free running, some fix it with either a Lark's head knot or tie the snap to the line with cave line (that's what my instructor did for me and how I have it - it's adjustable but stays generally where you put it). I actually replaced the rope on mine to be blue and used a 3/8" nylon rope I bought on Amazon. Be careful with customizing, you can get carried away like a 20 year old with an old Honda Civic.

    I had a nylon rope on the nose with a big boltsnap (courtesy of @geoff w ), but I ended up replacing it with a braided paracord lanyard just for looks. I also had a friend help me make a Suex-style handle for the tube instead of the one that came with the tech tube. I put my hand through that handle underwater to sort of park the scooter next to me or to maneuver it sometimes, but I don't use it much on land since the plastic handle on top of the tube is pretty convenient for that.

    I got one of the T-handles from @Patrick Sadowski (he's on the FB group for Dive Xtras) and that has been my most beloved upgrade so far. It makes the scooter easy to drive with either hand. I also vinyl-wrapped it just for fun. (I guess that's the carbon-fiber hood of my Honda Civic, LOL). I got new grips (130 mm wide versus the stock 90 mm at Patrick's recommendation) when I got the T-handle and went with the blue theme. I have the Kayak compass mounted with some bungee toward the bottom of the tube, but I honestly don't use it a lot. I don't do lots of compass nav while scooting, mostly visual nav at this point. There was some concern with deflection of the compass but in my limited use it seems to be ok.

    I have 2 of the 12 ah batteries and a 2 bay charger. I haven't come close to depleting them on a dive day yet. I would start there, and see what your usage is, before considering a 2nd set.

    If you get a chance, I would order a spare set of O rings and a spare handle body from Dive Xtras just to have at home. The handle bodies were out of stock for a long time and they recently came back into stock. They are only $14 or something so it's worth having around because that does seem to be a part that could break.

    I have several friends with much more expensive scooters, and I am very happy with my Blacktip. It keeps up and I don't feel any regrets at not having the premium option. I was even able to understand how to upgrade the Firmware after some tips from Geoff (who actually did the first upgrade FOR me), and I disabled safe start, which makes the scooter more usable in heavy current. It is cool that you can customize certain options. Dive Xtras has a video on their Youtube page where Jake walks you through upgrading / playing with the firmware. All you need is a USB extension cable.

    Congrats on your Blacktip! I was a bit scooter-wary at first but it has been a really useful and fun tool so far. 20210717_123650.jpg PS, thanks to @Compressor for teaching me that you can just drag and drop photos to posts. I've been putting them on Imgur and going through this multi-step process for no reason!
    RayfromTX, RainPilot, geoff w and 4 others like this.
  10. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    Like the handles.

    Totally agree about spare handles; they do break off
    laikabear likes this.

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