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Please school me on recreational DPV's

Discussion in 'Dive Propulsion Vehicles' started by gqllc007, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. geoff w

    geoff w Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: malibu
    917
    220
    My Blacktip came from the second production batch, so I've had it over a year, probably about 20-25 dives on it, a combo of beach and boat dives. Some of the early models had a problem with the reed switch alignment, which Dive-X fixed by coming up with a new installation tool. The initial firmware wasn't optimized, but the latest works extremely well. They have a new firmware version in beta to address a motor glitch on some Blacktips, which I suspect is related to some of the motors being slightly out of spec compared to their initial production models. Some dealers here are discounting them 10%, which puts the travel version at $1,350 + batteries and charger. Dewalt 12 AH batteries are going for about $200 apiece now, and will give you a solid 2+ hour run time unless you're really hauling. The Dewalt 9 and 12 AH batteries weigh the same, and are heavier than the less expensive 9 AH Waitleys, and all seem to work well.

    I've done a number of underwater cleanups, removing abandoned traps and ghost net, including some diving with doubles, but to recreational depths. For this use case, the Blacktip performs equally well as a Subgravity Ecos and better than some of the older Suex scooters. For beach dives, including getting in and out through moderate size surf, at first I was very apprehensive, but the Blacktip actually made entries and exits easier and feel safer, you just have to adjust your technique a bit. They don't like sand in the trigger mechanism, but I suspect most scooters don't. Plenty of power, and towing 3 divers is easily doable. I've towed a buddy and his Sierra back when his scooter died.

    The travel can be neutrally buoyant, but stationary will trim out horizontal instead of vertical. There are three types of Blacktip divers: the ones who whine incessantly about the trim and says it's a piece of crap, the ones who push it horizontal and drive it like any other scooter, and the ones who have never actually used a Blacktip and don't know what they're talking about. If you've never dived with any scooter before, figure 2-3 dives to move from whiner to skilled driver.

    As with any DPV, the Blacktip significantly increases the range of dive sites you can visit, as well as opens up exploration options for new sites. Because of its relatively light weight, this is a huge plus for shore dives. We've found more new reefs to explore in the past year than the previous 10. Some of these reefs can be visited without scooters, because we know they are there.

    A bunch of my GUE indoctrinated buddies use their Blacktips on tech dives. The tech tube will trim horizontal for deco.

    There are lots of "better" scooters that cost more. There isn't anything equal or better that costs less. There are lesser scooters that cost more. Like others posted, the Blacktip is in a unique spot in the market. I don't think it's a niche product, but over time will become much more mainstream, especially when you consider the cost is somewhat comparable to a decent camera setup with lights and all the doodads. Plus it is relatively easy to travel with, especially compared to anything bigger, so that's going to change what is considered mainstream over time as well.
     
  2. elderhome

    elderhome Registered

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Taiwan
    10
    12
    DIY large capacity 20V20AH battery, it fits to blacktip travel, negative buoyant in Travel, but good in Tech and Exploration. It costs me approx US$180 for 2 sets of battery and 2 sets of after market 3A battery charger.
    Built by Panasonic 21700 batteries, plus active battery balance module, it extends batteries life and stable power output.
     
    OTF and macado like this.
  3. Texasguy

    Texasguy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
    1,384
    386
    Could you list ways it became safer and why? What is the new technique after the adjustment?
     
  4. geoff w

    geoff w Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: malibu
    917
    220
    Here we'll usually walk out holding our fins, then put them on past the surf zone, in water deep enough to sort-of stand in. If the surf is bigger, or has more power, it takes longer walking through the surf zone to be able to put fins on and kick out. Likewise, coming in, it's sometimes challenging to time fins touching bottom, getting fins off, then exiting between waves. With the Blacktip, once we're in crotch to waist deep water we can start motoring out, to way past the surf zone and leisurely put fins on. And coming back in, we can take fins off well before touching bottom, time wave sets much better to come in on the back side of a wave to waist deep water, stand up and pick up Blacktip, and walk out before the next wave hits. And if mis-timed, bail and power back out to try again instead of going down in the waves.

    Of course, we always keep our Blacktips clipped off to us with the to cord. And it the surf is too big we don't go out with scooters

    If things are stirred up closer to shore and we're at a spot that goes out a long ways, our Blacktips take us to outer spots with better visibility than we're usually willing to kick out to
     
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    736
    512
    Bought a Blacktip for Christmas (OK, wife bought it, I paid for it!). Finally managed to get some diving on it last weekend.

    Wow. Brilliant. Does what it says on the tin.

    I went for the 'Tec' version as balance in the water and depth are very important for me; expect to use it below 80m/260'. I need a runtime of 1h or so for wreck diving, maybe longer if playing around in the shallows.

    It's my first DPV and the first time I've used a Tec scooter and it's just terrific. Do need more practice on it, but will do that on the next few dives. I love the fact it's neutral in the water and when it's clipped off to my chest D-ring it's not noticeable as I fin. Will see how much that will last when I'm in a wreck.

    For $2k or £1800 it's an absolute bargain with little difference in performance than an expensive scooter. They're going to sell tons of them!
     
    shoredivr likes this.
  6. Texasguy

    Texasguy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
    1,384
    386
    Based on the title, i have a question. Where do you draw a line between "recreational DPV' and, I guess, "professional DPV'?
     
  7. geoff w

    geoff w Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: malibu
    917
    220
    I interpreted the title meaning as opposed to technical DPVs. I.e., those costing way more than a typical recreational diver would spend. Starting at $1.5K, the Blacktip is at the upper end of what this recreational diver would spend on a DPV
     
  8. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    736
    512
    Does it tow you by cord with one-handed operation. Or is it a glorified pool toy requiring two hands to control.

    Then there’s the question of depth and duration. 40m /130' is the general definition of recreational diving maximum depth with an hour-ish duration.

    The Blacktip is rated at 120m/400' and 2 hours, 4h with the longer version. A Seadoo pool toy doesn’t go near that.
     
  9. macado

    macado Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salem, MA (North of Boston)
    1,302
    783
    I used mine all week from Pompano Beach to Miami and Key Largo. All hot drops with the exception of the Lady Luck with some pretty decent currents.

    It's my third trip on an airplane with the scooter. Checked the tail unit, body, nose in a cheap roller bag wrapped in a wetsuit and carried the batteries on the flight.
    No issues or problems.
    IMG_20210503_183243222.jpg

    We dove:
    Lady Luck scootering to Rodeo 25 (130')
    Hydro Atlantic (175'/53m)
    Lowrance (200'/60m)
    RBJ / Chris Corey (260'/80m)
    Rex Bear (235'/72m)
    Northern Light (190'/58m)
    Queen of Nassau (230'/70m)

    My little "recreational" scooter does it's job pretty well.
    184499728_10101468830743769_8879769238143211380_n.jpg 184403841_10101468314114099_3283150437530891041_n.jpg

     
    geoff w, tdmp and Wibble like this.
  10. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    736
    512
    Nice to see both the Travel and Tech Blacktips alongside their more expensive siblings.
     
    shoredivr and macado like this.

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