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Which DPV for me?

Discussion in 'Dive Propulsion Vehicles' started by Tortuga68, Sep 1, 2011.

Considering my criteria, which DPV would you recommend?

  1. Silent Submersion N-19

  2. Dive Xtras Sierra STD

  3. Silent Submersion UV-26

  4. Other - please specify & why

  1. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    I'm in the market for a DPV... my shortlist is the three models above (Halcyon T16 would be very nice I think but a little expensive for mine - R14 is priced right but seems not as good spec/versatile as the listed models), based on the following criteria:

    1. Price. Under $3000 (retail) would be nice. <$4000 would be acceptable. <$5000 is a possibility if it's really necessary but I'd prefer not

    2. Burn time/range/speed/thrust - not expecting to need anything outrageous, just want it for 45-60 minute dives <30m, light to moderate currents, double AL80s and a shorty wetsuit. The models I've shortlisted all seem acceptable performers in these areas, although some are better than others

    3. Size/weight - small to medium/light to middle-weight (the UV-26 is on the heavy side IMO)

    4. Battery - prefer NiMH but SLA would also be ok, although as per #2 I don't need long burn times. One factor is that I'll only use it every 3 months or so, so the 'no/low maintenance' aspect of SLA appeals (if what I've read is correct about NiMH)

    5. Durability/reliability/'proven design' - all relatively important

    6. Modularity - I like the idea of being able to convert to a different model by changing nose/body/battery; this is a definite plus

    7. Parts availability - naturally would be nice to have readily available parts ie current model, at a reasonable price

    Again, I think the three models listed meet the above, but if you want to suggest another make/model that's not listed please do and say why you think it's a better option. Really not interested in Mako/Tekna-types though

    I have a few questions, let's start with these two (which I'll combine into one, easy-to-answer question!):

    a. Length/weight & offset battery - I read that shorter, lighter scooters are easier to manouveur but less stable, and that scooters with an offset battery produce less 'torque effect' through the handle; I expect these are both true, what I really want to know is should they be a decision factor ie is it really going to bother me either way for OW dives? No intention of scootering in a cave or other restrictive environment (at this stage anyway)

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  2. a22shady

    a22shady Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New Jersey
    Personally I would look to pick up a used Cuda 650. I have seen them go for around 3000-3500. You will have a top speed that blows others away, and then have the ability to cruise all day long at 150fpm.

    Another Option would be to pick up a new Cuda400. It will be a little more expensive than a used 650 and you wont get quite all the burn time of the 650 but it comes in at only 42lbs and you have the option later to upgrade to Li-ion battery should you choose than uou have a scooter that can run a Max for just over 1hr should you choose or you can cruise at 150fpm for little over 5hours....

    Dive Xtras - Dive Xtras
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
    Tortuga68 likes this.
  3. cool_hardware52

    cool_hardware52 Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    Pretty hard to beat a factory refurbished Dive X Sierra. $2500 for essentially a new scooter with enough range and power for most dives, very light weight, light enough that it will actually get used. NiMh batts are not hard to care for.

    You may want to wait for the results of the 2011 Tahoe Bench Mark to be published (soon I hope) Should be illuminating.

  4. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    Thanks for the input guys, and from two people whose opinions I respect too...

    One factor I didn't mention is that I live in Shanghai and dive mostly in the Philippines... so buying used (which would likely mean from the US) presents some additional complications

    Yeah I saw the refurbished Sierras from DX (USD2650 to be precise, so <AUD2500 for me) - in fact I almost listed it as a distinct option in the poll. Good to hear about the NiMHs. I have looked at the Tahoe 2008 and 2009 tests, looking forward to the 2011 results as they seem even more thorough as well as having a larger range of test mules

    I also contacted a guy who is selling a Sierra in 'good condition' for ~USD1500, although again buying used from the US adds some element of risk

    Another factor is that none of my current dive buddies owns a scooter - so a cheap, reliable option would be an encouragement for them to get one too I hope!

    The shop I did GUE-F at, Tech Asia in Puerto Galera, has a fleet of Gavins, SS & DX scooters... so if nothing happens before October, I'll test drive some during my next trip - although now that I've done a bit of research and feel like I'm close to a decision, I have an itchy wallet (plus I just like having my own gear) :D
  5. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    How would you (or anyone, feel free to chime in) compare it to a Halcyon R14? Similar weight, size & thrust but with a longer burntime (70/90 hi/lo vs 39/65) & warranty (2y vs 1y) - and available new for USD2795 (only $145 more)? NB These are manufacturer quoted specs and as always YMMV!

    I have attached a spreadsheet I made for comparison purposes - Yellow indicates what I think are desirable characteristics, orange is potential badness. Sierra Long is greyed out as I just added it for interest, think they're superceded now anyway (also if anyone can source numbers for the ?s please post them)


    View attachment DPV comparisons.xls
  6. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    I choose Gavin....why is that not listed? Dependable, big torque, great for video work with camera mount. You can drag a diver without a scooter behind you, and the Gavin changes little in performance.
  7. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    I did some research on Gavins, and there are a few reasons why I don't have currently have one on my short list - although they may all be subjective (or perhaps even incorrect in some cases, if so please feel free to educate me):

    1. There's no pricing listed on the Gavin website Exploration, sea scooters. Fort Lauderdale, FL. SInce price is a consideration, this limited my interest in looking much further into them

    2. The 2008/2009 Tahoe tests seemed to indicate a degree of variability between examples (maybe due to their previous life/maintenance/use)... I understand that they use re-wound motors from Mako/Teknas, which may contribute to this

    3. It's my impression, from the website, that they can require more attention to maintain (this might just be honesty on Bill's part versus marketing from the others)

    4. It's my impression that they use SLAs and are more targeted at longer burn times & reliability as required, typicaly, by cave diving

    5. I found it harder to get a clear picture of the range form the website than the other manufacturers, and basically at this point - following on from the above - I gave up on them

    Diving for me means travelling - so I like my gear to be set-and-forget

    Based on the above I thought the options I listed were more suited to my needs... I'd be happy to add them to my list - perhaps the 26Ah HDPE model? - if you can correct me on the above; I know they're very popular in WKPP/cave circles
  8. cool_hardware52

    cool_hardware52 Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    Increased drag always slow a scooter. There are no magic "stump pullers"

    Motor power largely determines thrust, and thrust determines velocity at a given drag.

    Scooter weight is a huge determinate in terms of whether it stays upright in the garage, or in hand as I walk through the So Cal surf. Even on boats the difference between a ~40lbs. scoot and a 65-95 lbs scoot is a big deal, particularly on small boats.

  9. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kentucky
    I dive a Hollis H-160. Overall, I've been very pleased with it.

    Pros- Extremely well balanced, easy to manuver. Decent battery life (1-2 hrs depending on speed). Easy, graduated take off, doesn't jerk your arm out of socket, Not very torquey, decent power & speed for a scooter of its size, very quiet.

    Cons- I've had problems with condensation in the headlight. Hollis has replaced quickly at no cost. The motor will continue to run for 1-2 sec. after trigger is released (this can be corrected with timing). For some, has too slow a take off. Tends to be negatively buoyant when not in motion.

    This scooter runs in the $3800- $4100 range. Here is their web site: Hollis Gear: H-160
  10. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    Thanks Tammy... I did look at the H-160, but didn't really see anything to set it apart from the other choices listed (nothing that came up on paper anyway - your first-hand impressions add another dimension) since the retail price was slightly more expensive (by a few hundred dollars)

    Add that to the other manufacturers being more 'DPV specialists' and also having (perceived anyway) broader use/parts/support networks, and I dropped Hollis from my list

    I imagine you could add some buoyancy to correct the negativity if you wanted
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011

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