Blacktip review/notes/suggestions from diving in Southern California with a CCR

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serpentara

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Messages
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Location
Los Angeles
# of dives
500 - 999
So I took my new Blacktip out for its first run Saturday 3/7/2020 at a dive site with current strong enough to keep me in an absolute stall in gear 3. I was kitted in a rebreather (rEvo CCR) with a AL40 bailout. I have owned a Sierra and was diving with two buddies, one had a Sierra with the PTB conversion and one had a Blacktip. Below are my thoughts, notes, and suggestions.
My scooter had the DeWalt 9ah batteries, and the front steel nose plate removed. It still had the thin nose plate. I attached the old Dive Xtras universal camera mount to the front 1/3 of the scooter. There was one medium size bolt snap on the front nose cone. The combined scooter, bolt snap, and mount were 24.5 lbs per my bathroom scale and 24.4 lbs per my luggage scale.
  1. At 24.5 lbs my rig was unquestionably quite negative yet still oriented/sank nose up. I believe that my buddy's scooter who was neutral was 22.5 lbs. Hopefully he will weigh it and comment.
  2. Once I pushed the nose down and started underway, it was generally very manageable. Gears 7-8 required some effort at times. I had my tow-cord bolt snap free sliding as I do with my Sierra.
  3. The Blacktip is significantly louder than the Sierra.
  4. There is not an immediately obvious way to use the Blacktip with your left hand since you have to push in a trigger with your right thumb. With the lever design of the Sierra I could easily switch hands while riding if I needed to take a picture or grab something on my right hip while underway (or if my hand got tired on a long ride.
  5. The "safe start" causes a delayed reaction underwater and should be changed. I understand the utility of the safe start, but it can be better implemented. The first time in the water at gear 3 the safe start should operate, but once it detects that it is in water, it should not turn on again for 10, 20, 30 minutes. The timer should reset every time it is run and detects water. Every other scooter that I have ever used has instant power. It can be useful when you are trying to get out of a squirrely situation. With the delay at times I almost wondered if I had hit the trigger properly.
  6. I would extend the time allowed between the double clicks to turn it on/switch gears up slightly.
  7. The 9ah batteries last forever but the battery indicator is a bit wonky. I was running the gears, racing around, and fighting current for about 40 minutes. After running in gear 8 for a bit my Blacktip showed 1/4 bars. Later that evening when I ran the Blacktip in the shower my Blacktip showed 3/4 bars. When I pulled the batteries out after its shower, the batteries showed 2/3 bars. Clearly the 3/4 was more accurate than the 1/4. I have read others with similar experience wherein they had to run the scooter again a few minutes after dropping out of a high gear to see the accurate battery reading.
  8. It is significantly faster than the Sierra. When I was in gear 8 my loop was flapping hard in the rushing water and I was biting down to keep the loop secure despite my gag strap. Running in gear 8 with a significant tail current was a blast!
  9. I would beg Dive Xtras to make the tube at least a few inches longer and move the batteries toward the nose. I would gladly have a 25lb or 27lb neutral scooter that I can rig a camera mount to and/or get perfectly in trim. I hope if they do this (like they made the gear-belt correction for the Piranha) that they give us early adopters a very cheap option to go that route.

It is quite the game changer for $1500. With just a few tweaks it could be even better!
 
OP
serpentara

serpentara

Registered
Messages
69
Reaction score
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Location
Los Angeles
# of dives
500 - 999
Blacktip with old style universal camera mount. I have the new version on order and might have to attach some hard foam floats to it.
 

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