Since launching the Nitek Q series computers, one question keeps coming up with divers – how can I combine all my dives from different electronic logbooks into one logbook? The last thing I want is another logbook software to keep up with. I have been working with two companies to address this concern. Diving Log (www.divinglog.de) is a Windows based application that can take imports from other logbook applications and has download capabilities for a number of computers, including Dive Rite computers . MacDive (www.macdive.com) does the same, using the Mac platform.
Now with the Shearwater integration on the O2ptima rebreather, I wanted to get all my dives into one logbook. You don’t need to unlock the logbook feature in the Nitek Q to use these programs. You can simply connect and download. Both companies stay up to date with operating system updates to keep you going. Check it out and get all your dives together in one logbook.
Here’s a short video showing some of the products that we launched at the DEMA Show 2013. The RX8 Handheld and Quick Release Mount System (QRM) are already available in stores. The RX17 and Nomad LT Extreme will be available the end of the year.
I remember when Roger Werner introduced the first pee valve at a Cave Diving Workshop back in the 80′s. Back then it was a revolutionary concept. It had a simple design; a threaded, o ring sealed bolt you loosened to urinate. You had to be careful not to unscrew it all the way and take a chance of losing it, but still it was better than nothing. In the mid 90′s, Benny Altkorn of Germany designed a hands free model, the basis for all the modern valves. He was looking beyond diving to aerospace for the design by adding an equalizing valve to the pee valve. The equalizing valve would balance the internal pressure of the pee valve with your internal dry suit pressure so the connection point would remain comfortable at depth. He used a duckbill style one way valve and a stainless steel body in the design. We carried the stainless steel model for a number of years and other companies copied Mr. Altkorn’s design. After a few years we discovered the stainless steel model had a couple of design concerns to be addressed. The primary concern was the weight. The pee valve was fairly heavy and could damage a suit from the impact of throwing the suit around. The second concern was the material. While stainless steel was considered a good selection for seawater, we discovered it would not hold up to urine as well as it would to seawater. It required much cleaning for sanitary maintenance. We addressed these by changing to Delrin, which has good corrosion resistance and light weight. The duckbill valve was still the weak link since it was a three part assembly, it required care when installing to not crush the opening and deform it to a constant open position which would leak urine into the suit when the valve was used.
Our latest design uses two simple one way umbrella valve ; one to equalize, and one for the exhaust valve. This simple design is easy to maintain and clean. While there is no maintenance on the valve it needs to be cleaned regularly. Not cleaning the valve can cause it to leak and worse can lead to infections. You clean it with soap and water or use Steramine, a product used by CCR divers to disinfect their loop. It’s cheap and is proven to kill bacteria. The key is to find a way to clean the valve without taking it apart or off the suit. Constant removal of the valve will lead to leakage around the gaskets and o rings between the suit and valve. The most effective way I have found to clean the valve is to use a squeeze bottle and squirt it down the hose into the valve until it flows out the exhaust valve, no need to rinse it out. Quick and simple. After cleaning, check the back of the valve for wetness. If it’s dry your equalizer valve is doing its job. If you are getting wet, check the installation seals, condom size and drain tube connections.
If you need to return a valve to us because you think it’s leaking, please clean it first, we will not touch it if it hasn’t been cleaned. Would you?
Dive Rite introduced oxygen tracking on a dive computer in 1992 with the launch of the Bridge, the first user programmable computer from 21% to 50%. It has since become the standard for any Nitrox computer. Oxygen tracking was developed by Randy Bohrer and the late Dr. Bill Hamilton for SEIKO EPSON. SEIKO EPSON went on to patent the technology of graphing oxygen tracking on dive computers, but decided it was too important not to be on all dive computers to enforce the patent. This led to the birth of the OLI (oxygen limits index), which was based on hyperbaric treatment studies. See this article for more information: A PROVISIONAL METHOD OF OXYGEN EXPOSURE MANAGEMENT FOR A RECREATIONAL DIVE COMPUTER
In the oxygen tracking algorithm, we don’t track OTUs at all. Hamilton’s OTU approach was used to manage long exposures, such as saturation type dives. For the dive computers, we track one value – the oxygen limit index. This index accounts for both CNS and chronic/whole body oxygen toxicity (or oxygen tolerance). The 90 minute half time for recovery is very conservative for CNS toxicity, since we know that it is possible to breathe oxygen at high partial pressures if a short air break is taken periodically. It is adequate for chronic/whole body toxicity, since it allows for full recovery in an amount of time that is sometimes used in respiratory therapy.
The Nitek Q has nine bars for tracking oxygen and nitrogen. At 80% of calculated maximum oxygen exposure the bar graph will start to flash once the 8th bar starts to fill up. The Nitek Q will assume oxygen loading for one hour after the dive. This is our conservative approach to oxygen tracking. With a 90 minute half life, the 8 bars lit will drop to 4 in 90 minutes, then drop to 2 bars in another 90 minutes, and to 1 bar in another 90 minutes. If your oxygen loading exceeds 100% the graph will flash until it is back into range.
Remember, tracking is only as good as the information supplied. Properly analyzing and entering the correct gas mixture is a good start.
Pictured: Dive Rite technical computers starting with the Bridge II through Nitek Q
I went to Nags Head on the last weekend of May/June to be part of a wreck identification project with our good friends at Outer Banks Dive Center. We did a practice run on the USS Jackson on Friday May 31 for the team to get up to speed on their assignments. My job was to film them in action. The visibility was poor, less than ten foot but still productive. Unfortunately we didn’t get to the target wreck on Saturday and Sunday due to changing weather conditions and currents. We plan to go back August 9 of this year to continue on with the project. This is a short video put together by John Bright the lead archeologist on the project.
I was doing my morning walk through the shop today (every morning I walk the two buildings, check on each department and look over products in for service). Today I saw a light in for service and smiled. It was in for an upgrade from HID to LED and the light was twelve years old, how did I know that, it was the original gray metal of the MR11 series light.
In 2001 we added the MR 11 HID to the line and the new small head became our most popular light. We have sold over 10,000 of these lights since 2001 and in 2008 we converted to LED technology.
The one thing I wanted to offer divers was an upgrade path to new technology when it came out. We put our efforts into maintaining the MR11 series for this reason. So when I saw a twelve year old light in for upgrade I thought “mission accomplished”. We have completed 75 upgrades in the first quarter of 2013 and average 5 to 10 a week on vintage lights.
Our MR11 series LED is our proprietary design, it’s the only way to ensure we can continue offering divers a way to upgrade. This has made our lights popular with law enforcement and military.
The MR 11 series is scheduled for brighter LED upgrades later this year and as always there will be an upgrade path for MR11 owners. If you were thinking about buying a RX10 but are going to wait after reading this, don’t because there will be a very special deal for RX10 owners.
The TransPac was born from my expeditions to various parts of the world. The proving ground was an expedition to the remote karst region of Japan in the Iwate prefecture to the small mountain town of Akka. The Akka river flows thru the center of town and there was a cave at each end Akkado and Shigawatarido (-do means cave). There was also another nearby a cave called Rysendo.
These caves Japan required not only diving, but also dry caving and climbing out of tedious sumps. To push the exploration thru the sumps in 38 degree F ( 4 degree C) I had to develop a harness that we could swim, climb and walk a mile thru virgin cave with our cylinders. The last push was over eight hours and the TransPac was born. This also brought about the TransPac promise of ‘If you think there is a dive that the TransPac can’t do, I’ll either tell you how to do it, or if it’s interesting enough I’ll show you myself’.
I recently found the mini DV tapes from the 1998 expedition with the Japan Cavers Club and had them digitized. I put together a short piece to give you an idea of what I do to prove gear will do the job.
The latest release of the WB 3.0.2 is on the web. This release was designed to push firmware updates to your Nitek Q computer. If you purchased one before firmware 2.0 (black USB cap), then you haven’t been able to use the WB logbook function. If you purchased a later model (red USB cap), then you have access to the WB.
The WB is a free download from our website, and I encourage you to download it and update the firmware on your computer. We are up to version 2.0.5 on the firmware. The update includes better animation during battery charging and a 10 hour countdown on battery life. It still checks voltage, but now has a 10 hour countdown on the time the display is active. Since the display has the highest power consumption, it gives you a better indicator of battery life with a reserve. The overall battery life hasn’t changed.
To use WB 3.0.2 on a PC, it needs to have Windows 7 or newer and you need to have administrator rights. Everyone believes they have administrator rights to their PC, but sometimes the wrong check box or another program can change it. One user that was having issues with installation and communications to load the program used this link http://www.mytechguide.org/106/how-to-log-on-as-administrator-in-windows-7/ to log on as administrator, and it worked for him.
MAC is easier, but I had an issue with a USB port not allowing enough communications/power to allow for the re-flash, but would still allow me to upload dives. I switched ports and now everything works.
Since the program is internet based you must have a high speed connection to install the program or get any firmware updates or upgrades. Look for more features now that we can push firmware updates to your Nitek Q.
The RX10 light has proven to be our best light ever for performance and durability. We have worked to have every aspect of the light made in the USA including the electronics and LED mounting. Our last upgrade was on the LED mounting board: our electronics engineer improved the output by designing our own board and now the measured system lumens is 1000 and the LUX measurement at one meter averages 11,000. This was accomplished with better quality control standards and output measurements before and after mounting the LED. Every light module is individually tested prior to assembly and afterward to ensure peak performance on a Konica Minolta Chroma Meter for output.
Our thigh pocket design is our answer for storage of the tools technical divers need to carry: back up lights, spools and lift bags. It provides a convenient way to keep tools away from line traps or danglies. The Dive Rite AC3201-XT Thigh Pocket is mounted independently of the exposure suit – not everyone wants permanent glue-on style pockets. I have friends that buy a new wetsuit every 6 to 9 months, but they have had their thigh pocket for 3 years. I have even our thigh pocket wrapped around fins and mask to keep them bundled on a boat. I never thought of that but hey, if it works go for it.
After some diving in the islands I was talking to a few divers over a beer, (it’s amazing what you hear over a few beers) and learned that our thigh pocket design could be improved. I went back to the drawing board and made the 2013 model slightly bigger so that a spool would fit while still attached to the surface marker and we changed the straps up to keep in line with the new trend to ride the primary lift bag on a deco/bailout bottle.
The new thigh pocket is just a little bit larger, you can hardly see any difference since most of it was in the side panels. We also added an ingenious way to connect it. Now you can mount the pocket upside down and attach it to tanks if you want to.I changed the elastic length for a better fit on small legs and aluminum 40′s while not comprising it for the guys or aluminum 80 cylinders. You can easily add it to a bottle or put it on your leg with very little effort. Watch our Dive Rite TV for the skinny on it.