Lamar sidemounting the Dive Rite Nomad
I find it amusing and flattering that some manufacturers have discovered side mount diving and build everything from ultra light to hard core cave exploration side mount systems. I have been diving and building them for more than 30 years and enjoy doing it. We are a small company in North Florida, we design, test and build our buoyancy systems in the USA. I see claims of “the only CE approved side mount system”, “the choice of professionals”. I read these claims and smile. I know or trained most of these professionals, I wrote the first side mount certification course for the Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society and proofed the programs for many other agencies.
Side mount can be a life style or mission specific diving application, for me its just another tool in my bag for exploration. When it comes to diving equipment design I like the trickle down effect. After I dive it in Antarctica, a small cave in North Florida, or a wreck off the coast then it’s ready for the marketplace.
All Dive Rite buoyancy devices are built in a UL certified facility and go thru UL testing before we introduce it to the marketplace. After we tweak the product thru consumer feedback then we take it to CE testing in Europe. UL testing is more stringent than CE testing. UL inspects the production facility and testing procedures annually while CE is a test of products selected by the manufacturer for testing. I prefer to make sure it meets UL standards in the USA before taking it over to Europe for a one time inspection but that’s just the way I like to do things.
It’s not always about price but what’s behind the product. We are 25 years of experience and a real passion for diving. I travel all over the world just to make sure I haven’t left anyone out when I design products.
The TransPac was born doing an expedition in the remote mountains of Japan in 1995. Since then it has become the platform for singles, doubles and side mount solutions. When we were in Japan I needed to transport and climb with steel 45 cu ft cylinders after passing thru the first underwater section of cave 2100-feet from the entrance. I very seldom use that original configuration, but a few weeks ago we went to Jug Hole and the rig was the ticket for the 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot. This configuration can be used by sidemount divers for decompression gas on their back and the heavy primary bottles side mounted. Its the most compact set of doubles you can use.
The NiTek Q Workbench software is ready for release and a link is available on our website. The Windows version was developed for Windows 7 and the Mac version is ready for Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion. The communications are plug and play, just follow the directions on screen to install, you must have a broadband internet connection to install the software. After it’s installed another screen will indicate when its ready for offline use. For best results try to have an internet connection when accessing the program so it can check for software updates. This version works with Nitek Q units with firmware 2.0 and higher. As soon as the next version is ready (later this month) computers with earlier firmware versions can be updated via the Workbench and will then work with all the functions in Workbench.
The bungee mount is available as an option for divers who prefer that mounting to a standard strap. See Dive Rite TV for installation instructions.
Nitek Q computers are in stock and available for immediate shipment. We have changed the USB plug to red along with the sealing o-ring so the diver has high contrast between the computer and seal. Whenever you remove the USB cable and activate the screen (by pushing either button) it displays “remember to replace the USB cap” and this screen will not go away until you hold the left (A button) for five seconds.
We have now repackaged the standard options to make it easy for divers. The basic model is two-gas, Nitrox and the Trimix model is full seven-gas, Trimix mode. All the other options can be purchased as desired and this keeps the price competitive based on the main features divers have asked us for.
The Nitek Q4 comes with full, seven-gas Trimix as well and closed circuit mode unlocked. When choosing between the Q and Q4 remember the only feature the Q4 has that the standard Q can’t do is monitor a 4th cell in a rebreather. The Q4 is more expensive because of the “Fischer” cable interface for direct connection to an oxygen sensor in the rebreather.
Thanks to all our customers for your patience during this long delay. This certainly wasn’t our goal and we appreciate everyone who stood by us along the way.
As I am out in the field diving, I listen and watch divers and was seeing more and more divers add weight on the shoulders of their sidemount rigs to trim out, regardless of the manufacturer. A properly balanced system shouldn’t require weight on the shoulders. Depending on how the weight is attached it is never a solution that looks like it was made to order, but rather an afterthought. If you weave weight onto the shoulder straps it becomes an almost permanent solution and is balanced against a set of heavy cylinders. When you change to lighter cylinders the shoulder weight requirements change as well if you want the same effect. When you travel it’s a given the weight is going to stay at home so you have to get the rental weight on the rig. This is where pockets come into play so you can vary the weight based on cylinders and it’s the quick fix for travel, but it’s still a work around for the problem.
We set out to create a sidemount rig that doesn’t require trim weight. With the new Nomad XT, we have reshaped it, narrowed the neck, angled the sides and added more lift to the bottom. I see many tech divers switching the inflator and over pressure valve locations, moving the pull dump to the neck and the inflator up from the bottom. The problem with this switch is the loss of an OPV on the bottom of the wing. Since I know some of the tech divers want to switch these I decided to make it more friendly for the change up. The shoulder opening is now centered on the neck and there are now opening on both sides of the lower wing so any switching of the valving will still have a dump valve on at least one side of the lower wing.
We tested the new Nomad XT on a staffer who was less inclined to sidemount because the trim wasn’t as natural as diving backmounted doubles. I t only took one dive in the new Nomad XT wing and he changed his mind. My personal experience with the new Nomad XT is good balance with steel 108 cylinders and easy to hover. Try it and let me know what you think.
Our Travel Weight Pockets easily go on any 2-inch webbing so you can use rental gear and still be weighted like you are diving at home.
The added benefit of the folding Velcro attachment is that the tech diver can move weight around on the rig to get the ballast in the right place for trim. For the guys using the Nomad EXP or Nomad XT you can mount the pockets through the cam strap slots to get the weight high on the back if desired. These pockets can go just about anywhere you can mount them.
There are two points of adjustment to size your LT, the shoulders and the wing waist tie end points. The harnesses will ship as a large so you have a starting point. If you need to make some major adjustments I recommend a piece of chalk to mark the webbing. The shoulder/chest transition should be done first, for the guys on the nipples and for girls just above the bust line. Adjust the webbing at the pivot rings to get the right fit and then remove the waist d rings that limit the travel of the harness inside the air cell. Put it on and get the fit right, it’s easy and should be very comfortable. Once you do this, grab the oval loops on the waist webbing, attached to the air cell and pull both sides out along the waist belt and mark with the chalk, reinstall the waist d rings capturing the oval loops. Why? This part of sizing is critical to make sure the air cell lays flat on your back, if it’s lose the air cell will ride up and be difficult to dump air. If it’s too tight the harness will be lose from the chest down and can move on you affecting trim and the balance of the bottles.
Nomad LT Custom Fit Video
New lithium primary batteries preform in RX10 flashlight. The RX10 flashlight draws .5 amps of power as compared to the RX10 canister light drawing 1 amp. This doesn’t mean half the output but rather only a 30% drop in output. When running alkaline batteries in the flashlight it will drop to .35 amp draw and about 50% brightness after 2 to 3 hours depending on the battery brand/type. At this lower power drain the light will continue to fun for approximately another 3 hours. The new lithium primary batteries are the answer to keeping the light at higher output for up to 6.5 hours before dropping to the lower setting.
The new generation of AA Energizer Lithium Ultimate batteries are designed for high drain devices light flashlights. Don’t mistake these for early AA lithium batteries that boasted long duration but the fine print defined this for devices such as cameras. Duracell makes their version too but I only tested the bunny brand.
This new battery has many pluses over rechargeable and alkaline battery options for divers, especially the cave divers that prefer the RX10 flashlight as a primary back up light. Any back up light is just that a back up so non rechargeable long shelf life batteries are preferred and now the longer full power mode means it can be used a number of hours before having to replace the batteries. So its actually cheaper to use the new lithium primary cells for their longevity at full power. I was impressed.
The O2ptima in my opinion is one of the most advanced, yet straightforward closed circuit rebreathers on the market. The simplicity of the O2ptima is why I trust it. No scrubber to pack and it’s ready to dive in 15 minutes, provided your cylinders are full. The new Rev D electronics answer many questions to function and features. The added features of the new Rev D are a bonus but the real changes are the configuration. I have had many requests from divers to integrate their dive computer into the unit, 4th or 3 celll monitoring. The current Rev C configuration splits the solenoid control and the DIVA/HUD function; the primary handled the solenoid while the secondary handled the DIVA/HUD (diver integrated vibrating alarm/heads up display). To add another computer and cable turned the rebreather into an octopus.
The new configuration with Rev D electronics and sophisticated DIVA/HUD functions are on the primary and the secondary is strictly a 3rd cell PO2 monitor (optional deco if desired). If a diver has a dive computer with PO2 monitoring capability, the unit can be ordered with only the primary controller. If you want to upgrade an earlier unit, I recommend an upgrade to the secondary to get the new DIVA/HUD function if cost is a consideration, once you program a set point on the solenoid controller (primary) you can enjoy new PO2 display and DIVA/HUD via the secondary rather than the primary.
VIDEO: O2ptima Rev D 2012