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.
Last October when Lamar and I were headed to Bonaire for two weeks, he thought he would pull a fast one on me. As always Lamar got all our dive gear together and packed it for the trip. I just didn’t know what he had packed. Quick back story – In our early days of diving together I kept my gear locked up and packed it myself so he couldn’t mess with it.
When we went on the first dive, I noticed that I was much more comfortable than I had been on previous dives. I just didn’t put it together that once again Lamar had been messing with my gear. I found out later that I was testing the prototype for the new M/L Transpac.
I am short, 5”3”, about 20 pounds heavier then I think I am and I have boobs. The standard backplate of a Transpac was too long for me, and the cummerbund of a small backplate was not long enough to come around my waist. What he made for me was a Transpac using a small backplate for my height, a longer cummerbund for my waist, and large shoulders to take care of my chest. This allowed the tank to drop lower on my back, not create tank head, and gave me stability in the waist. The Transpac I was diving before this trip always worked for me, but now I had something that fit me like I’d want it to. The custom sized Transpac XT is now available to everyone, and it doesn’t require Lamar messing with your gear without you knowing.
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.
When it comes to our recreational BCD’s, we often get asked “which one is best for me?”. We have two versions, the TravelPac and VoyagerPac. The TravelPac has 25lbs of lift and the VoyagerPac has 35lbs of lift. The system that is best for you really depends on the type of diving you plan to do.
If your plan is to dive mostly warm water with aluminum tanks, then the TravelPac is most likely the BCD you want. The 25lbs of lift makes it perfect for AL 80s and no more than 10 lbs of weight. The low profile of the wing will make dumping air easier and will help prevent the taco effect around the tank.
The VoyagerPac, with 35lbs of lift, makes it the perfect BCD for larger steel tanks or diving colder water with as much as 32lbs weight. The VoyagerPac is my rig of choice when diving the springs or teaching, since I normally use a LP steel 95 myself. With the VoyagerPac you are not just limited to a larger steel cylinder, it still performs great with an AL 80 when you go on your tropical vacation.
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.
We get a lot of questions about how to assemble twin tanks. Today, it is definitely much easier than it was years ago thanks to the standardization of manifold spacing and center isolation crossbars. As dive season in the Northern Hemisphere is getting started, it’s a good time to refresh our knowledge of double tank assembly and also gain perspective on today’s band and manifold designs as compared to years past when compatibility was more of an issue.
I wrote a blog back in October on the new Nomad XT model with the reshaped wing (Oct blog). Since that time, I had not switched the inflator and OPV on my own rig, primarily because I had started diving the Nomad LT. Recently, I wore my Nomad XT for a dive and it reminded me of how much I like this rig.
The fit is more comfortable with the addition of the TransPac XT. I went ahead and moved the inflator and it was then I realized how much I like it positioned on the bottom and the pull dump on the neck. You can put the pull dump over the left shoulder or right and also adjust the cord length. I prefer to keep the cord higher up on the shoulder, above the D-rings. This keeps it away from the busy area with cylinders and regulators. The BC2748-TP comes as a kit with a long pull string and ball so you can find the sweet spot for it. The inflator is positioned just like my Nomad LT Cave. I like to run it on the right side so I still have my lower left pull dump that I use for trim.
I put D-rings on the belt that are high enough to clip off reels and keep the bottle area clear. This was something I have done for years but couldn’t always recommend it with the older style TransPac. Now it works perfectly on the TransPac XT, so it will be added to all the Nomad XT rigs from this point forward. I’ll show you my rig in this short video. VIDEO: Nomad XT Mods
Dive Rite makes equipment for serious divers, and those divers who are taking the first steps to becoming serious divers. Our new XT series regulator is no exception. We have seen numerous Dive Rite regulators in the field being used by single tank, open water divers. Since we get a lot of product ideas from the divers who use it, we dug deeper into this to discover that while the users were happy with the regulator, the common downfall that we heard was that the first stage would hit the diver in the back of the head. The one thing that we saw from all of these divers was that they were using the DIN first stage with the spin-on DIN-to-yoke adapter. While functional, using this adapter added to the depth profile of the first stage, moving it nearly an inch closer to the diver’s head. We also found that a large number of these divers rarely, if ever, used the regulator with a DIN valve. The solution was simple – offer the first stage with the choice of DIN or yoke. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the performance of this regulator, no matter what kind of diving you’re doing or what kind of experience you have. Like many other Dive Rite products, this regulator can grow with the diver. If the owner of a yoke XT regulator decides to change it to a DIN, this can easily be done by any authorized Dive Rite dealer, or by our technicians at Dive Rite. XT Regulator Performance Stats
It’s been very busy over the past few months. We have been swamped with orders from public safety dive teams. We give these priority production because we want to show our support however we can. We have equipped a number of teams in harness/wing systems and especially our RX10 lights. With over 100 lights recently going to public safety dive teams we are proud they looked to a US made product. Our lights are made in the USA, from the electronics to the housings. The teams were looking for products made in the USA for local service and reliability. We don’t buy off the shelf but rather design it and build it here. The engineers designing our lights are divers and take every aspect of performance and quality personally, as if they were going to dive it themselves just like we do.
The RX10 is getting brighter, we haven’t changed anything but improved heat sink and boards yield longer burn time and some more light output. Every module comes in tagged with its individual quality control analysis for color frequency, current draw and LUX output at one meter. We are going to start including these specs with every light so you know they have been individually tested and inspected.
Look for some new accessories coming out for the RX10 light: our new comfort fit Goodman style hand mount with large footprint pad for the back of your hand. This new pad has three sets of mounting holes for single or double light head mounts. As with any hard hand mount it feels better with a glove on. In the Florida caves I wear fingerless gloves to protect my hands from the light mounts and gear, it’s the little things that make the sport comfortable.
If you are at the springs over the next week I will show you some of the new accessories since I will be testing them.