I see divers in the field settling for a regulator with a lower performance for their stage regulators. I think this thought process on regulator selection should be analyzed again. Let’s separate usage first, travel and decompression regulators are one class while stage regulators, deep travel and bailout regulators for cave CCR are in a different class. Travel and decompression regulators have depth limitations, usually shallow or limited use by nature. The argument for a regulator of performance not equal to the “primary system” can be debated.
The other class of regulators is different and you should look at all regulators in this class being of equal performance. Since I am always testing gear I find myself with multiple models on a dive doing the “Pepsi/Coke taste test” which is better breathing what makes them different. When you get in to high stress conditions, brought on by current, visibility or some other stress related event, regulator performance can be the little thing that magnifies the problem. I know, I have switched back to the better breathing regulator in stressful situations because I needed to feel good about something while everything else was hitting the fan. This can lead to over breathing a bottle’s gas planning and create another cascade of issues.
When it comes to regulators that I use at the same depth under the same conditions they are all just as important and I don’t compromise. At 200′ all my regulators need to be up to the task not just my primary. Food for thought.
Dive Lab Reg Performance Article
We had a request from Canada for a Nomad XT to fit a female diver who is 4’11″ and 105 pounds. The Nomad XT sizing begins at size medium because it its designed around the standard TransPac XT back plate. Because we build almost all of our products in-house, we can usually do just about any custom requests. Kenny and Jon accepted the challenge and built an Extra-Small, Nomad XT. With just a few minor alterations they put it together quite nicely. They used a small-size TransPac XT and the Nomad LT buttplate to make sure the length would be correct. Daisy chain ring bungees gives the diver additional customization to ensure tanks hang correctly.
We checked sizing first on Kathleen, our marketing director, and knew we were on the right track. The guys played with it and got a friend to come in that matched the size of the customer to make sure it would be a perfect fit. Congrats on another custom-job well-done.
We no longer publish our regulator service manuals now that we have launched the new XT Regulator. Proper service of a breathing regulator requires the right tools, fixtures and lubricant. The new XT is a high performance regulator and should be tuned to get peak performance. The pictures below show the tools of the trade to properly service a regulator. A good technician will have these and an ultrasonic cleaner to make sure the parts are properly cleaned and prepped for assembly. I don’t service my own regulators, I leave it to the trained and experienced technicians in our service department. I do carry a parts kit just in case I need to have it serviced on a dive trip, which divers can get from an authorized dealer.
The rechargeable Li ion battery in the NiTek Q computer is rated for 300 charges from a deep discharge state. The computer has a sophisticated charging circuit to get the longest life possible from the battery. The key to long battery life is keep the battery topped off and avoid taking it into deep discharge. So don’t try to see how many dives you can get on a charge, keep the NiTek Q charged up for long battery life. It can stay on the charger indefinitely and it will hold a charge for up to six months.
We pride ourselves on customer service, as a small North Florida company in the heart of cave country, we are divers. The guys dive after work, teach on weekends and talk to divers everyday. Since we dive our equipment so much we take any problem personally and want to get the diver diving as soon as possible. Did I say we are a small company? The guys on the phone are the same guys checking receiving product on the dock; walking it back to the technicians who are also divers. We don’t have a call center, just many phones around the two buildings covering over 14,000 square feet located on a city block.
We answer every email, but a phone call is much faster. Since you get to talk to a real diver, pick up the phone and give us a call. Sometimes we just like to hear a good dive story or what happened if your gear is broke. This helps us improve the product and get ideas for new products. So for personalized customer service from a fellow diver, call us toll free at 800 495 1046.
I am happy to announce the launch of our new regulator, the XT Series. After a year of development and field testing, it’s ready. We wanted a second stage with left or right hose routing, but with outstanding performance and simplicity. The second stage is smaller and with outstanding work of breathing and no extra parts or adjustments needed to change it from right to left. The first stage is environmentally sealed with a 5th port for more hose routing options. We just got the Dive Lab test results back and it’s more than 35% percent better than our RG3100.
We don’t include a low pressure BC hose with the Nomad LT because we can’t decide on a single solution for everybody. My son, Jared, and I couldn’t agree on the same hose length when we were test diving the LT in Mexico this summer. Now that we have two versions of it, one with an over the shoulder BC hose and the tech version with an under the arm inflator hose, it’s even a more personal choice for the proper length hose. I have some suggestions to help you get a good fit.
The tech model has the inflator and OPV protected on the side close to the diver and both located on the bottom, you can switch them to have the inflator on the left or right and it comes up from under the arm. With a fifth port first stage you can go as short as 6″ to 9″ but it can limit cylinder movement so some people don’t like it. With standard first stages a 15″ to 22″ works better.
The OW model has the inflator hose over the shoulder so the most appropriate lengths will range from 15″, 22″ or 27″, the larger the size the longer the hose needed, up to XL can use 22″.
One of the key points of side mount is the regulators are now under your arms and the hose lengths are crucial for comfort. Standard regulator hose lengths are 28″ to 30″ and OW inflator hoses are 27″ to 28″ and in most cases too long. The best tips for comfort are 70 degree angle adapters on the regulator hoses, fifth port first stages for optimum hose routing and 6″ hoses on the SPG. And like Jared and me, there is not a single solution that works for everyone.
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.