OFFICIAL USER MANUAL:
Dive Xtras always recommends you obtain proper training prior to using any piece of dive equipment. All the larger dive agencies provide DPV training. If you would like training and are having difficulty finding a course, please contact us and we can try to help you find a local instructor. Use of this BlackTip user manual does not constitute training.
QUICK START GUIDE
OUT OF THE BOX
WHICH BATTERIES TO USE?
The BlackTip accepts any DCB-type power tool batteries. In the USA, these are commonly called 20v Max, whereas in Europe they are known as 18v XR. Supported amp hours are 5Ah, 6Ah, 9Ah, and 12Ah battery capacities. Note that both batteries should be the same age and capacity. For optimal performance, do not mix battery capacities or ages in your BlackTip. Name brand batteries are not required. Here in the US, we purchase our batteries and chargers online via Amazon or other retailers. You will also need to purchase a compatible charger for your batteries.
CHARGING YOUR BATTERIES
Always fully charge both batteries before installing them in your BlackTip. This will help prevent your BlackTip from receiving different voltage readings from each battery, and will keep your BlackTip running smoothly. Try to charge your batteries close to your dive time, and never store your batteries inside your scooter, the small power draw of the scooter will eventually drain the batteries and potentially damage them.
INSTALLING YOUR BATTERIES
To install your batteries into the BlackTip, first loosen the strap securing the cylinder and remove the nose cone off the front of the scooter. Then insert your batteries one at a time into the battery clips located along the length of the scooter interior. Replace the nose cone by pressing firmly on all sides until it locks into place, then finish the installation by securing the strap over the top of the scooter. Try to install your batteries close to your dive time, and never store your batteries inside your scooter, the small power draw of the scooter will eventually drain the batteries and potentially damage them.
The BlackTip LED screen will display battery status bars when motor operation is paused, usually preceded by a short loading screen. If the battery is dead, a small "1" or "2" may appear in the corner of the screen as well, to show which battery may have been exhausted first. See the chart below for an illustrated breakdown of each battery level and status
USING THE TOW-CORD ATTACHMENT
It’s very important to use the tow cord while operating your BlackTip, as the scooter is designed to only be used in conjunction with one. The tow-cord carries all the thrust of the scooter, allowing you to concentrate on steering and other activities. Simply adjust the sliding knot on the long end of your tow cord rope to match the length of your reach, then fasten it to your gear. The tow-cord typically attaches to a D-ring secured to the crotch area of your equipment. Some dive equipment has this attachment point built-in, in the form of a crotch strap. If your diving gear does not feature this attachment point, make sure you obtain one before operating your scooter. You can find one listed on our website here or consider buying and using a climbing harness similar to this one: Go to Amazon
OPERATING YOUR BLACKTIP
You’ll control your BlackTip by using double and single clicks on the thumb trigger. Once you’re in the water, double-clicking the trigger will start the BlackTip at speed 3, known as cruise speed. To increase speed, double-click again, once for each speed gear increase. Single-clicking will decrease your speed by one gear with each click. To stop your scooter, simply let go of the thumb trigger.
When you first start the BlackTip, it will spin its prop slowly at low power before shifting to cruise speed. This is called “safe start”. The BlackTip will not allow you to engage any speed gears until it has sensed that nothing is in the way of the prop. This is to help prevent accidents. Once running in the water, safe start is only active again if the scooter is at speed 3. If you are in a higher or lower gear, safe start is disabled, allowing you to restart the scooter more quickly. With the BlackTip’s migrate feature, the scooter always returns to speed 3, so a scooter left alone for a period of time will always activate in safe start mode.
SAFE START (Firmware v1.15 & older)
When you first start the BlackTip, it will spin its prop slowly at low power before shifting to cruise speed. This is called “safe start”. The BlackTip will not allow you to engage any speed gears until it has sensed it is in water and nothing is in the way of the prop. This is to help prevent accidents. Once running in the water, safe start is only active again if the scooter is at speed 3. If you are in a higher or lower gear, safe start is disabled, allowing you to restart the scooter more quickly. With the BlackTip’s migrate feature, the scooter always returns to speed 3, so a scooter left alone for a period of time will always activate in safe start mode.
BUOYANCY & TRIM
Your BlackTip’s buoyancy can be adjusted to suit your diving. The BlackTip Tech and Exploration models are both designed to float neutral, however, the BlackTip Travel will always tend to float nose up and there is no real way to correct this.
Weight can be added or removed from the nose of the scooter. There are pockets in the nose that can be filled with lead shot from an old soft weight or similar. To access the pockets, remove the 4 screws on the back of the nose cap and lift off the thin stainless steel cover plate. The scooter ships from the factory with a larger, additional steel plate in the nose, and you can choose to leave this on or remove it.
Additionally, our Tech and Exploration models feature an adjustable, saltwater weight plate inside their body tubes. The plate mounting knobs can be removed and the weight can be moved forward or backward along the mount to better balance your scooter. See the images below for different configurations.
For the BlackTip Travel, we recommend adjusting your buoyancy so the scooter will float trim while the handle is held. This way, it is easy to use when scootering, and only floats nose up when you stow it.
Do not try to remove weight from the tail. There are no weight adjustment pieces in the tail, or any removable parts.
Out of the box, the BlackTip comes loaded with 8 speed modes. Double-click to speed up, single click to slow down. Every time you change gear, the LED display will indicate the current gear. These gears can be adjusted and programmed to your own needs as well. For a step-by-step guide on programming your BlackTip's speed settings, click here.
At the higher speeds such as gear 7 and 8, the current draw is quite high and running at these speeds continuously would overheat the motor or electronics. To prevent this happening, the scooter will start to throttle back its output after a period of time. In speed 8, this time is typically 7 minutes. In speed 7 however, it is quite a bit longer. Releasing the trigger for an extended amount of time will allow the scooter to cool itself, and the boost mode time limitation will extend for a further 7 minutes. If you only use speed 8 for less than 7 minutes, you may never even notice it’s there! Staying on the trigger in speed 8 continuously will cause the scooter to eventually slow down to somewhere between speed 6 or 7. But for most users, this cap will probably be undetectable, as 7 minutes at max speed is quite a lot of scootering!
If you release the trigger for a brief moment, your BlackTip will restart in the same speed as you stopped. If you wait a longer period, the speed at which your scooter restarts will change, migrating slowly back to the start speed. For every five seconds your scooter has been stopped, the BlackTip will automatically shift one gear closer to its default speed of 3. This works both ways, whether the BlackTip is traveling faster or slower than speed 3. If the BlackTip has been stopped for less than five seconds, it will restart at the same speed as before.
RUNTIME & RANGE
Your BlackTip’s runtime and range will largely depend on your choice of batteries. With a fully-charged 5Ah battery installed, the BlackTip will run for about 50 minutes at cruise speed, or speed 3. With a 12Ah battery installed, your BlackTip will run as long as 123 minutes at cruise speed! This will give you an effective range between 1.4 miles at 5Ah and 3.5 miles at 12Ah. For more accurate data, test your scooter and record the runtime you personally get. See the chart below for Dive Xtras' recorded runtime statistics.
After diving with your BlackTip, rinse the scooter clean, then run the scooter for a few seconds while pressing the trigger a few times to release any additional water buildup. After that, wipe or use compressed air to spray the scooter dry and remove the batteries, being careful not to allow drips or seepage into the scooter body and battery ports. It’s important to do this as soon as possible after diving, and never store your batteries in your scooter. The small power draw of the scooter will eventually drain the batteries and potentially damage them. Store your scooter in a warm, dry location.
If your BlackTip’s LED displays a battery error, chances are you’ve encountered a battery mismatch. This is most likely caused by one battery not being as fully charged as the other. Your BlackTip will display either a number “1” or “2” to indicate which battery is performing improperly. “1” is for the top battery (closest to the nose), and “2” is for the bottom battery (closest to the tail). Make sure both batteries are fully charged, then try operating your BlackTip again. If the problem persists, it may be an issue with your battery outputting irregularly, and you may need to replace the battery itself.
Occasionally things go badly. Floods typically happen in two ways:
1. – Minor flood. Scooter probably still works, and usually isn’t detected until you get back to your car, boat, etc.
– Follow the below points A-D
2. – Bad flood. The scooter is heavy and may be smoking, fizzing, or hot if the batteries are damaged.
– Don’t panic. Address the batteries first. If you see any fizzing, smoke, or heat, simply submerge the entire scooter underwater and remove the nose to flood the batteries. This will remove the heat and allow them to discharge safely. After the batteries have cooled down (this may take a few hours), follow instruction D below.
A. – A tiny amount of water (just a few drops), the scooter still works. Wipe them out and try to be more careful opening the scooter and dripping water in from the nose or your dry/wetsuit. Store the scooter somewhere warm and dry to completely dry out.
B. – A small amount of water (a few tablespoons), the scooter still works. Remove the batteries and battery harness, clean battery and wire contacts, and rinse the outside of the scooter in fresh water. Invert tail to drain and dry. Dry everything thoroughly. You have a leak and need to identify what could have caused it. Look for pinched O-rings, dirt, seaweed, etc. Perform a leak check without batteries until leak is identified and fixed.
C. – Lots of water, the scooter still works. Remove the batteries and battery harness, clean battery and wire contacts, and rinse the whole scooter, inside and out, with fresh water. Dry everything thoroughly. You have a leak and need to identify what could have caused it. Look for pinched O-rings, dirt, seaweed, etc. Perform a leak check without batteries until leak is identified and fixed. If the scooter still works after drying it is most likely fine, however, the batteries are most likely damaged. If you attempt to reuse the batteries, do so with caution. Charge in a safe, nonflammable space under careful observation.
D. – Lots of water, the scooter doesn’t work. Remove the batteries and rinse the whole scooter, inside and out in fresh water. Dry everything thoroughly. Batteries will be damaged, recycle appropriately, Contact Dive Xtras for help with repairing your scooter.
The most important step in your BlackTip’s maintenance is cleaning and maintaining your O-rings. Start by disassembling your BlackTip into its three main components: the nose cone, the body cylinder, and the tail unit. Then remove both O-ring pairs around the base of the nose cone and around the tail. Clean each O-ring with a clean cloth or paper towel, and wipe around each O-rings’ groove. Then apply a light coating of silicone gel to the two innermost O-rings. This helps to preserve their sealing ability and lengthen their lifespan. If you notice any cracking or splitting on your O-rings, you’ll need to replace them before diving again.
For propeller maintenance, first inspect your BlackTip’s blades for obvious damage. It’s common for the leading edges to show signs of wear over time, so look for any damage beyond just nicks and scratches. Next, check the rotation of the prop, making sure it rotates smoothly and does not rub against the prop shroud at all. (This is usually only a concern if the propeller or shroud has been dropped or damaged, but it’s still recommended to check periodically.) Lastly, although our swept-design propellers are highly effective at shedding foreign objects, there is still a small possibility that your prop may have become entangled. Clear out any kelp or fishing line from around the propeller. If you need to remove the prop, simply remove the large screw in the center of the prop base and reattach once cleaning is complete.
Finally, you’ll want to test your thumb trigger. Check for ease of movement. If your thumb trigger is hard to press or doesn’t spring up easily, check the spaces around the thumb trigger for debris or blockage. You can usually clear out any foreign material with some compressed air or water into the grooves. If this doesn’t work, try disassembling the trigger itself by carefully removing the small star-bit screw attached to the thumb trigger.
After you’ve completed all these steps, simply reassemble your BlackTip and store it in a warm, dry location. Remember to remove your batteries from your scooter before storing it.