CCR Cave Diving

ccr cave diving - totally possible

I would consider myself an enthusiastic rebreather diver. I also love caves. If someone can come up with a better way to combine both of these obsessions in one activity, please enlighten me. Until then, closed circuit rebreather (CCR) cave diving will continue to keep me occupied.

There are plenty of people that will tell you Florida is not the ideal locale for CCR cave diving – whether they argue it as being too shallow, or the tunnels too narrow, I can personally tell you that this is simply not true. As I’ve preached before, when it comes to cave diving, or scuba diving in general, maintaining awareness of your surroundings is crucial. With a bit of forethought, some skill, and a love for the sport, the utilization of your diving machines can be incorporated into many cave diving scenarios.

Whenever someone uses the “its too shallow” argument, I always bring up the fact that with a low set point, and adequate bail out planning leading up to the dive, you can spend the entire time floating around underwater. With proper technique, you can experience the entire cave in only one dive. Keep in mind this depends on the size and complexity of the caves and tunnels. Florida has a wide range of caves that are well suited for rebreathers.

Sure, I’ll acknowledge that the majority of dives can be accomplished with OC alone, though you have to admit that CCR is well ahead of the pack with regards to gas logistics and cave diving of extended durations. Long story short, if you already cave dive, and you are experienced with CCR diving, combine the two of them together. Have no idea where to start when it comes to rebreathers? Have a look at this. Enjoy!


Debunking the Age Old Myth of “Size Matters” for Flashlights

NIGHTSTICK is an industry leader in professional lighting solutions. Recently, it launched its flagship product the MT-100, which has taken the market by storm. NIGHTSTICK’s MiniTAC MT-100W family is known for its typical four-flashlight nightstick flashlightconfiguration. What’s amazing about this particular flashlight model is that it is a top quality product while being relatively small and lightweight. The MT-100 houses the brilliant CREE LED flashlights with a deep parabolic reflector and measures less than 5.6-inch. This peculiar design means that the light produced from this flashlight is a tight, long beam which is ideal for long distance illumination.

The first warning bell that might ring in the mind of most customers is that due to its short size, the model must compromise quality. However, this is not the case as the NIGHTSTICK MT-100 family boasts a high level of functionality and can be flicked on or off in a moment by using the tail switch. The body of these flashlights is made from aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum which has not only made the model light but also virtually indestructible. On top of the MT-100 family being chemical and water resistant to an astonishingly high degree, it has also survived the fall test from a height of 2 meters.

All of the four NIGHTSTICK MT-100 series flashlights are powered by a set of batteries and are protected by a limited warranty. The MT-100, MT-110, and MT-120 models all feature a sturdy metal pocket clip. The MT-130 (Gooseneck) takes this a step further and features a removable clip-on magnet that makes it ideal for hands-free use. Undoubtedly, the most exciting feature of the Mini-TAC MT-100 family is the sheer amount of concentrated light the flashlight gives off. Even though it is a very small model, it is incredibly powerful and has successfully debunked the age-old myth that the size matters.

The SafetyBlu Inspection Kit – Is it Worth It?

safety bluThe SafetyBlu SB-450 Inspection Kit has taken the market by storm. It can be described as a lightweight, easy-to-carry, high-intensity LED flashlight. What separates the SB-450 kit from other tools in the industry is that it can locate fluid leaks quite early on. This not only reduces the number of injuries miners or scuba divers sustain but also reduces fluid consumption by 5-7% annually.

The FluidSafe technology of the SB-450 kit assists in the early detection of leakage and removal of liquids used in hydraulics if a haywire fluid injection penetrates the human skin. When a suspected area is illuminated under SafetyBlu’s powerful blue LED light, the fluorescent glow highlights the exact location of the injected material, which makes it easier for medicinal practitioners to deny or confirm if the hydraulic penetration took place. Thus, it is fair to say that it also aids in the surgical removal of excess fluid.

The usefulness of the SafetyBlu flashlight extends to fluid leaks in hydraulic system hoses, fittings, and seals. This can result in the prevention of catastrophic mishaps.

The LED is housed in a robust aluminum body which has been anodized. This makes the SafetyBlu corrosion resistant and increases the life of the instrument. The SafetyBlu derives its power from a NiMH battery. This battery is of rechargeable nature and provides up to 1.5 hours of regular usage between charging cycles.

The SB-450 kit also includes AC chargers, a belt that can support the kit, DC chargers, and illumination-improving glasses. All of the components mentioned above are packaged in fitted compartments in a sleek carrying case.

Evolution of Batteries

These days, more and more emphasis is being laid upon the retention of a battery’s charge. Recent advancements in the field of batteries have made it possible to power electric cars, orbiting satellites, and other electronic devices with potent batteries. On a lower scale, cameras and other small technological gear can now last much longer between charges. If you’re underwater taking pictures of a coral reef or cave diving and find your way hundreds of feet below the surface, the last thing you want is for your camera to die on you.

We can think of the Battery Series as a five-part infographic spectrum that details how each battery works. The Battery Series also includes other important aspects like the big players in the market, the core materials in the manufacture of batteries, and how probable battery advancements may better the world. For part 1 of the Battery Series, we will be looking at just the basics of a battery along with a brief history of battery technology.

Battery Basics

Batteries work on the principle of converting stored chemical energy into usable electrical energy. There are three main components in every battery:

(-) Anode: The negative electrode that aids in the release of electrons.

(+) Cathode: The positive electrode that accepts these released electrons.

Electrolyte: The medium that surrounds the electrodes and facilitates the movement of charges from one electrode to another.batteries series

The Evolution of Battery Technology

We have come a long, long way from the earliest batteries developed. These designs focused primarily on the production of electrical energy, while nowadays, there are many other important factors to consider such as power output, weight, and cost. A concise history of batteries is stated below:

Voltaic Pile (1799)

Named after its pioneer, the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, the first voltaic battery was developed in 1799. It was the first ever battery to be produced. It could easily transfer power to a circuit. The voltaic pile made use of copper and zinc as electrodes, while a brine-soaked paper served as the electrolyte for this battery.

This battery also has a significant place in history as it debunked the widely accepted theory that only living beings could create electricity. The world of science honored Volta by using his name as the SI unit of measurement for potential difference (voltage).

Daniell Cell (1836)

John Frederic Daniell completely solved the “hydrogen bubble” defect of voltaic piles. The hydrogen bubble defect had caused the voltaic pile to have a short lifespan. However, the Daniell cell fixed most of the problems associated with voltaic piles by using copper pot (which was filled with a CuSO4 solution) and was further immersed in a container that had sulfuric acid and a zinc electrode.

The electric potential of the Daniell cell became the basis for the unit for potential difference i.e. one volt.

Lead-Acid (1859)

The lead-acid battery was a revolutionary device as it was the first battery that could be recharged. It was developed by a French physicist named Gaston Planté. Lead-acid batteries took the market by storm due to two main reasons:

  1. They were very economical to produce.
  2. They could supply high surge currents if needed.

Nickel Cadmium (1899)

Waldemar Jungner invented nickel cadmium batteries. They are now commonly known as wet cells because they used a liquid electrolyte. These batteries paved the way for modern technology, even though they have fallen out of favor in the market recently due to cadmium’s toxicity.

Alkaline Batteries (1950s)

Alkaline batteries are the ones that we are most familiar with. Popular battery brands like Energizer and Duracell make use of alkaline batteries to power common household devices. They are preferred because they offer great value for money, and even though they are generally of a non-rechargeable nature, they can be charged again by making use of a specially designed cell.

The alkaline batteries that we see today were first invented by Lewis Urry. Urry used manganese oxide and zinc as electrodes, while the electrolyte became the basis of the name of the invention as it was potassium hydroxide (an alkaline solution).

Nickel-Metal Hydride (1989)

The nickel-metal hydride battery employs a hydrogen-absorbing alloy. As these batteries steer clear of cadmium, they are more environment-friendly. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are commonly used to power digital cameras and power tools. They were even used in hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius.

It took two decades worth of investment and efforts from Volkswagen AG and Daimler-Benz to spawn the first NiMH batteries. They have been commercially available since 1989.

Lithium-Ion (1991)

Lithium-ion batteries have taken the market by storm. They were first released by Sony in 1991. Li-ion batteries are preferred because they have a high energy density (which means they can store more charge in less space). The uses of Li-ion batteries range from lithium cobalt dioxide (LiCoO2) cathodes batteries being used to power laptops and cellphones to lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) batteries which have been used to power cars like the Tesla Model S.

The Rechargeable Battery Spectrum

The selection of a battery is subject to a plethora of factors. One of the most significant battery selection parameters is cost. Other important factors include the fitting and usage of rechargeable batteries.

However, there are two other factors that can change the landscape of the battery industry. The first factor is the specific energy capacity of a battery, while the other is the specific power. This means that even though Li-ion batteries are dominating the industry today, should there be a battery in the future that is cheaper and has more specific energy and power, it could easily dethrone Li-ion batteries as the number one choice for most manufacturers.