Piranha Travel Battery Manual

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The Piranha’s compact modular design makes it incredibly travel friendly! However, FAA restrictions prohibit the transportation of Li-ion batteries aboard aircraft. With that in mind, we made the Piranha with an optional travel battery module so you can take your Piranha wherever your diving adventures take you! It goes where you go!

The Piranha Travel battery module has a removable NiMH (Nickel-Metal-Hydride) battery and weighs 19lbs/8.6k. It is weighted at the factory for saltwater use with a removable red velcro pouch for easy conversion to freshwater diving. The Piranha Travel Battery has a higher voltage than the P-1 Li-ion Battery, so if you are using the Piranha Travel Battery on a standard P-1 tail, you will need to change the gearing for your DPV. We designed the Piranha with user programmable electronics for use with our Programming Interface. Follow the easy steps below to convert your Piranha tail for use with the NiMH Travel Battery:


Items Needed:

  • Piranha Tail
  • Piranha Travel Battery
  • Dive Xtras Programming Interface (020-link)
  • PC computer
  • Internet access


  1. Visit https://dive-xtras.com/cart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=218&idcategory=6 and scroll down to link to download the Castle Link software (once the Castle Link software is downloaded, you can use the software offline).
  2. Install Castle Link software onto your PC
  3. Upon opening the Castle Link software, click “No”. You do not need to update the software.
  4. Plug the Programming Interface into a USB outlet on your PC
  5. On the Piranha tail, disconnect the blue, white, and black (BWB) reed switch wire from the yellow, red, and brown (YRB) electronics wire.
  6. Plug the three pronged end of the Programming Interface into the RYO electronics wire.
  7. Plug the Piranha battery into the Piranha Tail, the Programming Interface should now have a green LED illuminated and the Dive Xtras logo should show up on the Castle Link screen.
  8. Under the ‘Basic’ tab, the following changes need to happen
    1. Cutoff voltage needs to be set to 35V
    2. Gears 6-10 need to be set to Skip Gear
  9. Click ‘Update’ in the bottom right corner of the window and wait for the programming to update. When it is done, click ‘OK’.
  10. Unplug the Piranha Battery.
  11. Unplug the Programming Interface from the YRB wire.
  12. Plug the YRB wire back into the BWB wire.
  13. Close the Castle Link software
  14. Go Dive!

The Travel battery is NiMh and so you need to remember a few things to ensure it stays healthy and performs well:

  1. Never leave it in the scooter connected for long periods of time, the scooter always draws a tiny amount of power and will total discharge the pack (potentially damaging it) if you forget and leave it in.  We recommend connecting and disconnecting within 1-2 hours of your dive.
  2. Charge you battery every 2-3 months if you are not using it.  NiMh have a very high rate of self discharge, so charge regularly to prevent over discharge and damage.

Don’t forget that when you switch back to the Lithium battery you will need to reverse the above process.


Sponsored Diver Sami Paakkarinen Bio

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Sami Paakkarinen is a diver and professional instructor from Finland. Those who know him well would describe him as a dive enthusiast. Born in a city by the sea, he spent his early years by the water. During his younger years, he fell in love with the life above and beneath the water. Sami took his first scuba diving course as soon it was possible, in 1995; and ever since, diving has been a way of life for him.

With the desire to put his whole focus on diving, in 2011, Sami made decision to leave his day job and started to work full time for Sampo Dive, his own dive company. Sami is a technical, cave, and rebreather instructor based in Finland; but he regularly travels the world to teach.

When Sami is not teaching, you can find him in some corner of the world seeking out new caves or wrecks. His team, Divers of the Dark, has discovered many new wrecks in Baltic Sea and have participated in some of the most challenging cave explorations.

Over the past few years, Plura Cave system in Norway has fascinated Sami and his team. They have systematically pushed the cave further and further. Finally, in 2013, they connected the Steinugleflåget Cave to the Plura Cave system. The connection is 2km long and reaches 132m deep. This connection is the deepest sump ever passed.

Telling the stories of the caves and wrecks is what Sami believes in. His goal is to always bring back information useful to the environment or history. He is a prolific videographer and photographer, and uses his skills to document all that he dives.

When it comes to scooters, Sami has had lots of experience with different brands and models, but they have always fallen short of he and his team’s requirements. After many difficult and demanding dives, the only brand not to fail him has been Dive Xtras.

”Cudas have been the most reliable tools for us, whatever project we are doing, I know that these scooters are up to it. When it comes to extreme depths, long distances or speed, nothing in the market compares what these scooters can offer.”
Sami Paakkarinen

Sami Paakkarinen October 2014

posted in: Scooter Dives, Sponsored Divers | 0


Romania, Unexplored World

Romania is not the first country to come to mind when you think about cave diving. However, certain areas are filled with caves, both dry and wet. These caves have been quite well preserved and unexplored due the remote locations and legal hurdles of getting access. Planning for our trip started over two years ago when my good friend, Adrian, who is originally from Romania, went home to visit and, by coinsidence, made contact with local cave and cavern divers. Immediately upon Adrian’s return, he told us about the boundless possibilities. Right then and there we made a decision to plan an expedition!

The road from Finland to Romania travels through some rather interesting areas. That didn’t matter to our fearless crew. We packed two cars full of dive and caving gear and set off on our journey across Eastern Europe. While it was only a 1900km drive, it took us over 26 hours of driving. The highways in this part of the world can be a bit of a surprise. Sometimes, the roads were better suited for a horse and buggy rather than a car. The last stretch had to be the worst. The last 130km took us three and a half hours! This almost ruined the whole trip because I nearly crashed my van down to a river. Heavy rain made the road very soft and driving too close to the edge of the road made it collapse. Luckily, with the help of some kind locals, we were able to pull the car back on the road.

After we got my van back on the muddy road, we were finally able to start diving. On Saturday, we were able to explore in Izbucul Tauz, a cave in the Parcul Natural Apuseni, a nature park in Romania. After descending to 83m, we finally found a passage leading shallower to a never before found air chamber. On Sunday, we visited Izbucul Tauz again; and after 200m of dry passage, we found a third sump. But hauling all the the heavy gear through the dry section proved to be a disappointment as the third sump was only 20m long. After that, there was some dry cave; but the show stopped at the base of a 4m high waterfall. We decided to retreat to think of a solution to overcome this obstacle.

The solution, we decided, was to drive one hour into the next city and get 6m aluminium ladder. Now we were able to climb up the waterfall. Once up, we discovered 80m of new dry cave before finding the start of sump four. Even though we were less than a kilometer in, there was already a lot of elevation change in the dry sections and 3 sumps to cross. Continuing this exploration was not easy. After 6h of gear hauling, we had rebreathers and bailout in place. Sump 4 first descended to 16m, but then it turned up again. We started to feel disappointed when the cave moved up to 4m, but then a massive down slope opened up. We continued to descend; but after 300m of new cave passage, we reached the limit of our bailout range. We were over 60m deep, and the cave kept descending…

Another cave we explored was Coiba Mare. This is the siphon where water descends underground to re-emerge from Izbucul Tauz, 2.5km away. To access Coiba Mare you need to be 100% certain that the rain won’t surprise you. We had good weather almost whole the time; but one week after our trip, the whole cave was filled with muddy water. In that case, there is no escape if you happen to be inside. Coiba Mare begins with a cavern 30-40m high and 80m wide. It then turns into a big tunnel. This tunnel goes for 700m before ending in a location known as Death Lake. Death Lake earns its name due to the large number of logs floating on its surface. Hauling the gear in took 1 day, and we needed to rig a ”Tyrolean Traverse” rope system to get the gear down safely. Finally, after a days worth of hard work, we had all the gear needed to dive.

At first, visibility was moderate; but it cleared up as we got deeper. At a depth of about 30m, the tunnel closed in and was only 2.5m in diameter. We kept pushing until our bailout gas limited us to a depth of 90.5m. We did, however, have visibility to 93m which makes Coiba Mare sump the deepest sump in Romania!

Even though we we able to push the two cave ends closer together, we still have 2km to push and a 200m elevation change to account for. With those challenges in front of us, a connection is possible; but it will be a hard job to accomplish. I know that my team is up to the task.

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Sami Paakkarinen June 2014

posted in: Scooter Dives, Sponsored Divers | 0


Cave Trip To France & Spain

Our team has annual cave diving trip to Southern Europe every year, this year we headed to Spain and France. In Spain our target was Pozo Azul cave which is the longest single entrance underwater cave in the world. june14_3

We have not visited Pozo Azul before and out goal was to get to know the cave and dive through sumps 1 and 2. In no circumstances this a easy dive. Sump 1 is 700m long and 20m deep, then you have 250m long dry chamber/water canal to cross before reaching sump 2. The second sump is the world’s longest sump, 5,1km long and it has a maximum depth of 70m. Our plan was to dive the sumps with double rebreathers and double scooter. Rebreathers used were ISC Megs, GG Flexs, and JJ-CCRs. The scooters were Dive Xtras Cudas equipped with lithium batteries, all capable of over 30km cruise range.

We used one day to setup the long dive with help of our support team, all of the rebreathers and scooters were placed at the start of sump 2, ready for us on the following day. After a good rest, we started the dive from the head pool, moving quickly through first sump with light gear. The 250M long water canal is a bit challenging due the flow. Once we arrived at the dry passage, we geared up. One rebreather on our backs and one sidemounted. One scooter was used to drive and we towed a scooter and a dry tube with a spare battery, sofnolime, and food inside.

A 5,1km sump really tests your scooter skills. If you drive in the wrong position, you pay for it with back pain. It’s extremely important to find a good equipment configuration and trim to be efficient. If you’re to slow, you accrue more decompression, and your reserves gets low. If you’re to fast, you exhaust yourself and consume power too quickly.

The cave is very beautiful. Sump 1 has a high canyon like shape and sump 2 is lower but has very detailed rock formations. Trigger time was about 2h before reaching the decompression. Roughly 4h of deco was needed to surface at Tipperary, the dry chamber beyond sump 2. There are really no flat dry areas in Tipperary which makes it very challenging to camp there. Because of that, we ate and rested for two hours before heading back. The trip home took just as long as getting there and after 16h from first splashing in the water, we finally surfaced. What a trip!


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