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#21 rstark

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 04:54 PM

BTW, the pdf that tshepherd supplied is from Fred Tagge also known as FredT. He is well known and makes very good stuff. All the Oxychecq stuff is made by Scott Koplin, also well known guy making great stuff.

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#22 NitroLiq

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 07:39 PM

Are you able to add weight integration (pockets) to the BP setups? I see with the OMS you can, but looking at halycon, it seems you have to either attach to the tank or add a huge accessory to the harness (looks like a black canister).

#23 JackConnick

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 07:53 PM

Are you able to add weight integration (pockets) to the BP setups? I see with the OMS you can, but looking at halycon, it seems you have to either attach to the tank or add a huge accessory to the harness (looks like a black canister). 


On the OMS you can. On the Halcyon you add a pocket system that also adds a small web belt for a canister light. They aren't cheap.

On the Oxy Cheq you can't. Although you might be able to add one of the other systems to it, maybe even a Diverite.

Scott's (OxyCheq) Travel Plate is very cool.

I dive a backplate and harness in cold water, but I guess I like the padded comfort of a BC in warm water with a light suit on, so I dive the Seaquest Balance.

By the time you buy a new backplate and smaller wing what's the difference? And I'm talking about open water, not tech diving.

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#24 NitroLiq

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 08:07 PM

You make a good point. I was just doing a bit of researching since I've heard of quite a few people recommending the BP/wing setups. Wanted to see for myself. I kind of like the idea of having the ripcord for integrated-weight dumping if I ever need to, though so that pretty much puts me back in looking at standard BCs such as the SQ Balance, Zeagle Ranger, or Aqualung Malibu. I think, as James mentioned, the Ranger may be a bit too much for tropical diving...44lbs lift! Back to the original discussion, I can definitely see the appeal of the BP/wing system.... it is streamlined.

P.S. Jack, the link in your signature to the underwater section of your site is broken...might want to look into it. Btw, nice to see another designer on the board. :unsure:

#25 wetpixel

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 03:06 AM

This is great information, guys. :unsure:

What about OMS's IQ Harness? It says on the website that it comes with a single cyl Cam Band system, which may be exactly what I need, since I basically want something comfortable that holds a tank and provides points to clip things.

Is the IQ harness' extra padding going to make a difference over, say, an aluminum backplate with a backplate pad?

A new world, this all is. I'm not sure whether I "need" to have a 2nd stage on my inflater hose. I could just get an octo. But it's nice now to not have that extra hose.
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#26 craig

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 04:44 AM

I tried the original IQ system when it came out but didn't like it. I was bigger than the large but the XL was sized for enormous people in dry suits. I could not get it tight. They've changed that aspect of the IQ by replacing the waist piece with a simple strap. I'm going to try it again. It's bulkier than a simple backplate, though.

A bare backplate is very comfortable as long as you have on a suit and a backplate pad will be fine against bare skin. The real comfort issue is that the straps can be irratating above water. Dive Rite makes a bolt-on harness replacement that looks more comfortable but I haven't seen one. OMS's deluxe harness is nice. You can also add shoulder pads and even a cumberbund. I've done both these things and replaced my waist closure with a fastex. I don't think I'd do that again since it makes the system too hard to adjust.

Regarding weights, I prefer mine high and back. Conventional weight belts don't work at all for me. With BP's you can generally mix and match. Dive Rite, Halcyon and Zeagle all make suitable weight pouches that can be used. Some offer quick release. I don't bother with quick release myself, but then again I only dive in warm water.
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#27 tshepherd

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 06:04 AM

Personally, I wouldn't bother with the IQ Harness from OMS, or the Transpac II from Dive Rite, as they both get you back to basically the same size as a BC. I use my OMS deluxe harness with my dry suit in NJ, and with my 5/4/3 when I go down to NC, and will be using it everywhere once I sort out what wings / STA I want to use. I don't have the padded shoulder straps, the integrated weight system, or the BC pockets, I just don't feel like I need them. It's extremely comfortable set up the way it is, but I don't think I'd wear it withuot a wetsuit.

Instead of an integrated inflator / octo, you could look into an octo that is designed to clip into your inflator. It looks sort of odd, but it would cut out one of the hoses like you're looking to do. Check it out here.

#28 craig

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 06:49 AM

The Transpac is just a modular softpack BC. I don't like it at all. I agree that the IQ may be too bulky. The thing I don't like about the Air2's is that your head movement is restricted when you breath off of them. The Oceanic device makes that worse.
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#29 tshepherd

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 07:28 AM

I totall agree Craig, I don't like the idea of the Air2 or the Oceanic version. I'd also think that if you had to breath off it and were surfacing that you might have some bouyancy issues, but that's just supposition as I've never tried one. Personally, I stick to having a real octo myself...

#30 wetpixel

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 07:12 PM

Some corrections from Patrick, at Oxycheq:

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Duffy [mailto:pduffy@oxycheq.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2003 7:58 PM
To: Eric Cheng
Subject: RE: wetpixel forums

Hi Eric,

Thanks for sending the link. I went through it and did find some misinformation ...

The travel back plate has the same contact points as the medium plate, so comfort is not an issue.

The harness system will allow you to add weight pockets, utility pockets, etc. We are developing those items now and I would like to have them some time next month.

Feel free to post my comments to the list.

Best regards,
Patrick
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#31 Nemo

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Posted 20 July 2003 - 06:59 AM

A first question you may need to answer for yourself is how much lift you need for the diving conditions you will be in and the rig you will be diving. Big waves require more lift to keep your head high enough out of the water, as do heavy twinsets. I am rather small in build so a wing is my flotation of choice so I have a less incumbered torso for attaching cameras etc, and more freedom of movement.

The BC I use for tropical travel is the OMS IQ with a AL plate inside, and a 45# lift wing, very light, comfortable, adjustable, and compact. Enough lift for any single cylinder or light twinsets. For cold water travel or when diving heavy twinsets or somewhere with the potential for big waves I use the same OMS IQ but with a 100# lift wing. I switch between the AL plate and the SS plate depending on whether I am driving for flying to the dive desintation. I will use the SS so I can drop 5 lbs of lead off my wgt harness. If you are really straped for wgt. you can use the IQ with no plate.

The IQ gives the following advantages over a conventional plate system (which I dove for years before switching)
The IQ is:
Easier to get in and out of
Easier to adjust for differences in suit thickness
More comfortable
Easier to switch from Singles to twinsets (does not need an adapter, just add cam bands)
Thenew IQ (since 2000) is not much bulkier than a plate with harness and back pad.


As far as the second stage on the Inflator, I wouldnt recomend it. First none of them breath very well and in an emergency why would you want to compound the situation with that concern. Also when you are approached by an out of air diver you will need to give him your primary and then take the inflator for yourself, (the hose to too short to share) now bouyancy control isnt the greatest since you are breathing on your inflator. The Octo can have a slightly longer hose and your can stay at arms length from a potentially dangerous diver. Go with the Octo....
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#32 scorpio_fish

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 03:55 AM

Repeat after me, "More is Less, More is Less, More is Less"

Avoid high dollar gimmicky BCs and macho rigs like the Ranger, Chute II, etc. While rugged, well constructed and generally good fitting, they are quite bulky for travel and provide way too much lift.

I have a Ranger in the closet. I use a Seaquest Balance. I've got a Deep Outdoors arriving this week.

Reality is that tropical diving does not require much lift. Adding and subtracting small amounts of air from a big bag can turn out to be a major hassle.

The Transpac II is about the minimalist non-backplate system out there. With travel wings, it is the easiest to pack and easiest to use.

The conventional wisdom of "real" divers is the BP/wings proponents. It is my opinion that there are a couple of negatives of BP/wings. First, the DIR style single piece of webbing isn't the most comfortable setup you can use. Those vacation diver type harnesses (e.g. IQ pack) can add much comfort, without getting all complicated. It is the choice of tech divers because it eliminates failure points. Second, if you are only diving singles, it requires a single tank adapter. Some don't like the tank offset. Some don't notice. You have to decide for yourself. Try before you buy if you can.

I hate Air2's and their ilk. I won't detail the issues, but they are not a good idea. You have to see them in action.

Weights. This again is a personal issue. I've used a variety of tanks in a variety of diving conditions. Comparing notes with other divers, I realized that we are all built a little different and like different things. I do not like steel tanks when wetsuit diving. I do like all my weight on my back. I do not like weights in trim pockets when diving AL80s. I know others that have to have trim weights or ankle weights around their tank valves. It's just something you have to figure out on your own. For me, I just shove the weights in integrated pouches on the front of me and off I go.
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#33 yahsemtough

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:07 AM

Scorpio, I do not disagree with your recommendations for warm/tropical diving BC's, although I do find calling a Ranger BC "macho" not accurate.

I bought one because the cold water diving that I do requires the extra lift and, with assisting in dive training and ice diving I like some of the added features. (I did have a similiar Scubapro that had the stitching blow apart)

I did not buy it because I thought it made me look "macho" or, have I ever bought any gear for that reason. Function and usefulness, which you have recommended for the tropical BC, is what I have used in my decision.

That and trying to look macho around a dive buddy that instructs rebreathers and trimix diving while having dove to over 400 feet just doesn't happen.

I too, like Eric, have been pondering a second set-up for warm water diving as the Ranger or BC like it are certainly overkill for that environment.
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#34 jimbo1946

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 07:25 AM

I hate Air2's and their ilk. I won't detail the issues, but they are not a good idea. You have to see them in action.

I have to add a dissenting opinion here. I've owned two Seaquest BCs (Explorer and Black Diamond), both with the Air Source, and my wife/dive buddy has a ScubaPro with the Air2. It's nice not having a long octopus hose. Granted, the Air Source and Air2 regulators are not as good as our primaries, but we have them serviced at least once a year and we check them out before every dive. On most dive trips, I'll try the Air Source underwater for a couple of minutes to make sure it's okay.

The thing that I really like, besides no long octo hose, is that if someone else needs air, they need it NOW, and they'll rip the regulator out of my mouth in a heartbeat (wouldn't we all?). If that happens, my Air Source is inches away, where I don't even have to think about where it is.

This is the point. 99.99% of the time, we don't need the backup regulator, but when we do, we'd better be able to find it in about 2 nanoseconds, or we're dead. Before I got certified for scuba, I skydived. Same thing. Most of the time, everything went perfectly, but when it didn't, you had a few brief seconds to do the right thing, or you were dead. That happened to me once, and I did the wrong thing and almost died (it was 22 years ago, and I still have occasional nightmares!).

I need to lighten up a bit! Anyway, I do love having my secondary regulator on the power inflator hose.
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#35 scorpio_fish

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 11:19 AM

Maybe macho wasn't the right term. I own one. Like I said, it fit well, durable fabric, but was overly bulky and 44lbs. of lift. Tropical diving doesn't require 44lbs. of lift.

I used to ask people with alternate/inflator combos, "How do you like it?" The answer was, "I love it" or "Great". I would then ask if they have ever used it. None had. The only benefit is losing a hose.

Reasons for not having one. Most attributed from Sean on D2D (saves me typing)

1) The inflator must be immediately accessable at all times, and in a consistent location to enable you to locate it without having to see it. Typically, the length is only sufficient to be retained in such a position and still reach the owner's mouth, drysuit inflator, etc. By using a combination reg/inflator here, you either need to increase the length of hose to accomodate gas sharing with this reg, or lose the benefit of the retained position.

2) A standard inflator mechanism can and is used as a tertiary backup regulator, by breathing off of it while depressing both the inflator and vent buttons simultaneously. A combination reg/inflator unit will either be intended to replace the traditional backup, in which case you are losing an entire second stage, or to supplement it, in which case you are unnecessarily complicating the system by adding failure probability to your buoyancy control device.

3) If using the combination unit to replace the traditional backup second stage, you have now lost a second which could otherwise be swapped out with another stage if malfunctioning, opened and cleared underwater, etc., with something unique that can not be easily cleared or swapped with anything.

4) It is a poor idea to constrain a regulator to a device which is used for other purposes, when the necessary functional location and necessary range of movement of the two devices are not the same.

5) Contingency response to a stuck inflator mechanism (mechanical failure, frozen or fouled) can include immediately disconnecting the LP hose from the offending device. With a combination unit, you either disconnect the reg as well in this case, or if equipped with a dual fitting for the purpose, have now complicated things in the exact area you need to get to in an emergency to perform the disconnect.

6) The above scenario raises the somewhat obvious point of the failure probabilities of the regulator and the inflator combining to result in a less reliable device than either of the two independent components.

7) A standard second stage, when employed as a backup regulator, is restrained beneath the owner's chin in a position which enables him/her to switch to it hands-free. I doubt that you could arrange the combination unit in an identical fashion effectively, but even if this were possible, you now have precluded the ordinary function or the inflator by keeping it in this position.

8) In the aforementioned position, while primarily intended as a backup for the owner, a diver in need of gas can still go for this reg immediately, pull it free of the restraint, and breathe from it. Such a diver, who may quite likely be panicked, is not apt to excercise extreme caution in where they place their fingers when grabbing the device. A combination inflator/regulator unit in this scenario places the buoyancy controls in a position that allows such an individual to operate them accidentally while trying to obtain gas.


The thing that I really like, besides no long octo hose, is that if someone else needs air, they need it NOW, and they'll rip the regulator out of my mouth in a heartbeat (wouldn't we all?). If that happens, my Air Source is inches away, where I don't even have to think about where it is.



So is my alternate, and I can see it out of the corner of my eye, which is not always the case with my inflator hose. I've had the reg ripped out of my mouth. I just grabbed my alternate.

What happens when you in Timbuktu and on your first dive you find out something is wrong? Need a special fitting? I've seen this happen. Finding a spare second stage is fairly easy.

Granted, the Air Source and Air2 regulators are not as good as our primaries, but we have them serviced at least once a year and we check them out before every dive. On most dive trips, I'll try the Air Source underwater for a couple of minutes to make sure it's okay.


I've also had a problem where I had to switch to my alternate. It's an Apeks. It breathes great. Unfortunately, many do not service their combo. They treat it like a BC inflator hose.

Breathing off it is good, but one needs to practice doing an actual emergency ascent with the thing, including venting air from the BC.
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#36 dhaas

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 11:24 AM

Eric,

Have to weigh in here.....Most of your diving is tropical and/or "sport" conditions. "Less is more" especially pushing the big DSLR housings around with strobes like we do. If you're weighted properly you shouldn't need to blow any BC up fully. Even then a back-mounted BC can be "sat on" leaning back while kicking back to the boat.

I haven't used anything but a back mounted style for 18+ years using a Seaquest Balance for the last 5. I liked it so much I recently bought one of the new ones with Sure-Lock mechanical weight pockets and an easier to use SMALL pocket. The "shoulder blade" balancing weight pockets allow you to fine tune your weight distribution for horizontal swimming and sneaking up on critters. Packs nice, too. My medium large size which I've used in Britich Columbia with a drysuit provides 36 lbs. of lift.

Finally, I use the Seaquest Airsource (Seaquest's version of Scubapro's AIR2) as a more streamlined system like Jimbo commented. I've breathed off mine at well past 100'. I do this almost every dive to practice if someone needs my primary regulator and it always gives me plenty of air, even swimming hard.

Only 3 hoses and a wrist mounted computer for simplicity is my solution to better photography.

YMMV................

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#37 james

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:24 PM

7) A standard second stage, when employed as a backup regulator, is restrained beneath the owner's chin in a position which enables him/her to switch to it hands-free.


I know this is the DIR way - but how many people here can actually get their safe-second into their mouth without using their hands?

Let's get back on topic here - I don't think this post was meant to be a debate about inflator integrated safe-second's. That's an option on ANY BC, right?

I think Eric is more interested in recommendations for photo-friendly BC's that are lighter to carry around than a Ranger (I think that's what he has if I remember correctly...)

The obvious answer is "make your own out of parts. I recommend a backplate from x and a wing from y and a harness from z."

But what about off the shelf BC's? I thought Andi's recommendation was pretty interesting.

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#38 wetpixel

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:55 PM

I'm pretty much sold on a BC like the Seaquest Balance or a backplate system with a harness and wing. I never use the pockets on my Chute II, and I don't like my trim in the water with the BC. I'm pretty much vertical in the water if I relax. Plus, the Chute II is huge, and my camera creates so much drag that I'd rather just eliminate as much as possible everything else. :unsure:

I'm going to try out a Oxycheq travel backplate, wing, STA, and harness. I guess "try" is wrong word, as I'm going to be buying the system. ;) It seems that assembling a proper system is a personal thing, so I might as well start figuring out what is best for me!
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#39 craig

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 02:54 PM

I'm going to be trying those parts, too.

Regarding the criticisms of the Air2 (scorpio's post), I have mixed feelings about Air2's but I simply can't agree with any of the points posted. I once knew a diver who breathed directly from a tank valve in an emergency so there's your 3rd backup! In most diving, as in most things, we don't plan on dealing with multiple simultaneous failures. Exceptions stand out, like 3 independent light sources, but that's for cases where failures are known to occur frequently.

My primary complaint with Air2's is that they are worse as an octopus AND as an inflator. Worse as an octopus only because they restrict your movement when breathing off them. Worse as an inflator because the hose is longer than optimal. I don't have any problem locating them ever and they always get serviced, unlike most inflators. I don't accept the claim that an Air2 is inherently inferior because it performs two functions. On my rig I'm comfortable with both functions.

I balance the non-optimal performance of a single device against the simplicity and reliablity of fewer parts and grudgingly accept the trade. I've had far more problems breathing a long hose (abuse out of the water) than I've ever had with an Air2. Optimize your gear for YOUR conditions, not WKPP's! Some DIR'ers believe photography is inherently contradictory to proper dive technique.
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#40 Nemo

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 05:20 PM

Hey Eric,

If you have decided to go with a plate/harness/wing arrangement you might wish to consider either Abyssmal plate or the NEW OMS plate as they do not require a single tank adapter for use witha single. They are slotted right out of the box and you only need the cam bands. This is both lighter and more compact.

Mike
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