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Discussion of diving methods and equipment available prior to the development of BCDs beyond the horse collar. This forum is dedicated to the pre-1970 diving.
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First Name: Allen
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Thunderball S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Equipment

Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:22 pm

Hello from the new guy. I was really excited to find this group as my contacts with modern dive shops regarding using vintage equipment have met with mixed results. So let me just dive right in...

I'm putting together a Thunderball collection, with the main area of interest being the equipment use by the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. divers. In Thunderball, the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. divers used a V-shaped manifold which I have. The problem from a use standpoint is it does not have a reserve lever and the one I have is equipped with a K-valve. I have watched Thunderball a number of times and could not spot any J-valve pull rods on the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. divers equipment. I am considering replacing the K-valve with a J-valve and making a custom pull rod which would mount in the usual location along side the tanks but allow activation of the reserve lever which would be center mounted.

Another option would be to add a tank pressure gauge to the K-Valve which is a Voit Viking VK. The K-valve has what appears to be two ports on the side opposite the on/off valve which might allow attachment of a high pressure hose. The V-shaped manifold also has a couple of attachment points on each end but these would make the modification much more visible. The K-valve modification would have the advantage of making the modification easily hidden or even removed for vintage dive events, and I could even go as far as adding a modern dive computer, instead of just a pressure gauge, in order to take advantage of all the options one of those would offer.

Any thoughts or suggestions on which way I should go would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Thunderball S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Equipment

Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:36 am

Welcome to the board.
Looking over the valves in the catalog several things come to mind.
First off, those valves are 1/2 tapered thread so valve selection is going to be limited. Voit J valves have a bad and much deserved, reputation of the J valve seat failing. The material got brittle and will shatter into pieces with the possibility of blocking off the air flow. I highly recommend removing the seat from any Voit J valve you have for that reason, DO NOT trust them. There are no replacements available and any you may find (I have a hand full of NOS ones) are almost certainly bad. Unless you intend to dive the tanks deep, I see no reason not to simply keep track of your time and depth to estimate the amount of air remaining. I do this with all my diving, modern or vintage and can usually be within a couple of hundred PSI. Unless you are diving deep or doing something you shouldn't (cave or wreck penetration) , the dropping tank pressure will give you a fair amount of warning. Contrary to popular myth, the reg does not just stop working with no remaining air, in reality it starts getting harder to breath once the tank gets below 150- 200 psi and gets harder with each breath. The last few breaths are very hard to draw but are available if you keep your cool. There is plenty of time if you are paying attention. I wouldn't want to have to ascend from 100 ft that way but 25-30 is not a problem.

Another possibility is to use a banjo. If you are not familiar with them, they are a devise that goes between the valve and reg giving you a HP port. VDH sells new reproductions so they are not hard to find. It does require the yoke to be long enough to accomidate the extra length but replacing the yoke is a much easier modification than modifying a valve. I may can help you with that.

A third option is to take a small pony bottle or Spare Air. Paint it black or make some kind of rubber cover for could double as some evil SPECTRE weapon or bomb. :)

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