User avatar
Nemrod
VDH Moderator
Posts: 1422
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm
First Name: James
Location: Kansas

Aux/pony bottle rigging

Thu Aug 05, 2021 1:08 pm

Yes, again, pony rigging. I am not saying this is best, or even good, it is just what I am now doing for what it might be worth. After returning a few days ago from over a month in SoFla and the Keys I have begun a few upgrades and changes. I use an auxiliary bottle, some would call a pony, slung for my deeper or more adventurous solo dives. And some of the ops require it when I am "do not ask, do not tell, solo diving and (pretend to) look the other way." I have a new camera rig and it is a bit larger than my previous camera and I found that my aux bottle would try sometimes to occupy the same space as my Nauticam housing. No, no, this will not do! The bottle was simply hanging too low. I had been clipping the valve bolt snap to my chest D ring, left side, and the lower bolt snap to my left side waist strap D-ring. So, I tightened up the rigging but it still hung too low for my liking. I then added a "choker" of bicycle racing inner tube to the upper bolt snap:

Image

And the lower bolt snap location was moved to my VDH plate from the left D-ring:

Image

I want a one inch or maybe 1.5 inch stainless ring but this is all I had with me down in Marathon but it served the purpose. This, the choker and the relocated lower clip-in, moved my aux bottle way up under my arm and clear of my camera. The camera is an issue to itself, perhaps another thread but I clip it, when I need to be hands free, each strobe arm to my left and right shoulder strap D-rings respectively, a dead man clip lanyard and a fourth bolt snap go to my crotch/scooter ring. This pulls the camera up close to my chest thus my need to move the aux bottle further to the left and back and up.

Image

I just now ordered a new AL Core safe second/octo second stage to replace the old Calypso and to sub in on my Argonaut when not solo diving for my buddy. An experience that happened to me up in Jupiter on the deep ledge has forever altered my view on a few things and my safe second or auxiliary bottle regulator not only needs to be able to get me or my buddy safely to the surface but to CONTINUE the dive to a safe conclusion. I was in deco at the time and also needed to close up on the rest of the party for pick up. I am not going into details but suffice it to say, neither my fairly new Oceanic pancake octopus or my Calypso here really meet that requirement any longer for me.

This friendly green moray looked my new set up over and approved of it, so it is moray approved!:

Image

Me somewhere in Florida:

Image

Yes, the wing is a VDH 24 and the plate, well, of course, VDH!!!!!!!

James

User avatar
rhwestfall
Master Diver
Posts: 572
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:34 pm
First Name: Robert
Location: "La Grande Ile"

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Fri Aug 06, 2021 7:05 am

Nice idea! For the lower anchor, I use a D-ring on the back side of the plate on the face of the slider used to lock the waist belt. Really keeps it out of the way. Top anchor is always been a work in progress. You gave me another idea to explore.
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

User avatar
rhwestfall
Master Diver
Posts: 572
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:34 pm
First Name: Robert
Location: "La Grande Ile"

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Fri Aug 06, 2021 7:07 am

And I see someone else has put a lower set of slots in their plate! At 6'-7", I really needed them.
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

User avatar
Nemrod
VDH Moderator
Posts: 1422
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm
First Name: James
Location: Kansas

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Fri Aug 06, 2021 10:53 am

rhwestfall wrote:
Fri Aug 06, 2021 7:07 am
And I see someone else has put a lower set of slots in their plate! At 6'-7", I really needed them.
Yes, I did add slots when I got the plate. I just felt a bit squanched up and I like for my shoulder straps to be loose. So I cut new slots. I did not add the additional slots to my wife's VDN plate, she is a little person. And at 5-10, I am not a giant either, I just do not like restricting my shoulders and it makes getting into and out of the harness much easier for me. I just cinch the waist strap down and that stabilizes the rig enough. You might notice I bent the lower edges away and the upper ears inward to further conform to my body.

The new Core I have ordered is not a diss on vintage seconds stages or older gear. Those old USD seconds, as on my aux bottle, did have a safety bulletin on them as the exhaust valve is tiny. The Argonaut, though vintage inspired, is a modern regulator so I do not feel constrained to vintage second stages for air sharing, I want everything new on it. My Phoenix RAM and Phoenix Voit have a fine USD Conshelf and Voit MR12 each respectively and those are superb regs. The Oceanic pancake I have been using with my Argonaut as a safe second, while fine for it's intended purpose of a no deco dive, go to the surface straight away profile, it is just not a good choice for continuing a dive, it has a fairly high WOB and was only marginally satisfying my demand.

Back to aux bottles, while in Key West the Divers Direct there had some 6cf bottles for $100 so I got on because it was cute. Not sure how I might employ it as a aux bottle. The dive, in which I had an issue, mentioned earlier, was not a planned solo dive, therefore I was not toting an aux bottle for redundancy. Viz was over 100 feet and chasing after a Goliath grouper (futile):

Image

I managed to separate myself from the main group following the DM (with the drift buoy and flag) therefore I was more than 100 feet away though I knew about where they and I were in relation to the reef line. So, I had to go to my Oceanic pancake, it was a CF! Can I say that? Anyways, all is good that ends well but it has forever changed some of my thinking regarding redundancy, self reliance and adherence to buddy procedures when not purposely solo. And to solo procedures when indeed solo. So I say now, we will see, that grouper was like a siren call, beckoning me to join Davy. Once upon a time I might could get away with it, now at, cough, coug, uh, cough years of age I might not can. And, I oft quote that redneck (country and I am a redneck hippie ;) ), I might not be as good as I once was but I can be as good as I once was once! Uh, no, there is an implication there that when applied whilst SCUBA diving might result in a corpse, just saying :mrgreen: .

James

swimjim
Master Diver
Posts: 1650
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Fri Aug 06, 2021 5:53 pm

http://dir-diver.com/en/equipment/stage ... gging.html . This is the way I have been doing it for years. The bottle is clipped off on a chest D ring and a waist D ring. This way, even if the tank is an AL 80 it tucks right up against your side staying out of the way.

User avatar
Nemrod
VDH Moderator
Posts: 1422
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm
First Name: James
Location: Kansas

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Fri Aug 06, 2021 6:24 pm

swimjim wrote:
Fri Aug 06, 2021 5:53 pm
http://dir-diver.com/en/equipment/stage ... gging.html . This is the way I have been doing it for years. The bottle is clipped off on a chest D ring and a waist D ring. This way, even if the tank is an AL 80 it tucks right up against your side staying out of the way.
Thanks Jim for posting that link. I could not find it earlier. That is exactly how my aux bottle is rigged. But, in order to bring it yet closer and further up to keep it clear of my expensive camera housing, I added the choker on the upper connection and relocated the lower connection to my plate rather than my waist strap D-ring. My waist strap D-ring set forward a little bit due to my being weight integrated to make room for the weight pouch, though otherwise I am using a basic Hog rig with the deviation made necessary for DH regs and the weight integration and the VDH plate.

I have four connections on my camera, a bolt snap on each arm goes to my left and right chest D-rings, a short one inch tether and bolt snap on the housing left handle goes to my crotch ring and a deadman's coil tether goes to the crotch ring as well:

Image

You can see the two arm bolt snaps here clipped together and the handle strap in place as it would be rigged when handing off to the boat crew at the end of a dive or when stowed in it's bag on the boat. When the camera is in use only my deadman coil and my hands are in contact with the camera. When the camera is stowed to free my hands such as at the end of the dive when I need to shoot an SMB or other possibility or emergency, it is then secured using the aforementioned connections. This places the camera dead center on my chest and pretty much covers my entire front torso. Therefore there can be no equipment there and my aux bottle rigged as I had it and as you describe leaves it banging into my Nauticam housing :shock: . You are a big feller, I am not, you have more real estate up front and about to work with than do I :oops: . Thus my need to shorten up the connections.

Image

Image

You can see the bicycke tube choker here, otherwise it i the same as in your link:

Image

The choker gives a little bit of elasticity to the connection and sucks the bottle up tight and is easily undone, just remove the choker from the bolt snap if not wanted.

James

User avatar
Nemrod
VDH Moderator
Posts: 1422
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm
First Name: James
Location: Kansas

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Sat Aug 07, 2021 9:15 pm

rhwestfall wrote:
Fri Aug 06, 2021 7:05 am
Nice idea! For the lower anchor, I use a D-ring on the back side of the plate on the face of the slider used to lock the waist belt. Really keeps it out of the way. Top anchor is always been a work in progress. You gave me another idea to explore.
I like that, and fits within my application of Occam's Razor to minimalist SCUBA rigging. Your D-ring would use an existing point rather than adding another, it is more simple and simpler is usually better :D . Let me look at that and see how that might work for me, hmmmmm :!:

User avatar
Nemrod
VDH Moderator
Posts: 1422
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm
First Name: James
Location: Kansas

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:59 am

So as a follow up to Robert's suggestion for the D-ring to be mounted on the back side of the plate. Since returning from Florida I have made 8 dives at what is my local dive area, Table Rock Lake. I figure it is kinda of like diving in Maine from the pictures I have seen of Maine diving, green water, maybe 30 feet of viz below the thermocline and cold. No lobsters but we have crawdads, prehistoric paddlefish and schools of bass. There is a submerged highway bridge at Kimberling, several wrecks, one substantial with some penetration possible, the Zebulon Pike, some deep walls and flooded forests and the submerged ghostly township of Oasis.

To test the revised auxiliary bottle mount locations I dived near Indian Point which has a small public access area and is often used for SCUBA classes from throughout the Midwest. I did not haul the Whaler for this trip since I was alone, just my kayak. I paddled over to Jake's Point island and there is a wall dive there and a sunken cruiser at about 50 feet. Good place for a solo dive because I could set up on the little island. I hit 60 feet maximum along the top of the wall, it drops to, well, really deep, really fast. I toured the cruiser wreck, not especially impressive, and swam along the top of the wall just below the second thermocline. I switched back and forth between my Argonaut and my new AL Core safe second. Both breath fantastic. I did not actuate the DSV on this dive as there was no need to.

My second dive, I paddled over to the nearby Zebulon Pike wreck, a faux paddle wheeler, started life as a river flat and was used as a staging platform for the former Branson Belle, which was then renamed to the Zebulon Pike after the new Branson Belle was launched. The new Belle is the largest ship on a landlocked lake in North America and is powered by three V-16 Caterpillar diesels powering four electric motors that turn two real paddle wheels for propulsion. It was built on site and launched on rails lubricated with bananas. Maximum cruising speed is 16 knots. So anyways, the Zeb was sunk here as a dive site, so an engineer for the Corps of Engineers told me. Here I reached a maximum depth of 90 feet, I toured the exterior and did an up and over and it was time to head up. I was shaking from the cold and viz was down this time. I switched over to the auxiliary bottle which now has an Oceanic pancake second stage, replacing the old Calypso, and did my deco and then called it quits while I was ahead. Possibly seen this before, it has been borrowed by several others and a publication somewhere. A scan from our Whaler using a Humminbird 987c some years back:

On to the reason for this post. I found that Robert's suggested location for the lower clip in to be very stable and it did not move the bottle forward noticeably and did not allow the bottle to swing around in the rear like my tied on clip did. I guess I should have put it there to begin with. Thanks Robert.

I did not bring either of my two cameras with me, diving from a kayak in a lake that can be several hundred feet deep with a $$$$$ camera, to much risk (insurance covers theft and floods but not loss), and my older camera rig which I still enjoy using and would possibly risk to the skeletons of TRL is off to Pacific Housing Repair for overhaul number 4.

James
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
rhwestfall
Master Diver
Posts: 572
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:34 pm
First Name: Robert
Location: "La Grande Ile"

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:17 pm

Glad it worked for you!
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

GJC
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:30 pm
First Name: Gary
Location: Running Springs CA

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:00 am

I use a bungee with less slack in it than your bicycle inner tube choker. It pulls the tank a little closer to my shoulder.

You might want to try moving your lower tank band a little higher and shortening the line to the lower clip. This shortens the distance between snap bolts, and that pulls the tank closer to your body.

Before I made those changes, I constantly had the tank valve in my face if I stopped moving forward. Now it rides just below my shoulder.

Have you considered back mounting your pony to leave more room up front for your camera?

User avatar
Nemrod
VDH Moderator
Posts: 1422
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm
First Name: James
Location: Kansas

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Sun Sep 05, 2021 11:00 pm

Thanks Gary for the tips, I will look at that choker when I get the bottle back from hydro and set it back up.

The reason I prefer to sling the pony is that I do not know on some trips if I will be solo or not until time to go in and I can grab the bottle as I run for the drop. And slinging is so much easier with tank changes. But, yes, that may need a revisit. I see that XS Scuba makes a pony mount that slides under the cambands. I think it is them?

James

tbone1004
Master Diver
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:44 am
First Name: Tom

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:12 pm

Jimmy! looks good
Here's a couple things to think about.
Sounds like the goal is to not actually hang the bottle, but to sidemount it, this is common in rebreathers, and here are the suggestions on how I do it.

This may be better for you vs. the full d-ring. I have these on all of my rigs.
If you clip stuff to your right hand side, then I'd grab a set of these which is the set that I actually use
https://www.piranhadivemfg.com/item/Tec ... -Set-15499
Bryan has all sorts of different types of individual ones
https://www.piranhadivemfg.com/item/Pir ... sion-14782

I imagine you are comfortable with a drill press, but something I would recommend doing is drilling a hole where the webbing threads through the upper part of the backplate. Top hole general location in the picture below.
Image
In the picture below you can see one of my standard backplates that has a loop bungee threaded through that hole. Each side of the bungee is tied off with a figure-8 knot so it can't come back through and the loop is sized so when the slack is pulled, it stops at the front edge of my arm pit. There is a loop of thin bungee that ties the main loop to the shoulder strap so it doesn't get lost. The pic below shows it in the "stowed" position down at the hip, and when you are going to use it, you slide it up to the shoulder d-ring, clip the bottle off as normal, then snap the loop over the valve knob which pulls the whole thing up.
This also stabilizes the bottle considerably so it doesn't swing around when you kick which is huge.
Image

User avatar
Nemrod
VDH Moderator
Posts: 1422
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm
First Name: James
Location: Kansas

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:54 pm

Tom, thanks, I like that idea. I can add a hole on each side of the VDH plate approximately level to the upper wing holes. So, instead of the choker I would instead take that bungee loop and pull it over my valve?

I can see that the bungee being fixed to the plate would be more stable than the choker to the bolt snap.

I use a Unibit for these type of sheetmetal holes. After drilling a pilot of course.

James

tbone1004
Master Diver
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:44 am
First Name: Tom

Re: Aux/pony bottle rigging

Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:45 am

I would go up as high as you can since we wear this backplate particularly low. Up where the shoulder straps angled slot is where I would put them since you want the bungee in-line with your nipples.

Return to “Modern Era Double Hose Diving”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests