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luis
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How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:08 am

How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.


I get a lot of emails asking how to rig the straps and I always have to find the page where I posted this pictures. Therefore, I decided to start a new thread were I can consolidate basic instructions about the strap routing.

I am still planning on using two color straps to take some more pictures. I hope that using two color straps it would be easier to see how the straps are routed.

I am also trying some neoprene sleeve padding on the shoulder straps. I will post pictures later, but I just set it up so I am not sure how well it will work.

______________________________________________________________

sitkadiver wrote:OK, this is probably a total nancy-boy question, but how do you vintage people get 2 layers of webbing through the slider? I can put them on a regular weight belt just fine, but I'm killing myself trying to get the second run to go through. I even cut a nice trianglur shape into my webbing and tried needle nose pliers.

You peope must work out way more often than I do......

The sliders on the back of the plate (in four places) as shown in the top picture are the standard sliders that Bryan carries. The webbing goes through the sliders only once.

The webbing goes from the front through the slot, then through the sliders, and back to the front through the same slot.

Look at the slider near the regulator. It is pulled flat against the plate. It secures the webbing, but it is very easy to adjust. The ones on the shoulders do not need adjusting, but the ones on the waist are the ones I use to adjust the shoulder straps.


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The sliders on the shoulders are bigger sliders specifically design for two sets of webbing. It is very easy to run two sets of webbing through these sliders. See the picture below.


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You can get this sliders here:
http://vintagedoublehose.com/index.php? ... id=9015736


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In this picture you can see how I crossed the shoulder straps. I intentionally alternated the straps where they cross so that they would capture each other. Take a look at the picture… I am having a hard time explaining it.


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I only use sliders on the back of the plate to control the load on the webbing. The sliders on the top of the shoulders are only there to hold the two sets of webbing together (as shown on the second picture). This holds the webbing out perfectly so that all I have to do is slide my arms through it.

Keep in mind that I dive with a stiff dry-suit or a heavy 7mm wet suit a lot. I like to make it easy for me to put on my tank without any need for help from others. I felt that ease of donning was a fairly important design requirement.

___________________________________________________________


Here are some more pictures showing how I ran the webbing.

Notice that the large sliders on the front are not necessary. They are just there for the convenience of holding the straps crossed. I thought of a lot of other hardware, but another requirement was that no metal buckles would touch the regulator cans.

At one time I thought about just stitching the two straps together where they cross. That would work, but you have to get it right since it is not adjustable.


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On the left is the modified pack that I used for years. It works with a double hose, but it is not ideal.


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I hope this helps.
Luis

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:54 pm

Here are some photos of an alternative way I rigged my VDH Back Plate. Instead of running a separate strap for each side with the resulting "X" crossing of the strap behind the head, I ran one continuous strap through the top slanted hole, folded it over, ran it through the area where the cam-band usually goes, folded it again, and ran it back out the other shoulder. There is still ample room for the cam-band.

I was afraid that placement might slip off my shoulders while diving but, for me at least, it works great. You don’t need all those clips and there is nothing crossing in front of the cans to scratch them. That black strip of webbing sloppily siliconed to the top of the back plate is just an experiment to keep the plate from scratching the bottom of the can in case it rubs. It also lets me place the back plate as high as possible so the regulator rides as low as possible on my back for ease of breathing purposes.

Another advantage to this strap configuration is that the two folded areas of the strap between the plate and tank form a small, but effective, “U” holder for the tank to nestle into. The result is that it holds my tank securely enough that I only need one cam-band to keep the tank secure. Otherwise, without that little feature, I’ve found that two cam-bands are needed to keep the plate from wiggling back and forth.

I found a couple of after-market shoulder pads that I put on to keep the straps from rubbing my wetsuit raw. The webbing then just runs out one-way through the hip-area slots of the back plate and through my semi-self-designed integrated weight system. That way I just have one buckle for everything and there is nothing in front of me to dangle in the way. I hate stuff dangling in the way. I even found a tiny back inflation unit (with about 8 pound of lift I think) that is just perfect to balance me out when my 1/4" wetsuit (sorry, I forgot they call it 7mm now) compresses below 30 feet or so. I re-plumbed it so the auto-inflator no longer comes over the shoulder (another dangley thing). It is now a secure push button on the back lower let side. I have an emergency dump valve line rigged where the old hose-over-the-shoulder use to be. Anyway, it’s not for everyone but it has worked great for me. The end result is two straps and a buckle in front and nothing else.

Just a quick shout-out to Sam Miller. Sam, it was great seeing you and little Sammy again at the Scuba Show in Long Beach. Yes, I know he’s a grown up hyperbaric medicine doctor and all now, but he will always be little Sammy to me. As you asked, I’m posting the pic taken yesterday (Sam IV, SAM III, me and my son with the goofy expression) and the pic of us from about 1979 when I was your assistant teaching NAUI Advanced classes at Orange Coast College. Hope it brings back memories. You’re the one in the middle with your hand around your beautiful wife Betty. I’m the guy with the full beard in the front row and we are all wearing our “Divers Anonymous” T-shirts. (Me: “My name is Mark and I’m a diver.” The group: “Hello Mark.” - Yes it is addicting).

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"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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luis
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:12 pm

I don’t know why anyone would get idea that the way I designed the back-plate and the harness would come even close to scratching the regulator cans. It doesn’t. This has been mentioned before and I have no idea why anyone would think that I am careless about scratching my regulator cans. :roll:

The metal buckles never get close to touching the cans.

The webbing touches the cans, but there is no rubbing. There is no relative motion; they are attached to the same plate.

I lift the plate right against the can, but while buckling the tank bands I always get a very small clearance (about 1/4 inch, maybe less). The plate is very close, but it never touches or scratches the can.

I have put a couple hundred dives on this rig since I put it together and it works well.

The purpose of the crossed straps is to control the top of the tank.


Note: I would always recommend using two tank bands to secure the tank.


I notice that you put a hose and cord underneath the tank band buckle. I use the same type of tank band (I use both Scubapro and other clones of that tank band) and there are specific warning label under most of those buckles. The warning reads something like: do not place hoses, pull rod, or any other object under the buckle release lever…


Here is a picture of a label. This is not Scubapro, but Scubapro has a similar label.
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Luis

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:51 pm

Hi Luis,

Thank you for your response. I certainly meant no criticism of you or your design. I have nothing but the highest respect for you and your work. You are correct, there is nothing about your strap-routing design that would scratch the cans. When I tried it your way I think I placed the sliders too close to the pack so it appeared they would touch it. I just had that in the back of my mind for some reason when I dashed off my missive. Please consider that statement withdrawn and corrected.

Again, you are absolutely correct about the hose-routing under the cam-buckle. I don’t dive that way. When I took the pics I assembled everything rather quickly without paying much attention. My fault. The low-pressure hose stays in place by itself and the dump cord is just secured under the rubber tubing placed around the bottom of the tank. Thank you very much for pointing that out. I wouldn’t want someone thinking that was a good design concept.

As for the whole rig, I can think of a dozen reasons it is unsafe for the masses. That includes the lack of one cam-band. I just built it to suit my particular needs and wanted to let folks know what I was messing around with. Some people will like it and some won’t. As for the rash-guard I siliconed to the top of the pack, I just did that because I have a habit of snugging the regulator down tight to the top of the pack with no clearance. It certainly isn’t necessary. If it wasn’t for experimentation, where would we be?

Anyway, I truly do appreciate your constructive comments. Please keep up the good work.

Mark.
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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luis
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:35 pm

Here are some alternate ways of how to thread the top of the shoulder straps.


This is using buckles to hold the end of the straps. The buckles are located far from the cans. They will never touch the cans.

Notice that the webbing is alternating.

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This is using a neoprene sleeve. I am using the sleeve for padding to avoid the straps rubbing on my neck when I am not wearing a hood (like in the Caribbean).

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The neoprene sleeve doubles up as a keeper to hold the tails of the straps.

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I ended up locking the exact location where the straps cross. I used a hot nail to melt two holes through all fours straps and tied a small nylon string through the two holes. I will replace the white cord with black, but for the picture I thought that it would show better.


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Luis

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Nemrod
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:48 pm

I did mine like this:

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The straps do not get near the cans and the straps flow nicely over my shoulders thanks to bending each "ear" a little on a brake.

One thing, I have not really used this plate yet, I was stuck on my Oxy Ultralite but not wanting to be the odd one out and in part to the "Made IN USA" stamped in huge letters, I could no longer resist and swapped my Oxy 18 MV to the Luis/vdh plate. I wish now I had done it earlier instead of just fooling around. I still need to loosen the straps some since I cannot get my arms in but that is nothing new for me with hard plates.

Pool testing, the rh upper strap somehow slipped through the slot with the keeper. so, well, I got a larger keeper, I think it will stay put now. Probably a stupid human trick on my part, obsessing over getting the the smallest bits and pieces.

I have posted this pic before, back when I first started playing with the plate. Dropped the waist strap slots, bent the upper ears and lower corners. I may just cut those lower corners off. They seem not to serve a purpose other than to dig into my rear end :mrgreen: . Hey, Luis, this plate is a pain in the rear :P .

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Why did it take me 9 months to rig a plate, this is why, sorry, it is only the truth:

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N

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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:19 am

- Hey Scubalawyer, I agree with your thinking on dangly stuff. That's an interesting approach to position the BC inflator and dump cord where you have it. I run my octopus in the same position doubled over and secured with Velcro. I use an Oxycheq 18 lb. Traveler BC. The inflator hose isn't too big around and seems to ride out of the way down my left shoulderstrap.
- About your "Tiny 8 lb. Back Inflation Unit", Drado made something like that. Did you make this one or can you tell us where you got it?
- Apologies, Luis... I too was worried about buckles getting near my regulator so I used a sewing awl to secure my straps. The vintage USD webbing I used is soft and limp and could allow a buckle to fall against the reg.
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- Having made this all up, I have to say I wouldn't do it with the limp webbing again. As pretty as it looks, the limp webbing makes it more difficult to keep attachments and hoses in position when donning and doffing your tank. You can see where the straps are supposed to crisscross, they just lay there out of position instead. I think Luis mentioned before that he recommends stiff webbing.
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:23 pm

SurfLung wrote:- Hey Scubalawyer, I agree with your thinking on dangly stuff. That's an interesting approach to position the BC inflator and dump cord where you have it. I run my octopus in the same position doubled over and secured with Velcro. I use an Oxycheq 18 lb. Traveler BC. The inflator hose isn't too big around and seems to ride out of the way down my left shoulderstrap.
- About your "Tiny 8 lb. Back Inflation Unit", Drado made something like that. Did you make this one or can you tell us where you got it?
Hey SurfLung, thanks for the inquiry. The small BIU I use was procured from the refuse pile of a local dive shop that went out of business a few years ago. There were no manufacturer markings on it and I'm just guessing as to the lift capability. It could very well be an old 18# Oxycheq but the bladder seems half the size of the 18# BIUs I've seen. It looks like there was once a shoulder holder for a hose like you have but it had been cut off. If I run across a source for a tiny(er) BIU I promised Bryan I'd let him know.

By the way, those straps of yours are the same ones I had on a set of USD Twin Aluminum 50's I bought new in 1976!

Mark
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:08 am

I bought a vdh plate from bryan and copied it onto 1/4 inch aluminum for my heavier tanks. I set up one to be flipped over so I could run the traditional configuration some of the old plastic back plates to be run on my doubles. After my first dive of the traditional strap layout the plate was turned back over that night and I had the cross method of vdh back in it again. having the straps crossed behind me was far more comfortable. VDH seems to have some smart people working for them.

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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:54 pm

Crossing the straps almost assures a lower tank position.

The top of the plate (with the vdh plate, the lowest point of the cut out) and my Freedom Plate is the same position. Of course, the Freedom Plate has central located straps, the VDH plate crosses.

Nem

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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Don't forget your crotch strap. Without it, it's just another back pack. With it it makes a tremendous difference!

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tripplec
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:48 pm

tripplec wrote:I bought a vdh plate from bryan and copied it onto 1/4 inch aluminum for my heavier tanks. I set up one to be flipped over so I could run the traditional configuration some of the old plastic back plates to be run on my doubles. After my first dive of the traditional strap layout the plate was turned back over that night and I had the cross method of vdh back in it again. having the straps crossed behind me was far more comfortable. VDH seems to have some smart people working for them.

It was flipped over for a single hose reg but I didn't like the staps that way so from now on I cross straps on everything. And I never needed the crotch strap untill I set up some double 72s so that rig has one.

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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:17 am

I have a crotch strap on mine but it is kept loose. I really do not need it. For one thing, I go in to the middle, not out, :lol: . The other is that by lowering my waist strap slots to my natural waist and then pulling it snuggish, I can leave my shoulder straps loose to facilitate entry and exit and I can leave the crotch strap loose(er).

The dh "cut out" in the top of the plate has no effect upon it's use for a single hose that I can see. If anything it makes it better as there is now plenty of room for the wing and even those pesky central dump style wings and plenty of room for routing hoses all over the place if that suits one.

Nem

bbain
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:20 am

I have finally gotten around to setting up the VDH backplate and bladder that I got last year. 3 questions:

1. what are folks doing to secure the inflator hose? Most of the commercial BCD's have a Velcro sort of thing to secure the hose.

2. As near as I can tell from the slot arrangement in the plate (and the photos in this thread), the bladder is secured by just the tank straps. Is that correct?

3. From one of the photos, it looks like there is a 1" safety strap looped around the tank valve from the upper tank band slot as insurance against the tank slipping away. Again, I am just confirming that set up so I replicate it correctly.

Thanks in advance! I've "lost" my Zeagle Express Tech to She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (her jacket BCD went to my son's fiancee for her cert class), so I now need to figure this stuff out!

Bill

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Bryan
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Re: How to rig the straps on the VDH back plate.

Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:34 am

bbain wrote:
1. what are folks doing to secure the inflator hose? Most of the commercial BCD's have a Velcro sort of thing to secure the hose.

I use a large rubber O-ring or surgical tubing and in the past a piece of bicycle innertube. You can find some of these items here.

http://vintagedoublehose.com/store/#!/B ... ort=normal


2. As near as I can tell from the slot arrangement in the plate (and the photos in this thread), the bladder is secured by just the tank straps. Is that correct?

The cylinder straps and the compression between the plate, bladder and cylinder hold it very secure.

3. From one of the photos, it looks like there is a 1" safety strap looped around the tank valve from the upper tank band slot as insurance against the tank slipping away. Again, I am just confirming that set up so I replicate it correctly.

I have used XS, Oxycheq and OMS bladders in the past. I am currently using a Dive Rite. None of them had the type of strap you are describing and in my opinion not necessary.

Bill
Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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