Those who routinely dive with a pony tank?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by salth2owannabe, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. salth2owannabe

    salth2owannabe Barracuda

    Question to you folks out there who, like me, like the idea of a redundant air system and carry a small pony on all of your dives. How do you rig your set-up? Do you have your octo on the pony? Is there a common way of doing this? Thanks much.
  2. Codiak

    Codiak Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Beaver Lake, Nebraska
    I have a secondary 1st and 2nd stage regulator and transmitter for my Ztec on my pony.
    Depending on the type of diving I either have it mounted inverted on my back or when boat diving slung in front off d-rings
  3. bane51031

    bane51031 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NW Iowa
    For the team we use a side mount 19cuft pony for my personal use I always carry a 13 cuft pony mounted to my main tank similar to our dive team setup.I feel the need to dive the same or nearly the same setup all the time, so that all is the same and it becomes second nature, I do get some funny looks at the local dive spots but, oh well doesn't weigh much at all and I like the feel of the set up underwater balance is good and I do not even think about it, did have to adjust to a recent dive in Florida where I left my pony at home, took alittle adjustment weight wise but, was good.
    As for regs. I use a primary,AirII and the pony has it's own reg. overkill yes,probaly.....
  4. hudson

    hudson Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: St. Louis, MO
    I dive a 19cuft pony slung in the front on my left, with the main second on the backgas and the octo on the pony. I feel another second stage would be mere clutter. I also necklace the octo from the pony with the hose running behind my neck - that is unusual, most people would simply stove the octo on the pony like a stage bottle reg, but I like it better necklaced and it's not a problem since I'm never ever handing the pony to anyone, it's for my own use (and if I had to for some reason it can be easily pulled out of the necklace) As the octo is necklaced I can spot any leaks, so the pony stays on. The hose is 40" (but if I were to do it again I'd prolly go 42") What else.. I have a button gauge on the pony rather than a full SPG as I don't need to check the pressure underwater.
  5. ClayJar

    ClayJar ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Baton Rouge, LA
    On most dives, I sling a 19cf Al pony, but sometimes, I may dive with a 30cf Al pony (and occasionally, I'll even sling an AL80, just for fun). Regardless, I always sling it.

    If you're not familiar with "slinging" a bottle, it involves making a little "harness" out of some plain old line ("rope"), two clips, and a screw-type clamp (i.e. big "hose clamp"), and usually a little bit of bungee to hold the hose(s). It took me all of a few minutes to rig each of my ponies. (We can post links to instructions if you want, but I don't have the link handy in the middle of the night here. :biggrin:)

    Anyway, the pony ends up with two clips (bolt snaps, trigger snaps, whatever), one clips to my shoulder D-ring, and the other clips to a D-ring on my hip on the same side. That leaves the valve and first stage nestled right in front of my shoulder, where I can see it (and where I can be sure nothing is going to hit it). I can turn the valve on and off with either hand. Unless you're lying down on the bottom, a bottle slung like this really doesn't get in your way. You very quickly get completely comfortable with it, and having the potentially leaky bits in front of me supports my confidence in the readiness of my pony.

    My ponies used to sport plain yoke valves, but I have since moved to DIN for the ponies and their reg. The absence of a yoke screw sticking toward me was the primary reason I did that. I would occasionally get something hung up on it, so I just went the easy way and eliminated the problem. (I can still use yoke if I need to -- they're convertible valves, and I have a yoke adapter for my pony reg.)

    As for second stages, I have two second stages on my primary regulator. The "octo" there is my preferred method of air sharing should I be diving with a buddy and need to share. Additionally, it can prove quite useful in the event of, say, a bout of nausea resulting in fish-feeding. Being able to rinse a second stage without going to the pony can be... useful. If I didn't have the additional second stage, the dive would be over -- I have an Draconian rule that if I go to the pony (except to check it at the beginning of the dive), the dive is as over as if I thumbed it myself. (If that were negotiable, I might end up thinking of the pony as usable air to extend the dive, and *that* is the cardinal sin that pony divers *must* avoid.)

    On the pony, I have but one second stage. The pony I dive on any particular dive is sized based on *my* gas consumption to get *me* safely to the surface in the event of a serious failure in my gas supply. It is not there to share (which is not to say I wouldn't use it to attempt to save someone's life, but that would be so far outside the plan that I'd consider it beyond reason to gear up for it). The pony reg, then, has a first stage, a single second stage, and (in my case) a full-size pressure gauge. (I also have a backup button-style "pony gauge", but I prefer the readability of the normal SPG. I can use the pony gauge and swap the SPG out to my primary reg if my primary SPG ever fails on a trip, and I've actually done that for a friend who blew an HP hose.)

    Anyway, that's a little of how I dive with my pony (which I've had since my first logbook had single digits), and if any of this was rambling, please allow me a little leeway, as I'm up through the night for the second day in a row. :biggrin: (J. is now on the ground back in Japan, but I have to stay awake a while longer before she can call.)
  6. ian@1904

    ian@1904 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Bedfordshire, England
    When I use my 3ltr pony it is firmly attached to my main cylinder. This then has a 1kg counterbalance weight in a bcd pocket on the rear of the bcd.

    You will want a pressure gauge and a single regulator. There is only enough gas for one diver. PONY = Pi55 Off Not Yours :) Clip the regulator somewhere easy to find. Make sure the cylinder is open at the start of the dive. If you invert the pony cylinder so you can reach the valve you should be able to reach and close it easiliy if the need arises. Charging the regulator and then closing the valve will get you two breaths before you need to open the valve. Trust me on this. If you have a freeflow, inside a wreck, and your buddy is outside of the wreck, your co-ordination will go downhill v swiftly. Trying to open a valve when you really really need some gas is not fun. Been there, not good.

    If the dive goes pear shaped, your gas consumption will increase dramatically. Lets say from 25lpm to over 100lpm. You have 200 bar x 3 litr of gas = 600 litres. So you have enough gas to get you to the surface. If you are doing decompression dives which is quite common in the UK under BSAC or TDI then a pony does not provide sufficient backup gas. Buy a twinset and learn to do shutdowns.

    I tend to use a pony on dives between 20m and 35m. Dives from 30-50m are generally on a twinset and stage.

    When you do your gas planning ignore the contents of your pony. It is not additional gas. It is the emergency gas supply.
  7. RonzoTheGreat

    RonzoTheGreat Surface Interval Member

    Do It Right .... Keep It SSimple

    a second primary setup using a 1st and 2nd stage regulator and small brass SPG on a 6 inch hose on my sling bottle. slung in front left off d-rings. is there a need for further explanation?
  8. Darnold9999

    Darnold9999 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Victoria BC Canada
    Slung off the 2 left side DRings. Button guage which I check at the surface, 3 foot hose folded with the reg velcrod to the pony for easy access.
  9. matts1w

    matts1w Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
    I mount a 30 or 40 cu ft on my tank depending on what gas in either. I never use it for gas planning, just as a bail bottle.

    Slinging a bottle sucks for spearfishing. A back mount system is simple and out of the, but DIW :)
  10. DiVe_DaWg

    DiVe_DaWg Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    I use a 19cf with a strap mount quick release, short SPG with a quality first and second; it's tight to the BC on the right side. Dumpable weight to counter in the left side of the BC, none on the right to free up pocket space, the rest is on my hips to balance the rig. My primary is on a 5ft hose, the octo is tucked away, but easy to get at and the pony is on a bungee.
  11. Tanked

    Tanked Extreme Non-poster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: South Jersey!
    For dives deeper than 60-70 feet, or if I'm solo, I mount a 30cf pony to my steel 120. My main tank has an H-valve, so my secondary reg from that is what I would give to an out of air buddy.
  12. salth2owannabe

    salth2owannabe Barracuda

    I appreciate all the help and info. I'm a new diver and the few dives I have in so far have all been pretty shallow (<40'), but I've always wanted the "security" of a small pony. I've just been kicking around how to rig it and carry it. I'm going to Bonaire this spring and would like to have a small pony set-up to be able to take along. Again, I sure appreciate all the help.
  13. bullethead

    bullethead Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NH.
    In winter for a little added security I carry a 13 that has a ring/snap combo around the valve and just hang it from a ring on my BC, usually on the right. Deeper profiles move up in size, doubles etc. Just a gajillion ways to make yourself happy!!:)
  14. The Chad

    The Chad Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Landlocked Colorado
    The only problem with a pony is the traveling and filling it part. Problem might be an overstatement "hassle" is a better word. If you know the dive op you're gonna use you could inquire to see if they carry anything other than 80's, if so you could just bring a stage kit and snap off one of their 30's 40's or whatever. Just make sure if you go that route you practice in a pool for awhile to get used to it b/4 you go. Like someone else said dbls work too and all you'd have to carry is bands but thats a whole other ballgame. either way your thinking about safety which is always a good thing, best of luck
  15. r2t

    r2t Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Abbotsford B.C. Canada
    I have a 30cu/ft pony mounted to my back tank with zeagle pony mount system. My main tank has a first and second stage with air gauge clipped to my left shoulder d ring. My pony has a first stage and second stage (that acts as my octo) with a slandered yellow hose on a bungee necklace, and a air gauge clipped to my right hip d ring. If I switch to my octo I know it's going to work. It's very similar to the basic open water setup. If I'm diving with a buddy on a typical open water system, he will know to go for the yellow hose. I can monitor his air consumption with the spg. I dive this set-up each and every dive so I very familiar with it in case of an emergency.
    Ron L.
  16. JBRES1

    JBRES1 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Naperville, Il. (Chicago area)
    When diving a single I dive a 19 for local dives and a 13 for vacation dives.
    If I plan to go deep, I could sling a 30. I use a Scubapro Din MK11 with an R190 second, and a 2" spg on short hose.
    Jim Breslin
  17. highlandfarmwv

    highlandfarmwv Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hattera, North Carolinas
    I only use a little 6cf pony at Hatteras, and only for an equipment failure emergency (hope I never have to use it) I mount it inverted so I can reach it to turn it on if needed. I have an alternate air, and thepony has its own reg. I would never take it to Bonaire. Most of me diving is more shallow there. And flying DAE, I can barely get my stuff there with the weight restrictions.
  18. divenutny

    divenutny Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Brewster, NY
    Typically, I have a 13 pony strapped to my main tank. I do not notice the added weight. The pony has a stubby spg and one second stage, no octo on the pony. My main supply has a primary and an octo.

    I expect you will have issues traveling with a pony bottle. You will need to empty the tank and have the valve loose for inspection. Although I understand you can take it on a plane empty, the tank may be consficated as the TSM employee may not know the rules. Call the dive op, see if you can rent a pony. Might be easier.

  19. DOkie

    DOkie Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Menominee, MI
    Both my dive partner and myself use a 30 for a pony. Slung on the front. I've always thought the hookup next to your primary (on the back) was a neat idea, but I'm more secure with it being available to "pass off" if I need to. (Have had to do this before). In the front, it's really easy to unclip and clip to another diver. Just a thought.
  20. divengolf

    divengolf Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
    I routinely travel with a small pony and always carry it in my carry on. Check the TSA regs. on their web site under scuba equipment. Bottom line is that the bottle must be depressurized and open for visual inspection. I'll remove the first stage and insert a threaded plug with an o-ring. I have a copy of the TSA req rubber banded around the bottle. I remove the bottle from carry on and send it through screening separately. Most of the time, they'll pull and inspect it.

    I explain that it's life support equipment and ask the they do not hold it vertically while open. I ask them to remove the plug while the bottle is horizontal.

    Never had a problem with TSA. Most of the inspectors know the reqs. If they don't I direct them to the copy attached.

    I agree that renting is easier, but then you've using their reg., which I never like to do.

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