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I was using a FFM for my diving however, after some discussion here on the board i have chosen not to do this now. I have been out of diving for about 3 yrs now and i need to hear from you all what 1st and 2nd stages you are using for your deco bottles. I dont want to pay a fortune. I would spend 200 - 250, pls give me some ideas so i can narrow it down to a 4 or 5 options.
I've been idly looking at pony regs in the hopes of doing deeper dives in the future. My *ideal* combination would be the Apeks DS1 first and ATX-40 second, but you can get a DS4 and TX-40 from DiveInn for $190 US.
Mind you I'm not using a pony/deco bottle at the moment.
I would say the DS4/TX50 in DIN. You can get that combo for like $225. You want those tuned up to breath really sweet for long hangs too. The DS4/TX40 would work too. You don't need a swival first stage for deco bottles. By Spring, I will have DS4's for everything -- finally! You can't hardly beat these regs for durability and performance, and they certainly can't be beat for the money.
As for deco/stages, you want either AL40's or AL80's depending on what you want to do. You don't want steel stages.
Seams that you guys all agree on Apex and those prices are good.
in regards to your sugestion on Al80's for deco:
can you direct me to some info on why AL deco bottles rather than steel ( i currently have OMS 45s (2). Alum 80s are cheap so i would consider switching if i can read some good info, or just share your thoughts on it.
i found those steel 45's perfect for what i was doing, however i have a trimix class to take and 45"s seam insuffecient for that.
I'll try to dig some stuff up that you can read. The problem with steels is their negative buoyancy. Those OMS tanks are between 4-5lb negative full. Considering it is common to take two of these, you're looking at near -10lbs in two stages. That a fair amount of weight your wings have to account for. The more air you put in your wings, the more water you're pushing, the more air you're using, the less fun you'll have. It's all relative.
Now, a very common route is to take two AL40's (one of 50% and one of O2) that are only like -1.5lb full (-3lbs if doubled). An Al 80 is only -3lb negative (-6 if doubled). Quite a difference, eh? To need double 80's, you would have to be doing a hefty single dive or two decent dives in a day. Double 40's will take care of a pretty decent single dive, and of course, easier to deal with than 80's.
I do things a bit differently. I take an AL80 of 50% and hang O2 from the boat. I have a few sets of tables that address various deco scenarios too. What I like about the 80 tank is that it gets me two dives in one day pretty easily, and I don't load up on O2 (we may not even use O2 for the first dive). Also, for the dives I do, there isn't much of a difference in deco time if I switch to O2. Anyway, that's way off topic.
I'll look around for some stuff that describes why steel deco bottles are not the preferred bottles of choice. I've only summed it up.
i will need these deco bottles for two dives, no shop around that dive site does anything but air fills. So i was thinking Al80's because i can get an extra dive in. and the fact that it is a 9 hr drive i need to maximize my dive time in every way i can.
So i guess i have 2 OMS 45's i dont use now, any idea what i can use them for ? extra O2 maybe ?
Yeah, I guess if you're going to do two deep dives, then double 80's will be the way to go for you. It really kind of depends on the dive profile, though. You may not even need (or want) both gasses. If it's class, and they are training you with two tanks, then that's another story. There's a lot variables in deciding whether to use two gasses or not -- too much high PPO2 isn't good for ya and is a BIG consideration.
Anyway (got off topic again ), assuming you are going with double 80's (regular Luxfer 80's), the two 45's are not exactly a waste. Uncle Pug uses a 72 full of argon to flush his suit prior to diving -- good idea. The other could be used as an O2 hang tank off a boat for emergency use or something. I don't think I would get rid of them.
You can use the 45.s for deco O2 that you can place on a hang-line. This way when you deco, you breathe the hang-bottle and don't have to use the stage bottle. this way in the event that you cannot find the anchor line you can do a drift deco with a full bottle.