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Feedback Wanted: Apeks Spool & Halycon Big DSMB

Discussion in 'Lift Bags, SMBs and Reels' started by GameChanger, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. GameChanger

    GameChanger Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Frisco, TX USA
    I bought the way overpriced Apeks spool & Halcyon Big DSMB. I am not looking for a debate as to my product choice options.

    I am looking for feedback & suggestions on how to rig my setup.
    I do not want to have "some assembly required" when I shoot my DSMB. I like having the spool/DSMB combo pre-rigged and ready to shoot. (I do not dive in cold water so the wearing of gloves does not come into consideration). I do not attach the DSMB/Spool on a D-ring on my BCD. I wear Apeks Tech pants and I store the rig in my right thigh pocket.

    After trying out several rigging combo's, here's what I have come up with. I am open to other ideas.

    Some notes:

    • The Halcyon Big DAM DSMB has a closed-end swivel bolt snap as seen in the image below:

    • I tied the closed end swivel bolt to the spool line: i-JxvC7pV-M.jpg
    • The double-ender is clipped onto the spool to secure the line:

    • View of how the assembled rig is stored in my pocket: i-PSdskfC-M.jpg i-Tm43NQq-M.jpg
    I could unclutter the rig if I could remove the swivel bolt from the DSMB and just have a D-ring instead. The swivel bolt is sewn into the strap so that is not an option unless I want to rip out the stitching and re-sew it. (Not gonna happen...)

    Here's my launching steps:

    1. Remove rig from thigh pocket.
    2. Remove double-ender and attach to BCD D-ring.
    3. Remove DSMB bungee while holding spool securely with line taught.
    4. Using oral inflator, inflate DSMB and launch
    5. When DSMB is fully launched, retrieve double-ender from BCD D-ring and attach to spool to secure the line.
    All feedback and alternative rigging suggestions are appreciated!

  2. blake7

    blake7 DIR Practitioner

    Is this the Super BIG DAM? If yes, not sure how doable that will be to inflate underwater unless you are shooting it from very deep.

    I was recently in Cozumel with my GUE instructor for some fun dives and we settled on both of us needing to participate to launch the Super Slim DAM from 30 ft. It was not easy to inflate at that depth solo. One of us held the spool while the other used a LP hose on the inflator nipple. It was not possible to do it via oral inflation by exhaling.

    The Lift Devices Comparison - Halcyon Dive Systems doesn't list the lift for the Super Slim, but I would estimate it at 30+ lbs. The Super BIG is 52 lbs!

    The reason we were using the Super Slim is that the boat captain told us our regular 3.3 ft DAMs were hard to see. Just wanted to convey how hard it was to launch from 30 ft.
  3. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    Your setup looks fine how it is but if you are concerned about it being "cluttered" there is no need to cut apart the DSMB...you can alternatively take a hacksaw or dremel tool and cut the swivel bolt. You can either cut it in such a way as to leave the ring attached to the DSMB strap or you can cut the whole thing off and attach your line directly to the strap.

    Your launching steps are fine as well except you may find that above 10m (33ft) that you will need to add more air via the oral inflator than you might expect. If the DSMB is very voluminous then you may be battling getting enough air in it before letting it go and maintaining your position in the water column.

    With a voluminous DSMB it is probably easier to launch from a deeper depth and/or use either your BCD inflator hose or drysuit inflator hose to shoot air into the DSMB. If you don't dive with a drysuit, you can always add a 2nd inflator hose to your 1st stage if you have an available LP port to screw it into. You can route it along side your BCD inflator hose to keep it out of the way until you employ it to inflate your DSMB.

    The best advice I can give about a DSMB is as follows:
    1. Practice
    2. Practice
    3. Practice

    You will ultimately figure out what works best for you, but launching a DSMB is a perishable skill so practice launching it often so when the day arrives that you need to rely on the skill you are not fumbling and making a mess with the line/spool or putting yourself in danger by being task loaded and losing control of your buoyancy.

    GameChanger, Diving Dubai and RyanT like this.
  4. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    You made a terrible choice. Just kidding :D

    I use a little blow gun attached to an additional LP hose (see link below). The hose with blow gun tucks into my scooter ring. When you need to inflate the bag, just stick the nozzle in the bag, push to inflate, and let it go. The beauty of this system is that: 1) you can inflate quickly-- no attaching the lp hose to your bag or orally inflating and 2) no need to take your primary out or use a secondary regulator that can snag on the bag when you let it go.

    I've got a big 7' bag and have no trouble inflating from 30' if necessary. Just lean back for a couple seconds as you feel the bag begin to lift you (think of sitting in a recliner position). The additional surface area of your body will momentarily resist lifting and allow you to get a little more gas in your bag. After a couple of seconds of leaning back against the bag, you'll feel it begin to lift you. At that point, let it go you'l have a fairly full bag even shooting from a shallow depth.


    @GameChanger, I also keep my bag rigged and ready to go in my shorts pocket. Personally, I'd take a set of bold cutters and remove the swivel bolt and use it as you have rigged with the spool attached.
    GameChanger likes this.
  5. GameChanger

    GameChanger Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Frisco, TX USA
    I have the BIG DAM. It’s 4.5 ft in length.
    blake7 likes this.
  6. Graeme Fraser

    Graeme Fraser Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Narnia
    I'd be happy with that set-up. Can't tell if you have a loop of bungy to keep it tidy, but that's about it. Regarding inflation, obviously you can blow and go from depth or lpi inflate from the shallows.

    FWIW, I also have the Apeks spool. Yes it's over priced, but it works a treat so I don't care :)
    Diving Dubai likes this.
  7. GameChanger

    GameChanger Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Frisco, TX USA
    The Halcyon BIG has an attached bungee. You can see it in this image where I have the double-ender clipped to it.
    Graeme Fraser likes this.
  8. FezUSA

    FezUSA Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Hiram, OH, USA
    I like the way this is put together

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