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Help! Old Rig Overhaul: Seeking advice on switch to BP/W, regs, gauges, and on a budget!

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) and Weight Systems' started by srfdntchk, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. srfdntchk

    srfdntchk Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Texas
    5
    0
    1
    Hi All,

    I've lurked around a bit and posted here and there in years past, but have long since forgotten my credentials, so here's my 'first' post.

    I'm looking to switch from my current 12yr old setup to a more streamlined BP/W and possibly DIR rig and looking for some advice on a few things. I live in Texas and dive local lakes in summer and if I travel it'll be warm blue water, so max exposure protection is a 5mm wetsuit, but in the dead of summer a 3mm or just swim trunks and a shirt. I'm 6' tall, 175# and relatively lean (and trying to get leaner).

    Current: Zeagle Stiletto BCD, Zeagle Envoy reg, Air2, depth, air and compass gauge cluster and a rented AL80.

    Seeking:
    VDH 18# wing, would like a Freedom BP but not clear on cost and time to deliver (message sent to Eric), a single gauge for PSI, and either reusing the Zeagle reg and adding a new Octo/backup on a long hose, or short hose (still haven't quite figured that part out yet, so advice welcome).

    Questions:
    I'm trying to keep costs low and expect that selling my old gear won't bring much in to offset the expense. That said, I'm willing to splurge on the Freedom BP and wait it out if the lead-time is long, and go with a VDH BP in the meantime. $90 isn't going to break the bank.

    But what else am I missing? Any PSI hose and gauge recommendations? My eyes suck now and aren't corrected, so larger print is best.

    Also, my Zeagle Envoy II reg has been pretty solid, but needs servicing. The first stage has been problematic with some bubbles leaking, even after a previous service. I'm guessing they either didn't do a good job or something else? What do you guys think?

    And as far as octo goes, I hate the Air2. I was suckered into it as a newbie and have despised it since. It's nonsense as far as I'm concerned. Should I replace with another Envoy II or an Envoy II Octo? I'm leaning towards the Octo as it's $50 cheaper, but it's not technically DIR with the yellow coloring. Small issue, but my OCD is kicking in. Thoughts?

    I'm also torn between a regular octo setup or a DIR long-hose necklace arrangement. What are your opinions on that? I'm not a tech diver, but looking to take a course in overhead/cave diving in order to do some shipwrecks here and there. I guess I'm just apprehensive regarding the long-hose setup and use, as it seem so foreign to the uninitiated. Again, what advice do you all have?

    Lastly, cost. I'm trying to stay within the $500-700 range total, and the less the better. Is this reasonable? Any secret deals or folks willing to sell off some used gear?

    Thanks in advance and I look forward to your feedback!

    - D
     
  2. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    3,925
    1,435
    113
    Firstly, this maybe better answered in the DIR section as you may get a lot of non-DIR trained advice.

    Here’s my 2 PSI.....

    VDH gear has a good rep, good choice. Can’t recall how neg the freedom plate is. But maybe consider a larger wing if you’re approaching 15-20 lbs of weight.

    Nothing wrong with the Zeagle regs as long as they route ok. No law against yellow for an octo, it’s just best practice to have identical seconds. Go with a long hose primary and necklaced second. Keep an eye out for better regs and ask around for a new shop, as there’s no excuse for a leaky reg. Go with a 2.5” SPG on a left D ring.

    Get DIR trained sooner rather than later as you’ll seriously wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. Further, the super expensive instructor is there to provide advice and mentor. Consider the online courses ($99) to watch DIR skills and protocols as a steppingstone and money saver.
     
  3. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: on the path to perdition
    5,512
    1,080
    113
    Welcome to SB.

    I would keep the BCD til it dies, swap out the Air2 and get a Envoy II Octo with a 60" hose, then buy a computer. Spend the rest of yer monies on training.
     
  4. txaggie08

    txaggie08 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vidor, TX
    217
    49
    28
    When you say DIR rig, are you implying that you I tend to dive DIR style, or are you referring the the bp/w with a long hose and necklaces octo?

    That style is not necessarily "DIR"
     
  5. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    737
    625
    93
    There is no way I would dive a 5 mm suit with an 18-lb wing. I would definitely want more lift.
     
  6. srfdntchk

    srfdntchk Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Texas
    5
    0
    1
    Hi All,

    Thanks for the replies so far. As far as DIR goes, I'm looking to start learning and incorporating DIR into my recreational diving and eventually I'd like to take a formal course. As for gear, I'm looking to streamline and simplify.

    I think I'm about to pull the trigger on a VDH setup with the following:

    Argonaut #23 wing
    DIR harness assembly
    2 x tank straps w/ss buckle
    and...stuck on either SS or Al backplate

    The pricing for the above, with either plate, pretty much comes in at or lower than anything else I've found, and the reviews so far have been great for their products.

    I'm 6', pretty lean at 170#, 85-90% of my diving is going to be warm Central Texas fresh water in either shorts and a t-shirt, 1mm-2/3mm wetsuits, and occasionally a 5mm in the late spring and summer when the water's still relatively cool at depth (40'-80'). Then an occasional 1 or 2 times per year saltwater trip to Gulf Coast or Mexico.

    I hate wrangling with weights on a dive, and I'm diving rented AL80s, so my gut is saying maybe to go with the SS plate and hopefully not have to carry any additional weight unless I'm in saltwater or wearing the 5mm. I also don't mind a couple extra traveling pounds.

    What do you guys think?

    Thanks,

    - D
     
  7. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    3,925
    1,435
    113
    yup, the combo of salt, 5mm, Al 80 etc would suggest better to go SS
     
  8. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    737
    625
    93
    I would definitely not go with a ss plate if there is any chance you might buy borrow or s... rent a large steel tank in warm water. No need to be overweight with nothing to drop.
     
    Coztick likes this.
  9. txaggie08

    txaggie08 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vidor, TX
    217
    49
    28
    Tou could do the halcyon sta with the removable center weight and use an aluminum or kydex plate in lieu of the ss plate, I don't know if that would put you overweight though

    I've had mine for years, and like it a great deal
     
  10. srfdntchk

    srfdntchk Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Texas
    5
    0
    1
    Hi All,

    I dont anticipate diving the 5mm in saltwater, as I'll almost certainly be in the range of swim trunks and shirt, 1mm, or 2/3mm wetsuit due to the warm temps.

    This is an interesting point. There is a possibility that I may eventually get a steel tank. Some years ago I borrowed one for a few dives. I forget which size, maybe a 100 or 120, but I feel like it was shorter in length than the AL80 tanks I was used to. I loved that tank and felt much more in control diving it for some reason. Maybe because of the buoyancy and not needing the extra weight that I did with the Al tank.

    Interesting as well. I'll look into this.

    I feel like I might be overthinking the SS vs Al BP issue, and just starting with the Al plate is the way to go for now, as I can always re-evaluate after I've got some dives in with the new setup.

    Time to put together the final shopping list and start spending some money!

    Thanks again for all the advice!
     

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