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Optimal Back-Plate and Wing

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by Capt. T. Goetz, Oct 22, 2020.

Your choice?

  1. https://www.divers-supply.com/oms-iq-lite-performance-mono-kit-32lb.html

    1 vote(s)
    2.9%
  2. https://www.divers-supply.com/zeagle-backplate-combo-pack.html?utm_source=froogle&utm_medium=cpc&utm

    1 vote(s)
    2.9%
  3. https://www.diverightinscuba.com/total-buoyancy-control-system-package.html

    4 vote(s)
    11.4%
  4. https://www.divegearexpress.com/dgx-custom-dgx-singles-harness-backplate-wing-package

    29 vote(s)
    82.9%
  1. Brett Hatch

    Brett Hatch ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Monterey, CA
    274
    321
    63
    Of the options here, I would personally go with the DGX with a stainless steel plate and a pair of trim pockets (also available from DGX for about $15 apiece). And I would (and have) recommend the same to most divers under most conditions. That combination gives you a lot of flexibility, and should be able to comfortably do any rec dive, anywhere in the world

    As a point of reference, I'm 5'11", 165lbs with a bit of a beer gut, and dive mostly in cold salt water (46-56F / 8-13C). I'm dive a drysuit with relatively thick undies, thick gloves, thick booties, a thick hood, a stainless steel backplate, a single steel HP100 tank. With that rig, I need about 15 lbs of lead. My wing has 32lbs of lift, which is plenty for my needs. Before lockdown this year, I took a dive trip to warm water (around 78F/25C) and dove in a 3mm wetsuit with no hood/gloves, single AL80 tanks, and used the same exact BP/W but with only 4 lbs of lead (2lbs may have been sufficient, but there were no 1-pounders available). It worked great, and the diving was really easy. If I were diving light-ish steel tanks, I would have needed zero lead, and with heavier steels I would have probably preferred an aluminum plate. It really depends on how negative your particular tanks are; tmassey has a great thread documenting the buoyancy characteristics of a whole bunch of different tanks here.

    I'm curious why you want at least 35lbs of lift on the bladder? In my cold waters with thick exposure gear and a bunch of lead, believe me when I say that my 32lbs bladder is just fine. It also worked well in warm water in a 3mm. But for warmer waters in thin wetsuits, a lot of divers do 15-20lbs, and that is plenty. I really can't think of a situation in warm water where you'll need or even want 35lbs of lift. But you would be diving with a mostly-empty wing all the time, which can create some problems with drag, buoyancy, and trim. Not unsolvable problems, but too big of a wing is annoying and not helpful. To learn more about this, check out the blog post for wing size on DGX's blog.

    As for the "better" thing, it's really hard to tell what you're getting at. What makes one BC "better" than another? Certainly different people are gonna have different ideas about this, it's pretty subjective. When you say "better," what do you mean?
     
    Capt. T. Goetz likes this.
  2. Ontwreckdiver

    Ontwreckdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: St Thomas, Ontario, Canada
    1,080
    238
    63
    I would look at the Sub Gravity bp/w system. You have a choice of 3 backplates (3mm aluminum, 3mm stainless steel, or 6mm stainless steel), 4 single tank wing lift sizes (26lb, 30lb, 36lb, 44lb) and single tank adapters aren't needed with their wings, and 2 harness styles ( one piece continuous or adjustable) Their adjustable harness is just 2 simple stainless steel buckles (no plastic clips), 3 weight pocket options, and optional shoulder pads. They make good solid gear and have great customer service. Paragon Single Tank Package - Subgravity
     
    Capt. T. Goetz likes this.
  3. Capt. T. Goetz

    Capt. T. Goetz Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Fort Lauderdale Florida
    136
    25
    28
    By better I mean maybe a more reputable company and some added features. I would LIKE at least a #35 because I dive steel 100s and 120s with a skin suit in the summer. And i'm not diving in a quarry or lake, just plain rough open ocean.
     
  4. Brett Hatch

    Brett Hatch ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Monterey, CA
    274
    321
    63
    OK. I also dive in ocean water, and around here it's sometimes from shore, sometimes from a boat. Assuming that you are talking standard Faber or Worthington high-pressure tanks (that is, around 3442 psi), then you're only talking 8-10lbs negative when full. There are some oddball tanks which are extremely negative, like 15lbs+ per tank, which aren't very common, aren't very nice, and frankly aren't very safe. Add in a stainless steel backplate (5-6 lbs negative), your regs, and whatever else you have clipped to the BC, and you're up to maybe 15 lbs total lift required to float the rig. So a ~20lb wing should be sufficient to keep your rig and you face above water, which is why they are very common in warm water areas.

    If you might want to go to cold water some day, a bit of extra lift is good, to compensate for your exposure gear compressing at depth. Which is why you'll see a lot of wings in the 30lbs range -- that is sufficient for any single-tank diving, regardless of exposure gear. Which is to say, I would consider 35lbs to be a maximum amount of lift, not a minimum. It's more than you need today, more than you'll likely ever need, and any additional lift would cause more harm than good.

    Regarding the "better" thing, thanks for clarifying. On this forum, DGX is a highly reputable company, I use them myself a lot, they have great products and great customer service. I don't care too much about brand / company, but if you do, then I guess you'll have to find a brand that suits your needs, and see what they have to offer. Halcyon is widely regarded to be the standard, go-to company for a BP/W and tech gear. I haven't bought their stuff myself, but they do reputation for great products.

    The Zeagle you posted looks fairly minimal, so I could get behind it. It has some features which aren't for me (quick-disconnect buckles, chest-buckle instead of crotch-strap). But some people do like those things. And if you do go for that one decide to try a different harness later, you can replace the harness with a more simple one yourself, with no special tools. Seriously, it's like $15-20. That's one of the best things about the BP/W system, you can add or remove whatever components you want, and very cheaply.

    I would definitely steer you away from the Hog and the OMS ones you posted in the poll. Nothing wrong with those brands (my BP/W is an OMS, as it happens). But because these particular products here have a bunch of extra padding, which is absolutely useless -- there is no need to have a "comfort" pad on the backplate, even if you dive naked, the plate is not scratchy or anything. The only place padding makes sense to me is the shoulder straps, and only if you're diving without a shirt or with just a rash guard -- even the little bit of neoprene in the shoulder was all I needed to comfortably do 20 dives in a week earlier this year in a 3mm wetsuit.

    Also, the 12-lb OMS ballast system is way bigger than you need, it's pretty inconvenient. I added it on when I bought my OMS BP/W, and hated it, it's been sitting in my scuba junk box for almost 2 years. If you're interested in giving it a shot, I'll mail it to you for just the cost of shipping, but honestly, you'll probably hate it too. Much better is the tiny trim pockets, which they also make and DRIS also sells.

    If there's anyone in your area who has a BP/W you can check out in-person, or better borrow for a dive, I think that would help a lot. I know there are a lot of divers on ScubaBoard in the FL/FL area, maybe one of them would be willing to let you check theirs out. Best of luck, I know it can be overwhelming trying to figure all this out.
     
    lowwall and Capt. T. Goetz like this.
  5. Streydog

    Streydog Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: DFW, TX
    1,017
    700
    113
    I have used a 20 lb wing several times with a steel 120. After several dives using a 20 I did a couple dives with a 40 lb wing and I could really feel the difference in drag while finning. It is kind of like owning a 4-wheel drive truck living in the city, bad gas mileage all year for the 1 or 2 times it might be useful.
     
  6. Tournesol2000

    Tournesol2000 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Toronto
    221
    101
    43
    I have the Zeagle. No issues with it. Came with STA, and I have no issues with it. Solid performance on the 26 dives I have so far.
    I too did my open water in a BCD and felt too confined. Bought the zeagle from zeagleexpress dot net. Great service. Great prices.
    My only regret is not buying SS backplate.
    But it is not a big regret.
     
  7. Capt. T. Goetz

    Capt. T. Goetz Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Fort Lauderdale Florida
    136
    25
    28
    Yes I can see now that more and more people are steering towards the Zeagle bp/w. I have had Zeagle and they are arguably some of the best bcd manufacturers. I really like that their weight systems and pockets can fit onto the bp. A zeagle crotch strap cost 15 bucks or so, and for what I would have optioned the DGX one it's actually cheaper(the bp/w). I can easily return it so I think i'll order it during the next week, but... PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST ANY OBJECTIONS OR CONCERNS,even if its personal.
     
  8. hroark2112

    hroark2112 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    1,397
    1,433
    113
    My preference is a stainless steel Freedom Plate coupled with the appropriate wing for the diving conditions. If I'm diving in shorts & rash guard, it's an 18# purple Oxycheq wing. If I add a wetsuit, it's a 30# purple Oxycheq wing. If I need more, I've got a 44# dual bladder Dive Rite wing. Unfortunately the Dive Rite is not purple.
     
  9. KDAD

    KDAD Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Northern New Jersey
    651
    333
    63
    @hroark2112 if you stack the 18# and the 30# it will add up to 48#, more than the Dive Rite and still can be considered dual bladder. But at least they will be purple.

    What color is the webbing on the Freedom plate? Mine is red on red but it is an aluminum plate.
     
  10. grantctobin

    grantctobin ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicago
    625
    319
    63
    Are they some of the best BCD manufacturers?
     
    Capt. T. Goetz likes this.

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