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Beginning of my Tech Diver adventure

Discussion in 'Rocky Mountain Region' started by Waterskier1, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Waterskier1

    Waterskier1 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    I went to the orientation for Beginning Tech Diver, Advanced NITROX, and Decompression Theory class a little over a week ago. The class is being taught through a LDS here in Colo Spgs. The cost of the combined classes was very fair almost 1/2 what others charge. But, it didn't take long before I realized that there were lots more costs.

    The following might be helpful to those of you who are currently purchasing equipment, and might like to get into Tech diving. I didn’t know any of this, and PADI doesn’t tell you any of it, but then, it’s Tech, not Rec. You might be able to save some money by not having to buy new stuff. I am having to buy new, even though most of my gear is less than 2 years old.

    I already had bought my Back Plate and singles wing, and had a doubles wing on the way. But, I didn’t know soon enough that I bought a Back Inflate BC, about as close as you can get to a BP/Wing, and not be there. The wing is not replaceable/interchangeable. If I’d known more about BP/Wings I could have saved buying both.

    You will need 3 regulators. This instructor requires that two be identical (balanced 1st and 2nd stages) and it’s very desirable that the third be the same too. All three must be DIN not Yoke. Luckily I knew this before I bought my pony reg. So, I have two identical Sherwood Magnums, and I just got a third Sherwood Brute for my Deco bottle (it’s almost identical and I had a supply of rebuild kits for them). Sherwood makes a DIN conversion for them that I will get. But remember, unless you convert (take the 1st stage apart and put the yoke back on) you can’t easily use the common scuba tanks with a Yoke valve. So, maybe another regulator or two in the future? . So, when looking for a second Regulator, consider one that matches what you currently have (assuming you like it and it’s still functional) and consider if it can be converted to DIN.

    You’ll also need new hoses for these regs, since you’ll be using a 5’ or 7’ on one and the other will be bungeed around your neck. And you’ll need a short one for the spg on the deco bottle.

    What I didn't think about was that no consoles are used in tech diving. That never occurred to me. So I'll have to buy another SPG (Glass & Brass only) with a 24” HP hose, and depth gauge, and eventually a compass; the later two will be wrist mounted.

    When I bought my computer about 1-1/2 years ago, I got a wrist mount. Not because I was thinking ahead to tech diving, but because I didn't expect to buy much of my gear, including a regulator. Not easy to attach a console mount computer to a rental regulator. And, also not planned but helpful is that my computer will work in gauge mode. It won't, and most Recreational Computers won't, handle more than one gas mix. That is, on the same dive, you can't tell the computer to change from 21% to 32% to 50/50 to 100% Oxygen. Therefore they teach the class using Tables. But you do need redundant bottom timers and depth gauges to use the tables. So, make sure your computer is capable of working in Gauge Mode. You’ll need to forms of Timing and Depth devices.

    Then there are some subtle things, like no split fins are allowed (I currently have split fins) so I have to buy solid blade fins and they recommend spring straps. The skirt on your mask must be Black (mine’s blue). You must have a 50# (minimum) lift bag with finger spool. My SMB is unrated as to lift. All lights must be twist to turn on/off. The primary should be a canister style. You need two backups. Only one of my lights (my backup) is twist on/off. The slate must be wrist mounted – mine is the common clip on style.

    You will need a redundant buoyancy device (either a dry suit or dual wings).

    The LDS sponsoring the class (they are bringing in a TDI Tech Instructor) will rent the double tanks along with the deco bottle. But if they didn’t, or if you want to use your own tanks, you’ll need tank bands and an isolating manifold (DIN) too.

    Well, that’s what I can think of. As you can probably see, Tech diving requires specific and more equipment. If you can buy the specific equipment as part of your Recreational kit, you’ll save money. Wrist computers, wrist compass (vs buying on to fit in your console), solid fins, black skirts on your mask, regs that can be converted to DIN easily (and hopefully by you, not the LDS service tech), wrist mounted slate and backup lights that twist on/off, are somewhat easy choices. Harder are the Back Plate/Wing, 50# SMB, and canister light from the start.

    I still plan to pursue this, but I’ll now wait for the class next spring. That will give me time to find (and pay for) the remaining equipment I need.
  2. Jasonmh

    Jasonmh ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Mexico
    Thanks for your input, what shop are you taking this thru?

    I am confused, did you already have a BP&W but it wouldn't work for the class? Or did you have a back inflate bc and they told you it wouldn't work for the class?

    I really like the wrist mounts that Deep Sea Supply makes.

    That is one I hadn't heard before.
    Don't forget about lots of bolt snaps for attaching things :D

    I have a really good can light for sale, if you are interested :wink:
  3. roakey

    roakey Old, not bold diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    Was the instructor Tom?
    Do you have an analog SPG in your console? If so you can pop it out of your console and use that and just buy a hose...

  4. wedivebc

    wedivebc CCR Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    Some of those equipment requirements are your instructor's personal preferences not TDIs
  5. japan-diver

    japan-diver Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Okinawa, Japan
    Whats the reasoning behind a black skirt on the mask? Have never heard of that one!! When I see arbitrary equipment requirements and a cheap price on a tech class it makes me go hummmmm......
  6. Waterskier1

    Waterskier1 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    Diver's Reef, but they are bringing in a TDI Instructor. They don't have any Technical Instructors on staff - yet.

    I was too, after reading what I typed[​IMG] What I meant to say is that I bought a back inflate BC first, then bought the Back Plate/singles wing and ordered the doubles wing (should be here today) before I went to the intro class. I knew I'd need a BP/Wing before I went to the class.

    Yes, and TDS had another group buy on them with the SK compass, and I backed out, thinking my compass on my console would be fine.

    I read the Black skirt on some paperwork, but they didn't specifically mention it, so it may not be enforced. Yes, lots of bolt snaps!

    Yes, I saw that. I'm hoping to find something less expensive.

    I'm really wanting to take this class for learning. I'm not sure how much Tech diving I'll really do. Until I know for sure, I don't want to spend tons of money (if I don't have to) just to find out.

    I forgot to mention that the LDS has limited equipment for rent. They have a BP/Wing, the 3 regulators, the tanks with manifold/bands, and something else, I don't remember and don't have the sheet in front of me.
  7. Waterskier1

    Waterskier1 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    The instructor wasn't there. This was the Intro class to explain what we would need, what the class covered, and to set dates for the classroom training and the Rock Lake dives. That said, I think it is your dive buddy. He lives up in the mountains and drives in for Friday/Saturday classes.

    I have several hoses, and did think about that (as well as the depth gauge) but the SPG isn't Brass (at least it doesn't look like it - it's black metal or plastic). I've taken it out to put a different hose length on. I think I'll look for a used computer that works in bottom gauge mode (maybe air only from someone who is upgrading to NITROX) since that would also incorporate a bottom timer too. I don't have enough arm to wear a computer, watch, depth gauge, compass, and wrist slate! :shocked2:
  8. Waterskier1

    Waterskier1 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    I can't answer that. But it seems the tech divers like all black. I've read reasons for having a black skirt, for special ops (SEALS) but not sure how applicable it is to non covert diving.

    I did a search on the web to see if this list was standard or personal preference (which is perfectly okay if the instructor has a valid reason for it). I found almost exactly the same requirements for many classes being taught by TDI instructors. Some didn't mention the black skirt, some didn't mention the regs had to be exactly the same (at least not on the required equipment list - but there is good reason for having the same regs on both posts).

    I'm not complaining or bitchin. I was surprised at how much equipment was needed that I didn't think about. And that is the main reason for this post, since I've talked to others locally who have expressed an interest in going Tech.

    As far as the instructor, from everyone I have talked to he is top notch. Not only as an instructor, but he has extensive experience in technical diving. Roger may be able to better verify this than I.
  9. charlieo

    charlieo Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Denver,Colorado
    Originally Posted by japan-diver
    "Whats the reasoning behind a black skirt on the mask? Have never heard of that one!! When I see arbitrary equipment requirements and a cheap price on a tech class it makes me go hummmmm"

    The black skirt blocks the light from other diver's lights behind you. You won't get a reflection off your mask plate from someone's light behind you. Photographers like the black skirt for the same reason.
  10. ScubaSam

    ScubaSam Sister of Shenanigans ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Cave Country
    waterskier1 - Many thanks for this helpful posting given I'm seriously considering going tech some time after I get rescue certified next year. Good luck.

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