Freedom Plate: First Dive

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rx7diver

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I was finally able to dive my new stainless steel Freedom Plate today. Upshot: I couldn't have been more pleased! Two thumbs up!! (Well, you know what I mean.)

I just wrote a pretty detailed post, but I lost it (before I posted it) when my browser crashed just now. I'll reproduce some of it now, and more later when I have time.

Where: Table Rock Lake, Missouri, near the dam. (That's the Dewey Short Visitors Center in the background.)

Gear: O'Neill 3/2 jumpsuit, no hood, no gloves. Jet Fins. 4 lbs on weight belt. Steel 72 with Sherwood Y-valve. Scubapro Mk10+/D400 (primary) and Mk10+/G250 (backup) regulators. SS Freedom Plate with Halcyon Pioneer 27 singles wing (modified and sandwiched between the Plate's "tank rail" and the Plate, itself).

Profile: Planned solo recreational air dive to 60 ffw. Actually saw 57 ffw max depth, run time 29 minutes. Starting pressure 2,300 psig; ending 1,000 psig.

(More later.)
 

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Eric Sedletzky

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That rig looks real nice, great job setting it up.
Some questions about the pioneer wing.
How did the slots line up to the slots in the plate and what type of adjustment do you have up and down. Is it a new one or an older one. Is it single walled or does it have a liner, I couldn't tell from the photos. When you sandwiched the wing between the plate and rail was it fairly easy to burn in a few extra access holes, and did you have to make one or two?
The reason I have so many questions about the wing is because I get lots of questions myself about who still makes a single walled wing that will work with the Freedom Plate.

People really like the simpler wings.

Thanks
 
OP
rx7diver

rx7diver

Contributor
Messages
1,716
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Location
Central MO, USA
That rig looks real nice, great job setting it up.
Some questions about the pioneer wing.
How did the slots line up to the slots in the plate and what type of adjustment do you have up and down. Is it a new one or an older one. Is it single walled or does it have a liner, I couldn't tell from the photos. When you sandwiched the wing between the plate and rail was it fairly easy to burn in a few extra access holes, and did you have to make one or two?
The reason I have so many questions about the wing is because I get lots of questions myself about who still makes a single walled wing that will work with the Freedom Plate.

People really like the simpler wings.

Thanks


ZKY,

Thanks. This is the "original" Pioneer 27 singles wing. It doesn't have a bladder, and it didn't come with holes pre-cut for tank straps. About 10 years ago I purchased it new with the original (and lamentable) Halcyon STA, hoping to use these with my venerable Dive-Rite Al doubles backplate for single-tank diving. Tried them first with my LP OMS 125 and then with my HP PST 120. Absolutely hated the configuration. The stand-off (i.e., the distance between the tank/regulator and my back) was far too great. Made the rig extremely unstable. And I couldn't easily reach my valve/1st stage(s). Thoroughly disappointed, I stored away both the '27 and the STA.

About 5 years ago, I thought to try again: I purchased new the Pioneer 36 singles wing (doesn't require a STA) and a Halcyon SS backplate. Same result: Extreme disappointment with the performance. I stored these away, too.

A few months ago, I dug out the '36 and sold it to a fellow SB-er. Tried to sell the SS backplate as well ...

I first learned about the Freedom Plate in a SB thread I read a few weeks ago. As you know, the maker and I had a couple of e-mail exchanges, I ordered one, it arrived, I wore it around the house several evenings (much to the delight of my young daughters). I was impressed right out of the box!

This past Saturday I dug out the Pioneer '27, unscrewed the tank rail from the plate, lined up the '27 on the Plate, screwed together the rail-wing-Plate through one of the wing's grommet holes (at the top of the wing), used a sharp knife to cut tank strap holes in the wing, marked on the wing where the second screw hole was to be located, unscrewed everything, used an extremely hot butter knife to treat the tank strap holes I had just cut into the wing, used a skewer to punch the second screw hole, used a Bic lighter to enlarge this hole a bit, screwed everything back together, mounted my tank, wore the assembled rig around the house (more giggles), and took it diving for the first time yesterday (Sunday). I read much of what I did in various SB posts.

One thing: One of the Plate's screws (the one at the bottom of the Plate) is longer than the other by design. Since the grommet is pretty thick, I needed to use this longer screw where the screw passed through the grommet. In fact neither screw now extends beyond its nut. When I have time, I'll probably go to the hardware store and look for slightly longer screws. I'd feel more comfortable if there was a little extra length; I'd hate to lose a screw/nut simply because the screw loosened up a bit.

Hope this helps.
 

Eric Sedletzky

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Are those the new size (1/4" x 20's )?
If they are those are easy to find but you might only be able to find phillips head ones. It makes no difference.. If they're the smaller ones then get #10 X 24's. I found #10x32's but those are hard to find too unless you have a really good hardware store. Make sure they're stainless (duh).
All the screws need to do is hold the rail on so that you can snap down the cam bands. Once the cam bands are torqued the screws do nothing for strength.
Also, any threads that go beyond the nuts in theory do no good. Be sure that any screws/bolts you use don't stick out too far and dig into the tank. If one size is too short and the next size up is too long, then buy the long one and you may need to take a die grinder or hand file and remove a little off the end.
It is nice having the option to put the wing either in between the rail and plate or in between the rail and tank, isn't it?
Another thing you can do if you want is get a couple feet of 1/4" fuel line and rip a slit down one side length wise and slip it over the rail edges. This will add cushion and protect the tank and add a little grip.

Thanks

Eric
 
OP
rx7diver

rx7diver

Contributor
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
1,129
Location
Central MO, USA
I was finally able to dive my new stainless steel Freedom Plate today. Upshot: I couldn't have been more pleased! Two thumbs up!! (Well, you know what I mean.)

I just wrote a pretty detailed post, but I lost it (before I posted it) when my browser crashed just now. I'll reproduce some of it now, and more later when I have time.

...

(More later.)

Here are a couple of additional (final?) thoughts about this first dive with my new Freedom Plate.

My initial open water course required us students to use a plastic backpack with a steel 72 (and no BC and no wetsuit or diveskin) for fully half of our required scuba pool skills. I really liked that rig for a variety of reasons, including its secure fit and the ease with which I could reach my valve and 1st stage when wearing it--which came in very handy during the harassment drills we were put through sometimes suddenly. Diving with the Freedom Plate so brings back that secure feeling of knowing I can effortlessly reach my valve(s) if I need to, or recover my 2nd stage "correctly" by reaching back to my 1st stage. I love my Scubapro Stab Jacket for a variety of reasons--I've written about this elsewhere on SB--but I never have been able to reach my valve/1st stage easily wearing it, which has always concerned me. And I cannot sling a buddy bottle as easily, nor wear my canister light as easily using my SSJ. This Freedom Plate will allow me to do all these critical things readily, which means I can now solo dive a bit deeper than I allow myself to when I am wearing my SSJ, and I can reserve my tech doubles rig for deep/decompression dives.


This SS Freedom Plate (+ steel 72 + 4 lbs on weight belt) is too negative for me in my O'Neill 3/2 in fresh water. This first dive I had to dive with much more air in the BC than I like to. (And adding a buddy bottle and a canister light would have further increased this negative buoyancy.) This is a problem because, for example, if I removed some weight from my weight belt, then if I would have to temporarily doff my rig at depth (say, to disentangle myself from something), I would have a difficult time maintaining depth without my rig. Also, with this configuration I am not able to establish positive buoyancy at the surface by dropping only my weight belt when my wing is completely deflated. (An aluminum Freedom Plate (lighter weight) would be more ideal, I think, for this thin exposure suit.) However, this SS Plate would be absolutely perfect, I think, with a full 1/4" wetsuit or drysuit, which works perfectly for me since my intention is to dive it with my drysuit, cold water regs, Al 40 buddy bottle, and canister light. Can't wait!!

Dive Safely,

Ronald
 
Last edited:
OP
rx7diver

rx7diver

Contributor
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
1,129
Location
Central MO, USA
Are those the new size (1/4" x 20's )?
If they are those are easy to find but you might only be able to find phillips head ones. It makes no difference.. If they're the smaller ones then get #10 X 24's. I found #10x32's but those are hard to find too unless you have a really good hardware store. Make sure they're stainless (duh).
All the screws need to do is hold the rail on so that you can snap down the cam bands. Once the cam bands are torqued the screws do nothing for strength.
Also, any threads that go beyond the nuts in theory do no good. Be sure that any screws/bolts you use don't stick out too far and dig into the tank. If one size is too short and the next size up is too long, then buy the long one and you may need to take a die grinder or hand file and remove a little off the end.
It is nice having the option to put the wing either in between the rail and plate or in between the rail and tank, isn't it?
Another thing you can do if you want is get a couple feet of 1/4" fuel line and rip a slit down one side length wise and slip it over the rail edges. This will add cushion and protect the tank and add a little grip.

Thanks

Eric

Eric,

I hope to try your fuel line suggestion in a couple of weeks. Thanks again for my outstanding Freedom Plate! (I don't often rave about a piece of gear, but your Plate certainly deserves to be raved about!)

Dive Safely,

Ronald
 

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