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Side Mounting Mods on my Zeagle Express Tech...

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by The Chairman, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. chrisculina

    chrisculina IDC Staff Instructor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Arendal, Norway
    226
    2
    0
    Have you had a chance to test it yet?
     
  2. zaberman1

    zaberman1 Instructor, Scuba

    375
    6
    16
    I am not diving SM yet but to me, the appeal exists in the removal of the isolator and ability to have the valves up close and personal. It also seems easier on the back and may give more field of vision.
     
  3. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,855
    23,214
    113
    I got to dive Orange Grove Sink with it and had a blast! I still have more work to keep the bladder profile down, but it was tolerable.
     
  4. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    6,211
    3,306
    113
    A very understandable view, and my initial reaction as well. My first thought, when I moved to it, was this will be perfect for travel to places where I cannot take my own tanks, and cannot easily get a set of backmount doubles - Bonaire and Roatan came to mind. But, as I have learned SM techniques, I see SM as having a tremendous potential across recreational, not just technical, diving. Many people never go into doubles at all because of the expense, the weight, the gear challenges (learning valve shutdowns, behind you head, etc. For them, SM is an easier, and less expensive, alternative. Can you dive single tank SM? Why not - the trim issues can be addressed, and if you are planning to dive single tank with a pony, trim is even less affected by imbalances. I have not used SM for coastal charters yet - that will come in 2010, and it may turn out that I get pushback from boat operators who are not familiar with the set up. But, as for taking time, it is easier to set up than BM, or at the very least no more time-consuming - you can set up your tanks before boarding the boat, then all you have to do is put on your exposure suit, whatever harness you're using, mask fins, do a buddy check, etc, etc., and in you go. Exiting is a whole lot eaiser - unclip the tanks and hand them up, then up the ladder without the weight. It could be that I am new enough that I haven't seen the full downside picture. And, I am certainly no expert on SM, and am just learning along with a lot of other divers. But, I see at least a chance that this will have broader application that I and others initially thought.
    Yes, tes, yes, and yes.
     
  5. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,855
    23,214
    113
    I have at least 10 dives now on my Zeagle Express Tech Modified for Sidemount and so far it has been more than serviceable. In fact, it has been fun!

    Yesterday, I tried 5/16" bungees for the tank necks. These were the same length as my 3/8" bungees and were just too long, allowing the necks of the tanks to hang 2-3 inches below me. Today, I shortened the length to 42" (not including the clips) and will try that out tomorrow. The smaller diameter bungee is just so much simpler when securing the tanks before the dive. This was my quickest/easiest pre-splash set up and I might even try this in the water

    Yesterday, I created a simple holder for my line arrows on the left D-Ring out of 5/16" bungee. The previous clip hung way too low and was sometimes hard to find.

    Yesterday, as I was heading for my first dive at Orange Grove Sink, the plastic piece that the crotch strap threads through, broke the other side. I installed a SS rectangular "ring" I got from Skycraft in Winter Park. it is 2" by 2/3" and I used two screwdrivers to open it up to slip into the fabric loop on the back of the fabric plate. The crotch strap threaded through that and I made the next dive. Way cool. This was the one "weak spot" that I had seen on the system and am glad to have it replaced. :D

    Last night, I met an interesting guy over at Amigos, by the name of James from Jacksonville (he avoids forums). He showed me his sidmount rig which was a simple harness clipped into the grommets of an OMS bungeed wing system (sans bungees). Cool system and his knowledge of the caves in Florida was impressive, but his rig was just not for me. However, as I was showing him my modified DSS system with a spreader plate, it became apparent that I really needed to flip my Zeagle bladder over and was thinking about talking with Scott about sewing this a bit differently. Today, my buddy canceled (not feeling so good), so I got to looking at and decided to flip the bladder anyway. YES! I was going to replace the standard Zeagle valve with a simple elbow, but not any more. This puts the hose on the right shoulder, gently going around the back of my neck. and then ending up in the arrow holder I made for the left D-Ring. I think I will clip the inflator hose in such a way that it captures the 5/16" bungee thus keeping it out of my way. Pictures will follow tomorrow's dive.

    Yesterday, I also made a dual-reg necklace just for me. I had made 6 of them before, but they were all given to peeps wanting to try them. No real feedback from anyone, so I tried one out for myself. I loved it. There was absolutely no question about which reg I had in my mouth. Also, should my buddy need air, I can quickly pull either reg out of the necklace quickly and with little effort. The 1/8" bungee is the perfect size for this and the grape knots adjust well. I used a 4" piece of plastic to separate the two regulators. I am thinking about putting a 7' hose on my left hand tank as well. Then it won't matter which hose they grab.

    Also. check out: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/lights/319723-clipping-off-lights-without-clips.html#post4976973
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  6. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,855
    23,214
    113
    I don't think the 5/16" bungees are working out. They are just not strong enough to support the neck of the tank and they were just too low. I am going back to the 3/8" bungees on my next dive.

    The wing is a bit puffy in the back. I need tabs to hold it down. I can do tabs. :D Otherwise, the flop over of the wing was excellent. I had far more clearance and actually bumped my head on the ceiling. The hose was far more manageable as well and I don't remember it snagging on a thing. My next dive might be at the Madison Blue Social.
     
  7. Spd 135

    Spd 135 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Slidell La
    715
    179
    43
    Double the 5/16" bungie. It is more flexible than a single 3/8" and the two will support your bottles. I have been using it for about 6 months now and like it since stretching the 3/8" was a pain and I kept tearing hide off my thumbs while stretcing the bands around my valves.
     
  8. shoredivr

    shoredivr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ontario
    8,169
    7,597
    113
    All I need for sidemount diving away from home is two cam bands, and three tank hose holder straps - not much extra to carry - plus my sidemount bc (which as Net Doc points out, can be changed to a singles rig by just putting the cambands onto the back of the bc) plus my two sidemount regs/SPGs. An adjustable wrench is good, too, so I can switch hoses around if I'm stuck diving singles. I can also bring a gear line to clip off over the side of the boat if necessary to attach a tank to.

    To get in the water, all I do is clip on one tank, route some hoses, into the water and hook up the second tank. That is if somehow I can't clip on both tanks on the boat.

    Is it tank storage on the boat that you're thinking of? Put one tank in the tank holder, the other under your seat.
     
  9. Major Restriction

    Major Restriction Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ormond Beach
    58
    9
    8
    Would you mind posting pictures of your rig with the new hose routing (wing flipped over) and expand a bit on your 'dual reg necklace' (or provide a picture)?

    Thanks!

    Philip
     
  10. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,855
    23,214
    113
    Sure... I would be glad to.
     

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