Pony Bottle Rigging

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Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby Andy » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:58 am

I've been having a PM conversation with NEMES1S about pony bottles, and thought it might be useful to upload a few pics of how I rig my pony. I prefer a slung pony rather than tank mounted for a whole raft of reasons, but mainly because it's easier to see the whole rig and know what is going.

Firstly, here's a photo of my normal pony bottle fully rigged:

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The clips are used to attach the pony to the shoulder and hip D rings on my harness. The rig is oriented so that the valve points down, and is easily accessible to turn on and off. The reg is stowed by using a piece of bungy, and then trapping the reg mouthpiece pointing downwards to reduce the chance of a free flow, like this:

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This particular rig has a small button gauge - not ideal, but I recently flooded the reg and trashed the SPG and haven't replaced it yet. Some means of monitoring tank pressure is essential, though. My preferred option is an SPG on a 6" hose. Here's a picture of one of my deco tank rigs that shows the SPG:

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The SPG is orientated so it's easy to see when the tank is clipped off. It's held in place by, in this case, a cable tie that holds the short hose in a loop. I'm probably going to replace the cable tie with some nylon line once I've finished writing this!

In both of these photos you can see how the stage/rigging kit is attached to the top of the tank. The kit is essentially a loop of 5.5mm nylon line from a climbing shop. In this case, I've used a "larks foot" to loop around the tank valve. This isn't really necessary, and many people will just put a plain loop around the valve. The first clip is then tied into the kit using a simple overhand not. The position of the top clip is quite important - it should be around about level with the shoulder of the tank, with no excess cord so that it's nice and snug. This brings the tank up close when worn.

To secure the stage/rigging kit to the lower end of the tank, I use a small tank band as shown in this picture:

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You can use a jubliee clip if you prefer. I use a tank band because it makes it easy to swap stage kits around the various pony and deco tanks that I use. They also don't rust - important if you have a bare aluminium tank like mine, as stainless steel in contact with aluminimum in salt water is a recipie for all sorts of corrosion problems!

This is what the tail end of the stage kit looks like:

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The knot in the cord is a double fishermans, which just produces a loop. The second clip is again held in that loop with a larks foot.

A couple of factors will influence how the tank sits when you are in correct trim, namely where you put the tank band and the length of the tail of the stage kit. It's easy to control the length of the tail by wrapping it around itself like this:

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The tank band (or jubliee clip) should be about 2/3 to 3/4 down the length of the tank, depending on the tank itself. What you are aiming for is to have the tank horizontal (parallel to the divers body) when in trim, but nice and close to the body so it sits in your slipstream. This is what my tank looks like when it's being worn:

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Even though the tank is nice and horizontal in this photo, there are a couple of things wrong. Firstly, note that the reg is in one of this octi holders and pointing up. This is not such a good idea, partly because of the chance of free flow but also it's just less tidy. Look how the reg is hanging down, creating drag and a possible entanglement risk. Secondly, the tank is actually hanging down quite a way below the fall line of the body. There's probably a bit of slack where the top clip is on the stage kit, or maybe my shoulder D ring is a little to low down the harness. Either way, bring the tank up a littlle closer to the body would make it more streamlined.
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby justsimon » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:13 am

Interesting. Do you move weight across your belt to the side opposite the tank or doesn't it make much of a difference?
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby Andy » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:20 am

justsimon wrote:Interesting. Do you move weight across your belt to the side opposite the tank or doesn't it make much of a difference?


It depends on the tank, really. A small aluminium tank, mine is just under three litres, is normally less than a kilo negative in the water. It really doesn't make that much difference and you get used to it very quickly. Some tanks will become positive when empty, particuarly Luxfer tanks, which means that if you shift the weight around then when you (hopefully never have to!) use it, you then become unbalance the other way.

I've used 10 litre steel tanks before, which are a lot more negative, but you just kinda lean away from them a little bit and you find a natural balance pretty quick.
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby NEMES1S » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:39 pm

Great post Andy,brilliant thanks for that.
I See you are mainly using DIN valves,is that for size,obviously the DIN is quite small and compact and also strong..?

I was talking with NZSA and they can do me a deal on a 5.7ltr Catalina,no Luxfer tanks through them...I am guessing that is too big?
I think the 3.8ltr is what you were talking about but nobody in welly has them,I will also get hold of Global Dive and check their prices. :D
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby Andy » Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:02 pm

NEMES1S wrote:I See you are mainly using DIN valves,is that for size,obviously the DIN is quite small and compact and also strong..?



Mostly consistentcy - all our regs are now DIN. It just makes it easy to chop and change around.

DIN isn't really "stronger", but is more secure.
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby NEMES1S » Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:04 pm

Axe wrote:Hey Rob,

Wouldnt you want a 12l pony bottle?

Totally agree - awesome post...

The way I was breathing last night I think I will need a 15ltr pony bottle... :lol:
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby aquakiwi » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:53 pm

Thats pretty much how I've had mine set up, just a jubilee clip over a bit of inner tube to stop corrosion at the bottom.
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby NEMES1S » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:53 pm

Heres the final result...I just need to shorten the loop up and cut the exess of the double fishermans.
The First stage is an old CONSHELF SE2 and the reg is an APOLLO ECO Diver,the combination is actually bloody good and delivers a nice amount of air and very easy to breathe off...much better than the actual CONSHELF SE2 second stage I have on my "Long hose" set up,its air delivery is terrible so that needs a re-think.
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby NEMES1S » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:29 am

Finally binned the "stroke" brass clips and bought the last two stainless clips in Barton Marine....sad thing is they arent that big.
My new Thermo DIN valve has been fitted to my Pony and standard Sherwood valve shelved and the DIN adaptor for my second Legend set is on its way.
Once it arrives I will post a pic of my Pony again because I will be 90% satisfied with it....still not 100% due to the SPG location security..

Sfish has bought a nice shiny new Pony bottle will snap a pic later on... :D
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby justsimon » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:19 pm

Finally binned the "stroke" brass clips and bought the last two stainless clips in Barton Marine


What's wrong with brass clips?
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby Andy » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:52 pm

A few things wrong with brass clips.... mostly they just need more maintainence to keep working trouble/corrosion free. Saying that, cheap stainless clips often have non-stainless springs that rust away in n time.

The DIR aversion to brass was discussed a whiles back in anoher thread - Heather (chickdiver) has done a lot of diving with the WKPP crew and came up with the revelation that the WKPP banned brass clips because the grunts who carried the tanks around for the project divers complained - the brass is more maleable and gets damaged, and sharp - to put a couple of divers into the depths of those caves (pre-RB80 days at least) takes dozens of people doing hundreds of dives, staging loads of tanks. Aspiring project divers spend yearscarrying tanks, and without them nothing goes ahead - if they don't want their fingers cut on brass clips, it's stainless all the way!

It's always a good (self-mocking) DIR joke..... Ohhhh, brass clips.... you'll probably die.... :D
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby silent solutions » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:58 pm

Here is my problem with stainless dog clips you cant get them easily locally in a size that works with dry gloves or at a reasonable price.There is in my shed 9 stage bottles all brass clips some approaching ten plus years of service in mostly salt water and not one problem other than a quick lube every few years.Nobody has offered to carry my stages so I havent had any cut fingers yet.
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby Andy » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:15 pm

I saw some stainless ones in Mitre 10 yesterday, about $5 - perfect size for putting a finger through for making shifting tanks around nice and easy.
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby NEMES1S » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:17 pm

Andy wrote:I saw some stainless ones in Mitre 10 yesterday, about $5 - perfect size for putting a finger through for making shifting tanks around nice and easy.

Whats you A/C deatails Andy I need some... :lol: as I have encountered EXACTLY what silent solutions has mentioned,the stainless ones are small and fiddly!!
A certain Dive Shop in Auckland sells them for $30 and the springs are rusting after a few months!!
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Re: Pony Bottle Rigging

Postby silent solutions » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:17 am

Maybe your mitre ten is different to the ones in the south,The ones I looked at were small and $15 to $20.Are you sure they were stainless not nickel or zinc plated ones?The brass ones are about $3 through the farm supply places(crt etc).
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