Pony rigs

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Pony rigs

Postby Ulsterkiwi » Fri May 10, 2013 12:47 pm

Hi all
I recently took advantage of Global DIves sale on G250V regs with the new model coming out and added a nice shiny Mk25+G250V to my long standing Mk11+G250.
I have a very good spec 2nd reg now and thought now is the time for a pony rig.
I have read around in some of the international forums about slinging or clamping to back gas and can see the merits either way.
I do a lot of diving with a camera, and its bulky. Have a nightmare scenario where a slung pony and my housing and strobe go crunch and the pony usually wins.
My question then is what do you guys recommend and what bits and bobs do you use to secure a pony in either configuration?

Just as an FYI, I dont want to use twins or a BP/W and yes I have dived with them.

Cheers!
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby DiveDR » Mon May 13, 2013 9:02 pm

Gidday,
If you are keen to look at the clamp method Metalsub do a very nice clamp: http://www.mikesdivestore.com/Article/1 ... Clamp.html
We have supplied them to a few commercial organisations that require a pony when diving and have had great feed back. Cheers Ant @ Dive Doctor.
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby ChuckyBob » Mon May 13, 2013 9:47 pm

I prefer the sling/side mount method.

Reason being its cheaper & simpler.

You can put it on and take it off in the water & pass it to an out of gas diver if needed.
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby Ulsterkiwi » Tue May 14, 2013 11:19 am

DiveDR wrote:Gidday,
If you are keen to look at the clamp method Metalsub do a very nice clamp: http://www.mikesdivestore.com/Article/1 ... Clamp.html
We have supplied them to a few commercial organisations that require a pony when diving and have had great feed back. Cheers Ant @ Dive Doctor.


that looks interesting! what do you charge for that system? I like the idea of it being attached to the BCD, that way on a 2 dive trip its easy to change main tanks.

Can the pony be mounted in an inverted arrangement with this device?

Chucky Bob, I do see your point and it definitely has its appeal, I am still concerned about all the gear "up front" if I were to dive with the pony and my camera. Perhaps I need to try?
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby AndrewRawlingson » Tue May 14, 2013 4:06 pm

i often dive with a pony (6 L) and prefer to have it side slung for the reasons mentioned. i also do a little underwater photography (compact camera) and don't find it gets in the way.

as you say, give it a go, you can make a sling kit for not very much money.

http://dir-diver.com/en/equipment/stage ... gging.html
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby ChuckyBob » Tue May 14, 2013 8:08 pm

If you use a butt plate then the tank can be mounted side mount style and it will be well out of the way and yet still very easy to clip/unclip and bring forward to work with eg turn valve on/off ,check SPG, tuck away LP hoses and regs.
Size on the tank does not change things much at all. You could have a 3L or a 10L tank and you would hardly notice the difference.

Its the way the big boys do it! :mrgreen:
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby Ali Perkins » Wed May 15, 2013 11:12 am

I carry my stage bottles on my left side, clipped to the left chest d-ring and left hip d-ring. I'm currently diving with aluminium 11L stage bottles and it's not a problem with a camera.
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby Ulsterkiwi » Fri May 17, 2013 8:59 am

thank you all, will so some shopping and let you know how I go.
cheers
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby DiveDR » Sun May 19, 2013 9:11 pm

Ulsterkiwi wrote:
DiveDR wrote:Gidday,
If you are keen to look at the clamp method Metalsub do a very nice clamp: http://www.mikesdivestore.com/Article/1 ... Clamp.html
We have supplied them to a few commercial organisations that require a pony when diving and have had great feed back. Cheers Ant @ Dive Doctor.


that looks interesting! what do you charge for that system? I like the idea of it being attached to the BCD, that way on a 2 dive trip its easy to change main tanks.

Can the pony be mounted in an inverted arrangement with this device?

Chucky Bob, I do see your point and it definitely has its appeal, I am still concerned about all the gear "up front" if I were to dive with the pony and my camera. Perhaps I need to try?


Off the top of my head it is about $250 and yes you can invert the cylinder.
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby Ulsterkiwi » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:32 am

cheers to DiveDr for the info.
Just by way of update.....
I went for a slung variety. I got a 3litre pony so with a button pressure gauge and the already tidy Mk11 1st stage in DIN the whole arrangement is actually very neat.
First dive with the new rig was when I did the F69 after the big storm (trip report is on here somewhere...) So tested out my concerns from the get go. Pony on left between shoulder and hip D Rings and camera rig on the right. Was all good! Hardly knew the pony was there to be honest and we spent a fair bit of time moving through the wreck as well so very happy.
The one thing was on the roll in entry from the boat. Scenario....hand on pony, hand on camera, no hands left for mask and reg! Apparently some people with this set up do their entry with the mask around their neck and fit before submerging. I have big hands so was able to grab the camera housing and the sling for the pony with my left and hold my mask with my right.
I enjoy the added security of a redundant system with a meaningful amount of air for the depths I go to. I am also a more useful buddy with the ability to hand off the pony rig to others so thank you for pointing out that benefit!
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby Ali Perkins » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:55 am

Ulsterkiwi wrote:I enjoy the added security of a redundant system with a meaningful amount of air for the depths I go to. I am also a more useful buddy with the ability to hand off the pony rig to others so thank you for pointing out that benefit!


I hope I'm not being too provocative by posting here (not my intention) but I was pondering the utility of a 3 litre pony bottle... instinctively it doesn't seem like much gas to me.

So I thought I'd do the maths:

Assuming a 3L bottle filled to 210 bar, you have 630L of gas.
Assuming a surface air consumption (SAC) rate of 20L/minute (a fairly normal diving breathing rate).
At 20 metres you will consume 60L/min which means your pony bottle will last 10.5 minutes.
At 30 metres you will consume 80L/min which means your pony bottle will last ~8 minutes.

Now assuming that if you're switching onto your pony bottle something is probably going wrong, so it is highly likely your SAC will be elevated, let's say 30L/min.
At 20 metres you will consume 90L/min which means your pony bottle will last 7 minutes.
At 30 metres you will consume 120L/min which means your pony bottle will last ~5 minutes.

It is my understanding that many people under stress will have a SAC in excess of 30L/min.

I guess I would conclude from all of the above that a 3L pony bottle has fairly limited utility. And if you were in a situation that someone required you to hand that over to them, well I'd hope they were making their way to the surface pretty promptly!

Anyone else care to weigh in with their thoughts - maybe I'm being too conservative?
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby ChuckyBob » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:51 pm

As far as non overhead dives I think 3L is fine.
Sure, its only 5 minutes at 30 meters but chances are you will be heading towards the surface as soon as you are forced to go to your pony. So it will probably give you closer to 10 minutes air time. Thats enough for a quickish accent from 30 meters and several minute safety stop.

Of course if you have a decompression obligation chances are it will not be enough. Although its better to be a little bit bent than a lot bent.
In a wreck/cave a 3L may only give you the opportunity to run out of gas twice.

I think a better choice would be a 40cf or 5.7l tank. In water its just as manageable as a 3l tank but gives you nearly twice the gas. This will also free up the market of 3l tanks for those that really need them! (CCR divers)


I am reminded of a story I heard.
A woman was diving on the Lermi, she was to do some penetration so took a pony with her. She put a normal single tank reg setup on it.
Soon after she entered the water she ran out of gas. She switched to her pony reg and no gas there either.
Panicking she bolted to the surface and polarised out of the water.
Back on the boat a quick check of her gear and the pony was totally empty and her back gas was totally full ( and turned on).
Lesson to be learnt, Set your gear up properly and know how to use it.
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby Ulsterkiwi » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:40 pm

your query is valid Ali and the capacity of the pony was something I did give some consideration to. Chucky Bob mentioned the Lermentov. I was very fortunate to do my first dives on that amazing wreck in Feb this year. It was after a weekend on the wreck and around the Sounds I decided that I would proceed to obtaining a pony rig. Getting the new regulator was the final piece in the jigsaw. On those dives I was deep, and on one of them inside, a notorious wreck and I felt that my preparation for this kind of dive could be stepped up a notch by carrying a pony. Exactly how that would end up was something I had to make a balanced decision about.
I am deep and wreck certified (which by itself means little)and I have been diving for 20 odd years now in a variety of countries and conditions. I know where and how I like to dive. I rarely dive below 30m, there has to be a very good reason for me to do that, such as diving on a wreck like the Lermy. I also do not do decompression dives. I actually have no clue how many dives I have done but whether on the BSAC88 tables I started with, PADI tables or using a computer I have never gone into a decompression obligation situation. I also avoid overhead environments. Again, there needs to be a good reason for me to enter a cavern or a wreck. I have done both, always at the start of a dive, always as part of the plan and always have left that environment when I planned to. I guess I am saying I dive in a very conservative manner, that may make me boring but I actually don't give a stuff. I got the pony because I consider it a piece of safety equipment, I carry a nautilus VHF, torch, 2 knives, a dive alert, a surface safety sausage and a delayed SMB with reel every dive. I am very fortunate that I have the means to afford all this but if I die or suffer serious injury during a dive it hopefully wont be because I did not take every precaution I could or because I am a thrill seeker who simply had natural selection catch up with me. All things considered the 3 litre pony is adequate for the risks I run in the diving I do and certainly on balance a much better option than none at all.
If I was to be planning deeper, longer or more challenging dives then would I source a larger capacity pony? yes. If provided with the opportunity to do something like that without prior knowledge and therefore means to get that other piece of equipment would I conduct that dive? No. The water will always be there for the next time.
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby Ali Perkins » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:05 am

ChuckyBob wrote:In a wreck/cave a 3L may only give you the opportunity to run out of gas twice.


Haha you're cracking me up Greg! :-)

Hey, I'm not trying to be critical of your choice Ulsterkiwi. I just thought it would be good to do the maths and give my brain a little workout. My diving is majority cave diving at the moment so you can probably guess that I'm coming from a different place with redundancy in mind. (Although even on reef diving my redundancy of choice is manifolded double tanks... but they're not for everybody.)

I just think awareness is great and 3L isn't much gas - for me the volume doesn't mean much, when I see it in minutes of breathing gas underwater then it is a figure I can grasp much better. You sound like a very aware diver already. I was also thinking about situations (who hasn't experienced this?) when you turn up to the dive site and discover the shop only gave you a 180 bar fill. With a small tank it's probably good to have in the back of your mind what this now means for breathing time underwater. Having an idea of your SAC is probably good too.

I think it's great to have this discussion, so thanks for posting. It's pretty quiet on scubadivenz!

My final word. :-) And this in no way applies to you Ulsterkiwi, because you don't seem to dive this way. I think some divers might strap on a 3L pony and think "I've got redundancy" and find themselves at 35 metres inside a wreck. In this case I would suggest that the pony is not so much redundancy as a false sense of security.
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Re: Pony rigs

Postby binklebonk » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:02 am

some divers might strap on a 3L pony and think "I've got redundancy" and find themselves at 35 metres inside a wreck. In this case I would suggest that the pony is not so much redundancy as a false sense of security.


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