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PSAI Instructor Trainer
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would appreciate some info
and this may spark some debate...

I currently have a bog standard self sealing type SMB and thanks to some training and hints from Mr Hayhurst.. I fills it up by exhaling underneath it and filling it via the exhaust on my TX40.

Ive been diving recently with these new age technical dudes, Gavin, Ben and Matt who are all using the bottle fed self inflating SMB's which seem to work well???

However, at £75 it seems a large investment of my rapidly dwindling diving dosh and I am a yorkshireman and its over 50 pence so any purchase requires thought!

Whats the considered opinion about them! how good are they?
are they value for money? or just the in thing..?

what are peoples thoughts!

Ian
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Ian - I got mine second hand as 80 sponds is a lot for anyone to pay but they are bl**dy handy.

Bagging off has gone from something that you would have to really concentrate on  - to - make sure there's no tangles, open the rachet on the manta, crack the bottle, fill the blob, close the bottle and let go.

I still use the spare conventional blob from time to time purely for practice but if I had to really get a blob up in a hurry you'd just check for tangles and crack the bottle and let go.

So on one hand 80 notes - but is that worth worry free ascents - I'd say so.

FYI - Ben sometimes remembers to attach the bottle to the blob sometimes  
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Hi

Read Matts post about his trip to Portland. You only have one attempt per dive !

Do you NEED one ? Can you deploy your SMB in 2 mins or less whilst neutrally buoyant ? Is it controlled ? ie do you have to let go or do you ensure that the reel/spool is clear before actual deployment and most importantly, do you feel that your current system of deploying an smb has a weakness ?

That should give you your answer. The standard criticism of these things is similar to that of a Buddy BC Bottle. If whilst getting the thing out you crack the bottle accidentally is it going to drag you up with it ? Don't know anyone whos done it so I shan't labour the point. I also haven't dived with anyone who uses one. (Somehow its always MY turn to deploy the SMB ??)

I use an SMB which can be filled from a drysuit hose or blown up manually. Good points are I don't need to take my reg out of my mouth and it fits quite neatly in a pouch on my backplate (ie looks cool ! see other posts!!), bad points are that you have to remember to put the drysuit hose back on (or you get a cold wet feeling when you consequently press the inflator!) and can't really be used in a wetsuit because the manual way is too slow and a PITA.

Personally I think you can spend money better somewhere else.

WL
 

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Ian

Like yourself, I use a standard self sealing smb. Personally, I prefer to fill mine from my octo, which works for me.

Lately, I have dived with a few people with the crack bottle type and I have to say, it does look easier to operate, especially if deploying in open water.

The main benefit seems to me to be the ability to partially open the valve and slowly release gas to begin inflation, once the blob supports itself without going skyward, close the valve and settle down. A final check - line not tangled, ratchet off the reel, no overhead obstructions - open the valve slightly and off she goes. You only need to get enough air in so as to start the blobs ascent, the combination of expanding air and the bottle being open should do the rest for you.

I may be wrong and like you, I would appreciate any thoughts.

I will probably pick one up as I think it removes some of the stress of deploying a traditional smb in difficult conditions.
 

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I've got one.

Pluses are:
No risk of freeflowing your reg by purging.
No risk of entanglement with your DV.
No hoses to disconnect or unclip.
Can be cracked slowly so it doesn't rocket to the surface.
Guarantees that the SMB will be fully-inflated when it hits the surface - very helpful if you're deploying from shallows.
Easy to inflate on the surface
Makes a loud screaming noise that can help draw attention to it when it surfaces.
One hand holds reel, one hand opens bottle - no "I need 3 hands" situations.

Minuses are:
It's very bulky compared to a normal SMB - I have to have it clipped to a D-ring rather than pocketed
If you're dumb enough to forget to fill it, you've got a heavy & bulky standard dSMB
It costs more to buy
It costs more to maintain (If you get the bottle tested)

However, it ISN'T true that it can drag you up to the surface. When it's wrapped up, if the bottle gets opened (which is damn hard since the valve is wrapped inside the SMB) all that happens is the over-pressure valve operates and dumps all the air. You'll be left with an empty bottle, but you won't get dragged up.
And you can still use it as a conventional dSMB, so it isn't rendered useless by having no crack-bottle
 

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The bulk issue is the one that I don't like much.
I have a self-sealing buoy in a couple of loops on the right-hand side of my backplate, the main reel clipped off to either right or left hip, spool and second buoy go into a thigh pocket.
It might not be as quick as a self-inflating buoy, but where do people carry that big lump?
Robert
 

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Left hip D-ring, along with the large McMahon reel
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>I use the regular fill-it-yersel type and use a low pressure inflator doobry (see recent thread with pix) to inflate it, but I fully intend to get one of these "crack & go" puppies too.

As pointed out recently, if you were caught in a down current and wanted to deploy your dSMB, this is what you'd want to be carrying, also the better bet for a strong drift dive

As far as bulk goes, that's not bulky,  have you seen my light sabre??  


Chee-az
Steve
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Steve - it's not a light sabre - it's a dustbin with a light-bulb in the end.

As far as stowage goes. The blob plus manta reel fits in my pocket. Spare blob slips into backplate pocket and spare reel/lining off reel is on right hip by torch battery.
 

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Finless: You couldn't invent him...
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I changed to the bottle inflating type 2 years ago and much prefer them. Generally speaking I am sure mine is harder and more erect than the other type when on the surface.

If releasing from somewhere I have tied the reel off to I always close the cylinder before releasing the SMB to stop water ingress when there is no pressure in the cylinder.

Mid water - crack it open and let it go.
 

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Pricey, stop being a tight wad, I had to buy two of the damn things, Adam had to have one as well  


Having used it several times I like it, down side was maybe having to do it manually on our 'extended' second dive, small price really for having a very non-stressed ascent to surface during the abort phase of dive '2'. I was all alone on the wreck without any buddy or any chance of getting air from someone else had I got into trouble, however I was completey at ease with having to launch smb once I had tied it off.

Just a small point I dont release the ratchet until after the blob is filled AND the bottle is closed to prevent any sea water getting in.

Seriously though I bought mine as I had Summer regs and really didnt want a free flow whilst deploying the Smb, would I buy it again now I have winter regs - probably.
Matt
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Finless @ May 14 2003,15:18)]Generally speaking I am sure mine is harder and more erect
Sorry

Just had to..


Looks like they are also a substitute for viagra !

WL
 

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I got a good old fashioned fill from the reg one, just turn me 'ed sideways, three puffs and jobs a goodun, only £35.00, mind you I had to spend the better part of £400.00 to get the Pseidon X-streams with a single exhaust to make it easy.

Still hey ho.

Andrew
 

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Finless: You couldn't invent him...
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (wetlettuce @ May 14 2003,15:35)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Finless @ May 14 2003,15:18)]Generally speaking I am sure mine is harder and more erect
Sorry

Just had to..


Looks like they are also a substitute for viagra !

WL
Titter freely - it was intended as such.

In reality the only stiff thing I have after diving is my back after climbing the ladder. Ah, the pleasures of increasing age - the mind improves as the body falls apart.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (wetlettuce @ May 14 2003,13:44)]Hi

Read Matts post about his trip to Portland. You only have one attempt per dive !

Do you NEED one ? Can you deploy your SMB in 2 mins or less whilst neutrally buoyant ? Is it controlled ? ie do you have to let go or do you ensure that the reel/spool is clear before actual deployment and most importantly, do you feel that your current system of deploying an smb has a weakness ?

That should give you your answer. The standard criticism of these things is similar to that of a Buddy BC Bottle. If whilst getting the thing out you crack the bottle accidentally is it going to drag you up with it ? Don't know anyone whos done it so I shan't labour the point. I also haven't dived with anyone who uses one. (Somehow its always MY turn to deploy the SMB ??)

I use an SMB which can be filled from a drysuit hose or blown up manually. Good points are I don't need to take my reg out of my mouth and it fits quite neatly in a pouch on my backplate (ie looks cool ! see other posts!!), bad points are that you have to remember to put the drysuit hose back on (or you get a cold wet feeling when you consequently press the inflator!) and can't really be used in a wetsuit because the manual way is too slow and a PITA.

Personally I think you can spend money better somewhere else.

WL
<font color='#FF00FF'>Sorry Wet, (dont take this personally)


DIR  aaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh.

Go dive in the clyde in 1m viz in the pitch dark running into alot of deco at 35 m + depth in effing cold water. You have to run a upline or drown or be bent. Task Loading and stress factors at maximum do you want to one.

1. Inflate your smb from a drysuit with gloved, cold hands..... free folw risk.

2. take the reg from gob...... free flow???

3. Use side exhaust, a bit more stress, slightly higer entanglment risk unless your v. good at it.  Wont necisarily fill the bag perfect to hold deco stop correctly and if in ferry lane you want a big, full bag (oh errr..)

4. In less than 30 seconds, stresslessly fire up a fuly inflated 25kg lift bag.........


Cost..... Fuck all compared to your life..... the last training course anyone did ....... or the last cylinder anyone bought.....


Time Scale to inlate.... bugger all and its stressless.

Chance of it inflating in your pockert!!!!!! Bugger all... bearing in mind its coiled in a pouch it will let the gas escape rather than carry you up.

if you dive in nastly UK waters you want a bottle filled or co2 filled BIG smb with a proper reel not a finger spool job.

Anything else is bollocks.


n.b sorry for spelling, etc, have been on stella again!!!!!!!
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Ben @ May 14 2003,19:50)]Sorry Wet, (dont take this personally)


DIR  aaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh.


n.b sorry for spelling, etc, have been on stella again!!!!!!!
<font color='#0000FF'>Hi

Sod off you spiteful git !


My response had nothing to do with DIR, it was more to do with spending money on fancy toys.

WL

PS It just shows you're a wasteful git by drinking stella, a true yorkshireman would be drinking real yorkshire beer, you shandy pufter !!
 

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<font color='#FF00FF'>Come on now wet, behave, Im only winding you up!


Still I wouldnt call it a fancy toy, its a diving problem (me included) you spend a fortune on a torch or a dry suit or a reg and then moan about buying the cheaper things that are as important!!

Anyway Im going to behave now and stop winding people up,

Sorry again wet, nowt personal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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Matt I will take your comments onboard and I think I'll fort out the dosh and buy one

mumble groan and mutter, I guess as the advice says its a life saving bit of equipment and I remember the Bit from Andy H about it being a surface anchor..

Ben do you have to do a training course to connect the bottle or is it relatively straightforward??


Ill go to Go dive this weekend...Marc will no doubt end up selling me 3 and a spare mask!


he is good at selling, could sell sand to the saudi's!

Ian
 

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<font color='#000F22'>I love my gas blob

It wraps up tight and is perminantly atached to the reel which is atached to my right hip D ring. I have never considered the bulk issue to be, errrrr an issue. It is bigger than a normal blob but so what. IMHO

It is very stress free to use and therefore safer to use than a conventional blob. It will always be fulley inflated on the surface and therefor provide a good stable winching point when winding up from the dive. Nouthing worse than winding up and having your blob come down to meet you


No mater how strong the current you can always sucessfully inflate the gas blob. (Any one who has tryed to inflate a blob flaping about at 90 deg from their mouth like a kite will know where I am comming from.)

Another big pluss is,  if the reel jams and you have to let it go You are asured it will be on the surface attached to a big read fulley inflated blob so will be easy to find.

As for forgeting to fill them errrr dont forget.

NOTE: get the DIN type as they are much neeter than the K type and then get a K converter for about £8 if you have K tanks.

ATB

Mark Chase
 
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