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Buddy commando bcd

Discussion in 'Dive Equipment' started by Alan Davies, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Alan Davies

    Alan Davies Active Member

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    Hello I have purchased a buddy commando bcd and whilst looking around it I tried to inflate it manually but whilst u have to hold the inflate button u have to cover the whole area of the deflate button is this correct
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    No.

    When you orally inflate a BCD, you press the deflate button as you blow into the mouthpiece. You don't touch the inflate - which is just a valve on the inflation hose nipple.

    Also, make sure that you don't inhale when you do this. The BCD bladders are full of bugs which are best not inhaled. Typically I'll inhale, then move the mouthpiece to my lips, blow, then press the deflate, then move the mouthpiece away as I inhale.
     
  3. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    The Dump on the end is a simple valve to let the air out, of the bladder, so once pressed any air in
    the BC will come out and you need a positive pressure higher than what's in it to as Wibs says stop
    nasties getting in your lungs.

    So you take a deep breath put inflator in mouth and blow into BC as you press the button on the end.
    Once your lungs are empty stop pressing the button and remove fully from mouth and away, take a
    breath and repeat. The taking away is important as it's all too easy to press the dump early and get
    a mouthfull, needs to be done as you are breathing out.

    But ................

    A lot of Commandos don't have the AP200 (both variants) Inflator, but an Auto-Air. This has the dump
    on the side and a purge on the end. Procedure is the same as the above, but pressing the button on
    the side. You can tell the diffence as it's larger and has 3 buttons not 2.
     
  4. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    What's an Auto-Air?
     
  5. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    Combined AAS and BC inflator.
     
  6. Big Joe

    Big Joe Active Member

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    A good way to get nasties in your lungs
     
  7. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    It was until a few years ago and the Introduction of the Octopus the only alternate and still comes up a lot on s/hand sales
    of Buddy BC's, hence mentioning it in the above post . They almost died a death and were close to being dropped from
    being mentioned in most agencies training regimes and were activly discouraged until RB's took off and they became a
    convienient way of having a direct bailout.

    If anybody wants one and wants to swap for an AP200 Inflator happy to oblige :)
     
  8. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    When I started diving I used to think that these were a really good idea. Now I know a little bit more, I can't think of a worse device which is just inviting Mr Cockup to come along and kill someone.

    The octopus is the alternate air source. Everybody trains with it. Everybody knows what it looks like and how to use it. Unless the Auto-Air is used by donating your primary whilst you suck on your BCD inflator.

    Thinking about it, wasn't it the Auto-Air that used to cause massive online rows? Before my time though.
     
  9. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Yeah kind of.

    About 95% BSAC hated it and it was dissed big time in the syllabus, and just waiting for it to disappear. That was until RB's started using them.
    It was seen ok IF you had an octopus, but not instead of and when the long hose debarckle kicked in caused a stink as using
    the Auto Air was the same as primary donate.

    The argument then was that it was an addition to the main of Octopus, so a secondary alternate and not the primary, but that didnt really
    work too well as even a secondary needs to be practiced. Not much point in having any system unless schooled in how it works.

    TBH whatever way you look at them they are a CF in waiting and much better alternatives in all respects are out there. ~It's now
    mostly in the drawer along with the Buddy Pocket Reel, Mares Hub and the i3 Infllator :)

    Ignoring all the above the key failing in the Auto-Air is the position of the purge which mimics
    the dump. Doing a CBL on an unknown (no buddy check) diver with an an Auto-Air is interesting
    to say the least if the rescuer was unware of the difference.

    Think i'll do a simple test in the pool next time. I'll put an Auto-Air on a BC and give it to an Instructor
    then get our new students who have only used standard inflators to do a CBL on him. Should be
    interesting to see if they can adapt.
     
    #9 Tel, Mar 5, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  10. Alan Davies

    Alan Davies Active Member

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    Are u guys talking about the valve on the bottom right hand side that a little bottle plugs into
     
  11. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    No, they are talking about the one soling from your left shoulder on the end of the elephant trunk
     
    Vanny likes this.
  12. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Nope :)

    This is the standard buddy inflator the AP200 fitted to most models out there, the later ones are the APV200 and similar.
    it's got two buttons the dump on the end (highest point) and the infllate that is always next to the hose.

    [​IMG]


    This is the Auto-Air and again there is a similar post 2007 later version that's the same layout.
    While the LP inflate is still in the same place by the hose, the dump is moved to the side and it
    now has three buttons with the addition of a purge that is now on the end or highest point.
    If you do a CBL with the former it works and dumps air. Do it the same way with the latter and all
    you are doing is purging any remaining cylinder contents, not exactly great.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Alan Davies

    Alan Davies Active Member

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    Mine has the first one and the valve I was talking about that a little bottle connects to has been blanked off but the shop as they said they was a liability
     
  14. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Yep, I agree. I used to sneak up behind a buddy and open his 'emergency bottle' when he wasn't looking. Only did it if we aere shallow like 5m though.
     
  15. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Yeah they are also called suicide bottles, good idea to blank them off.

    BTW you have got this hose on your regs, yes?
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Alan Davies

    Alan Davies Active Member

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    No not yet the owner who services all the equipment is off ill and the lady said it needs a different hose but did not want to give me one in case it had not been serviced so got to go back when he is there and he will replace the one on my regs
     
  17. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Ok the one you need is the one in the picture, that's an AP Valves LP hose.
     
  18. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    @Alan Davies - I'll try writing a summary... (I'm sure people will correct anything I say here!)

    Firstly, there's nothing wrong with older kit, especially if it's working and the right price (that'll be cheap!). The Buddy range of BCDs (made by AP Valves) are well known and have a reputation for being strong and reliable, although not the trendiest of brands as AP often stick with old ideas for longer than other companies.

    Your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device -- used to adjust your buoyancy underwater) appears to contain a couple of older technologies which aren't used these days.

    Firstly there's the small compressed air bottle (which we often refer to as a crack-bottle) which would have been installed on the BCD but has been blanked off on yours. This is not necessary nowadays as we all have reliable pressure gauges (SPG - Submersible Pressure Gauge). However in the past SPGs were expensive and not everybody had them (we're talking of 30 years ago here). As a result it was more common for people to run out of air as they had no real way of monitoring it.

    Running out of air is bad in two ways: obviously you can't breathe water. But the other issue is you need air to go into your buoyancy jacket (BCD) so you can return to the surface. So they fitted a tiny crack bottle which you could let off and it dragged you to the surface where there's lots more air.

    In diving, the last thing you ever want is an uncontrolled ascent with someone out of air. Obviously they're at risk of drowning, but they're also very lightly to seriously injure themselves with the change in pressure -- getting bent or a "burst lung". Hence those bottles were known as suicide bottles and don't appear on modern dive kit. What we do often carry is a redundant second source of air called a Stage Bottle or a PONY bottle. Both of these contain much more gas which means you've time to get your act together and Slowly Ascend From Every dive (SAFE - geddit) - no drowning, no panic, no problems.


    The second technology which I think is fitted to your BCD is this Auto-Air thing.

    A quick back-to-basics moment... Your BCD is just a bag of air. You need to be able to put air in it (inflate), and take air out of it (deflate or dump). To put air into it, it's connected via a hose to your regulator which is connected to your cylinder. Press a button and the BCD inflates; press the other button and it deflates. All straightforward. And in principle exactly the same technology no matter what you dive. In fact various components are standard on many BCDs - be it beginner or advanced equipment, you'll recognise the controls.

    As the BCD is a critical bit of kit -- you will sink if it's not working -- all BCDs include an Oral Inflation method. Stick the thing to your mouth and blow it up. It's something you will be taught on your first courses. It looks a bit like a regulator mouthpiece, but it's nothing of the sort as it's used only for manual inflating, not breathing (OK, in extremely advanced diving it could be used to breathe from, but this isn't relevant here).

    Back to Auto-Air.

    Some non-diving bright-spark thought -- "ooh, it looks like a mouthpiece, why not make it into a regulator, that way you can do a two-for-one special offer - BCD inflation and breathe from it in emergency."

    Of course the thing that this complete pillock (?) didn't consider is that's the point of *always* carrying a second backup regulator called the Octopus. Its job is to give air to another diver, or to enable you to breathe if your regulator breaks (e.g. falls apart). All divers train to use the octopus both giving and receiving; everyone recognises it.

    The Auto-Air is utterly pointless and down-right dangerous as other rescuing divers will not be familiar with it's use. Worse still it could encourage people to dive with a single regulator, relying on the Auto-Air as the backup regulator. This is the cluster-fuck (CF) that @Tel refers to. Or the deaths that the coroner deals with.


    So, if there's an Auto-Air fitted, I'd strongly recommend that it's replaced with a normal BCD inflator valve. This gives you standardised kit, which is a very good and safe thing. Standard inflators don't cost much and if it's a dive shop, they should fit on to it before you buy it.
     
    reefer likes this.
  19. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    Not quite accurate. The auto air delivers gas via the low pressure hose direct from your main cylinder. This is no more likely to give you nasties than any other reg. The auto air AND standard AP inflator will also allow you to suck the gas directly out of the stab, much like any inflator will if you push the dump button and suck in. This is likely to be contaminated by bug growth inside your BC jacket.

    I've never used one on OC but the auto air remains on my AP CCR as a Convenient shallow bail out valve.

    For OC use not the ideal solution, a second stage on a decent length hose can't be beaten. Like any piece of equipment it can have its place , recognising the limitations of any piece of equipment or configuration is key to safe diving.
     
  20. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    You need to learn a bit of history first Wibs :)

    The reason Buddy stuck/stick with older systems, well the clue is in the name of BC's - Commando. Ranger, Explorer, Pioneer etc.,
    yep Buddy supplies the military and its the Miltary that tend to kick their heels & demand a tough spec, wanting the same
    suicide bottle etc. from years back. AP could I suppose retool for the domestic market or they could just sell the BC without it :)

    As for the Auto-Air isnt hindsight wonderful :p

    This is a time when the Octopus wasnt even thought of, first stages didnt have enough ports anyway and divers were still using
    horse collars and some not even a gauge (Google J Valve ). The first stage had two LP hoses one to the single reg and one to the
    collar (older ones didnt even have this, yes it was the suicide bottle again).

    The only alternate option apart from Buddy Breathing was to squirt into the bag and breathe of that via the inflator unit. Not exactly
    easy, so it made sense to come up with a unit that allowed you to breathe direct off the inflator.

    Nowdays we have better systems sure and Auto-airs shoud be consigned to the bin, but let's not call the designers pillocks. At the
    time it was an innovative solution to what divers already had. Mind they are after all the same designers that came up with a
    yellow box and changed the face of diving forever :)

    BTW he doesnt actuallly have an Auto-Air, he said that in post #13
     
    Wibble and Vanny like this.

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