Why can’t scuba tanks be set up like a firefighter’s scba?

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VooDooGasMan

Contributor

Hose routing can be achieved through a block manifold like rebreather or sidemount set ups are.

Firemans tanks are the carbon fiber tanks nowadays.

Peter Guy

Contributor

a. Whether in singles or doubles, I don’t have a problem looking up nor do I have a problem tilting my head. If you do, then perhaps there is an issue with how the tank/harness is set up. So, no problem, don’t need a solution.

b. While I can imagine a time when I’d want to be able to turn my valve ON while underwater with a single tank, what that means, of course, is that I’ve screwed up big time. Solution — make sure my valve is ON before entering the water and thus I don’t need a solution. OTOH, I really can’t imagine a time when I’d want to be able to turn my valve OFF while diving a single so, again, no need for the proposed solution. (Note — IF I had a free flow, for example, I will want my tank turned off — BUT ONLY AFTER I’ve gone onto my buddy’s gas and then it is trivial for my buddy to turn my valve off.)

c. With doubles, I can pretty easily turn on/off my own valves.

OK — now what problem are you trying to solve?

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Kilili

Contributor

I’ve a 2-page magazine article circa 1999 about using this kind of setup. Can send, but no way to attach here.

Ken
~~~
“There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” – Johann Sebastian Bach

Ghost Tree

I’m a firefighter too, the fire department set up is way better and safer. SCUBA setup is crude comparatively.

flots am

Contributor

Messages 3,226 Reaction score 1,870 Location Wherever you go in life, that’s where you are. # of dives I just don’t log dives

I was thinking back to my firefighting days and I was wondering why scuba tanks can’t be set up like scba. Unlike diving, when I was firefighting, I never hit my head on the tank or tank valve and could easily look up. Plus the regulator was easy to reach should there be an air leak or other issue.

Without trying to deplete my sack of monkey wrenches, I’ll toss another one in.

You can wear your tank in any manner that makes you happy. Feel free to try it. Maybe you’ll like it.

There are places where “upside down” is common.

The only functional thing I’ll mention is that if your tank happens to have crap in it (rust/water/whatever) and it doesn’t have a dip tube or the dip tube fell out, the crud will end up in your reg.

Contributor

AGA Divator had a very nice system like you describe in the mid 70’s. Twin HP stl 40’s (4400 psi) mounted upside down. Webbing was attached directly to the tank bands. Breathing performance was wonderfull. Hoses were of a somewhat STD length routed up your torso. It was the most comfortable rig I have ever used. Only drawback at the time was air fills (4400 PSI impossible to get in my area)

Bryan Cunningham

Contributor

I have often asked myself the same question, but their are many drawbacks including those listed in the replys above. What you also have to consider is the ease of operation for a dive operator. Consider these daily routines.
1) Storing tanks on the boat before the divers set up their gear. Easiest is in rack standing upright.
2) Loading and off loading boat, easiest to just grab the valve and carry
3) Checking all the divers on the boat before they enter the water.
4) Setting up equipment on a rocky boat. Easiest to slip BCD over upright tank and attach reg to top.

Personal diver comfort. Except for Tech divers, how often does a diver need to reach his own valve, (Which is not really that difficult with scuba set up.) Then of course there is hose configuration for the inflator hose.

Basically you could set up your gear either way. But with the many different levels of experience, it is best to have a standardised system, and weighing the pros and cons, valves up wins. This is not to say that if you are diving privately and prefer firefighter system that you cannot set up that way. Just make sure your buddy is familiar with your system and that everything functions as it should. Most industry norms are not rules. As long as you have the correct equipment, set it up as you feel best. As long as its safe.

Ayisha

Contributor

Tracy, I am petite and have the same problem as you with AL 80’s, but there are solutions. If I use an AL 80, I have to choose whether I want the tank valve to hit my head or the back of my legs – and I choose my legs – much safer and less irritating. I have gotten big goose eggs on the back of my head or the valve pushes my mask off when placed too high. There is no in-between with an AL 80 if you’re very petite.

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*If you have 2 cam bands (tank straps), you can mainly just use the bottom strap and place the top strap just at the curved top of the tank – more than secure. If you have a carrying strap on your BC, you can use that on the valve as well to hold it at the right height for you. I do this with my AL 63 and it doesn’t hit anything. An AL 80 will still hit my legs.

*Use a High Pressure steel 80 and set it up the same way as low as possible. Different tanks come in different lengths and valve heights. Choose a shorter HP steel 80 with a shorter valve.

*You can use an AL 63 IF you’re exceptional on air, as many petite women are. I was only using 1/3 of an AL 80 for deep dives almost to the NDL so I used AL 63’s from the first year. I come back with about half with my AL 63, so it’s perfect for me. And no hitting anything.

SCBA vs SCUBA

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Benefits of registering include

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harold3

Registered

My first “professional” vocation was as a fire fighter and one of the bits of kit that was a major part of my life was the SCBA gear. Which is a close cousin of the SCUBA gear, Only thing being the SCBA isn’t designed for underwater use (thus the lack of the U).

Now, as I’m preparing to kit up for my soon to start classes, I have some concerns.

I’ll be buying basic gear to start, which means I won’t be buying a tank right off the bat. BUT from my previous experience I know I’m an air hog, and while this isn’t a major issue on land (swap a bottle is easy with quick releases etc) it might be so underwater. As in I know that I won’t be able to use the same volume of air as the rest of the class for the same amount of time.

Out of courtesy should I go ahead and plan on buying a larger tank from the outset so as not to lessen others time in the water? It’s not a huge expendature or financial burden to do so, I just don’t want to tottally gear up until I fully understand what a piece of kit would offer for me so I’m not likely to go hog wild with an AMEX card at the diveshop getting every shiney bit of kit I can get my hands on, but I would like to have a nice solid Basic setup that will reduce or negate any mundane problems.

Walter

Contributor

The Devil’s in the details.

Disclaimer: All discussion of value, by me or anyone else, is opinion.

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Damselfish

ScubaBoard Supporter

Not sure if you mean to buy a tank for class but I wouldn’t worry about that. You’re not that long or deep. For the pool, most classes I’ve seen they bring plenty of extras so swapping would likely not be a problem, you can check on that if you’re really worried. In the first OW dives most people will suck down air like crazy. It’s even possible you will do relatively well because of using the SCBA gear previously, or be less stressed out than some other people might be, or whatever.

So I would wait and see how you do in class and maybe just a couple dives after that. There are arguments for and against having your own tanks. You may very well want to buy your own tanks but if you wait a little more you will know a little more. There are a couple factors in choosing a tank than just size. And if you’re getting your own tank you will probably want more than one. Don’t know where and how you will be diving, but it’s pretty common to go for more than one dive (and not have a handy place to get a fill right there), or go out on a boat where you do more than one dive.

O2BBubbleFree

Contributor

First off, you probably won’t need a larger tank for classes, as they are ususally short dives for skills evaluations. You should talk to your instructor. Besides, you won’t be able to buy or rent tanks until you are certified.

If you still feel you need a larger tank, I suggest (if you haven’t already) find out what tanks are available for rent in your area. As I mentioned, you won’t be able to rent them yourself until you get your card, but you might be able to convince your instructor to rent them for you.

After you are certified, you should think long and hard about buying tanks. It typically costs about $2 more to rent one versus getting your’s filled. And you have to pay for annual service and 5-year hydro tests. At $2 / fill, it takes a long time to pay off a tank, especially when you have to pay for the tests/inspections.

Also, is you are traveling to your dive sites, it’s usually much more convenient to rent once you get there.

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There are advantages to owing your own tanks. Just wanted to point out some of the considerations.

blizzard

Registered

I used to be a volunteer firefighter and used SCBA for many years. It is great preparation for SCUBA, as you are already used to the claustrophobic sensation of wearing a mask and breathing a tank of air.

Since SCUBA is much less “active”, you may be surprised at how much less air you use. You are already used to controlled breathing, whereas many of your classmates will go through a lot of air just from the stress factor.

I would wait until you have completed your open water dives and then decide if you need to buy a tank. Maybe compare remaining air levels with your classmates after each dive to get an idea if you would end up holding them back. As mentioned, in the pool it is not a big deal to jump out and switch tanks. (keep in mind that if you buy a tank, it is difficult to take with you on a flying vacation, so will likely be the most use if you plan to do a lot of local diving – in which case you may want to buy 2)

Personally, I always seem to have more air left than the person I’m buddied with, but it doesn’t bother me to finish on their schedule. Just one of those things. Oh, and I’ve never had an OOA situation in SCUBA, but I did have one in SCBA. Very good prep if it ever happens in SCUBA!

mike_s

Contributor

I wouldn’t buy tanks until you finish your class and do a few dives and see what your “true” air consumption is going to be. No sense buying something until you figure out what best fits your needs.

nauidiver2004

Guest

rockjock3

Contributor

My first “professional” vocation was as a fire fighter and one of the bits of kit that was a major part of my life was the SCBA gear. Which is a close cousin of the SCUBA gear, Only thing being the SCBA isn’t designed for underwater use (thus the lack of the U).

Now, as I’m preparing to kit up for my soon to start classes, I have some concerns.

I’ll be buying basic gear to start, which means I won’t be buying a tank right off the bat. BUT from my previous experience I know I’m an air hog, and while this isn’t a major issue on land (swap a bottle is easy with quick releases etc) it might be so underwater. As in I know that I won’t be able to use the same volume of air as the rest of the class for the same amount of time.

Out of courtesy should I go ahead and plan on buying a larger tank from the outset so as not to lessen others time in the water? It’s not a huge expendature or financial burden to do so, I just don’t want to tottally gear up until I fully understand what a piece of kit would offer for me so I’m not likely to go hog wild with an AMEX card at the diveshop getting every shiney bit of kit I can get my hands on, but I would like to have a nice solid Basic setup that will reduce or negate any mundane problems.

Welcome to SCUBA. I have some information that might help you. I spent 5 years as a firefighter and you can in no way (if that is what you are doing) compare your air consumption during breathing from an SCBA to breathing during diving. My air consumption while geared up was horrible, better than most of the other guys, but still horrible. You are wearing your bunker gear and any movement raises your consumption and starts to wear on you. SCUBA is totally different and your consumption habits wont be the same. Oh, they might start out high, but that will change. I outlast all my buddies when we go diving and I use an AL80 just like they do. It would be overkill for me to have a larger tank unless/until I decide to start staying down on my own.

My suggestion would be to dive for at least a couple of months or 30-40 dives before you buy your own tanks. By that time your comfort level should be fairly established and your SAC rates should be fairly stable so you can make a better decision on what size tanks to buy. If you are constantly the cause for ending the dives due to low air then larger tanks are a must, but if you are not then 80s should be fine.

Can You Use a Medical Oxygen Tank for Scuba Diving?

Can You Use a Medical Oxygen Tank for Scuba Diving

As a scuba diver, I’ve been asked so many times if you can use a medical oxygen tank for scuba diving. The tanks do look very similar and after all both aid in breathing but under different environments. A non-diver may wonder why not uses a medical tank since it’s pure oxygen and helps patients breathe while in hospitals.

The simple answer to this question is NO. You can’t use a medical oxygen tank for scuba diving because the contents in each tank are different and meant for use under very different circumstances. A scuba diving tank is filled with purified air, it’s like the normal air we breathe but all the contaminants have been filtered out. On the other hand, a medical breathing tank is filled with purified oxygen only.

While both tanks are designed to aid in breathing, scuba diving tanks help divers breathe underwater while medical tanks are designed for use on the surface.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, in the next few paragraphs I’ll discuss the differences between medical oxygen tanks and scuba diving tanks. Can you use a medical oxygen tank for scuba diving, and so much more.

Keep reading to learn more!

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Differences between a Medical Oxygen Tank and a Scuba Diving Tank

Scuba diving tanks contain 21% oxygen and all the other gases found occurring naturally in the air. Including a high percentage of nitrogen (78%). The air in these tanks allows scuba divers to breathe normal air, especially in recreational scuba diving.

Advanced divers such as technical divers will use enriched air to help them breathe properly in extreme depths. The air in these enriched tanks is mainly a higher percentage of oxygen combined with nitrogen or helium.

Divers going over 100 ft. below sea level can’t use the normal air tanks used in recreational scuba diving because the gases compress as you dive deeper. This lowers the amount of air available for the diver which can be risky.

Medical oxygen tanks on the other hand should only contain pure oxygen and no other gases to avoid contamination.

The medical oxygen tanks are built differently meaning scuba diving regulators aren’t compatible with the valve knobs on these tanks.

Scuba diving tanks can’t be filled with medical-grade oxygen or pure oxygen under any given circumstance. These tanks should always be filled with purified compressed air only.

Scuba tanks are designed to withstand high-pressure underwater. Medical tanks are designed for use on surfaces where the pressure surrounding the tank is normal. For this reason, the tanks may not work well underwater due to the surrounding water pressure.

Medical oxygen tank

Is Medical Oxygen The Same As Scuba Diving Oxygen?

No, medical oxygen is not the same as scuba diving oxygen.

As mentioned earlier, medical oxygen is 100% purified oxygen with no other gases present in the tank.

This is required for the medical tanks to work effectively in delivering oxygen to all the body tissues.

A higher concentration of oxygen will work best to deliver the much-needed oxygen to a patient’s body tissues. This is not possible when using oxygen at its normal concentration of 21% in air.

Patents requiring breathing assistance can’t take in enough oxygen supply to all tissues which will affect their organs’ functionality.

Scuba diving oxygen, on the other hand, is at 21%. Air in the scuba tanks is made by compressing air and purifying it meaning the gasses will occur at normal percentages.

In addition, scuba diving oxygen is available in the scuba tank as part of other gases found in the air.

Why 100% Oxygen Is Not Used In Scuba Diving

100% oxygen is not used in scuba diving due to toxicity issues.

If scuba divers used only oxygen their lungs and all other body tissues will be saturated with oxygen causing convulsions. (Read a more detailed article on oxygen and diving here)

This is quite dangerous while diving as it could lead to fainting and drowning.

Medical grade oxygen is still important to divers. In case of a diving accident such as barotrauma or severe cases of decompression sickness, divers are required to give the patient 100% oxygen.

This help saves their lives by reintroducing oxygen to their tissues to keep their body functioning. This is of course done on the dive boat as you head to the nearest rescue boat or medical center.

Divers do carry medical oxygen tanks on their dive boats, not for diving but to save lives when the need arises.

Can You Use a Medical Oxygen Tank for Scuba Diving

Can I Use a Scuba Tank For Medical Oxygen?

Yes, and No.

Scuba tanks can be cleaned and filled with medical oxygen. Scuba Tank cleaning helps keep the tank safe for the user to avoid explosions or fire.

This is done by professionals since they have a better understanding of how to do it. The cleaning should also involve cleaning the valves just to make sure everything is compatible for pure oxygen use.

But if you are considering filing your scuba tank with medical-grade oxygen for personal uses or reasons, this is a bad idea.

Filling oxygen in a scuba tank before cleaning could end up in an accident.

You also need to make some adjustments to the scuba tanks such as changing the valves.

Should you use a scuba tank for medical oxygen? No, avoid converting scuba diving tanks to medical takes especially if you lack the skills and knowledge. If you must, then leave it to the professionals.

Is Compressed Air Same As Oxygen?

No, compressed air is the everyday air we breathe in subjected to high-pressure to compress and filter it.

Compressed air contains nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other gases. It’s basically the air we breathe but in a purified and compressed state.

Oxygen is part of compressed air but can also occur on its own as seen in medical tanks.

Oxygen is isolated from the other components of air, purified, and compressed. When oxygen occurs on its own it will have a higher concentration than normal oxygen in compressed air.

It’s, therefore, true to say oxygen is part of compressed air but you can’t find compressed air in pure oxygen.

Pure oxygen used in medical tanks must exist on its own to avoid contamination and cause health problems in patients.

Final Take

We’ve seen that you can’t use medical oxygen for scuba diving. 100% oxygen will cause saturation of tissues causing oxygen toxicity which eventually causes convulsions.

We’ve also looked into why scuba divers don’t use pure oxygen or medical tanks for scuba diving. The main reason being pure oxygen will cause toxicity and convulsions and regulators aren’t compatible with the medical oxygen tanks.

Medical tanks are important in the diving community especially when accidents occur. But they are only reserved for that particular use and not as a scuba tank substitute.

Source https://scubaboard.com/community/threads/why-cant-scuba-tanks-be-set-up-like-a-firefighters-scba.406350/page-2

Source https://scubaboard.com/community/threads/scba-vs-scuba.133367/

Source https://scubaplunge.com/can-you-use-a-medical-oxygen-tank-for-scuba-diving/

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