Buoyancy Control Devices (BCs) FAQ

Products - BCs


The difference is primarily the fabric material of the outer shell and the warranty.

The EXP series wings have an outer fabric shell made of tough 1680 denier ballistic nylon. The EXP wings are available in black with gray side panels, and occasionally limited edition colors such as pink. EXP series wings feature a one year warranty.

The XT series outer fabric shell, built upon the SuperFabric® technology, is outstandingly rugged. Dive Rite's XT Armored wings have the durability of SuperFabric outer side with a 1000 denier Cordura® inner side to create an armor-clad shell that is impervious to damaging pinches, cuts and abrasions. The Dive Rite XT wings are available in solid black color and feature a LIFETIME GUARANTEE.

For more information visit Dive Rite Wings Overview.

About {25 lb | 10 kg} is the lift you need with your buoyancy aircell (called a 'wing') for single tank diving, assuming you are properly weighted. Manifolded doubles require about {45 lb | 20 kg} of lift. If you need more lift than that, you probably need to "get the lead out". These are just approximations because the cylinder sizes, types and configurations, not lift capacity, is the best guide to selecting the correct wing. We have more information in our article Suggestions for Selecting a Wing.

Both are harness, backplate and wing type systems: The TransPac is a 'soft' plate using a semi rigid high-tech material. The TransPlate is fully rigid metal plate (your choice of aluminum or steel). With a properly adjusted harness, both are equally as stable. We are sometimes asked if the TransPac can have a plate "added"; the answer is no. While other brands do offer "hybrid" systems, because of the nature of the TransPac design combining hard and soft plates together wouldn't produce any benefit. The hybrid systems offered by other brands can best be thought of as a TransPlate with a lumbar backpad option.

We most often recommend the TransPac because it is always more comfortable and form fitting than the TransPlate. Even adding a lumbar backpad to the TransPlate will not make it as comfortable or form-fitting as the TransPac. If you want to add extra weight, choose the stainless steel TransPlate system. Most people diving double cylinders choose the TransPlate. Most people diving single cylinders choose the TransPac. Most people who dive drysuit exclusively choose TransPlate, most people who dive wetsuit exclusively choose TransPac.

The simple answer is "probably not". The STA is a product which predates modern backplate and wing designs that include pre-cut slots for cam straps. Using the straps threaded through the backplate snugs the tank and wing up very tight against the backplate and does not allow the tank to rock. Using an STA sets the tank farther away from the backplate and allows the tank to rock slightly by pivoting from side to side on the bolts. For more information read our article Single Tank Mounting with Backplaces.

Most wings offer the option of a "Remote Exhaust" (aka pull-to-dump) elbow or "Plain" elbow. The standard pull-to-dump convenience feature is present on nearly all recreational sport BCD jackets and the default configuration on many single tank back inflation wings; the plain elbow is the default on most double tank wings. Experienced divers avoid the pull-to-dump feature, because it's difficult precisely control the amount of gas released and they do not like pulling on the inflation assembly. For experienced and technical divers, as a result of their often horizontal position in the water, they use the OPV pull to release gas or hold their inflation assembly above their head and press the oral inflate button to release gas. Many divers view the Remote Exhaust feature as an unnecessary feature that is just something that could fail and therefore prefer to use their skills to trade off convenience for reliability by selecting a plain elbow.

The standard corrugated hose on the inflation assembly is usually about 16-inches long. Some physically very tall or large divers need a longer corrugated hose length of 22-inches. Longer corrugated hoses are also usually found on BC integrated alternate second stage regulators. Some technical divers, especially cave divers, prefer a shorter 12-inch corrugated hose to reduce the "danglies".

Most technical diving aircells use a soft "crushproof" EPDM corrugated hose with excellent durability and strength in diving applications. Unlike rubber, EPDM material does not oxidize and the presence of a white haze is not an indication of deterioration or use. The EPDM material contains a surfactant that exhibits a gradual "blooming" of a white haze on the surface of the hose as it dries following manufacturing. We recommend allowing it to remain, but if the cosmetics are bothersome then it can be scrubbed off with ordinary soap, water and a cloth.
Assembly screws are also called "book screws" or "sex bolts", and are available in both metal and plastic versions. Years ago our suppliers used to include a metal set with their wings and later switched to a plastic set, but have not included either for a long time because most experienced divers don't bother to use them. The plastic assembly screws can be used to attach the wing directly to a hard metal backplate when rigged for a single tank without a single tank adapter. We still include a set as appropriate with our DGX Custom packages, but their use is optional and not recommended. The metal assembly screws can be used to attach accessories to the holes on edges of metal backplates, but in our opinion the plastic ones actually work better. Don't be concerned about the strength of plastic vs metal; the plastic version is plenty strong for these applications plus they are not subject to galvanic action and don't cause wear on materials rubbing against them.
Some inflation assemblies have a cable that runs through the inside of the corrugated hose. This cable is attached to the DX-202930 using the pin, such that if you pull down on the power inflator itself (and thus pull the cable), a dump valve at the top of the inflator assembly is activated. This feature is usually called "pull-to-dump" or "remote-exhaust". Your inflation assembly may or may not have the feature and the cable, but we include a replacement pin just in case you do need one. If the pin turns out to be unneeded you may safely discard it.
We often get questions asking if our generic or 'brand X' products and parts will work with 'brand Y' equipment. Unfortunately, most often our answer has to be "we don't know" if we are not an authorized dealer for brand Y. With a few exceptions such as hose and valve/regulator fittings, there is very little standardization of parts within the recreational diving market. In general, among brands that do much of their design in-house (for example Apeks, Aqualung, Mares, Oceanic and ScubaPro) there is virtually NO cross brand compatibility although for many technical diving focused brands (such as Dive Rite, Halcyon, Light Monkey, OMS and Oxycheq) parts more often are interchangeable. There is little compatibility with older products (more than10 years) from virtually all brands, as advancements in materials and manufacturing processes almost always introduce compatibility issues with previous generations.
We don't offer replacement bladders and there is a good reason. Manufacturers frequently make changes to the bladders in wings, and there is no way to be sure that current bladders will fit existing wings. We recommend that you directly contact the service department for the manufacturer of your BCD and arrange to return it to them for repair. For more detailed information about BCD bladder repairs, please read Will it work with my BCD?

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