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Trim with steel tank trouble
Bhutas - 6/15/2016 6:25 PM
Category: New Diver Q&A
Replies: 13

I’m using a Zeagle 911 BC. When I strap on a steel tank (steel 95 in this case), I keep rolling to one side or the other. No problems with al80. I’m carrying enough weight to maintain good buoyancy.

I’ve had 2 thoughts about controlling this. 1) add more weight...for ballast, and add air to BC. 2) possibly in addition to weight, unclip the "wings" and allow pancake.

I can’t begin to describe how frustrating it is to be constantly fighting to stay in trim.

Any ideas? It would be nice to have the option to use steel.
Bhutas - 6/15/2016 8:31 PM
The weight is integrated in the BC. The pockets are between rib cage and hip, not quite on the side. A little towards belly. I don’t think I can adjust the BC to have them more towards belly button/center chest.

I suppose I could try a belt and center the weights on my stomach. It seems to me there should be something I can do with the BC within it’s design.
OUBobcat - 6/15/2016 10:10 PM
Is it possible you are a bit overweighted? I had the same trouble when I switched to a steel tank and the problem even magnified when I went to doubles. I dropped some weight and it seemed to help some. I think its somewhat normal to have that rolling feeling with a steel tank and you eventually become used to it.
Bhutas - 6/16/2016 11:10 AM
I had very little air in BC while on that dive. If I could have dropped additional weight, it would only have been a couple lbs. On my second dive I used an AL80. Added a few lbs, and was able to maintain good trim.

This particular dive was in a spring. At times I wanted to be facing the surface/ceiling. Worked great then! :)

Having a constant roll to one side or the other, while trying to remain horizontal, face down, is not something I’m willing to accept. I don’t want to be kicking to stay in trim on a drift dive.

I’ll experiment in a pool. My best guess so far is that I will need more weight (or move existing weight) at my belly/chest...for ballast/keel. The additional air on my back should keep that side up. Sort of defeats one of the benefits of a steel tank though.
ScubaSteve63 - 6/17/2016 1:26 PM
Is your BC snug enough? If your BC isn’t secure it will allow shifting of the weights.
Bhutas - 6/17/2016 1:45 PM
Yes. My buddy checked that while I was having trouble under water.

I’ll be at the dive shop this weekend and get some pool time to play around with it.

If nothing else, I am learning about trim and how easily different gear combos and body composition can impact it.
Diver_Diva - 6/17/2016 7:47 PM
I used to have the same problem. I switched to a weight belt and no more problem.
Bhutas - 6/19/2016 10:08 AM
Thanks. I’ll give the belt a try.
SeaGoat - 6/21/2016 9:26 PM
Have you tried frog kicking? Your knees will be further apart and you will be less roly-poly. An added bonus is a frog kick uses less energy and saves you air. I only scissor kick these days if I have to fight a current or chase someone.
I have a Zeagle and often wear my steel 80 with it along with 2x2lb weights when I wear my 3mm in salt water. It’s so comfy.
Bhutas - 6/22/2016 8:58 AM
Thanks for the tip. I’m looking forward to experimenting with that kick.
geogator - 6/24/2016 2:11 PM
You might also want to try adjusting how high (towards your head) you have the tank set when you strap it to your BCD. I find that if I set my tank a bit further forward vs. lower down my back I not only have better horizontal trim (less leg dropping) but better control of any "rolling" from side to side. I also agree 100% with SeaGoat on the frog kicking aspect. Since the majority of my diving is in fresh water springs it’s become habit no matter where I dive and as she said, it really helps with control and air consumption when you’re in salt water too. Plus frog kicking doesn’t tire you out nearly as fast and I rarely get a leg cramp from that kicking style.
Bhutas - 7/03/2016 12:26 PM
Thanks all for your input. I spent a few hours in the pool yesterday and am much more comfortable with the BC and LP95 combo.

The biggest problem was too much weight, as Adam suggested. I am guessing the extra air was too easy to move around in the BC. Also, moving the tank a little higher on my back helped. Especially with pitch.

I also noticed holding roll trim was a bit easier when I unclipped the wings and let them rise. The down side to that, it is not as easy to roll air from one side to the other.

I played around with a weight belt. When I found the best position, I noticed it was where the BC pockets are. I’ll need to experiment a little more with different gear/water combos.

Turns out, I don’t need to carry any extra weight when diving fresh, no wetsuit, LP95. Hopefully the DM and my buddy will have a little patience while I figure out what I need next weekend. Salt water and probably 3mm suit, though I haven’t checked temp yet.
Ram169 - 7/25/2016 9:43 AM
You can get clip on weights when i had issues with rolling i had a 2lb clip on that i put higher on my bcd to counter the roll worked great since you don’t get a lot of options with integrated bcds.