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Discussion of diving methods and equipment available prior to the development of BCDs beyond the horse collar. This forum is dedicated to the pre-1970 diving.
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SurfLung
Master Diver
Posts: 1763
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
Contact: Website

Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Mon Mar 04, 2024 11:12 am

Joining the Exclusive Bendix Vintage Double Hose Club...
- It's been over a week since I met up with AntiqueDiver Bill and SeaWolf Steve down in the great state of Texas. Bill has converted no less than THREE of the famous WWII Bendix Oxygen Diluters for use in Scuba diving. And until now, Bill and Steve are the only two people in the world to have dived them. Here's a photo of the three different configurations Bill has designed.
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- One mounts to a back plate like the original Popular Mechanics article. One mounts with a standard tank yoke, and the one I dove mounts to the tank neck with a nylon collar. All three have been converted to run on 300 psi... Stepped down from the full 1800 psi tank pressure.
- Bill and I drove about an hour to a favorite dive lake and met Steve. Steve offered to be our surface crew for the day and unexpectedly came prepared for some great photography. He did all of the surface photos except the one's he's in. AND he loaned us his GoPro for some great underwater video of the Bendix up close and personal. Below are pictured Steve on the left and Bill on the right. They are shown setting up the vintage tank and Bendix on my DogBone BackPac. Note the white nylon collar that attaches the Bendix to the tank.
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- Bill and I (SurfLung Eb) had been emailing and messaging back and forth during the few weeks leading up to our Texas Trip. And Bill selected his best Bendix conversion for me to dive. This one uses a stock WWII oxygen tank and valve. It attaches to the tank NECK with a nylon clamp and I was able to use my own backpack. Here's a photo of Bill and I with "my" Bendix regulator...
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- So we suited up and got into the water... Steve took lots of photos and I'll post more in the days to come. Here's a photo of me that he took and it shows clearly the Bendix regulator detail.
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- Bill had equipped my Bendix with one of the VDH DVS mouth pieces... Originally because it has a flow limiter to resist free flowing... Bill has a tendency to tune his regulators for super sensitivity. BUT you wouldn't think this old "Popular Mechanics project" would breathe easy enough to worry about free flowing... Or would you?
- Bill's conversions go WAY beyond the old PM article. In fact, I was shocked at how easy breathing my Bendix regulator is. I swear it is as good or better than any of my easiest breathing DAAM, RAM, or Phoenix regulators. We made two dives of about 20 minutes each. Max depth was 27 feet.
- I'll post some more (including underwater video) in the days to come... Stay Tuned!
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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SurfLung
Master Diver
Posts: 1763
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
Contact: Website

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Tue Mar 05, 2024 4:09 pm

More Photos...
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Suiting Up... AntiqueDiver Bill is keeping it Authentic Vintage as he dons a HydroGlove dry suit before diving his Bendix regulator. This particular unit is set up with a standard Scuba yoke and connects to any standard scuba tank valve.
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Almost Suited Up... SurfLung Eb is sporting an authentic surplus oxygen tank with his Bendix Oxygen Diluter and a USD Dog Bone BacPac. Bill and Steve took good care of me with Safety First. In addition to what's shown above, I wore a yellow "Spare Air" unit on my side plus my Horse Collar BCD, plus a CO2 PFD on my weight belt, plus our dive float.
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Ready to Go... SurfLung Eb and AntiqueDiver Bill all set to dive with Bill's converted WWII Bendix Oxygen Diluters.

Photos by SeaWolf Steve

Video is Coming Next... Gotta get it uploaded to YouTube... Stay Tuned!
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

swimjim
Master Diver
Posts: 1694
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Wed Mar 06, 2024 10:11 am

Looks like a good time was had by all! Thanks for posting the pic's Eben.

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antique diver
Master Diver
Posts: 2210
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:50 pm
First Name: Bill
Location: North-Central Texas

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Wed Mar 06, 2024 10:38 am

swimjim wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2024 10:11 am
Looks like a good time was had by all! Thanks for posting the pic's Eben.
Hey Swimjim, I wish you could have been here with us!
The older I get the better I was.

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antique diver
Master Diver
Posts: 2210
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:50 pm
First Name: Bill
Location: North-Central Texas

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Wed Mar 06, 2024 11:01 am

You can't really tell it from the photos, but Eben's new custom fit wetsuit is a beautiful gray color, kinda reminiscent of Mike Nelsons gray/silver suits.
It's a nicely made, well-fitting suit. I don't recall the thickness, but it sure is soft and stretchy. Must be 3 or 5mm, and very comfortable to dive with.

I think he may be part polar bear, cause he seemed to be warmer in his wetsuit than I was in my Hydroglove "dry" suit. I'm pretty sure that I would have been warmer had my neck seal not failed when I first submerged, letting in enough water to completely drench my fleece insulation and slosh around inside for the whole dive. :shock: 20-25 minutes in the 55 degree water was about all I was good for! My great diving friends were somewhat amused by my predicament, but I had a darned good time anyway! :lol:
The older I get the better I was.

User avatar
SurfLung
Master Diver
Posts: 1763
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
Contact: Website

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Thu Mar 07, 2024 12:21 pm

SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

swimjim
Master Diver
Posts: 1694
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Sat Mar 09, 2024 8:55 am

antique diver wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2024 10:38 am
swimjim wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2024 10:11 am
Looks like a good time was had by all! Thanks for posting the pic's Eben.
Hey Swimjim, I wish you could have been here with us!
Me too!

User avatar
SurfLung
Master Diver
Posts: 1763
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
Contact: Website

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Mon Mar 11, 2024 11:26 am

Bill and Steve took good care of me... Making sure I had a Spare Air in case anything went wrong. First dive bill wore one of the Bendix units and I wore the one that connects to the oxygen valve of the vintage tank. Steve took photos top side sand let us use his GoPro for underwater shots. We stayed close to shore and just beyond the weeds for the first dive. Then they transfilled my tank so I could do a second dive. This one I followed the guidelines out into the deeper water and visited the sights like I would if I was diving our regular DH equipment. Saw a boat, platform, and school bus. Max depth I dove was 27 feet I think but I passed over deeper ledges. Visibility was 15-20 feet I think. The Bendix worked so well, I almost forgot to be wary of it. Bill has refined his conversion to the extent that it breathes as good or better than my best double hose Voit and USD regs.

We were being careful not to create any stressful situations so we dove only about 20 minutes at a time so as not to run out of air in our little 38 cf tanks. We had a heck of a good time. Surprisingly, Bill didn't have a regular buddy to dive with until recently. Steve Wolf was an employee of Bill's dive shop when he was a teenager and he's gained a renewed interest and dives with Bill sometimes. BUT it's funny... This is Texas in WINTER. They have this nice open water (not frozen) lake with stuff to look at but they never dive in the winter. And it's only an hour away. That may change though. Bill had a lot of fun in spite of getting cold when his dry suit leaked. It was awfully nice of them to spend a day taking ME diving when they don't usually go this time of year.

Jill and I stayed over at Bill and Francie's house and that was fun too. Bill's Scuba Room is this beautiful wood paneled den... With a full hardhat suit standing in a corner, and books and photos from a far more extensive life in diving than I knew before. They've been all over the world diving and even filming about 200 episodes of a TV show... Scuba World I think it was called. His Dive Shop embraced Nitrox and tech diving early in it's popularity and offer equipment, training, and cave diving trips. He is a true life Diving Industry Pioneer.

I also saw Bill's cool and elaborate compressor set-up. It's a Bauer portable (Oceanus I think). It's got the P1 (Triplex) filter plus a larger vertical filter. Plus he came up with a way to blue strip check the air live while it's filling a tank. The compressor is plumbed all over the place. He has enough hose to fill tanks all the way to any vehicle in the driveway. These he sets up with ball valve levers to function through preset overpressure valves... So you don't need to be filling tanks near the compressor. The air plumbing also goes to his work bench for handy regulator testing.

I didn't take as many pictures as I wish I had. But again thanks to SeaWolf Steve for the photos in this report. And of course Thanks so much to Bill and Francie for their hospitality and friendship. We had a wonderful time visiting with them.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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Drado
Master Diver
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:11 am
First Name: Eduardo
Location: Manila, Philippines

Re: Diving Bill's Bendix Regulator

Tue Mar 19, 2024 6:40 pm

Great post and great photos to go along with it, Eb! Thanks for sharing.
_______________________________
Ed

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