Aquarius Rebuild Kit

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In a pinch I reform the star rings and reuse them.
I had been told the same thing. My plan is to take it out very carefully and and carry it to Valley Fastener Co. If anyone in town might have it, that would be the place. Meanwhile, I’m treating the original with extreme care!

Well, though I keep chasing “the next shiny thing”, I’m back and ready to restart work on the Aquarius 1st stage. The first step will be to pop out the star spring clip very carefully and take it over to Valley Fasteners to try to match it. I’ve found the clip online from Trident, but they don’t sell to individuals, and getting a shop to order a few for me and for stock would be a big ask, so I’m hoping my local VF will come through for me!

Another concern is the actual utility of it once rebuilt. As @rsingler told me when asked about it, it was a good design for its time, but it is an unbalanced piston design. Of course the second stage is the ubiquitous (and bullet proof) 1085 in chrome plated brass box, so no concern there!

Anyway, I’m thinking of using it in the pool and shallow OW dives (think Blue Heron Bridge) to take the load off of my later Conshelf regs. I think that it should outlast me used in this way.

One shock I got recently when I forgot the early USD/AL 1st stages used the same 3/8” UNF threads for both the HP and the LP ports and in a hurry, carelessly put my brand new IP gage and it’s hose onto a HP port. When I crack open the tank valve, it took about 2.5 milliseconds for the 3000 psi to permanently peg the gage and blow the hose. Note to self: Don’t ever do that again, dummy! Yes, it’s embarrassing, but if I can keep one of you from making the same careless mistake, I guess I can stand it.

The real reason I am writing all of this is that I want to know whether any of my fellow SB’ers are still diving the old Aquarius 1st stages and what you think of them? What I don’t want is any of you who don’t use them passing on old wive’s (or dive shop owner’s) tales!

The (chastened) Green Frog 🐸
If its the original your after its called a Waldes Truarc Series 5005 Internal Retaining Ring

Calling it anything else will just confuse folk
The allowable thrust load used a 2.5:1 safety factor with a 55 to 80 lb load
In the later models for the USD Aquarius the Conshelf retaining ring was used
and an angular groove was machined inside the inlet orifice for the later Series 5000
internal to NAS standard 50 and 51 retaining ring.

Waldes KOHINOOR INC of Long Is New York have long gone
But I can give you a few local to you lot alternatives:
ARCON 1305 series and the ROTOR CLIP TI series all match the WALDES 5005 series
Also IRR (Industrial Retaining Rings) inc also use the same 5005 series numbers

You ideally want it in 316 stainless steel (NOT 310 or 304 or 18-8 it will rust ) and defiantly not phosphated steel. We used beryllium copper for the military non mag stuff in the Conshelf but with the 5000 series style
and I still use them on a compressor valve design but in metric and it won't help. Regards Iain
Another concern is the actual utility of it once rebuilt. As @rsingler told me when asked about it, it was a good design for its time, but it is an unbalanced piston design. Of course the second stage is the ubiquitous (and bullet proof) 1085 in chrome plated brass box, so no concern there!
I've used one to 50 ft, and a buddy of mine uses one more regularly. It'll do fine to recreational depths at least... The only "concern" is that being an unbalanced piston (same as the SP Mk2 and numerous other regs still being sold) the IP gets lower with lower tank pressure. Combined with an unbalanced second (like the 1085, same as I dive it) it just means the cracking effort will go up some as the tank runs down. I don't particularly notice it, but I'm not hyper sensitive to having a reg perfectly tuned anyway. Some like it as a warning if they haven't been keeping a proper eye on the pressure gauge!

Regarding the 3/8 HP port, that's why I use a "deluxe" IP gauge with an over pressure valve built in... Still startled the crap out of me when I did it with a Trieste!
Hello, @James79. I was hoping you would “stop by”. Your description of breathing effort changing wth the IP decrease due to the unbalanced design of the first and second stages is virtually identical to what our friend Rob said when I first broached the subject. As I said, I’m thinking of pool and very shallow rec dives, and won’t be breathing it down too low, so I’m thinking it might just work.
Will this fit Aquarius?

Thank you GJC. As often as I browse the Scuba Museum web pages, I had never noticed that! As luck would have it, another member here is sending me a couple, but I’ll have to track that one down too. There are a bunch of Aquarius regs out there and they are about as easily serviced as any ever made. It’s worth finding secondary sources for good parts since Al/USD is not likely to ever support them again. Fortunately the parts are somewhat generic.

This Aquarius 1st stage was meant to be a “side project” to be done in my “spare time”. It’s funny how much interest it has attracted and now how much time it is demanding. An interesting tidbit is that its hose port layout is perfect for my favored arrangement… HP down and LP up on left (for SP gage and inflator hose respectively) and a couple of LP ports on the right. Just what I need, no more, no less.

Out of nowhere; I’m wondering how it would do to use an Aquarius 1st on a little pony bottle? As the pressure in the bottle goes down, reducing IP, I should be getting closer to the surface. It is a nice compact little first stage. HMMM…

Well, idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. The final puzzle piece to my Aquarius 1st stage rebuild is on the way via USPS… the star clip. ⭐📎

In the meanwhile, for grins and giggles I decided to pull out my brand new IP gage and see what I’m starting to rebuild. I took the bare 1st and screwed in a 2nd stage hose and a random Conshelf 2nd and a power inflate hose with the gage installed. Then I hooked it up on a full-ish tank and gingerly turned the knob. The gage came up to 150 psi and stayed there, and when I hit the purge button, it dropped to about 100 psi, then popped right back up to 150 when I released the button.

This is a typical “barn find” (actually from a gun show) regulator part that probably hadn’t been on a tank for at least 20 years or more! Now I know I have a good solid starting point to try my hand at reg servicing. For all the folks who say they have to have their regs scheduled every year, this sorta makes you wonder just how often servicing is actually needed. 🤔

“De debil made me do it!” 😈

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