Oceanic service, environmental seals and DIN connectors for NorCal diving

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Guille Giova

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Hi everyone! It looks like I might end up doing more than a bit of diving in the Bay Area next year. I am in the process of buying gear here in Mexico, in the meantime, and I'm looking to ensure it is appropriate for the NorCal environment.

1. Does Oceanic have a decent service network in the San Francisco / Monterey area? Being in Mexico at the moment, gear selection is limited and prices are high. Oceanic Delta 5 regs seem to be the best deal I can get on an environmentally sealed reg. It is a good brand (I am happy with my Geo 4 computer) and reviews are great, but wondering if servicing options/costs make it better to spend a bit more on a different set.

2. Are environmental seals and cold water rates a must for NorCal? My assumption is yes, which is why I am looking at sealed options only. A good alternative to the Delta 5 I can find locally is the Aqualung Core, but NOT the supreme version - so diaphragm, but not sealed/cold rated. Would it still be a good option for this environment? Other sealed options (Aqualung Legend LX -not supreme-, Apeks ATX, etc) are just way too overpriced in this region.

3. Would it be too much of a PITA to have DIN connectors when renting tanks in this area? Locally in Mexico, the standard is Yoke but most shops can handle DIN regs since the tanks tend to be convertible - just carry your set of keys to remove the donut and a Yoke adapter as an emergency measure if all tanks in the boat have their donuts frozen in place and they forgot you were carrying DIN (unlikely). What about SF/Monterey? I ask this because I may get a quick trip to Spain this year and it would be cheaper to buy regs there - but Yoke valves are uncommon so my choice would be DIN only.

Thank you all for reading this and I really appreciate any and all local input!
 

wnissen

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2. Are environmental seals and cold water rates a must for NorCal? My assumption is yes, which is why I am looking at sealed options only. A good alternative to the Delta 5 I can find locally is the Aqualung Core, but NOT the supreme version - so diaphragm, but not sealed/cold rated. Would it still be a good option for this environment? Other sealed options (Aqualung Legend LX -not supreme-, Apeks ATX, etc) are just way too overpriced in this region.

3. Would it be too much of a PITA to have DIN connectors when renting tanks in this area? Locally in Mexico, the standard is Yoke but most shops can handle DIN regs since the tanks tend to be convertible - just carry your set of keys to remove the donut and a Yoke adapter as an emergency measure if all tanks in the boat have their donuts frozen in place and they forgot you were carrying DIN (unlikely). What about SF/Monterey? I ask this because I may get a quick trip to Spain this year and it would be cheaper to buy regs there - but Yoke valves are uncommon so my choice would be DIN only.
I can't really comment on your first item, except to say that service is, in my mind, the first thing you want to decide about a regulator. Most folks would say that there aren't any big differences among regulators for typical recreational diving once you get to midrange models and above.

2. The water in Northern California that I've dived (down to 30m/100ft) has always been above 10C, but just barely. I haven't heard of anyone freeflowing. Personally, I wouldn't risk it.

3. I have DIN regs and that emergency yoke adaptor and have used it once, in Utah. The few other trips where I rented tanks they were able to convert. Definitely not a problem. You can call in advance, even the place in Utah could have provided a DIN tank if I gave them notice. A surprising number of Europeans and Asians come to California to dive.
 

the other lincoln

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1. Yes, of course.
2. Monterey temps can dip bellow 10C though it has been a number of years since I have seen that actually happen. Most of my Monterey dive are in the 11~12C range. Farther south the water is warmer, (15 +) when you get to the channel islands or San Diego. I have not done any diving North of Monterey.

3. It seems that Yoke is the standard rental, I know of one shop in Monterey that has some din tanks. Most of the locals that own their own regs & tanks use DIN.
 

kumimonster

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3.
Many shops offer both. Diver Dan's in Santa Clara have DIN and YOKE available on their rental steel tanks.
My main reg set up is DIN but I have a YOKE set too.
My personal tanks have pro-valves.

are purchases up here cheaper? I never looked at buying items closely from one region to another.
It could be an option!
 

Angelo Farina

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If you fly to Europe, a cheap solution is to buy a set of Scubapro regs.
Here they are much cheaper. And they are happily serviced everywhere worldwide. Their service kits will be available for decades and are easily purchased on Ebay.
I would suggest a MK17 first stage (diaphragm, environmentally sealed, perfect for cold water) and two identical G260 second stages. I hate a lower quality octopus, I always want to have two top-notch regs available.
Here in Europe you can easily buy either yoke or Din.
There are two possibilities:
1) buy yoke and an additional SP Universal DIN conversion kit (40 eur). You can install it when needed in a couple of minutes.
2) buy DIN and a cheap yoke adaptor (30 eur). Faster to install (10 seconds instead of 2 minutes) but the result is heavier and bulkier.
 

runsongas

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1) fairly well supported by at least 5 area shops, although i would not consider it their main or top selling brand

2) no it is not required, i have used a regular titan before locally. the core which is similar to the old titan lx should work fine.

3) you can readily rent convertible valve tanks, although may have to pay a few extra bucks for hp100s. but they are better tanks anyways.

you may want to just buy gear when you move back from deep 6 instead or over black friday. sounds like it may be cheaper and you would get a nicer reg.
 

Eric Sedletzky

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+1 on Scubapro.
Probably the most stable scuba equipment company that has been in business for a long time.
I don’t think the water is cold enough here to worry about needing a sealed diaphragm 1st stage.
I use a MK20, MK5, and MK2 1st stages with various seconds and have never had a problem. I also have older Aqualung Conshelf and that gets used periodically too. But that has nothing to do with worrying that the water is too cold for my pistons. The coldest I’ve dived here was in 42 degree water up further north and the MK 20 ran fine. Monterey on a cold day might see 48, but more like 53-55.
I don’t know what the cutoff is for being too cold for unsealed (non SPEC) flow through pistons but it’s colder than here. Maybe ice diving?
Too many worry worts and too much hoopla for pro diaphragm around here IMO.
 

kumimonster

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oh yeah. Oceanic was under American Underwater Products which is now owned by Huish. But I believe their offices are still in San Leandro which is in the San Francisco bay area. I knew a couple of people that worked there. Now I only know one that works remotely from his place outside of California.

One would HOPE that local shops could service them ;-)

Lately, Monterey has been warmer. See recent posts at the sticky tread at the top of the NorCal section.
I just posted from last night's dive - high of 65, low of 60. Average of 62. That is TOO WARM for here.
 
OP
Guille Giova

Guille Giova

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Thank you for taking the time to reply! This has been helpful to guide my research a bit. So, from what I read here:

1 - Oceanic should be just fine in terms of getting service/parts.
2 - Environmentally sealed is nice to have, but not 100% required - so the AL Core or other options should be ok even if not officially cold rated (I'm still inclined to get at least a diaphragm reg but will not rule out pistons if I get a better deal).
3 - DIN connectors are not the standard, but it is not terribly inconvenient and the yoke adaptor is a decent enough solution when a rental DIN tank is not available.

@kumimonster and @runsongas for sure, buying in the US would be way cheaper! But I probably won't get there until 6 - 7 months from now and I'm looking to buy sooner (tired of rental regs giving me a watery breath). I though of just getting whatever is cheapest in this area which is quite easy on equipment, and then upgrading in the US if needed. Still a possibility, but since money is not THAT much of a constraint, I would rather stretch a bit and buy something that doesn't feel so "temporary".

@Angelo Farina and @Eric Sedletzky thank you for the recommendation, Scubapro obviously came up when looking online and especially the MK17, but there is limited stock in the region and it is very overpriced. The local SP dealer does carry the Mk11/C370 combo which I could get much cheaper in Europe. Is it safe to assume this is also a good option?

Thank you all again for taking the time to help out!
 

runsongas

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mk11 c370 is underrated as a reg. it is a fairly solid value in the SP lineup at EU pricing. downside is that for EU pricing, going with the mk17 or mk19 and the g260 shouldn't be too much more expensive.
 
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