What's in a regulator?

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Bigbella

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One of the issues with buying used regs is that you really don't know how they have been cared for. I've seen "properly cared for, well rinsed" advertised regs come in for service that looked like they were dived a month in salt water and then shoved in a bag and left for months/years.
I couldn't agree more.

I have an old friend who is fond of "vintage" gear; and who has found a great deal of fantastic stuff at estate sales, over the years -- and also, plenty of sub-par crap, that desperately needed refurbishing, often after decades of storage.

He found a cache of late-sixties and early seventies regulators last year (ScubaPro and Poseidon, for the most part); and of the three rigs he wanted serviced, only a single first stage was even salvageable, due to the fact that all the others had all been cross-threaded to one extent or another; and that the owner or even the previous tech, had been ignorant of the fact that the thread sizes for many hoses back then, especially in European regulators, were often not compatible with US sizes.

They were rendered paperweights; though I was given a cache of usable old parts, for my troubles, and invited, as a watchdog, to future sales . . .
 

Belzelbub

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Obsolescence. Manufacturer went out of business. I've been able to find parts till recently.
Gotcha. Manufacturer going out of business is tougher to guard against. Normally, sticking with the well established brands is safe, but then there is the Dacor situation, so not always guaranteed.
 

Nemrod

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OK, so you are special and know a lot about regs.
The OP is a new diver. He likely knows very little about regs. He doesn't know whether a used $25 reg is defective and needs service or even if it can be serviced or rebuilt.
I certainly agree that if someone is as smart as you they can buy an old reg and know if it's usable and service it.
Are you suggesting the OP should go buy a cheap, used reg? Why not give him some advice instead of just responding to my post?

Not picking on you so please do not think so. Mr. Lapenta has forgotten more about regs than most of the rest of us know at all. He is special. Even when I do not agree with him or several others :wink:.

I did say that cheaper or less expensive regulators are essentially as good as their upper end mates. Most such less expensive units have simplified designs and classical downstream second stage valve designs that while they may only produce a Good rating on ANSTI or even subjectively have a slightly higher WOB, they will perform completely adequately for their intended marketing purpose and in fact are as reliable and possibly more reliable by design and long proven heritage. I also agree with you that I would send the OP looking for a new regulator from a major branded company, Mares, AL, Scubapro and a few others.

And, lol, I knew she was a she :wink:.

James
 

lowwall

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I know there are warm water regs, that are no good for cold water diving or more technical diving,,

What is the thought of even manufacturing a reg that's not capable of use in cold water?
Just price?
What have they cheapened on a warm water reg?
I don't really run across warm water regs so I don't see the insides to compare,
First off, cold water when talking about regs means really cold water. All regs from reputable manufacturers will remain ice free even at high demand down to 50⁰F (10⁰C). It's only if you'll be diving in lower temperatures that you even need to think about this.

And it's not about cheapening the non-cold water reg, it's about the functional tradeoffs of making a cold water reg. Most of the features which make a reg suitable for diving in freezing water add weight, cost, bulk and/or extra parts that can go wrong or out of adjustment.

For example, regs designed to work in really low temps (below 38F/3C) need a certain amount of thermal mass and surface area. If you want a compact and lightweight reg for travel, you are going to give up cold water capability.

Another example is that cold water requires keeping water out of the interior of the first stage. For a traditional piston reg, this means packing the housing with grease and covering the ambient pressure ports with a rubber sleeve. This is messy to service and something else to be checked before diving.

Balanced diaphragm regs keep water out of the inner workings by design, but for really cold water, you want to keep it out of the reg entirely. This means adding a second diaphragm and some way to communicate the pressure on the outer diaphragm to the inner, either by filling the gap with a non-freezing fluid or some sort of mechanical arrangement.

Another common feature in cold water specific regs is the application of a low friction coating to either the first or second stage to lessen the chances of ice build up.
 
OP
ScubaFLee

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Hello.
Trying to learn more about gear basics. I'm at the point where my hand me down gear is no longer serviceable and I'm buying my own. First order of business is to replace the Primary 2nd stage which is no longer serviceable.

What considerations do you have when buying a new reg? What features do folks look for? What makes a "good reg" "good"?

Links to articles and things are welcome!
FYI. I have never dove cold water. I may on occasion go visit friends in California but don't intend to use my reg for ice diving. My intention is to dive in TX, NC, FL and on vacation with this one.
 

Bigbella

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FYI. I have never dove cold water. I may on occasion go visit friends in California but don't intend to use my reg for ice diving. My intention is to dive in TX, NC, FL and on vacation with this one.
Too much emphasis has been given to so-called "cold' or "warm water" regulators; and when I worked shops as a kid, that distinction was never made.

Just choose a well-established brand -- serviced by your local shops; a brand who doesn't reinvent the wheel every year with obsolete models and discontinued parts; and avoid Alibaba like the Black Plague.

You'll be fine . . .
 

Nemrod

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Too much emphasis has been given to so-called "cold' or "warm water" regulators; and when I worked shops as a kid, that distinction was never made.

Just choose a well-established brand -- serviced by your local shops; a brand who doesn't reinvent the wheel every year with obsolete models and discontinued parts; and avoid Alibaba like the Black Plague.

You'll be fine . . .

Yes sir, this "warm water" thing is out of hand and if I used the term I should not have, it is a misnomer. There are regulators specifically rated for cold water but warm water is no where a designation outside of this thread and is potentially misleading.

I do like sealed first stages and that is often found in but not exclusive to regulators that are specifically mentioned for cold water use. Aqua Lungs "cold water" regulators may have the Supreme designation and a snowflake graphic and in the case of several of them they do have a reduced IP and higher cracking force and it is shown as such in the Maintenance Manual for them, about 10 psi lower for the Supreme versions. And since I do not intend to get into 40 degree water I turn the IP up on them to the non-Supreme version specified IP and readjust the cracking force as well.

James
 

halocline

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OK, so you are special and know a lot about regs.
The OP is a new diver. He likely knows very little about regs. He doesn't know whether a used $25 reg is defective and needs service or even if it can be serviced or rebuilt.
I certainly agree that if someone is as smart as you they can buy an old reg and know if it's usable and service it.
Are you suggesting the OP should go buy a cheap, used reg? Why not give him some advice instead of just responding to my post?

I'm sorry you took offense at my post, but all I intended was to correct some mis-information that you posted, linking together diver safety and expensive regulators. This is a sore spot with me because I have seen over and over again how scuba salesmen imply (or outright lie) that spending more money on a higher end regulator will increase a diver's safety. This is utterly, completely false. And yet it is perpetuated by statements such as yours:

"Regulators being essential for survival underwater has driven me to not skimp price-wise when buying them."

First of all, every single certified diver, that presumably includes you, was trained to survive regulator failure. Did you forget that, or are you really convinced that you would die if your regulator failed. Secondly, if you have any evidence to support the claim that more expensive regulators are less likely to fail than less expensive ones, I'd sure like to see that. But I wouldn't hold my breath, so to speak. The fact is that some of the most proven and reliable regulators are also among the least expensive.

Maintaining regulators, as well as buying them used, is a totally different issue, and I'd appreciate if you didn't confuse the two. And I did give the OP advice, which is to ignore statements or implications that spending more money on regulators increases safety.

Again, I'm sorry you took offense, I did not intend to insult you personally, I just took issue with your statement.
 

captain

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Considering I have been known to dive using homemade regulator parts this price thing is kind of pointless.
Any regulator from a major brand is more than just good enough for recreational and most other types of diving.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/

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