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My first DA Aqua-Master!

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by KD8NPB, May 26, 2012.

  1. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hartford, MI
    778
    158
    0
    Well, I just won my first DA Aqua-Master on ebay.

    The guy tested it...no leaks, valve works. It's very clean, supposedly was taken from a training facility. Included are some NOS parts... I'm curious to see in what condition they'll be in.

    Here's what I have planned for the time being:
    VDH rebuild kit
    VDH exhaust valve kit (no more duckbill!)
    VDH silicone hoses (undecided if I want black or yellow)

    Anything else I'm missing that would be a good idea? I'll go through it firsthand to make sure any parts I'm reusing are in proper shape. I'll be looking for corrosion, deformation in springs, and any hardening or cracking of rubber seals.

    It's a 1970...not sure if it's has clips or a compression ring, the pictures he posted were of it apart. This will be going on top of my twin LP72s... looks like I'll have to fabricate a rod for the j-valve! I'm tempted to go with the yellow hoses, even though they aren't period correct. It would look nice with my yellow LP72s tanks and black/yellow Primex shorty wetsuit that I have (about the same era!).
     
  2. elan

    elan DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    3,316
    376
    83
    Yellow looks cool :) I have both duckbill and the eliminator. While eliminator simplifies maintenance I found duckbill to work easier on exhale.

    Congrats, I found that once you are bitten by the DH bug you can find no cure :)
     
  3. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    8,975
    1,284
    113
    You will want to replace the diaphgram with a silicone one as well.
    While its not "reg correct" I much prefer the Voit hourglass mouthpiece. It is just more comfortable to me. While not model correct for that reg, yellow hoses and a black MP look good together IMO. The silicone curved ones are more comfortable than the original rubber ones and the straight ones I avoid unless I have to for period reasons, to me they are uncomfortable to me- too big to fit my mouth easily. Odds are the mouthpiece valves are stiff so you will need a set of those as well. While I was at it, I would order a set of hose clamps. While the originals might be OK, there always seems to be one that is brittle or in bad condition. In any case, they are good to have on hand.

    You will need to either resurface or replace the HP seat. Often times you can resurface it and it will work fine but if I were ordering parts, it would be on my list. There are parts I like to keep on hand, a HP seat is one of them.

    Another item you will want is the hookah port adapter. You need it to be able to set/test the IP and it makes a good place to connect an oct or LP inflator if you need/want one.
    My additional parts list would be:
    diaphgram - mouthpiece valves- hose clamps- hookaha adapter-HP seat


    Update: I just found the reg on ebay- it was in my watch list. That is not a 70, it's most likely a late 58 or 59, 60 at the latest. DAs changed from satin chrome (this one is satin) in 64 so it has to be 63 or earlier. If you look at the yoke screw, it is an early model which puts it closer to the late 50s. No matter, its still a servicable reg but my "nice to have" parts list just change to a must have parts list. It will not have a band clamp...well highly unlikely....so I would also order one of those as well. The good news is, yellow hoses with black (straight) MP are correct for that reg. :)

    ---------- Post added ----------

    Looking at the 60 catalog, a yellow MP was also an option so solid yellow is also reg correct.
     
  4. simonbeans

    simonbeans Barracuda

    384
    67
    28
    One other item you might want to consider maybe down the road. DAs are fine regulators, however they have an unbalanced first stage. As such, you might detect a breathing change throughout the tank pressure variation. Also, a DA is a good breather, however it is not my favorite; a Royal AM or even a Mistral below 2000 psi breathes better. A new second stage is now available for your DA, it is the HPR, available through Vintage Scuba - Vintage Scuba Gear at Vintage Double Hose. Many who have experienced this innovation have raved at the increased performance, thus the HPR (High Performance Regulator). So after diving your DA and listening to those who dive double hose regularly, and you find you would like the reg to breathe better, try the HPR second stage and I think you will be amazed. One quick comment: Reg position on your back is imperative. Modern BCs are problematic at best. Do some homework and read about this issue and you will find that double hose diving is a new (actually old) world you will love.
     
  5. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hartford, MI
    778
    158
    0
    I was really hoping to find a Mistral, but they aren't quite as easy to find for cheap as the DA Aquamasters are.

    Well, as said, luckily, I have a tank setup that is more for a doublehose regulator than a single hose. Here's a picture before I refinished the tanks:

    [​IMG]

    And after:

    [​IMG]

    I've got them on a Hog SS plate, Hog 38 lb, and Hollis harness right now...but, I'll swap them back over to the Dacor backpack for doublehose fun! My local shop is pretty good at giving me a 2100-2300 psi charge.

    I do having 140 cf of gas, at the depths I'm diving, I grow bored before I even come close to hitting my return pressure.

    I may consider the HPR! We'll see, I haven't dove with a doublehose before. Same with the mouthpiece too.

    This is why I love forums like this.

    Wonderful, I may have to go for the yellow hoses if they're period correct after all!

    Is there any reason why I can't just use zipties as opposed to hose clamps?

    Also, is there a go/no-go for HP seat resurfacing? As the guy said at the auction, when he charged it up on a tank, the regulator didn't leak at all.

    Exhale is easier with the duckbill? Hmm, might keep it then, if not, for the cost savings...broke college student and all...

    Supposedly the VDH duckbill is trimable. Any tips on that?
     
  6. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    8,975
    1,284
    113
    You can use zipties if you like but at $5 for a set, the hose clamps are not cost prohibitive and are easier to deal with, not to mention look better.

    No real go/nogo that I know of, mostly experience. Bottom line is if you are going to dissamble the HP nozzle anyway (and you should, you never know what you will find inside), you might as well resurface it or better yet replace it. All you need to resurface it is a good flat surface (a plate of glass or good flat ceramic tile) and some very fine wet/dry sand paper. I use 1500 or 2000 with water in a figure 8 pattern. You polish it down until any set ring is gone.

    ---------- Post added ----------

    As for what the guy in the auction said.... we shall see...
     
  7. Luis H

    Luis H Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Maine
    2,519
    557
    113
    I have done instrumented testing of both, and on average, I have not found any significant difference between the two. The exhalation resistance is very low with both, but there can be small variations from any one unit to the next of either the duckbill or the DBE.

    In the swimming position all DH regulator exhale extremely well.

    I have replaced all my duckbills because the DBE is so much more convenient than any duckbill. I like removing the hoses to let them dry and that is a lot easier without the duckbill. The DBE is also a lot more durable than any duckbill.

    You can use tie-straps (Bryan at VDH really likes them), but I like the clamps because I like removing the hoses and letting them dry.
     
    Paladin likes this.
  8. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hartford, MI
    778
    158
    0
    Well, the regulator arrived, and I started the teardown.

    Problems discovered so far:

    Nut 1004-09 was completed seized on to Seat Holder 1010-07. The threaded shaft on the seat holder snapped on attempted removal.

    The high pressure nozzle 1000-21 is seized into the body. I cannot get it to budge, as I lack a way to secure the body without potentially damaging it. However, I was able to remove the snap ring, thus gaining access to the high pressure seat & assembly. There is minimal corrosion inside the nozzle itself, some blackening, but mostly brassy-looking metal.

    I'll have to order a new seat holder...
     
  9. SwimJim

    SwimJim Manta Ray

    949
    12
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    Soak it down with PB Blaster penetrating oil over night. It will come loose in the morning. Patience is virtuous right now.
     
  10. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hartford, MI
    778
    158
    0
    Precisely!

    I'll let it soak until the replacement seat holder arrives.

    For some additional "umpph", I'll boil the body in a pot of water, pull it out, and apply freeze spray to the high pressure nozzle. If that, combined with PB Blaster doesn't free it, well, I'm not sure what will.

    In case anyone is curious, the seals I pulled were in surprisingly good shape. I can see why it didn't leak at all when I charged it up. They were a little stiff, but they still seated well with no rips, cracks, or tears.

    It's a "West Warner" with a satin chrome finish, so 61-64.

    I'll get some pictures up either tonight or tomorrow.
     

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