so, is this just another sales pitch????

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by rhwestfall, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    I read often folks making the comment (or are they saying it to justify their selection) regarding the purchase of regulators: It is something of the likes of "don't buy brand XX because it isn't as worldly popular"....

    Is this just a regurgitated sales pitch? I think YES! I've been diving for nearly 25 years (in spurts), and quite frankly, haven't had to scrap a vacation due to equipment failure. I haven't experienced folks sobbing in the bar because their equipment malfunctioned and they can't dive....

    So, I ask this: What really is the likelihood of a "routinely" serviced piece of equipment really letting you down? And even then (if it might happen), you are at a diving destination - how hard might it be to buy/rent something?

    Just throwing this out there, because, quite frankly, I think it falls in the same realm as "its your life line" B.S. fed by the retailers.

    I just don't like this thrown out to the new divers if my thoughts are correct....

    What are your thoughts?
  2. ScubaSteve

    ScubaSteve Wow.....what a DB

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Acton, Ontario
    There are definitely regional pockets of manufacturers (Zeagle is popular here but less so in other places - HOG is not yet completely mainstream). I would still buy any brand/model of reg that I want because as you say, a regularly maintained reg is unlikely to leave you stranded. And, if it does, then as you say, I could always rent. Having said all that, I had my 30 dive HOG regs leave me stranded the last time I tried to dive and had my AL/Dacor regs leave me stranded MANY times. These were all local dives where I would not be able to rent a reg set even if I wanted to. Stuff sometimes happens....the fan gets dirty no matter what we dive.

    So, I do not necessarily think it is a complete load of BS but it would not affect my decision either way.
  3. Wookie

    Wookie ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    I've seen it happen twice. I've seen thousands upon thousands (maybe 20,000?) of divers. I've see hundreds of hose ruptures, gauge failures, computer battery failures, and other things were able to fix, but I've only seen twice when a trip is aborted due to failure of gear. I now am insured to carry spare regulators for customers rental purposes.
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  4. flots am

    flots am Great White

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wherever you go in life, that's where you are.
    It's true but not especially useful. Anyplace you go diving might or might not have a dive shop nearby and even if there is one, there's no guarantee that they'll have the skills or parts to service any particular regulator, or that they'll have the time to fix it without taking a big chunk out of your vacation.

    No matter what brand you buy, there's a good chance that you won't be able to get it fixed wherever you are. On the other hand, if it worked when you left home, it will probably continue working on vacation, and you can usually rent whatever you need. However I don't like rental masks or regs, so I bring a spare of each.

    I don't really care about the computer, since in a pinch, my watch will tell me depth and time, and so far, my tables haven't broken, and in reality, as long as the tank strap works, I don't care much about the BC either.

    drdaddy and Paladin like this.
  5. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Up a river of excrement in a native american water
    IHMO it is mostly a bunch of bovine excrement. Saying you should not buy a product because there are no local dealers implies to me that the product may be not reliable. Extend that philosophy to other products like vehicles. All it means is that you might have to travel further for maintenance if and when needed.
  6. supergaijin

    supergaijin Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Indonesia
    It really depends on the area you choose to dive.

    In these days where people often travel and live in foreign countries it can make a difference but it's hard to forsee where you'll end up in 10 years. If you're based in SE Asia, then buy something typical for that area. If in Europe, the same.

    If you're doing some serious expedition to a far-flung country with little or no dive center support, beg or borrow a friend's reg as a backup in case yours packs in.

    At the same time don't overthink it, but know that certain areas are dominated by certain brands. Eg. Apex often deals in metric and you may have difficulty finding a metric hex if you're in a country like the USA.

    Finally there is no worldly popular brand- just brands that have dominance in certain parts of the world.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
    Quero likes this.
  7. mselenaous

    mselenaous The Handler Staff Member

    I think that in today's litigious nature in the US, no manufacturer is going put out an unsafe product. They can't afford to.
    That being said, reg choices should be made not on only which features are best for your type of diving, but also on the availability in your locale for parts and service. Regs that are maintained and serviced according to manufacturer's specs not only have fewer issues, but it might also put a bit of the onus back on the manufacturer. Sure it'd be nice if parts and service were available world-wide and some brands are more global than others. Yes, stuff happens so it's best to be prepared: carry a back-up or make sure in advance that spares are available for rent if needed. There are some small items that can be included in a tool kit that could help you trouble shoot most problems and get back in the water without huge effort. Most dive ops can help with some of these.

    Oh and everything Wookie said...+1.
  8. grantwiscour

    grantwiscour Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Dallas, Texas, United States
    I agree that it is mostly hype but sometimes things break. I try to buy quality gear and keep it serviced and in good condition. The best plan is to have a back up for the crucial pieces of equipment if you are diving in an area without rental options.
  9. NWGratefulDiver

    NWGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Pugetropolis
    Well, first off, a lot of these regs are made in the same factories, to the same specifications, and "branded" with a particular manufacturer's name on it. In other words, the "manufacturer" is some factory in China, Indonesia, Italy, or elsewhere that cranks out a certain number of pieces for a given brand-name. This is why, for a lot of regulators, you can purchase a service kit that works for several different types of regs. Now, that's not always the case ... even on regs that look alike ... but it is in some cases. So what's brand name really buying you?

    Secondly, ALL scuba regulators are inherently safe and reliable if they're properly maintained.

    Thirdly, if it's a concern, do what I do on those big trips and pack a spare. I've yet to actually have to use one ... failures on trips have usually amounted to something simple like an o-ring replacement. But it's nice to have a spare set of hoses, or a spare second stage if something goes wrong ... it's often simpler to just swap out a part and worry about fixing it when you get home.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
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  10. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Up a river of excrement in a native american water
    Huh? I got tool chest full of metric tools. The only time they are hard to find is when I forget where I put them. For everything else there are vise grips, duct tape, and bailing wire.
  11. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Administrator Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl
    Most of my regs are similar, service kit wise, and I always carry a spare. Typically that's a stage reg but sometimes it will be a backmount or sidemount reg, just there to steal parts from.

    Only time I had an issue was in another country where I left my tools at the hotel. Tank was dropped and hose cut, no plug to put in place or wrench to change hoses. No big deal, I used the stage reg as my main reg and manually inflated.

    Metric or not is no concern as both are easy to find and I carry both.
  12. Crowley

    Crowley Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Planet Crowley
    I agree with a lot of the above. Firstly that there are no "unsafe regulators" - there are some that I don't especially like, but I'm pretty confident that any well-maintained reg that I use will deliver air when I need it, even if it looks prehistoric or gaudy. For recreational diving, the rest is down to personal preference and budget.

    Think of a regulator like a car or motorcycle engine - they are designed and built to well established engineering standards, within a set plus or minus deviation from the perfect product, and will therefore get you from A to B without any unnecessary drama, assuming you use that engine within the limits for which it was designed. If you look at production motorcycle racing such as the World Superbike Series - they use exactly the same engine that's in the sportsbike you can buy from any high street bike store... but it's blueprinted and tweaked to conform more exactly to the ideal design.

    Regulators are a bit like that. They are not - generally speaking - especially complicated pieces of equipment. Any basic set of regulators will do the job just fine, but if you can afford to pay the premium for that extra bit of precision engineering to make the breathing experience just that little bit smoother and without the rattles and whistles common to many basic regulators, then by all means go for it. Barring completely unpredictable and spectacular failure, rather like engines, they are not going to let you down.

    It has to be said, however, that - exactly like motor vehicles - some manufacturers do have a greater or lesser market presence depending on location worldwide. As an example, Oceanic have no presence at all in my current location - so given that I work here, it makes no sense for me to own an Oceanic regulator, because I can't buy spare parts and service kits here. So - if you have an Oceanic reg and dive here and are worried about potential breakdown, then it would make sense to buy a service kit before traveling, just in case. Rather like engines, they might have differently shaped components but their basic operation is fairly similar. Balanced or unbalanced, 2-stroke or 4-stroke, this bit slides back and forth, that bit opens and closes, and the spring in the middle goes *boing*. Any decent mechanic should be able to look at either design and work out how to fix it.

    There are liability issues here - just like car manufacturers insist that you should only get your vehicle serviced by a mechanic trained by their own company otherwise your warranty is invalidated - so do regulator manufacturers insist on the same. I personally think this is crap, because from my own experience, I learned to overhaul my motorcycle - a Suzuki GSX-R 750 - because I was sick of incompetent, "manufacturer trained" mechanics charging me lots of money for nothing, and so when a friend asked me to service his Honda CBR600F, I didn't even have to think about what I was doing, because the engine operates on exactly the same principles, it just looks slightly different. What's the difference between Haagen Daaz and Ben 'n' Jerry's ice cream? Pretty much nothing except the presentation.

    Yes, it's true that you are not going to find spare parts for your regulator of choice in all parts of the world, but this applies mostly to the internals of the first and second stages. O-rings are o-rings and for sure there is one that fits available locally wherever you are, but a high-pressure seat is generally uniquely tailored to the regulator you own - or at least the brand. When it comes to metric and imperial differences - most centres I have experience with carry allen-keys (hex wrenches whatever you want to call them) of both flavours. If you're in doubt, your own personal set will cost next to nothing. For nuts and bolts: all hail the adjustable spanner!

    Some regulator sets have proprietary screw threads for their LP and HP hoses - that is to say, only hoses from that manufacturer will fit. I've encountered this a few times but I'm hard pressed to remember which manufacturer that was. This annoys me because hoses are just hoses and it's like saying that you can only fit Ford tyres to a Ford car because we've designed our wheels to ensure that nobody else's tyres will fit on our Ford wheels. This is not true of Ford cars, by the way, in case anybody wants to sue me now - it was just the first name that came to mind!

    So - buy what you like but carry some spares if you feel you might not be supported by the manufacturer overseas. If there's a random and unresolvable failure on holiday, then you will probably find a rental set of regs available. This might not be to your liking, just as riding a rental scooter is nowhere near as cool as hammering your sportsbike through twisted country lanes, but it still gets you where you want to go, and can be a huge amount of fun if you lower your expectations a little :D


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  13. mcguiver

    mcguiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    while all regulators will "work" to one degree or another there is something to be said about popularity when it comes to travel and the potential need for repair. For example, I always liked my Poseidon reg but found service spotty at some of the areas I traveled to. I have found that the majority of repair centers are geared toward the majority of regulators. In this industry a reg tec needs to be certified for each manufacturer (and sometimes each individual model) of regulator he or she intends to service. So it wouldn't make since to train and certify every few years just to stay current on a regulator that you may only get in for service every several years. That being the case it is not necessarily a bad idea to go with the major manufacturers when choosing a regulator for travel. As far as the argument that there are no bad regulators, that is mostly true. All regulators function to deliver air when they leave the factory and when they are PROPERLY MAINTAINED AND SERVICED The former being just as important as the latter. If a regulator is improperly maintained it can be destroyed before it is due for its first service. However some regulators are more forgiving of abuse than others, In my experience this is one of the primary differences between high end and low end regulators.
  14. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    I think there are plenty of grains of truth along with a little hyperbole in the statement.

    Some brands are certainly more widely supported. A Sherwood diver will have much more success than let's say a Hog diver at this point in time. Many field repairs may not even need parts and a decent technician can probably finesse any brand so the lack of brand representation is not a death sentence for your vacation. many parts are common to multiple brands. Renting is almost always a viable fallback but that's not what you invested to do.

    Many divers go on vacation and have regulator problems. This can usually be eliminated by diving locally, especially after a service event. Problems are most likely in the first dives after servicing as seats break in and tune can drift. Again, a resort technician can usually put the wheels back on the wagon but it may cost you a dive or 2.

    Like many things the availability of local and destination service support should be a consideration. Each diver needs to assign a priority to this.

  15. Wookie

    Wookie ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    I agree with your concept, but the whole reason I dumped my Sherwoods and went to Atomic is because I couldn't get support anywhere in the Caribbean. As a resort instructor, I was making 3 or 4 dives a day and the old Sherwood seat just wouldn't hold up to that kind of use. ScubaPro and Dacor had the islands sewn up. I couldn't get Atomic support either, but of course, I didn't need any. :D
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  16. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    It is mainly smoke and mirrors, but it depends on who you are:

    • The mechanically savvy, well connected diver, travels with a set of spare parts and most of the tools required to do just about any repair. For this diver the "local service" argument is complete nonsense.
    • The mechanically savvy, poorly connected diver, also travels with most of the tools required to do most repairs. But, getting the repair parts might be a challenge for this diver, so fortunately, there are companies like HOG to deal with this. For this diver, also, the "local service" argument is also complete nonsense.
    • The mechanically challenged, poorly connected diver has it harder, but again, fortunately, there are companies like HOG, who make both the training and parts necessary to deal with this available. For this diver, also, the "local service" argument, if looked are honestly, is not real.
    • So, who is left? The mechanically challenged, poorly connected diver, who neither wants to be able to fix his own gear nor wants to travel with the tools and parts that might be required. I'd suggest that these folks travel with an extra first and second stage and SPG, and be prepared to rent if need be. Face it, folks in the last category have little or no business traveling where the diving infrastructure is so weak that finding a good loaner or rental might be a problem. So, once again, even for this diver, the "local service" argument is specious.

    So what about routine service "at home" that you might not want to do? I, for one, only service my gear one of two ways, by myself, or by sending it to Professional Scuba Repair, a company that is somewhere (exactly where I only care about when I am addressing the package) is the midwest. So one again, the local service argument is B.S.

    Frankly, the service argument, like the life support description, the NITROX clean crap, parts for life, or the prevalence of ScubaPro or Aqualung equipment to the exclusion of all other brands are all things that tend to move to a different shop.
    fjpatrum and danvolker like this.
  17. --tom--

    --tom-- Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Silicon Valley
    I noticed all or the responses focused on vacations and worldwide support. Many of the divers that I train are military personnel & may be stationed anywhere in the world; then the argument for coverage makes more sense. When repairs (or service) is needed, it is more convenient if there is some dealer support when you are going to be out of the country for the next two years.
  18. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    APO does not work to Professional Scuba Repair?
  19. drdaddy

    drdaddy Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Oregon
    I like to dive my own gear. Before I travel I have my regs serviced by Ed/ESDS - I know him well. And then I make sure I dive a couple of dives before my trip. I have been diving in remote sites where I'm the only American ever to dive there, but it was still a PADI shop. Because of my choice of brand, I was pleasantly "surprised" to find my guide with the same reg, bcd, and fins! :) We didn't talk each others language very well, but we complemented each other on how nice each other's gear was. I love my AquaLung and Sherwood regs for this reason. By the way, I would have been fine with the rental regs at this mentioned place, but they would have not had a large enough wetsuit for me - glad I brought my own. Other places I have seen and heard of BCDs and Regs and Fin straps failing - in current! Look at some of the YouTube videos and you will see what I mean.
  20. fjpatrum

    fjpatrum Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: DC area
    Not if you do the repairs and service yourself, as Thal mentioned above. As for parts, I have bought Trident parts through a shop (at a mark-up) for every reg I own, without that much difficulty. It wasn't cheap, but I can now repair all my regs "for free" when and where I need them repaired, not at the convenience of whatever shop I'm dealing with at the time.

    I have yet to hear of any of the "repair houses" that won't take shipments and then return them... for those that don't want to do the work themselves.

    As someone who has moved 40+ times in my 39 year life span, I'm all too familiar with the "we don't sell/service/recognize those here" problem.

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