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Best Double Hose Regs?

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by JamesBon92007, May 28, 2011.

  1. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    I should have been writing this down all along so now I find myself searching the old posts. Since no double hose regs have dropped in my lap it looks like I'm going to have to buy one :wink:

    So, which ones are best?

    Here's a quote from Luis H:

    "My recommendation for DH regulator is to stay with US Divers or the Voit equivalents (Voit are harder to find). Parts are an issue with some of the other manufacturers (some are worse than others). Any of the US Divers can be rebuilt (except for the Royal Mistral), but the best breathing regulators are the Royal Aqua Master, the Aqua Master, and the Mistral (basically in that order, IMO). The Mistral has its own charm and appeal based on its simplicity and the jet like noises that it makes (it is not a bad performer, it is just not as good)."

    On eBay I'm seeing a "Aqualung Mistral Aqua Master" and a "Aqualung DA Mistral Aqua Master." Luis recommends the Aqua Master or the Mistral but I'm seeing them with both names on a single regulator. Which is which? Is a single-stage worse than a two-stage?

    And what about the labels? Some have orange labels, some blue, and one has a US Divers logo with a tank. Are some labels better than others?

    I also saw a "Dacor Dial-A-Breath" but that sounds too hokey to even consider.

    I would really like to get a Voit but only because my twins are Voits and I'm expecting delivery this week (getting hydroed). They REALLY are gonna need a double hose reg attached to them, at least part of the time. :wink:


  2. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    The labels changed over the years including the location of manufacture. That can be one clue in dating a unit. I think you can find more detail if you dig in here at vintagedoublehose.com.
  3. Luis H

    Luis H Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Maine
    Here is how to identify regulators:
    Double Hose Regulator Identification

    You can find a lot more information here:
    Vintage Scuba - Vintage Scuba Gear at Vintage Double Hose

    A regulator is either a Mistral or an Aqua Master, not both.

    The Aqua Master is also known as the DA Aqua Master. In the 70’s when they went to the round label the DA was dropped from the Aqua Master name.

    Some divers (including JY Cousteau) really like the single stage regulators (Mistral) for its simplicity and reliability. They breathe amazingly well considering how simple they are, but my favorite regulator is the Royal Aqua Master.

    The Royal Aqua Master is a two stage with a balanced first stage. All modern diaphragm first stages are based on the RAM design. The modern Aqua Lung diaphragm first stages actually use the same HP seats and many of the same internal parts as a RAM.

    VDH message board and store seem to be down at the moment, but when it is back up you should check the regulators for sale at the store. They are normally better deals than eBay. An eBay regulator will require rebuilding and a number of new parts. Unless you get a super deal from eBay you will end up paying more than the ones at VDH.
  4. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    Thanks guys. I'd read that pretty much all old double hoses would need to be rebuilt to I see what you are saying about buying from eBay vs VDH. Thanks for all the tips! It also sounds like some eBayers need to get their names straight :wink:
  5. elmer fudd

    elmer fudd Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Puget Sound
    They don't always need to be rebuilt, but if you plan on using them extensively, it's a good idea. I like collecting and diving old regs, but I find that rebuilding all of them just doesn't make sense. If it breathes OK, doesn't free flow and I'm not going to use it regularly, then I just inspect the hoses and diaphragm and valves and figure it's good enough. If I'm planning on diving it on a regular basis, then I rebuild it.

    If you're looking for a versatile regulator to dive with I'd get a cheap, beat up AquaMaster, then rebuild it, or have it rebuilt, with the best parts available. Get a Phoenix nozzle, silicone hoses, etc... When you're done you'll have one of the best breathing double hoses ever for about $400. It will be reliable, have available parts, HP and LP ports, (for SPG, BC's, drysuits, etc), and since it's already a bit banged up, you won't be afraid it might get scratched if you actually use it.

    If you want an unmodified regulator, but you still want to dive it, then you probably should get a US Divers or a Voit, just because the parts are available. Parts are starting to come out for the Healthways regs too so you might consider one of those as well.

    Dacors, Divairs, Waterlungs, and others are more collectible than they are diveable simply because the parts generally aren't available. If you want to dive one of those old regs then you often have to locate NOS parts, fabricate your own or try to figure out what other parts can be substituted.

    Personally, I'd start out with the tricked out AquaMaster and then pick up the other regulators as you come across them. I'm not too crazy about e-bay myself. The only bargains I see happening there are when a seller lists his stuff in the wrong category or doesn't know and misidentifies what he's selling.
  6. Doc Ed

    Doc Ed Solo Diver

    Amen to what Luis said James. I've been watching eBay for the past 3 months and have pages of double-hose reg auction info saved. If you factor in the cost of new parts (to make it diveable) you'd be better off getting one from the VDH store. Unless of course, you're able to snag one for $50 on eBay, your other options would be craigslist or local yard sales.
  7. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    DON"T DO IT!! There is no such thing as buying one.....I got one last week (Nemrod Snarke III) and picked up another one today ( Dial a Breath).

    Seriously, you are better off buying one from Bryan or at least someone from the VDH board that is rebuilt rather than going the ebay route- at least until you understand what you are looking at. Half the stuff or at least the text, is more BS than fact. One recent reg was listed as a "rare 1950's regulator" when in fact it was a common mid 60s DA Aquamaster. Certainly nothing wrong with it for restoration but 50's or rare it was not. A good DA Aquamaster or Royal Aquamaster are fine. Don't spend extra for the later round labels unless you just really like the style better, the outer can is the only difference in them and the older square label style...which IMO looks better anyway. The one part that would sway me to a later square or round label would be the longer yoke that some have on them. The longer yoke allows you to use a banjo adapter and a SPG instead of relying on a J valve....although they do work....had to pull mine twice today.
  8. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    I've been watching them on eBay for a long time waiting for a great deal to come along and the lowest I've seen is about $100. This merely resparked my interest. The LDS has an Aqua Lung with an orange label and they taped the hoses back together and use it as a display in their "History of Diving Museum." Sometimes I think the owner wants to put ME in there! Anyway, if for some reason my little Voit doubles don't pass hydro they might end up as a display but if I can get my daughter to date his son then perhaps I'll end up with the regulator :wink:

    I realize that having a SPG is a great advantage but what are the drawbacks of having it attached to the tank valve? I've only used them attached to my first stage (single hose) but usually dive one tank anyway. If I'm going to dive another tank I would then need to use another reg, of course.

    I've never used a J-valve. I assume when you say you had to pull it twice it was two different dives :wink: I'd always just used a K-valve back before I had a SPG and when it got hard to breathe I surfaced. I used a watch and pretty much knew when I was going to run out of air. But I have no idea how a double hose responds when it gets low on air. Back in those days I was using a Healthways or Calypso and they never just suddenly stopped delivering air.
  9. Gilldiver

    Gilldiver Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northeast US
    A Aquamaster or RAM will run you around $100 off of the Bay, a reg rebuild kit, new diaphragm, and c-clamp will run about $65, and a hose kit (hoses, mouth piece and mouth piece valves will run about $100. Total $265 and you do the work. To have VDH do the work, you will be around $300 or so.

    Right now VDH has a late 50's DA Aquamaster all set up with the Phoenix nozzle for $450. So for the extra $150 you have a reg that has 3 low pressure and 3 high pressure ports ( and a great guy who stands behind all his parts and work) in your hands in 3 days or so ready to dive.

    Your choice.
  10. USdiver1

    USdiver1 Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Southwest Ohio
    Y'all forgot to tell Mr. Bond two of the most important things about DHs.

    1) 007 himself was a Voit man (watch Thunderball for evidence). A Voit Navy is internally an Aqualung DA Aqua Master, so if you can find a Voit Navy and rebuild it with the Phoenix valve, you can have your cake and eat it too.

    2) DH acquisition and diving is a serious illness, once you start, you just can't stop. :eyebrow: Let's hear it from vintage equipment divers with just one DH......Anyone?.....Anyone?....Anyone?...Bueller?.....Bueller?

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