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Bringing Italy to America

Discussion in 'Regulators' started by offthewall1, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. offthewall1

    offthewall1 Instructor, Scuba

    Lets face it... I've been diving for more than a decade now and just recently took the crazy plunge and opened a dive shop. In more than a decade and more than 1000 dives I have tried a few regulators.

    My very first regulator... a gift from my wife was the Scubapro MK2 - R190 combination. I dove that for almost 6 years before I tried something else. Then in quick succession I tried something from Mares (it free flowed out of the box), then the Atomic B1 (it was like sucking air through a straw in the inverted position), the Apeks ATX50 (a quality regulator) and then back to Scubapro with the MK20 - G250, the MK16 S550, the MK25 -G250HP, and finally the MK11 S555.

    In all this time I preached that I would dive nothing other than Scubapro after having tried the Mares, Atomic and Apeks. My favorite regulator from Scubapro is the MK16 S550 with the MK25 - G250HP being a close runner up.

    Now for the Surprise... I have a new favorite... and one I never thought I'd have. Now don't get me wrong - I still own my Scubapro's and still love them... but there is a surprising alternative that competes readily...

    The Cressi-sub Ellipse Alaska 1st and 2nd stage regulators. Both my partner and I have tried these things and we're believers. The fact that both Scubapro and Cress-sub are made in Italy should not go un-noticed. The comparisons should not stop there. Both are quality regulators.

    What is interesting is that Cressi-sub regulators have never really caught on in the USA... but they do very well in Europe and in Africa. So America, it's time to wake up to a less expensive high quality alternative regulator. The best part... they can be had for much less than their Scubapro counterparts.

    If I were recommending a regulator today... I'd tell you to buy one of the following... in no particular order:

    Cressi-sub Ellipse Alaska
    Scubapro MK25/G250HP
    Scubapro MK16/S550
    Scuabpro MK20/G250

    While some will swear by Apeks regulators (and I did like mine well enough,) I can not find it in me to put them up to the Italian standards. Not knocking them at all... just my personal preferences.

    If you're in Baltimore... take our Cressi-sub Ellipse Alaska challenge. We go to the quarry and swap regulators with you. You tell us what you think.
  2. Jimmer

    Jimmer Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brantford, Ontario
    I must agree that I the Ellipse Alaska breathes very nicely, but I'm somewhat leary of it after my cousin and dive buddy had a massive freeflow at 120 in Lake Erie last summer with me. Have you had any issues with it with freeflow at all?
  3. Specmac

    Specmac Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    I find it amusing that you didn't like Atomic, but love Scuba Pro. These are very similar designs and I've found they breath pretty much the same. In fact the Atomic engineers used to work for Scuba Pro and all their designs are based on the work these two engineers did while employed at Scuba Pro.

    I own two Atomic regs (Z2 & ST1), and two Mares(V32 Metal & Abyss) and have dived several different Scuba Pro regulators. I prefer the Atomic mostly for ergonomic reasons as they all breath well. A machine may able to tell the difference but I can't. The Mares regs seem a bit finicky as a I frequently have to have them tweaked and adjusted. The Atomics are dead reliable and just work between service intervals without any problems.
  4. offthewall1

    offthewall1 Instructor, Scuba

    Myself and my friends tested the Atomics (when we worked for a shop that sold them.) We took our Scubapro regulators and the Atomics to the bottom of the 10ft deep pool, laid on our backs and attempted to breathe. Before supporting Atomics, I suggest you conduct this or a similar test. I know you'll see the difference.

    In addition, the second stages of the Atomics on more than one occassion fell apart while in use in the pool. The knobs on the first stages are a much cheaper grade plastic than the Scubapro and on more than one occassion the knobs broke off.

    The Atomic is probably OK for a Carribean Diver... but don't put it into a commercial or professional grade application - it is unlikely to survive.

  5. offthewall1

    offthewall1 Instructor, Scuba

    We have been told by our Cressi-sub representative that the Ellipse Alaska is a better breather than the Scubapro in depths to 100 ft... and we agree with that assessment. That same rep told us that the Scubapro would hold up better (less chance of free-flow) when diving deeper than 100 ft. We plan on diving the Alaska to 100+ feet in 36 degree water ourselves. Our shallow water testing indicates everything our rep told us was true... and now we're looking forward to pushing it beyond 100 ft.

    Thanks for the input. There are also flow adjustments that can be made to the regulator and perhaps your cousin and his dive buddy simply needed a flow adjustment. One thing we have discovered is that new Cressi-sub regulators tend to flow much too easily out of the box and need to be tuned down.

  6. evil_xander

    evil_xander Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Croatia, Europe.
    FYI, over here, in Europe, Cressi has the same reputation you mentioned above, cheap for rentals and weekend divers and that's about it. Not an established name for serious diving, however you may define it.

    I believe they are over any birth pains as they are present with their regulators for quite some time now, but still have to earn their ground in the reg market.

    I'd love to hear feedback from European LDS owners/shop keepers present on SB on this...
  7. Specmac

    Specmac Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Yep tested them all the way you described. Actually The test I do is a little past full inverted. By that I mean head down and feet up but a little over rotated so that your angled slightly so you can see the surface more than your feet. I found that most regs are challenged in this position (some more than others). By challenged I mean enough so that I can feel a difference in the way they breath. For example my first reg a Mares MR11 would give you almost no air in this position. I've tested every reg I've ever dove like this and the Atomics breathed as well as any I've seen in this position.

    I've asked almost every reg tech and many accomplished technical divers why regs breath heaver in this position and have never gotten a good technical answer. Bob Outlaw at Blue Dolphin is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable divers I know and a former navy seals instructor. Bob told me it wasn't the reg but rather a factor of the forces of water pressure on the body. Bob knows a lot more about equipment and diving than I do, but this still doesn't explain why some regs perform different than others in an inverted position.

    Also on a trip to Bonaire two weeks ago. Scuba Pro had no less than 3 reg failures in our group of 20. All with cheap plastic parts breaking while being banged around on rough shore entry/exits.

    Lots of other minor issues with sand and grit in the Scuba Pros.

    There were less of us Atomic divers than Scuba Pro so the failure numbers may just be a product of the math, but none of the 5 divers with Atomic regs had any issues what so ever.

    I'm not knocking Scuba Pro, I recommend them as well. Just find your comments about Atomic to be BS based on my own knowledge and experience.

    Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree! ;-)
  8. daniel f aleman

    daniel f aleman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Austin, TX
    All regulators have issues, that's why you choose the right equipment for the job at hand.

    The Scubapro MK17-G250V is the best regulator that I have ever used (35 years of diving and 24 of those technical). The Atomic M-1 is second; Mares Abyss, third; and the Beuchat VX10, fourth.
  9. couv

    couv Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: 13th floor of the Ivory Tower

    :confused: I am trying to figure out what make of regulator your shop sells?

  10. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    It still amazes me when I read those "it's junk" diatribes about modern scuba equipment. The consumer has to determine if you sell the regs because you find them to be the best, or if they are the best merely because you sell them! Maybe the subconscious logic is> Premise #1: I don't sell crap! Premise #2: I don't sell Atomics Concluding: Ergo, Atomic must be crap!

    No, I don't think this is a conscious decision for most shop owners but the attitude seems to be prevalent among many of them. It would be better to just extol the virtues of what you DO sell rather than dissing what you don't.

    In the past, the shop was in the driver's seat when it came to gear selection. The consumer would come in and listen to the Dive Sage pontificate on which gear was righteous and which should be avoided as it was "junk". Now, the consumer need only google the internet or just come to ScubaBoard to find a veritable TON of peer reviewed gear ranging from the lowly spring strap to any rebreather you may want to consider. You simply DON'T have to rely on someone who's primary motivation is selling enough so they can afford baby's new pair of shoes. The best is that there are many, many people here diving the gear YOU are considering. If there is a problem, you can be SURE that it will be discussed here ad nauseum. To be sure, this is the first negative comment I have ever read about Atomic Regulators (other than price) on :sblogo: That says a LOT. Their first stage piston design is nigh to bullet proof and the design of their HP seats are genius. No, they are not an advertiser here, and I don't even dive their regs. But I have used them and have found them incredibly breathable.

    That being said, the OP's offer to allow them to try the reg at a local dive spot is a GREAT idea. I would even let them do a whole dive or two if you really want to make a statement. One or two rental regs and you probably have it covered.

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