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Scuba cylinder valves- disappearance of J-valves and metal knobs?

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by BillP, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Rred

    Rred Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
    932
    361
    63
    "New J valves are easily bought online, "
    Yes. And J-valves used to be what, $25 more than a K valve? Maybe a whole $45-50 for the J-valve?
    Well, as of now, USD is out of the J-valve business, and for the past several years they only sold them to military and special dealer channels, not to their general dealer base. Now that USD has totally stopped supplying and making and repairing them, the sole source is XS Scuba, at a price of about $450 for a very nice J valve that is sold mainly to government and military users. That's now one J-valve for the price of two tanks with K valves in them. Way out of line with what they used to be, and way above what most divers are going to be willing to pay.

    As to buying used J valves...remember there may be no spare parts, and the springs and other internal parts do need some maintenance every 10 or 20 or 30 years down the line. (Which often means NOW.)

    So, easily bought online--at the same price as maybe 8 double tank boat dives?
     
    dead dog and Sam Miller III like this.
  2. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    2,597
    977
    113
    I"m somewhat surprised to hear that the Sportsways was only $24.95, but at the time I was working for $1.50/hour so that would have seemed like a lot of money to me when I was barely able to afford to get my tank filled 2-3 times a week. I did finally break down and buy a console (SPG and Depth Gauge) in 1983 but by then I was probably making at least $10/hour so it didn't seem like quite so much.
     
  3. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    2,549
    935
    113
    The first tank I bought, in 1959 with money I earned picking strawberries and beans, was a 38 cubic foot cylinder with a K-valve. I also purchased a Healthways Scuba double hose regulator. K-valves have been around as long as diving with Scuba, and people don't realize that the designation of J-valve (with a reserve) and K-valve (no reserve) were simply the letter designation for these valves in the U.S. Divers Company catalog.

    I didn't need a J-valve with its reserve as my regulator, the Healthways Scuba (their first regulator) had a reserve built-in, a restrictor oriface. The restrictor orifice was a popular method of telling when the diver's air supply was getting low, by feeling the restriction in breathing. You could order your regulator with the restrictor (for use with a K-valve) or without (for use with a J-reserve valve).

    When I upgraded to a single hose regulator, the Healthways Scuba Star, I again opted for a restrictor orifice and K-valve (it cost $39.95, for this regulator, as I recall). The K-valve was now on a 71.2 cubit foot tank.

    It wasn't until I bought my third dive tank and regulator, a Voit Forty Fathom single has regulator, that I got a J-reserve valve, as the regulator (Voit's equivalent to the USD Calypso) had no way of incorporating the restrictor orifice into its air flow.

    Since I collect and dive these old regulators, I have several which still incorporate the restrictor orifice. A few years back, I took my Scubair regulator without an SPG on a dive to see when, at about 22 feet in depth, the restriction kicked in. I could "feel" the first restriction at what turned out to be above 500 psig. The restriction became very noticeable at about 500 psig. The restriction is a function of depth, and is called "depth compensated," as is gets less as the diver ascends. But, it becomes much greater if the diver must descend while on a restrictor reserve; therefore it is not recommended in overhead environments.

    There are some "Vintage divers" who are buying these regulators, with the restrictor orifice built into them, without realizing that they are there, and they may get a surprise if they rebuild them and dive them. The Scubair, for instance, has two settings changed via a knob on the regulator, which state "J-valve" and "auto-reserve."

    This auto-reserve, restrictor orifice has some advantages over the J-valve and the SPG. Both the restrictor and the J-valve can be used in zero-visibility (which is why the U.S. Navy still sees a need for the J-valve). The SPG relies on vision to work, and while new computers have beeps to warn a diver, the beeps cannot be heard under a 1/4 inch (8 mm) hood. But the restrictor is a "built-in reserve," always there and it cannot be inadvertently knocked into the "off" position like a J-valve.

    SeaRat
     
  4. diverstone

    diverstone Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Denver
    24
    0
    1
    That's an impressive catalog collection!
     
  5. 50 years under

    50 years under Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Northeast Pennsylvania
    9
    19
    3
    Sam,


    I guess I should feel better that you are not just being arrogant with me; it seems to be part of your persona. I must say that your behavior is less than welcoming to a new member. Fortunately, for me, I am an older thicker-skinned diver and I can hold my own, but new divers may not have the confidence to speak up to a legend.


    I am an experienced diver and have been actively diving since 1969 and stopped logging my dives about 10 years ago when I passed 4000. I guess I could go get my dive log out and give you an exact date when I logged my 4000th dive because that attention to detail seems to matter to you, but surely not to most readers. I have dove in many parts of the world, more than half of them dark and cold, and I have an excellent safety record. I find it reprehensible that an experienced member like yourself would jump on members for what you perceive to be insufficient or inaccurate information, especially on a thread with a topic that can have absolutely no bearing on the safety of a diver in the water. My experience could make me a valued participant on this forum, but I question if it is worth it, seeing the way new members are branded by a (self proclaimed?) legend.


    I do not know if you are a moderator or your status on this forum, and to me it doesn’t matter, you can ban me if it is within your power to do so, but wait…… it must be within your power because you are a scuba legend!


    I wait with bated breath for your decree.


    Best regards,


    Rick
     
    rhwestfall, rjack321 and dead dog like this.
  6. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    3,827
    2,129
    113
    @JamesBon92007
    responded

    "I"m somewhat surprised to hear that the Sportsways was only $24.95, but at the time I was working for $1.50/hour so that would have seemed like a lot of money to me when I was barely able to afford to get my tank filled 2-3 times a week. I did finally break down and buy a console (SPG and Depth Gauge) in 1983 but by then I was probably making at least $10/hour so it didn't seem like quite so much."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I had a complete Sportsways Navy unit, later added the very first production console the "Peniform " a universal skeletal frame which incorporated the Sportsways SPG, a compass and depth gauge. At that time we were so concerned that the SPG would snap off -- But I - or "we" never heard any report that it did snap off

    A few years later all the major companies were offering all sorts of consoles as standard equipment -- now so standard

    It has been several days since I posted I must assume @50 years under has been over whelmed and @Bob DBF has over looked my reply to his post delineating the cost of SPGs . Certainly invalidates that the SPG was so expensive quote " Probably the major reason the SPG was not offered at the time is that it would have cost you nearly as much as your reg set. "
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    This attitude of false knowledge that the SPG is a modern device of diving has been perpetrated on a national level by articles such as those appearing in Dive Training Magazine by the world's greatest dive historian, Alex Brieske who can recall people who were never involved , events that never occurred, equipment that was never made who proudly proclaims he began diving in 1968 before the invention of the SPG-- I quote from one of his recent articles

    "Although submersible pressure gauges and buoyancy compensators (BCs) did not yet exist, the equipment section included a laborious discussion of regulator design, as well as the manufacturing...."

    I some how suspect that this or these types of articles are why so many on this board began diving a few years ago = Before the invention of the SPG -- and all read the New science of Skin and SCUBA diving 3 times -- Recall the one great historian on this board read the New Science 2 times 3 years before it was published and 2 years before his birth

    Enough for one sunny California morning

    Sam Miller, 111
    @Akimbo
    @John C. Ratliff

     
  7. 50 years under

    50 years under Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Northeast Pennsylvania
    9
    19
    3
    Where I learned to dive we were not blessed with the quantity of dive shops that Californians were back when I learned. The only shop I knew of was in Bayshore and it was a small shop. He did have his own boat, the RV Black Coral and other than wreck dives most local divers dove jetties off the beach and the rocky north shore. So without wreck diving, most dives were 30 to 40 feet. So while divers in California probably all had BCD’s and SPG’s, most local divers I knew that first year dove without either. I remember that my initial investment in gear was 2 steel 72’s with J valves, my US Divers Royal Aquamaster, a backpack, a compass, a depth gauge, and a wet suit. I had been given a dive watch for my birthday so I had that essential gear already. Oh, and let’s not forget that 8” blade we all strapped to our legs. For the gear listed it cost $300. I had acquired fins mask and snorkel for the pool work so that cost was not included in the $300.

    In 1970 as my second season approached the wreck dives I did the previous summer taught me the margin of safety an SPG would bring to my dives and also about BCD’s. I was told after a few wreck dives to acquire a Mae West lifevest from an airline which was used to blow into and vent out of as needed. It was as flimsy as the vests the flight attendants demonstrate today on airplanes. So for my second season I traveled into Jamaica to Central Skindivers and they had soooo much more gear than the shop close to my home. (They also sold by catalog and that was my first diving gear catalog.) I acquired an SPG with a banjo fitting (thank you Sam) and a Fenzy bouyancy compensator which had a small air bottle you filled off a scuba cylinder to add air to the vest as well as an easy to use purge system to dump air. Ahhh 1970 was wreck diving nirvana for me.

    The reason for this long story is to point out that we all acquire our knowledge about diving from discussions with fellow divers and from the classes we take, and obviously diving experience. I can completely understand someone stating that SPG’s and BCD’s weren’t available to them because in their little localized world of diving it wasn’t. It wasn’t in mine either. Diving without a BCD taught me valuable lessons about bouyancy which have served me well over all these years. And diving without an SPG also made me appreciate calculating SAC rates for different conditions because it was essential. I may have missed those experiences if all I did was sit home reading catalogs and dive magazines. But I would have had the latest gear with all the bells and whistles!

    Rick
     
  8. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    2,597
    977
    113
    Very interesting. My first regulator was a Healthways single-hose. I never worried about running out of air because I could still breathe from it for some time after it became hard to breathe. I didn't know about the restrictor orifice--it came as a package deal along with a steel 72 and K-valve and a plastic backpack. I wasn't being picky about features at what this setup cost.
     
    John C. Ratliff likes this.
  9. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    2,597
    977
    113
  10. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    2,549
    935
    113
    @SamMiller, actually, it was Cousteau's The Silent World that I read three times in about 1959, when I was learning scuba diving at age 14. It wasn't until 1963, when our Salem Junior Aqua Club imported LA County Instructor Roy France from California that I saw The New Science of Skin and Scuba Diving. That was our course workbook.

    Roy taught a great course, and Elaine McGinnis and I had to get urselvs out from under a gill net as our last pool assignment.

    SeaRat
     
    JamesBon92007 and northernone like this.

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