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Second opinions on hand-me-down gear

Discussion in 'Regulators' started by jmfitzgi, Aug 4, 2017.

Would you buy new gear, or work with this stuff?

  1. Overhaul this used gear and use it

    10 vote(s)
  2. Purchase new entry-level gear

    1 vote(s)
  1. jmfitzgi

    jmfitzgi Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Halifax, NS
    Recently got a hold of some hand-me-down gear for free. The reg set is a balanced diaphragm Mares MR16 first stage with an Akros octopus (early 90's?) and an old (1970's??) ScubaPro primary (R109 maybe?). Pics attached.

    Cost quoted for an overhaul/servicing to get the set in working order was in the range of $200 - $250 (Canadian). I'm a new diver and have been toying with the question of whether or not to invest in some gear of my own anyway; I've been looking at entry level regs like Aqualung Titan and Mares Rover. I'm curious to know a few things.

    1. Does that price make sense given the servicing needs of these pieces? It's been several years since they were used.

    2. Is there much of a difference in breathability between the older technology vs. what's out now? Enough that I would notice? I've used mostly entry level (Mares Rover, Zeagle Envoy) and one mid-tier (Mares Abyss) balanced diaphragm regs - how would they compare to this setup, in terms of ease of breathing?

    3. Will these pieces continue to be so expensive to service, or is this just a one-time "big job" cost for getting it off the ground?

    4. Subjective, personal opinions. Is it worth it? Would you?

  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    can you try to repost the pictures? i can't open them. Easiest way I've found is upload them to facebook and then embed on here.

    Without seeing them, here are my opinion.
    1. that price is normal for reg rebuild considering the exchange rate right now with the high number I assume including some new hoses if you need them.

    2. no. The 109 especially breathes just as well as basically anything on the market today and I have probably a half dozen of them that I use now for stage and decompression as well as my loaner single tank reg set. There are others that do breathe better like the new G260 from Scubapro *the current generation of the 109 btw*, the Deep6 Signature etc. but you're really not going to be able to tell in the water. Machines can, some people can, but you have to be really looking for it. If I were you, the 109 would be my primary and the Mares as octo.

    3. cost of servicing scuba gear is about the same whether they are brand new or from the 50's. Differences only occur two ways. First is if you have a regulator with free parts for life but that comes at the extra cost of very frequent service intervals. They are either every year or every other year and that is way too often. The other is if you have a regulator with particularly expensive parts though most are about $30 for a first stage kit and $20 for the second stage kit. The 109 MAY need some extra rubber parts to be replaced that aren't particularly cheap. I just completely rebuilt a bunch of mine and it was about $100 in parts for each second stage to replace the rubber bits. I probably didn't have to, but I now know they're all new.
    Cheapest in the US that I know of is a company called Scubatoys in Texas that is $60 labor plus parts which for yours would be somewhere around $120 US ish or about eleventy million CAD. They are very good though.

    4. I'm not a particular fan of Mares but that is really not relevant to my recommendations. If you're happy with them, spend the money and not worry about them for another 3-5 years as long as you take care of them. May need some new hoses at about $20USD each depending on age and if they are the right lengths.

    Cheapest single reg set that I am aware of is about $500CAD. That is brand new, ready to dive out of the box, probably don't have to touch it for 5 years. That's the Deep6 DGX regulator set. Cost of servicing that will be about the same as the rest, so you have to decide if the value of selling those regulators is *probably $200CAD* plus the cost of servicing *another $200CAD* is worth having those regulators, or do you spend the extra for brand new. If you have to replace all of the hoses, then I personally would keep the 109 because it's cool, sell the Mares bits *not cool* and see if you can get $150-$200CAD for them, then buy something like Deep6 DGX if you are trying to keep cost to a minimum. I personally think that going this route would make more sense as you can upgrade to a matched set of second stages both with adjustment knobs, get to choose the ideal hose lengths for you and upgrade to a swivel turret first stage which gives you better flexibility in hose routing.
    DGX Custom - Deep Six DGX Streamlined OW Reg Package
    If you want a better regulator and a better value regulator, the Deep6 Signature is a really interesting thing to look at. cost is $750 give or take. First service cost is free other than the cost to mail it back to Atlanta. Parts, labor, etc are covered. You can take a class to learn to service it yourself, and it's a top quality regulator. May not make economical sense if you are trying to keep it cheap, but it is a better regulator than the DGX version
    Deep 6 Signature Single Tank Regulator Package - Regulator Packages - Regulators
    RayfromTX and northernone like this.
  3. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

    I believe there are many factors to consider. First of all, old is not an automatic hard to breath, expensive to maintain or any other negative issue. I'd start considering the source of the gear, does it come from your uncle or the sister of your ex-spouse? Was it stored on a shelf in their guest room or was it part of the fetch toys for Fido?

    After considering the "past" I'll go to the potential "future". Based on how you've done on your previous hobbies, is it likely that this will be your "forever" passion or something you'll do here and there? what type of diving are you planning to do? lazy recreational for the foreseeable future or very tech as soon as possible? are you mechanically inclined? do you already have a fair amount of hand tools and enjoy using them? Is there someone you trust that could check the gear for its current state?

    What does your wallet think of $200? is it a HUGE amount of money that takes many paychecks to put together from your budget or loose change from your kid's jacket?

    Answers to those questions may help you decide which way to go. Maybe that gear you mention can be used by the right person for many years or it may be total trash.
  4. Jerome O'Neil

    Jerome O'Neil Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle
    $250 for two working, newly serviced regulators? I'd take that all day long.
    Centrals and Bob DBF like this.
  5. Fishpie

    Fishpie Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Fort Lauderdale
    Nothing wrong with a Mares MR16 Akros........great bargain especially for those that self service as the 1st stage is basically a US Divers SEA/Cousteau and can use that regs service kit (much less expensive than the official Mares kit) and are the easiest of all 1st stages to service and require no "special" tools.
    The Akros is a plastic version of the MRIII (by-pass tube model) and is well likes by Mares aficionados.
    The 109. Hallmark reg, but, as stated replacing rubber parts is expensive, but a one time expense.
    It may not even need servicing.....if you have a tank and inexpensive intermediate pressure gauge you can test this yourself .... along with other tests in a sticky above.
    northernone likes this.
  6. ams511

    ams511 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Miami, Florida
    1. I think the price is a high, however I don't know what needs to be replaced. For example Scuba 2000 in Ontario quotes $105 on their website. I would contact them for an estimate.

    2. I would think they would breathe the same as what you are used to. The Envoy might breath a bit better because the second stage is balanced.

    3. You will need to spend that every few years regardless of the age of the regulator.

    4. What else can you purchase for $250?
  7. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    I'd get it serviced, if I had money and it was a choice of getting my dream reg I might opt for buying new. Save your cash for something you really need.

  8. ams511

    ams511 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Miami, Florida
    I would check with Chris to see if he is lining up anyone in Canada to do the service. Canada has a VAT tax and their customs agents are highly efficient in collecting the tax. Many Canadians have complained about sending stuff to the US for service and then having to pay customs duty when it returns to Canada. Whenever I sold something to a Canadian I always wrapped it up in gift wrap and added a card to make it look like a gift. LOL
  9. couv

    couv Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: 13th floor of the Ivory Tower
    First read this:Regulator Inspection and Checklist (Rev-7) and determine IF the regs need servicing. I cannot make out the entire picture you've posted, so the rest of my answer is guesswork. But, if you think they need servicing, I would look for a more reasonable outlet.
    Russoft likes this.
  10. Russoft

    Russoft Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Minneapolis
    I can't believe the amount of money people drop on shiny new gear. I buy the stuff people no longer want and work with it until I find something better. That said, that DGX deal is nice! But keep in mind $400 USD is over $500 CAD at current exchange rate making the $250 overhaul well worth the money. Does it need overhaul?

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