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Upgrading AL DA Aqua Master

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by rstofer, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. rstofer

    rstofer Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northern California
    2,199
    3
    0
    Can anyone point my in the right direction for info (FAQ?) re: upgrading this vintage regulator? I bought it off eBay and it looks to be in nice shape. The hoses and mouthpiece look new.

    I know exactly NOTHING about double hose regulators other than what I saw on Sea Hunt. I actually went out and bought the 128 episode DVD set just for giggles.

    I haven't had a chance to actually try the regulator but I might do that on Saturday. I will have access to some low pressure cylinders.

    I am aware of the VintageDoubleHose.com site and I did buy the repair CD.

    If it is possible to upgrade this such that I have an intermediate pressure for an octo and inflator hose, that would be great!

    Is it a reasonable approach to just send it to VintageDoubleHose and have them do whatever they can?

    This regulator was built when the address was on West Pico but I don't see the serial number. The tag is green and there is a gold crown above it.

    Thanks
    Richard
     
  2. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    11,950
    2,102
    113
    There are two online webstores that specialize in parts and restoration and upgrades:

    Vintage Double Hose

    Vintage Scuba Supply - Antique Diving Gear Two Hose Regulators

    Go to the vdh (vintage double hose) and then proceed to the forum and then ask your question there. Pay particular attention to the "Phoenix" upgrade and also the many new silicone rubber parts, silicone rubber hoses, valves and the rebuild kits.

    Also visit vintage scuba supply, under community for their forum and additional information and neoprene rubber hoses.

    PS, I am not connected to either other than as a friend of the vintage community

    N
     
  3. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    11,950
    2,102
    113
    BTW, welcome.

    To install a LP hose for inflator and octopus you simply need a hookah port adapter and a three way swivel. The swivels are a common part, divertie express I recall,proably Oxy Cheq as well, vdh has the hookah adapter. To use a SPG you will need a banjo fitting. There are two styles, each have their fans, I prefer the later style which has a lip but is thicker. I believe vdh has both and vss may have some as well, not sure. Or, get on the list for a Phoenix conversion kit at vdh, see the Phoenix sub forum for the latest info, that may be your best solution.

    N
     
  4. pescador775

    pescador775 Loggerhead Turtle

    2,652
    4
    0
    Stofer, have you ever worked on regulators? If so, you will notice some features which are similar and different. The Royal Aqua-Master uses the Conshelf balanced valve. The Aqua-Master includes an unbalanced valve. In either case, the valve mechanism is contained in a separate module called the high pressure block or "nozzle". This can be removed with a wrench for service or inspection. Disassembly is similar to that for the Conshelf. In other words, a snap ring is pulled with special pliers and the parts go "sprong" and fall out. I don't know of any FAQ's but the regulars here can answer any question, any. The circlips can be removed by grasping and pulling with a small end cutter. The clips can be replaced with a clamp. Common maintenance items are the flutter valve inside the case; it's the same flapper thing that others call a "duckbill". The IP is adjusted from inside the case with a big hex key. Readout is at the 1/4 inch oxygen nut at the back of the case. Most of the pros jack up the IP a bit. Other service, inspection items on the list are the check valves contained in the mouthpiece. These days, with the surging interest in vintage and DIY there are probably more parts available to the diver for the DA series regulators than for modern regs. As far as hooking up accessories with feed off IP air or HP air, there are quite a few gadgets available but the big one is the Phoenix nozzle designed by Luis and sold at VDH. This is a replacement, balanced HP block which has gazillions of ports and includes a heavy duty yoke. It can be installed in any of the DA series regulators manufactured after 1957.
     
  5. rstofer

    rstofer Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northern California
    2,199
    3
    0
    I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear about the FAQ thing. I don't want to work on the regulator. I want to send it off someplace (vdh) and get it back ready to dive. I bought the manual but not with any intention of doing the work. I just like to read stuff.

    Thanks to all! Time to contact vdh

    Richard
     
  6. pescador775

    pescador775 Loggerhead Turtle

    2,652
    4
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    No problemo, I like questions which have numerous possible answers. I can expound a little and in time, the right person will read it.
     
  7. rstofer

    rstofer Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northern California
    2,199
    3
    0
    I did copy the text to a file. As I said, I like to read stuff. It's just good to know how things work.

    I am in contact with VintageDoubleHose and making arrangements to add the Phoenix Nozzle to my regulator. While I'm at it, I will have the internals upgraded. I really look forward to diving with this regulator. As I get more comfortable with the reg, it may even replace my Oceanic Omega IIs.

    Richard
     
  8. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    9,557
    2,167
    113
    Congradulations on joining the vintage world.
    If it were me, I would upgrade the reg in steps. First, replacing the diaphram, duckbill, hose check valves, any other worn parts and if needed the hoses. Then dive the reg for a while. Then upgrade your next one (I suspose no one has told you these things are addictive, there will be more.....#6 is on the bench now :) ) with all of the above plus a Phoenix nozzle.
    I would caution you about diving it before doing at least a check of the duckbill and the mouthpiece check valves. These parts are almost always bad in any reg that has not been serviced in the last 5 or 6 years...and it's likely yours has not. The check valves tend to get hard (they should be soft) and the duckbill tends to turn to goo....a nasty mess some times. Pull the hose off the exhaust can (the one with holes in it) and check the rubber piece you find under the hose, it should be soft and flexable. If it is, you should be able to blow through it and when gently inhaled into it should not let air pass. It is not uncommon for it to be stuck shut so having to blow a little hard the first time is not uncommon but the next breath should go easy. The check valve housing (aka wagon wheels) can be easily pulled out of the mouthpiece for inspection. Notice how they are installed, they are identical but installed in opposite directions in the mouthpiece. It does not matter which goes where as long as you get the orientation correct. A small pencil mark on the hoses and mouthpiece will aid in getting it back in the correct orientation.....assuming it correct to begin with. If the reg passes these test, does not freeflow and breathes reasonably easy (with an old diaphram and duckbill it will not breath as easy as a new reg) then a test dive should be OK.

    Don't give up on working on these old reg too quickly, I find a lot of the pleasure I get from them is in the restoration process itself. Plenty of us around to help you along.
     
    dead dog likes this.
  9. duckbill

    duckbill Solo Diver

    833
    50
    28
    It depends on what you mean by "upgrading".

    If you bought it to experience how they dived them back "in the day" by upgrading the existing parts with new ones, then parts are available to do a rebuild. You can use a hookah port adapter for LP, and a banjo (thick one only) for your SPG if that's what you want, as already mentioned.

    If you want to modify/"upgrade" it to bring it up to a more modern configuration with built-in ports, then the Phoenix nozzle has a growing following, though not "vintage" in itself.

    There may be other options available in the future. The double hose regulator group is getting pretty big these days. I understand photographers in particular appreciate the bubbles being out of the way, vintage or not.
     
  10. rstofer

    rstofer Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northern California
    2,199
    3
    0
    For my 'first' version, I am going to have the Phoenix Nozzle installed by VintageDoubleHose. I am also planning to have the improved diaphragm installed and any other parts that may be required or desired. I know it won't be 'vintage' but I'll be wearing a BP/W do that's probably not vintage either.

    I may very well buy more of these. But first I want to see how they dive. They don't have to be perfect, they don't have to be equivalent to a Dive Rite Hurricane but if they compare favorably to my Oceanic Omega IIs I will be more than satisfied.

    I can see there is an enthusiastic group of vintage divers. Over time I'll get caught up but it's difficult when you know absolutely NOTHING about the topic.

    BTW, how do you remove the clips that hold the regulator housing together? Can these be replaced with a clamping band during the upgrade process? Somehow they don't look like they can be removed and reused.

    I want a picture of my grandson with this regulator, his Al 50 and a full wetsuit. It will make a terrific photo for the mantel. Maybe with one of the harnesses at VDH. What a trip!

    Richard
     

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