Regulators: Life Support Equipment
Q.) I’m trying to figure out the long-term cost BEFORE I buy the last major piece of equipment…my whole regulator setup. I work at a museum (no money there), and with the exception of my laptop, this will be the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought. Holy cow, is this a tricky purchase! Ultimately, I’d rather save that few hundred bucks and use it to get somewhere beautiful than blow it on pricey service or unnecessary features/ level of quality.A.) Based on your diving expectations I would recommend an intermediate package that should cover everything you need and then some. Would need to know your budget in order to really give you proper options.
How often do the various parts (first stage, second stage, octo) need serviced: annually or every XX dives? (I’ll be diving maybe one day a month in chilly Cali, and hopefully continue to do a few tropical weeks a year.)
A.) Every product you are referring to will ask for them to be serviced Annually to keep them in warranty. Atomic is every two years. With that being said, it is not the “use” of the regulator that makes the internal parts wear down. Whether being used or in storage, the high and low pressure seats are always touching with the pressure of a spring tension that over time will cause a seat to have an indentation. ScubaPro has a second stage that keeps the pressure of the seat but you have to remember to activate it. If not serviced this will eventually cause the regulator to free flow. That is good as the opposite is no air at all. Not good. Atomic has a spring that when not pressurized the tension releases, hence the 2 year service.
Q.) 2. About how much does each component’s service cost? Do some regs require more frequent or expensive service than others?
A.) Average recreational divers will need annual service, that is pretty much it. I will take my PADI hat off and tell you that many people do not annually service their regs and they will tell you that there is no problem. In most cases they may be OK but the issue here, and I hate to preach, this is Life Support Equipment. Don’t you think you are worth it? Same goes with the warranty issues for better pricing. I am rambling but you get the point.
Q.)3. I assume new parts are a pricey part of service, some regs form licensed dealers come with annual service kits for free, any tips? Many manufacturers are offering 1 to years of parts for free while others have lifetime warranty.
A.) Be careful though as they all are pretty strict on keeping within your “year” from the date of purchase to have them serviced. The kits ordinarily will run about $12 to $20 for a complete set up First Stage, Primary, Octo and Gauge.
Q.) 4. I can’t tell if the savings from an ebay or other internet purchase are worth it without figuring how much parts and service are. A first, second and octo Mares V32 Proton Ice just sold on ebay for $425. Is that (in the long term) a better or worse deal than a $800 package from a dealer?
A.) in the case of Mares, you would receive the full warranty, (which I sure any ebay retailer will not have) and we make it worth your time by providing your first year of service for FREE, join our Scuba Club and you get 2 years for FREE. We understand that you want the best price, service and knowledgeable folks who know what you need. We try hard to work within your budget, your skill level and your anticipated amount of diving. Quite simply we try to be your LDS on the Web. Hope this helps