Reviews

Oceanic EOS regulator plus FDX-10 1st stage

Having started doing a bit of twin-set diving (again) I thought that I now have enough dive time under my belt to talk about my set-up. So to start with the primary regulator!

I was advised to use this Oceanic set-up by a friend who does lots of deep diving and thought, 'well if it's good enough for him and his divers....'

I had to do a bit of research when looking at the FDX-10 1st stage, apparently it's an overbalanced set-up......eh?!

As an engineer I thought I new what they meant and on checking up I was right, the regulator is set up so that the 'device' which allows air to flow from your cylinder to your second stage (in this case a diagphragm) will 'open easier than it closes', I am trying to keep things simple.....maybe an analogy would be that it is like an office door with one of those spring loaded devices, or more accurately a pub toilet door where the hinges are designed and set so that it will always stay closed. This makes it easier for the path to open allowing air through to the diver.

The theory is great it allows more air through at greater depths reducing the effort of breathing, however there is a downside....it makes free-flows more likely, now this can be compensated by increasing the breathing effort using one of the diver controls on the second stage, but doesn't this negate the first stage design?

My advice is simple:-

i) Buy a matched pair and don't bugger about with hose length without consideration!
ii) Set it up to suit you.

When I started diving in the dim and distant past the regs were terrible and you didn't really need a contents gauge as the breathing got harder as the cylinder pressure reduced, with modern regs you can breathe a cylinder dry and only know when the flow of air stops. To put on my old man of the sea hat, you've never had it so good, you don't know you're born and such statements as trotted out by us grizzled elders!

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The reg in its glory!

As with most equipment the set-up is a combination of matt-black and chrome, not being a 'tackle tart' I find this scheme ok and whilst the tekkest tekkie might want a pure black set-up it's not excessivley garish (scuba-pro please note) and should be acceptable by the over-riding majority of divers.

There are plenty of outlets on the 1st stage to allow you to fit 2nd stage, octopus, SPG and a sensor for your computer to monitor cylinder pressure so not a lot to say, other than all of the ports are in usable positions. Some first stages have outlets in positions which make them totally useless, not in this case.

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Driver adjustment controls

The purge button, do divers use it? Well I don't but its easy to find and press with no obvious bits which might catch and stick! I think I have only used this feature on a handful of occasions when inflating lift-bags and it does what you want it to do......I have seen and had problems with the purge on the scuba-pro S500 sticking but no such issue with the oceanic unit.

There are two 'diver controls' on the second stage, an adjustable inhalation knob and a venturi switch. The switch is a simple device which goes between 'ten too and ten past' and offers quick adjustment of breathing effort. Scuba-pro offer a similar device which they sell as 'pre-dive and dive settings', this offers a quick way of increasing or decreasing the restriction in the 2nd stage and its most practical use is in the event of a free-flow!

The adjustable inhalation knob is also a common feature on many 2nd stages and gradually adjusts the breathing effort, there are two things that I particularly like about the set-up on the oceanic regs, firstly it's big, the scuba-pro S500 unit that I use for shore diving has a similar knob but it really is small and with cold or gloved hands...fiddly. The second thing i like is that although it 'locks down' when minimum breathing effort is selected when you are increasing the effort there is no physical stop, the knob keeps turning but 'clicks' letting you know that you have reached the maximum point. No chance of jamming the reg at high breathing effort which is useful.

Using the devices there is a real change in the effort of breathing, although personally I would be relaxed about diving with the regs set at their most restrictive, again it's down to what you consider acceptable.

The second stage is a nice small unit and having a universal joint on the regulator means that it is extremely comfortable to use, the mouthpiece is soft and I personally would prefer something with a bit more hardness about it, I guess thats because I'm a 'biter' and you gentler soles will probably love the set-up.

The downsides, well to date I have only found one and that is that I would prefer the exhaust ports a wee bit further away, I have found that when looking straight down you do get nuisance bubbling over your mask, nothing too serious just nuisance. In a 'normal' diving pose the outlets are fine but spending time in various contorted positions lobstering or scrapping I would prefer those outlets maybe 10mm further away.....

Richies rating 9/10 : Just about spot on and a good performing top end set-up suitable for any use.




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