Oceanic GT-3 regulator plus FDX-10 1st stage

Part two of the review into my twin-set, that's my 'spare reg'. To save a bob or two we went down the route of a slightly less whizz-bang second stage but the same first stage. After all the 'spare reg' has to be usable at depth!

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!

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 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.

I have a longer hose on this set of regs but there is a limit before the restriction caused by the longer hose impacts on the WOB, I was recommended a maximum length of 2m and that seems 'ok'

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 trotted out by us grizzled elders!


In all it glory with tatty bungee arrangement!

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.


Only one diver control on this second stage

I have seen and had problems with the purge on the scuba-pro S500 sticking and the set-up on the GT-3 regulator is very, very similar, maybe it's just that I push the purge too hard but I have had issues with the purge sticking. For that reason I haven't used the feature on this regulator yet.....I really should!

The adjustable inhalation knob is 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 inhalation knob 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 despite not having the universal joint which is fitted as standard to it's more expensive brother it is still  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. Again, being brought up on old regulators and stiff 'orrid rubber hoses I find 'hire regulators' comfortable so perhaps I am not the best judge of comfort.

The downsides, well to date apart from my worries about the purge 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.....

If you married this regulator to a less 'expensive' 1st stage there may be a perceptible difference but if funds are tight I would always recommend that you buy a top, top 1st stage and 'make do' with a less expensive regulator until funds allow something better to be bought. It's the 1st stage that usually gives rise to free flows and a better quality unit will tend to mean less risk if you use the kit for everything from warm holiday diving to cold uk quarry warm ups.

Richies rating 9/10 : Just about spot on and a good performing top end set-up suitable for any use, not as 'sexy' as the EOS but nearly as good and less expensive

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