Post by Gomez' echo on Mar 15, 2005 13:42:46 GMT -8
The collection of US Divers Catalogs that I have access to is not complete, however, here is what I could find about the Conshelf series:
Prior to 1965 the Conshelf regulator was not available. 1965-1969 the Conshelf VI regulator was in the catalog 1970-1971 Conshelf XI appears 1972-1976 Conshelf XII is now marketed 1976 Conshelf Supreme 1977-1982 Conshelf XIV and Supreme 1983-1984 Conshelf 20, Conshelf 20 Supreme, Conshelf XIV, and Conshelf Supreme listed 1985 Conshelf SE Supreme, Conshelf 20, and Conshelf 20 Supreme
I am missing 1986-1988 Catalogs
1989 Conshelf SEA, Conshelf 21, and Conshelf XIV are available
I may be able to shed a bit of light, although it is only from my limited experience and not from USD or any dive shop, on the Conshelf history.
My second single-hose regulator was a Voit V-11 Viking 40, which was the Voit equivalent of the US Divers Calypso. This was their first spring-biased, balanced first stage with a downstream second stage. It had a unique all-metal mouthpiece, a diaphragm with the exhaust in the diaphragm, and front metal "wings" for the exhaust ports. This was also the first single hose regulator used by the Cousteau team, and it was used on Conshelf Two project. This regulator was not featured on Conshelf Two with the Aquanauts, but was used by the working divers on that project. It is shown predominently during the building phase of Conshelf 2 when the divers were doing very hard labor (putting lead ballast onto the Starfish House, for instance). This was documented in the book and film of the same name, Jacques-Yves Cousteau's World Without Sun.
I remember using this regulator for about five years, and using it after using a Dacor R4 I double hose regulator had rebuilt. Compared to the R4, the Calypso was a dream to breath off of.
This Calypso is the regulator used by Hannes Keller to set the depth record of 1000 feet in a submerged chamber off Catalina Island in the mid-1960s. Unfortunately, his buddy diver died during the record attempt, but this did prove his radical theories of decompression and gas-changing.
At that time, US Divers had the Hydro-lung Supreme, the Calypso, and the Aqua-Dive Deluxe. The Calypso was the best of the three, and the Hydro-lung Supreme the middle of the line. The Aqua-Dive Deluxe was the low end.
The Calypso was as described above, and the Hydro-Lung Supreme had a different first stage/second stage combination. The Hydro-Lung Supreme was an unbalanced first stage, with a downstream second stage that had a conventional-looking second stage (Conshelf-type, but with a smaller exhalation valve). It used the DA Aquamaster first stage in a body that looks like the Conshelf now looks. The Aqua-Div Deluxe had the same first stage, and a tilt valve second stage.
I believe the Conshelf came into being when the US Divers changed the Calypso's first and second stages. The Calypso became a balanced, flow-through piston first stage, and a now famous metal, more conventional second stage with the larger exhaust openings. But the US Military probably did not like the piston first stage (at least I don't think they qualified it). US Divers wanted to keep a balanced, spring-biased diaphargm regulator, and I think they created the Conshelf to fill this void. This also came at about the same time that they built the Royal Aquamaster, which also has a balanced diaphragm first stage (and a lot of the same parts as the Conshelf). The Conshelf was one of the first to qualify for use by the US Military (US Navy), and was used by both the US Navy and the US Air Force in the late 1960s. Interestingly, the Conshelf regulator was never used on any of the Cousteau Conshelf projects.
I saw this happening, but from a distance (from the US Air Force), and would be interested if anyone had other information about the regulators. I know that the AMF Voit MR-12 came out at about the same time in competition with the USD Conshelf. We (Air Force Pararescue) felt at the time that the USD Conshelf was a better-made regulator, but that is based simply on opinion. I have a spec sheet from US Divers titled Conshelf XII Regulator Performance Chart, which was dated 1972. It shows the Conshelf XII regulator well within the military limits to 200 feet, and within the "Maximum U.S. Divers Limits" from 200 feet to 400 feet for exhalation, from 200 feet to about 320 feet for inhalation at 400 psi supply pressure, and going well beyond 400 feet and within the limits at 2500 psi inhalation supply pressure.
While I never owned a Conshelf, I was issued the Conshelf regulator (which model, I don't remember), but I do remember that it was one rugged regulator that could take a beating. We used it in the early 1970s for our parascuba jumps from both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. I'll try getting a photo to Linda to post here.
If anyone has more information, I'd like to know too.
Well, Linda has three times to put that photo into the above post. It appears that the photo is "broken," so she asked me to try on Photobucket.com. I have done that with this photo, and maybe l now work. We'll see; if there is a photo here, then it will show what we regulators in the USAF.
The Pararescueman is wearing a partial wet, double 40 cubic foot tanks (old 20 life raft bottles converted to scuba use), fins (taped on with masking tape), mask (behind head), no snorkel, knife, reserve parachute on front, medical kit beneath it, a "butt boat" (or 1-person life raft), and the main parachute (S-10 with an oval cut and sliding risers). The regulator was almost always a Conshelf, without any other hoses (when a single hose regulator had a single hose). We relied on the 500 psi "J" twin reserve valve, again by USD.