Looking over the CONTENTS, I don't see my regulator mentioned. So what good would your book be to me?

The manufacturer's service literature usually gives a step-by-step procedure for overhauling one particular model, so that a tech can rebuild it without really understand how it works or what he is doing. We don't have room to do that for every make and model, so we take a different approach, giving much more background material than the manufacturer's service literature typically does, so the reader will be able to make sense of just about any regulator.

The book also gives condensed service data for a great many more models than mentioned in the CONTENTS, and the step-by-step overhaul procedures contain many notes covering common variants. Actually, regulators, with the exception of a few oddball ones, are more alike than they are different, so you don't really need separate procedures and schematics for every single one. For example take the Scubapro Mk10. It's almost identical to the more common Mk5, as are the MK9, the Oceanic balanced piston, and a host of other copies. The only differences are minor ones in how the parts are arranged, differences that will be self-evident when servicing, and shouldn't present any problems.

Ditto the Spiro (USD and Seaquest) balanced diaphragm firsts. While the outer appearance of these regulators changes a great deal from year to year, inside the guts remain virtually unchanged. For that matter, many Dacors and Pre-MR22 Mares firsts follow the same pattern. So one schematic can cover for many different regs - as long as the tech is aware that there may be minor differences, and keeps a notebook handy to note them in.

We will be the first to tell you that there are some regulators you may not be able to service with only the information available in this book - you may still need access the the factory literature. But you won't be able to service them with just the factory literature either - you need a lot of background information that the factory manuals assume you already know. So our book is still a very necessary starting point.

What's the point to a book on servicing regulators when I still won't be able to buy parts?

Most SCUBA shops do sell parts - they sell them to other shops, and to a small circle of customers who the shop trusts not to screw up. The more you know about regulator servicing, the easier it is to become one of that circle. This book can be an essential first step in that direction.

Overhaul kits also turn up on Ebay regularly, and are available from several overseas mail order dive shops. We don't list those shops, either here or in the book, since listing them publicly too often means they get shut down by the reg manufacturers. A query on one of the Inet scuba forums will often find a current source. And then there are a few reg manufacturers that don't seem to care if their dealers sell parts to consumers - Mares and Poseidon parts seem to be commonly available in Europe, and Abyss in the USA will sell kits.

Also, most regulators don't really need every part replaced every year. One can often realize most of the benefits of a rebuild simply by taking the regulator apart, cleaning, relubing and tuning without replacing anything more than an O-ring or two.

Someone told me it takes a $1000 or so worth of tools to work on regulators right.

Not so. You could easily spend that much if you were setting up a shop, and wanted to be able to work on many different regulators quickly and efficiently, but most of those tools will be "time saver" tools rather than essential ones. Only a few special tools are necessary for working on most common regulators. For example, a balanced piston Scubapro will require, in addition to normal workshop tools, just a couple pin spanners, a yoke nut wrench, an O-ring "bullet" tool, and an IP guage. You could spend $100 or so buying them all from a specialty supplier, or, by making a few of the easier ones yourself, get by for about $30. Balanced diaphragm regulators are often even easier - a set of hex keys (allen wrenches) and a pencil! It really depends on the regulator.

How do I know I can trust you?

We've been selling Vance's OXYGEN HACKER'S COMPANION for six years now, and it's become a classic in its field, and the standard reference. Most of our books have been sold by word-of-mouth on the net, on the newsgroups and lists, where people are not shy about registering dissatisfaction. If we were ripping people off, or if the books just weren't good, it would be pretty easy for you to find out about it. Also, we sell our books with a money-back (minus postage, must be returned in a reasonable length of time) guarantee. We haven't had a single copy of the OXY HACKER come back, and only one REG book (it was from a guy who said he'd been SCUBA tech for 25 years and already knew it all!).