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Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: ToadWhisperer
Date: July 11, 2010 01:03PM
I've done a few searches on this forum trying to get this info, without much luck, so if it's all been gone through before I apologize.

What do you use? Tanks, hookah or both? I've just signed up for dive lessons and I'm interested in how you more successful hunters work. What are the pros and cons of both? I do understand that with a hookah you can spend much more time under but are there issues about where you can and can't use them? How about public opinion and keeping a low profile?

I know getting certified isn't "required" for a hookah but the gear I wear riding my motorcycle isn't required either and it costs a lot more than the certification does.

Thanks All
Joe



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2010 01:26PM by ToadWhisperer.

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GOOD LUCK!!!
Posted by: the Swede
Date: July 11, 2010 01:43PM
Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: scubadetector
Date: July 11, 2010 01:44PM
Ok first of all I have both. BUT aside from having the hookah checked out and the motor serviced I never used it! MY problem is the hookah I bought has a 5 horse Brigs and Stratton engine, NOISY!! Would never want to use it around other boats or campers or beechgoers. I will mount it on my boat and take it to places when nobody is around. No money for an electric one which looks great.

A tank of air costs me 5.00. That lasts me around 3 hours. I hold my breath and skip breathe. BUTTTTTT I have been certified since 1980 and I know EXACTLY what I am doing. I also dive in 3 - 6 foot of water MOST the time. I love laying on the bottom and fanning my hand and seening the treasure appear!! So much better than a scoop because I don't wear dark glasses and watch the women in the boats!!


Also a hooka on a float would be great, but mine has to be on the boat and I don't want to drag the boat around.


So I will stick with my scuba for now. I have 10 tanks and am quite content. Also grumpyoldman has both, He would be another good sourse of information.

Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: Frank in NH
Date: July 11, 2010 01:56PM
I use three setups scuba, snuba, and electric hookah, all depends on were i am diving. Been certifed since the 60's when i was commercial diving for shellfish.

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Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: ToadWhisperer
Date: July 11, 2010 02:31PM
Do you find the public in general is more accepting of your presence, maybe even glamorize it a little bit, when you use tanks?
How much time do you get out of the electric hookah? How do you decide what to use?

Sorry for all the Q's, I'm just trying to make the right choice the first time around for a change.

Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: UNCLENICK
Date: July 11, 2010 02:44PM
The Keene Hydroair is the way to go Hookah. Period. Other than that get certified and Scuba. hH

Nick

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Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: ToadWhisperer
Date: July 11, 2010 03:13PM
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UNCLENICK
The Keene Hydroair is the way to go Hookah. Period. Other than that get certified and Scuba. hH

Nick

Considering the limited number of dive shops in some areas, this sure looks like it might be the right set-up for me.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2010 03:33PM by ToadWhisperer.

Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: grumpyolman
Date: July 11, 2010 04:40PM
I'll anger a few but Brownie's, if you use two divers, both divers work off the same outlet line. If that fails both divers are in deep doo doo. Don't know if Keene has upgrades but they used to be belt drive. The belt breaks, and they do, you have a spare or you are done diving. The best, the Cadillac with the best compressor is the Airline by J Sink. http://www.airlinebyjsink.com/ The university of Florida once used them for the marine studies unit. Don't know if they do anymore. Parts for the Thomas compressor on the Sink can be had anywhere in the world and they are easy to rebuild. If you life depends on your equipment I'd get the best. IMHO Brownie's and Keen come in a distant 2nd and 3rd in comparison to the sink unit.

All the above use gasoline engines of some kind. Mine had a Honda on it and Honda's are quiet, correct? The compressor itself is noisy and add that even to a quiet engine like the Honda and you have just irritated every person on the beach and any homeowners near your dive site. It even makes it fairly hard to hear you underwater detector. The noise and vibration travels down the hose into the water. What if the engine quits? Not an issue even if you don't have a reservoir tank with your unit. You'll know instantly when the engine quits and you have about two good breaths of residual air in the hose line. If you are working deep and don't have a Pony bottle, you are stupid.

I was tired of the noise of the gas set up. It's great because you can run for hours on a couple quarts of fuel. The engine and compressor are fairly light and mine floated inside a truck tube that held everything including the dive flag. But the noise it made trumped it all. I went to the Hookamax DC unit. They used to have a picture on mine on their site but I didn't search the site when I got this URL. http://www.hookamax.com/17710.html?*session*id*key*=*session*id*val*

Here's the problem with the DC unit. It takes big heavy batteries to power it. A battery big enough to supply two divers to 30' for 3 hours weighs about 125 lbs. I cheated a little. I got two 6 volt deep cycle golf cart batteries and hooked them in series. It still runs 3 hours on a charge, actually more i just got tired after that long, and each battery weighs 62 lbs. This unit has a reserve tank. When the demand for air is relatively low and the pressure in the tank gets up to 80 PSI the compressor shuts off. When the air is drained, by the diver breathing, and gets to about 70 PSI, the motor kicks on again. Many times I surfaced to check what was going on around the topside and the compressor was not running. I bought a big heavy duty beach wagon and mounted all my stuff on that. It holds both batteries, the compressor, and the hose lines I put on reels. All I need do is pull it to the beach where I am going to dive.

Now your initial question was not a review of the various hookahs on the market, it was a comparison of tanks vs hookah. Tanks are heavy to carry and you have to pay to get them refilled. You have to pay for a visual inspection every year and every 5 years they have to be hydrostatically tested to ensure they are safe to hold the pressure that's put into them. The dive shops look at both the hydro date and the inspection sticker before they fill the tank. If they are not current, no fill. However, you put the tank on and head out and you can go wherever you want. There's no down line providing your air supply. The encroaching boat will not run over your airline and raise heck with your dive.

Generally, the hookah set up is nice because you don't have that darn tank on your back. You dive can last as long as your batteries or gasoline supply and if you got lost in zero visibility you can grab your airline and follow it to the surface, if you just don't want to come up where ever you happen to be. There is a tendency for those air lines to act like an angry snake and not go where you want them to go. They can get caught on stuff easier than when using a tank. If you go with Hookah get the 100' lines, not the 50's. Some areas you want to hunt, even with the Hookah in the middle of the beach, if you leave it on land, a 100' radius from air source is not really as big as you might think.

To answer your question directly I can tell you I have a Hookamax 3/4 HP DC electric unit that can support one diver to 50' or two divers to 30'. I also have two SCUBA tanks set up and ready to go with bouyancy compensator, octopus regulator set up, etc. I choose the correct equipment for the site I am diving. I have limited myself to two tanks as I am an old fart, and a single tank will last me about 1.5 hours in shallow water. Even with a dry suit, after 3 hours of dive time whether Hookah or SCUBA, I am done for the day. jim

I forgot to add...Diving with a hookah and no training is just as dumb as diving with SCUBA with no training. Get the training. It's fun. The instructors want you to succeed and will do everything they can to get you safely through the course. No training and someday somebody will read about the tragic loss of a local metal detecting diver. Blunt...but highly probable outcome without training.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2010 04:57PM by grumpyolman.

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Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: ToadWhisperer
Date: July 11, 2010 10:19PM
That Hookamax looks pretty nice and price isn't bad either but with 62 lb batteries kind of puts it on par with the scuba tanks. Maybe getting a couple used tanks or rent a few times first and see how that goes for awhile then at worst I can get a hookah later.
Thanks everyone for all the information, it's been a huge help!

Joe

Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: billn1956
Date: July 11, 2010 10:27PM
Some of the company's do offer a training site on their site.Evan tho you don't have to be certified it don't hurt to take it .I use a octo pump with a honda motor and use it in swimming holes,fresh water with good visibility.When i am comfortable it i will go to the murky-er water where you cant see your hand in front of your face.But i have always wanted to do this and the people at the swimming holes don't mind they don't make that much noise and they want to see what i find.It is worth what i payed for it in fun alone.and it will pay for it self in time.Also i found out our fire company will fill your tanks for free.If i had know that i might have went for scuba.HH and have fun if you don't enjoy it or fill uncomfortable don't do it.

Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: grumpyolman
Date: July 11, 2010 11:22PM
The FDs stopped filling tanks around here quite a few years ago. Too much liability. At least for a time, the quality of air they produced wasn't as good as that used for diving as it's not as critical to what it'll do to your body at surface atmospheric pressure. The deeper you go the more the lowered quality of the air might affect you. I did get a bad fill from our local fire department, long long ago, while I was working for the city and using the city's SCUBA cleaning the city swimming pool. Got a nasty headache but realized it and got out. It was filled at a big city fire station and my guess is some CO got into it somewhere. Maybe with OSHA and all, the FDs now have as good of air as SCUBA shops. But those shops have high quality compressors with lots of scrubbers and filters. Besides, the health department comes around every so often and take a shot of air in for analysis. Most shops will show you those reports if you ask.

That's some of the stuff you learn when taking a dive course. Knowledge of the physics of changing (higher) atomospheric pressures and how the body absorbs and purges gases is critical. It's not the same as on the surface and it's just something you have to know about and learn. There's no logic to it unless you've been taught about it. That's one way being uninformed can kill you. jim

Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: twoscoots
Date: July 12, 2010 11:19AM
Nice words about fire dept. Filling scuba tanks. I got 20 years with our local dept and filling scuba is totally against regs. As stated, a bad tank fighting fire...no problem, folks everywhere are watching and waiting for the linemen to report a problem. Scuba.... Maybe 1 or 2 if your lucky. We got EMS on site also. We will fill tanks away from site if needed but there is NO WAY of knowing if the sensors are all working properly to shut down the system in bad air. We can snatch a mask off if needed.....scuba can't. Trust your scuba shop for ALL your scuba air period!

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Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: ToadWhisperer
Date: July 14, 2010 07:21PM
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grumpyolman
Here's the problem with the DC unit. It takes big heavy batteries to power it. A battery big enough to supply two divers to 30' for 3 hours weighs about 125 lbs. I cheated a little. I got two 6 volt deep cycle golf cart batteries and hooked them in series. It still runs 3 hours on a charge, actually more i just got tired after that long, and each battery weighs 62 lbs. .

Hey Grumpyolman, I just reread your post and pounds to minutes to dollars the hookah looks like it would be the better choice for the likes of me. Some how I had it in my head it was a 62 lb battery for an hour of dive time. Which 6 volt golf cart battery did you use to get three hours?

Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: grumpyolman
Date: July 14, 2010 11:34PM
Each battery is 62 lbs. That way it makes the weight manageable if you just do one at a time. You must hook them up in series as you need 12 volts. WIth those battereies, diving shallow, I get 3+ hours of dive time and that's with 2 divers working shallow. I don't know how long the + is as I've had enough after 3 hours. One thing I haven't mentioned is you should invest about $100 in a good smart deep cell battery charger. The $19.95 model that you use to charge up your car battery to get it to start cuz you left the lights on, is not up to the job you will do. I got one that displays what percentage of a full charge is left and then when it starts charging it keeps showing the increasing capacity being restored. I don't remember the fine details but there's something about the plates inside the battery getting a chemical build up from something, but the smart charger senses that and through the computer in the charger it charges at a much higher rate for several short intervals. That's supposed to blow the chemical deposit off the plates.
Google deep cycle battery. Get the one with the highest ampere rating. A battery tech explained the math but essentially by hooking two 6 volt batteries in series, you get that ampere hours of both batteries. Adding that together. You'd think that running them in series would put more of a strain on them. The bottom line is get the highest quality 6 volt deep cycle battery you can afford, within reason. It's the amount of material in the battery, lead.etc., that determines how many amps it will store. If you only want to go two hours before you recharge you could get a lower hour ampere battery. Call a few of the battery places on the net, explain what you have, 3/4 HP (?? amp) DC motor. and what battery would they recommend. I got mine from a small local battery maker. That's the heart of the system. Plan on replacing them every 5 years or so. You'll get longer than that if you keep em off the cold cement in winter and keep a charge on them. jim

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Re: Tanks and Hookahs - Pros & Cons?
Posted by: ToadWhisperer
Date: July 15, 2010 05:56PM
Thanks Grumpyolman, I''m thinking Hookamax is the way I'm going and all this info should really help cut down on the trial and error (and expense) for the batteries.

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