Home Innovations Oceanic Alpha 8 regulator

Oceanic Alpha 8 regulator

With the continued advances in diving equipment technology, more and more recreational divers are now looking for a professional performance from their dive gear, but at a more reasonable price.  For those people that only dive once or twice a year, yet want their own kit, or for the new diver who wants to start to build up their collection of dive kit without having to re-mortgage their house, the budget regulator is an ideal option.  

The budget regulator is also a very important consideration for the dive centre looking at bulk-buying a good quality regulator but at minimal cost. There are several budget regulators on the market now, but do they offer a performance which is comparable with the top-end regulators which may cost up to four times as much?


The Oceanic Alpha 8 regulator with SP-5 first stage is one of these cheaper regulators which claims to offer professional quality performance, yet retailing for around $220 without octopus or gauges.  According to the Oceanic Worldwide website, the Alpha 8 offers the best price-to-performance ratio in its class and is designed to exceed the U.S Navy’s class A standard and European CE rating – the ratings by which all the safety standards
are set.  

The SP-5 is an unbalanced piston type first stage, but this can be changed for the PX-3 which is a balanced piston first stage. For those divers who will experience colder waters, the SP-5 can be environmentally sealed to prevent unwanted freezing and free-flows. Divers need to be aware, however, that the SP-5 only has 4 LP ports and 1 HP port to the PX-3’s 5 LP & 2 HP ports, so with a dry suit inflator attached, the SP-5 will have no spare LP port.

In addition to initial purchasing price, the important thing to the infrequent or new diver, or the dive centre which has several units, is the annual servicing costs, and here the Alpha 8 again has the edge.  This regulator is extremely cheap in terms of replacing the few standard parts which are inside it.

It also comes with an approval from Oceanic to use the regulator with Nitrox mixes of up to 40% without any modifications from the factory.  The second stage weighs just 6 ounces, and the first stage can be changed to an optional 300 bar DIN version.  It also comes with a two year warranty and the Oceanic limited lifetime service agreement.

In the water, the first thing that struck me was the ease of breathing.  This is reflected on its work of breathing (WOB) graph which claims a value of just 1.47 joules at 198fsw (approx 60m). Although I only tested the Alpha 8 to 30m, I would be more than happy to take it deeper than this, given the performance I experienced with it.  I also found that it gave a totally dry breathe in all diving positions – even those which divers would not normally find themselves in!  When breathing from a tank with only 20 bars, it gave no significant increase in the inhalation effort.

Also, with two divers breathing from the first stage at the same time the performance was still flawless and gave more than enough air to both divers; even when both breathed heavily to simulate a panicked diver situation.

I used the regulator for about two weeks, on and off, with very little care of it following diving days, and it still gave a superb performance at the end of this period.  For the rental regulator, which will no doubt receive a certain amount of abuse, I would say that the Alpha 8 would provide a reliable performance with minimal servicing for quite a long period of time. So for the diver who wants their own high performance regulator, but at a budget price, or for the dive centre looking for cheaper but reliable units, the Alpha 8 is a very good option and should be given serious consideration.

 

 

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