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Heated undersuit: Inflator / connectors

Discussion in 'Dive Equipment' started by Wibble, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    I'm hearing of problems with EO connectors affecting the Santi Thermovalve. Apparently some people are changing the cable & connector. Is there an issue and if so, what's the problem?

    My current inflator valve is a Scitech. Am about to get a inflator / cable for the Santi heated vest. Trying to choose between a Santi Thermovalve or a Light Monkey Light Monkey Dual Outlet Apeks Style Valve for Power and Air.

    Questions:
    1) How different are Scitech and Apeks valves with respect to the hole in the suit (as Santi does both)? i.e. if I took off a Scitech, would an Apeks fit in the hole without modification (given that I'm likely to swap the valves back for the summer/diving abroad).

    2) Does anyone have any experience with the Light Monkey valve? Is it "better" than a Santi? I know that I'd need to source a Santi-compatible plug and solder it to the cable (as discussed here). Is it worth it, or is the Santi fine?

    3) Are there any tips on ensuring a long an reliable life on the EO connectors? For example taping a blind connector to the exposed socket
     
  2. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    At the risk of repeating myself.....

    E/O connectors depending on your point of view are a bit shit or a lot shit. Period. Irrespective of which ones you have they will need replacing at somepoint. Some say its annually some say its longer. I do mine when they start to piss me off. I've swapped out about 4 now on my torch, batteries and my thermovalve. They are however something of a necessary evil if you need wet connectors.

    Scitech and Apeks are not the same size - you will need the appropriate one for the one you have.

    My thermovalve (and my santi battery) had E/O cables that were not molded in one piece. The plug and the cable were seperate mouldings. The cable in the also seemed to be 'normal' twin brown and blue type 220v mains cable.

    This compares with 'proper' E/O cables that come with fully moulded cable and plug and also an internal 'non-wicking' material in the cable, to try and prevent water wicking its way down the cables.

    Put it simply, quality wise the difference is chalk and cheese. The good quality ones as you might imagine are expensive, I can only guess the reason for the ones used on my thermovalve and battery were to minimise costs.

    The thermovalve as a unit is fine, and even considering the lower quality cable it will/should work fine. You may end up replacing it sooner, but you will end up having to replace anyway further down the line. I would strongly suspect the LM version has a better quality cable.


    Care:

    DO NOT TWIST AGAINST EACH OTHER. TWISTING JUST FUCKS THEM UP - It just opens up the contacts and weakends the connections inside. I've seen someone do this and its never going to get better. If its not working, wait until you can clean the plugs properly - twisting will just make it worse in the long run.

    Blind Plugs do help to keep crap out, so can work.

    When not in use turn the power off at source, electrolytic effect in conjunction with sea water will eat the contacts. Some batteries have circuitry to shut the power off if there is no load thus protecting the contacts.

    If you aren't using the heating for a while, take out the valve and replace it for a normal one (i.e summer or warm overseas trips). Whilst it might look cool, 'hey look at me I have heating', having it sit there degrading whilst not being used makes no sense (been there done that!).


    Cleaning:

    Best is to use ultrasonic cleaner, suitable citric acid/degreaser/warm water combination.

    Can also use cottonbud with wet'n dry or a needle type file.


    x
     
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  3. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Terrific answer, thanks Becky :)
     
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  4. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    I think as long as you come to terms with their fallible nature (the E/O connectors) you'll be ok. x
     
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Thermovalve fitting...

    Have the kit, just have to wait a few more days until I can fit it.

    Does anyone have any hints & tips for fitting the thermovalve? How tight, any bits to check, anything to look out for?
     
  6. Daniel

    Daniel Active Member
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    I had the si tech valve on my suit and had a delivery of the santi thermovalve (apeks size) you will have to cut the hole on your suit as the si tech ones are smaller (I've had no leaks) the apeks valves is the one to have anyway apparently... my new otter that has just been made bow has the valve on it
     
  7. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Hopefully it's the Scitech valve - which is the same as the one which on the suit at the moment. Can't open the package for another week though ;)
     
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  8. Daniel

    Daniel Active Member
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    Ah haha I see
     
  9. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    It's update time...

    Cable's broken :sorry: Stuck a meter on it and one of the cores has gone open circuit (and I'm not talking about bubbles).

    So just trying to source a new cable (Deep Ideas) and I'll hopefully get it fixed in time for next Friday's dive on the Kerryado.

    Up to discovering that the cable had broken on Sunday's dive -- I'd forgotten what shivering was! -- it's been really nice to have the heating system. Unless it's stupidly cold, I've found I don't need to have the heating on all the time, just flick it on when I begin to feel cold and off again if I feel too hot -- yes, it's really that good!

    I've been very careful with the E/O connectors, heeding @becky9's great advice above. I think it's broken closer to the valve end than the E/O connector.

    Definitely recommend heating -- if only to win the argument with Richard at Wraysbury that I'd be diving in the freezing water for 2 hours. (Actually it was 1h40 as I got bored!)


    I think I'm going to be even more careful with the new cable. I think the inner cable's been snagged more than once when hanging the drysuit up and when pulling the suit over my head.
     
  10. nickb

    nickb Active Member

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    The E/O cables used by Santi are a bit shit in my experience. The Light Monkey ones that Deep Ideas sell are a lot better. I haven't yet seen the Thor cables that @becky9 posted about a while back. They look very good.

    You might be able to salvage the existing one though, if the break is close to the valve or on the inside part you could just shorten it. Replacing the inner connector is problematic with the Thermovalve as Santi glue them shut and you pretty much have to destroy them to take them apart. Thankfully Deep Ideas now sell replacements.
     
  11. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Have the connector in hand; it's definitely not coming apart so I'm assuming its glued together.

    From this thread: http://ukdivers.com/threads/santi-heated-vest-undersuit-cleaning.14390/#post-166098
    Found a datasheet here: http://www.selwyn.co.uk/index.php?o...&id=136:plastic-circular-connectors&Itemid=14

    Does anyone know anyone who's sourcing these connectors (apart from Selwyn Electronics who'll have a minimum order)?

    If I can't get one, then I might make up an adapter for the Anderson connections.
     
  12. nickb

    nickb Active Member

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    I just told you. Deep Ideas now sell them.

    Selwyn now have a minimum order of 200 or something daft.
     
  13. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    All ordered. Deep Ideas have the connectors too.

    Then the fun begins...
     
  14. nickb

    nickb Active Member

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    Am I on your ignore list?
     
  15. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Sorry @nickb, was sort of answering you... Your help is much appreciated:)
     
  16. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Cable & connector arrived; now the fitting fun begins... Mustn't put the soldering iron through the suit...
     
  17. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    All done, heater working, valve fitted ready to be leak tested on pool night at the club.

    Quite a difference in the cable quality... the new E/O cable had a fibre lined core -- will make it resist stretching more than the existing cable.

    Also the break looks to be in the inside connection. I cut the cable to about 6" from the Chogri connector and one of the cores is still open circuit. If the pillocks hadn't glued the connector up, it would have been an easy repair...

    Thanks to Deep Ideas for a fast turnaround and support. And @nickb. Happy bunny.
     
  18. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Stripped the short tail of the E/O end and it's fine.

    I should have cut the Chogri connector off first to check the cable. Of course I suspected the cable. Isn't hindsight great...
     

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