Appeared in DIVER September 2006

REGULATOR Mares V42 Proton Metal
THE MARES MR22 ABYSS HAS ALWAYS BEEN a favourite regulator of mine. It has a metal second stage that neatly does away with problems of free-flow due to icing, and a trouble-free diaphragm-style first stage that routes the two high-pressure hoses down a steep angle from the other hoses in a very convenient way.
The other four ports are also angled away from each other. The result is a very neat hose arrangement, and no problems employing a transmitter for a gas-integrated computer either.
However, the first stage is a mighty lump of chromed brass that would see off any mugger you might meet on the way back from diving, if swung on the end of its hose.
Its not so clever when you come to pack it.
The new V42 first stage is a similar design to the MR22 but is made from a much smaller lump of metal. One of the smallest first stages available, its as if the designers simply took an MR22 and pared away the surplus metal.
It has the same brilliantly angled hose ports. Looking into it, the clearly visible over-sized diaphragm pressure spring forms a good heat sink for coldwater diving.
Paired with one of the smallest second stages, the Proton Metal, you get a very compact regulator indeed.
The all-metal Proton Metal is a sweet design, too. It hasthe familiar Mares Venturi bi-pass design, which negates any need for knobs and switches, and a substantial finned heat exchanger included in-line with the hose. Its mouthpiece is less floppy than previous Mares efforts, and its exhaust-T is a low, flat, horizontal affair.
I took it on a series of 50m dives that involved long swims back to shore. I wore a twin-set of independent tanks, with the V42 Proton Metal on one side and the older MR22 Abyss on the other. There was no intrusion by exhaled bubbles in my line of sight and both always gave me exactly the air I demanded.So similar were they, I had to take each regulator out of my mouth to check which one I was breathing from. I even checked how much air I had used from each tank to discover if I had a favourite, but I had used each unit equally. The V42 Proton Metal is as good a performer as its popular sibling forerunner.
It promises to perform just as well in the UKs coldest inland freshwater dive sites, and will offer no weight handicap when packed for a trip abroad.
If I have any criticism, it is that the point at which the hp hose screws into the first stage looks a little vulnerable to bad handling. If a tank fell over while the valve was fitted and you were unlucky, I fear that the metal at that point might fracture, and that would make it beyond repair.
I have not tested for that, of course, but it is something to be aware of on busy dive boats in rough seas.
The importer tells me that these V42 Proton Metal regulators are flying off the shelves of dive shops, so you may have trouble finding one to buy.
The Mares Proton Metal costs£380.
  • Mares, 01639 724740,

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