Appeared in DIVER April 2007

REGULATOR Apeks Status
YOU KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE. You put a perfectly functioning regulator away in the cupboard and take it out after a couple of months to find that it free-flows. Or, worse, you take it away with you, only to discover that its gone faulty on the dive-deck of a boat, just before your first dive and a long way from home.
Otherwise, youve just had it serviced and the same thing happens. Any dive guide will tell you that the most common cry when such an event occurs is: Its only just been picked up from the service technician! Annoying, isnt it
If you use a regulator all the time, its performance gradually wanes. You dont really notice this until you compare its breathe with that of someone elses reg.
Apeks reckons to have the answer. It has built into its Status range of regulators a little electronic gizmo that counts the time interval between services and checks the inter-stage pressure delivered by the first stage.
Its akin to those coloured lights you get with a BMW to keep you joined by the hip to your service centre.
The Apeks feature depends on the fact that Apeks regulators use a dry-sealed diaphragm first stage. The first-stage pressure is sensed and monitored and transmitted to the in-built electronics by a newly developed load transmitter. Powered by a shirt-button battery, this takes a few moments to diagnose the situation before displaying a message at the end-cap.
The in-built LCD has four alternative messages: HI for inter-stage pressure set too high, LO for the converse, SVC when you need to get the valve serviced, and OK, which is of course the only version I saw while I had a unit on loan.
The Status feature is available with the top-of-the-range Apeks FSR first stage, the former top-of-the-range FST, the turret-style DST model and the basic DS4.
I took a DS4 with an XTX40 second stage for a weeks diving based aboard Hurricane in the Red Sea. It performs as well as a conventional regulator, and its excellent performance has been well documented here over the years.
My only problem was that the DS4 has only one high-pressure port, which I had to use on the left side of the rig in order to employ a transmitter for my new all-singing, all-dancing computer. This meant that the LCD faced downwards unless I turned it sideways to view it.
In fact nearly all the Apeks Status first stages would have the LCD facing downwards if they were used rotated the way they are normally illustrated in Apeks publicity material. Only the FSR has the dry-sealed diaphragm at the top.
The Apeks XTX40 and DS4 Status costs £362.

  • Divernet Divernet
    + Keeps you in touch with possible problems.

    - Difficult to see when installed on a tank.