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Old 01-25-2015, 04:43 PM   #1
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Hookah dive system

I have been kicking around the idea of buying a hookah dive system mostly for bottom cleaning, zinc changing and of course for removing the occasional crab pot. If/when we take boat south to clearer water it would also be used to explore shallow water and maybe even grabbing a few lobster or spear fishing.

Brownies seems to be the dominant brand but there are others. I have also considered trying to put together a system of my own. For what they are 3500 sounds like a lot. Even sourcing suitable compressor and hose i think I'd have less than half that in a diy version. Since it will live on the boat i don't need all the fancy floats. Alternatively, i have also considered a long hose from my tank.

Does anyone carry one?
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:55 PM   #2
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We've built a few. The last one is pictured below. The only part that was hard to get was the fitting from the airline to the regulator pig tail. A commercial dive shop in San Diego had it. The threads are different as per an OSHA regulations so that breathing air and working air don't get intermixed. The oil-less air compressor is 1.5 hp. A 3/4 hp oil-less compressor with or without a tank will work. The 3/4 hp compressors without a tank are no longer built that I can find. This is pretty standard set up for the guys who clean bottoms outside the US. Total cost was less than $250. (I'm PADI certified).
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:30 PM   #3
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Larry:

Do you use a standard Scuba regulator? I was under the impression that hookah rigs operated with low pressure air from the compressor- in the neighborhood of 50 psi and that isn't enough to work with the standard regulators which need at least a couple of hundred psi to work.

David
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:45 PM   #4
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So your compressor is just a off the shelf pump and the line is just standard air hose?

I have been looking at OSHA approved pumps and hoses. Which, of course is two or three times the cost. Makes wonder what the difference between them is. Just a certification sticker?

i am actually padi dive master certified. Unfortunately, my diving days predate hookah systems. My knowledge is based on what i have read over the past few days.
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:57 PM   #5
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Normally the second stage is based on the output pressure of the compressor. Generally 80+ psi is ok for a normal scuba 2nd stage. More pressure up to about 150 psi makes them breath easier. Below 80 psi, the spring in side the simple tilt valve 2nd stages is changed to a weaker spring to improve breathing. One needs to be careful selecting a compressor as some oil less use a dry lubricant that isn't human compatible. I prefer a scuba tank with a long hose between the first and second stage of the regulator. Not as inexpensive, more difficult to fill in remote locations, but a better quality of air.......and I'm worth it.

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Old 01-25-2015, 06:15 PM   #6
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Larry:

Do you use a standard Scuba regulator? I was under the impression that hookah rigs operated with low pressure air from the compressor- in the neighborhood of 50 psi and that isn't enough to work with the standard regulators which need at least a couple of hundred psi to work.

David
Yes, a standard dive regular. I run the compressor at around 110 psi. It will work at lower pressure but with the 3/4 to 1.5 hp compressors its a volume (CFM) issue more than the psi at least at the depths I use it for.
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:21 PM   #7
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Anything less than a purchased setup is a rolling of the dice.

OCDIVER gives good advice as well as fastbottoms...both pros.

Like pros, advising to used approved equipment is in their nature and meant to protect you.

I have used a system of a simple oiless compressor with the basics to my octopus regulator of my normal dive setup. Cost me $3 for one fitting. My compressor is a 1983 Sears Craftsman compressor..after year 2, I added a filter.

Like others on the Internet I took a few simple steps beyond the obvious to ensure health and safety because of using less than pro level equipment. But like many things in life...something used several times a year for an hour or so don't always has to meet OSHA standards.

I have used it for 3 years with complete success for what I wanted.

there are dozens of suggestions on the Internet for components....listening to OC and fastbottoms is good advice though...
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:22 PM   #8
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There are young guys using home compressors and harbor freight hoses on our dock to clean and change zinc and scrub bottoms. Without knowing the quality and technology behind their DIY equipment, I would be concerned about it. I've also seen home garage car painters and sandblasters using a paper paint mask for protection.

My brother died from lung disease related to working a life time in a sand and dust filled environment and it wasn't pretty. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. (I'm also PADI certified)
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:37 PM   #9
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There are young guys using home compressors and harbor freight hoses on our dock to clean and change zinc and scrub bottoms. Without knowing the quality and technology behind their DIY equipment, I would be concerned about it. I've also seen home garage car painters and sandblasters using a paper paint mask for protection.

My brother died from lung disease related to working a life time in a sand and dust filled environment and it wasn't pretty. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. (I'm also PADI certified)
And for some limited jobs a dust mask is all OSHA requires.....the point is does the 2 hrs underwater a year guy need a $2500 hooka.... or something substantially less but still safe enough.

There is plenty of reasonable evidence out there to suggest a cheap homemade hooka will not kill you if you use your brain.
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:43 PM   #10
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This topic came up a couple of years ago. Here's the thread and the post from FastBottoms.

Pot warps & dive stuff

... Minimum horsepower should be about 3/4hp. I don't recommend the cheap Home Depot, Chinese-built POSs, but they will work. The most popular compressor used by hull cleaners is the Thomas 1020. They used to be affordable, but currently are going for about $750 new. Runs on 10.5 amps of 110 volt AC.

Air hose is another item that can be an issue. Many people think that buying the cheap pneumatic tool hose from the hardware store is the way to go, but this is a big mistake. Air hose that is not rated for breathing air can offgas toxins that you will breathe. Use only Grade-E breathing hose from a reputable manufacturer. Any scuba shop can set you up.

If you want to purchase a commercially available hookah, here are the best suppliers, IMHO. It ain't gonna be cheap, however:

Surface Supplied Air NEW

Air Line Diving System | The Air Line by J. Sink

Here is a 12-volt alternative:

Sea Breathe, The Electric Snorkel
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:54 PM   #11
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I do see the use for a cheap system for 5 minutes a year. But because I may (hopefully) use it for recreation and not just to look at the hull twice a year.

I can get the hose and the compressor (both made for breathing) for less than $600.
Keene Engineering Online: Medium Duty Compressor

Diver Gear | Alternative Dive Gear Scuba | The Air Line Hookah by J. Sink
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eseyoung View Post
I do see the use for a cheap system for 5 minutes a year. But because I may (hopefully) use it for recreation and not just to look at the hull twice a year.

I can get the hose and the compressor (both made for breathing) for less than $600.
Keene Engineering Online: Medium Duty Compressor

Diver Gear | Alternative Dive Gear Scuba | The Air Line Hookah by J. Sink
What you aren't understanding is that the Keene compressor you linked is run by a belt and pulley driven by a gas engine. So add the cost of that, plus the build and then factor in how dangerous having moving parts like a belt and pulley are on deck.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:20 PM   #13
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I do understand that will need an engine and pulleys...that's no problem. I have several very low/no cost options.

I didn't think about the moving parts...this will be an extra step but I'll fab up a guard system.

I am confident (if the hose and compressor i found is suitable) that i can do the entire project in for less than $ 750.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:33 PM   #14
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I do understand that will need an engine and pulleys...that's no problem. I have several very low/no cost options.
I am confident (if the hose and compressor i found is suitable) that i can do the entire project in for less than $ 750.
Sounds like a plan. . . When it comes to diving, no short cuts, you want it to be right

I've used gasoline powered Hookah's and they're fine. Just make sure the engine exhaust is well away from the compressor air intake. You definitely don't want even a whiff of exhaust gas coming down the hose!!
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:46 PM   #15
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I too think the difference between sport diving with one and the occasional maintenance use justifies the added expense and precautions.

Like any tool....justifying the expense and complexity should fit the plan....
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:47 PM   #16
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I do understand that will need an engine and pulleys...that's no problem. I have several very low/no cost options.

I didn't think about the moving parts...this will be an extra step but I'll fab up a guard system.

I am confident (if the hose and compressor i found is suitable) that i can do the entire project in for less than $ 750.
... and keep the compressor intake and engine exhaust as far apart as physically possible! Compressed carbon monoxide is bad for humans.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eseyoung View Post
I have been kicking around the idea of buying a hookah dive system mostly for bottom cleaning, zinc changing and of course for removing the occasional crab pot. If/when we take boat south to clearer water it would also be used to explore shallow water and maybe even grabbing a few lobster or spear fishing.

Brownies seems to be the dominant brand but there are others. I have also considered trying to put together a system of my own. For what they are 3500 sounds like a lot. Even sourcing suitable compressor and hose i think I'd have less than half that in a diy version. Since it will live on the boat i don't need all the fancy floats. Alternatively, i have also considered a long hose from my tank.

Does anyone carry one?
Have you considered buying a regular scuba tank and then either mount it on your boat and use a 50-60 foot air hose or you can strap the scuba tank to a float device with a shorter air hose. This would be more than enough for cleaning the bottom of your boat and much less expensive than a full on hookah rig. Commonly known as Snuba diving. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snuba

Something like this: Scuba Diving Gear, Classes and Everything To Get You Underwater from www.dixiediver.com - DIXIE DIVERS FLOAT DIVER KIT - NO TANK

or this: http://www.zubadiving.com
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:04 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=eseyoung;301831If/when we take boat south to clearer water it would also be used to explore shallow water and maybe even grabbing a few lobster or spear fishing. [/QUOTE]

I think most places where you would be diving for lobster and spear fishing only allow those activities to be done freediving. In the Bahamas you have to free dive and use a Hawaiian sling. KJ
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:08 AM   #19
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I know I’m lucky to remain in good condition in my 60’s… and, a bit crazy too; but that’s OK – I work hard at maintaining both those situations!

I love cleaning my boat’s bottom and running gear as well as replacing anodes with just mask, fins, flashlight and hand tools. Of course having been an avid free diver in younger years helps me to control my breath while working briefly underwater. I usually go under our boat five to six sequences per year to accomplish items. Each of the times I go under the boat it usually becomes from 20 to 40 dives at approx. 1 minute each with two to four deep, controlled rebreathes between dives.

Thought about picking up a hookah… guess maybe I will need to by time I get into my 80’s. At least that’s how I hope it works out! - LOL
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:13 AM   #20
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I have an oil-less pancake compressor in the engine room, and a 100' hose and a full face dive mask. Works well for bottom cleaning and zincs. Air might not be pristine, but no worse than the other crap I've breathed over my lifetime. Gettin lobsters, just free dive. Tanks are a PITA.
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