Re: Effect of Helium

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Posted by MHK on October 10, 2000 at 12:02:37:

In Reply to: Re: Effect of Helium posted by kelphead on October 10, 2000 at 11:30:24:

Posted by kelphead on October 10, 2000 at 11:30:24:

**how does the socal community go about making
helium more common and, hence, cheaper???
what should we as divers do to get more shops
to offer it?? is there a way that some divers
could get together and provide their own helium/oxygen

I wish I had better answers for you, but the fact of the matter is that to get good quality Helium it costs money. Jim is in a much better position than I am to speak to the actual costs, but I dive it in NY, Fla., Northern Calif, Great Lakes, Cayman Islands to name a few and everywhere you go it is expensive. If you go to Truk or Guam for example it's frankly cost prohibitive.. For example some of the best wrecks there, Saratoga, Nagato are in the 150' - 200' range but virtually no one uses He because of the cost..

I don't think it's a local problem as much as it is a matter of the gas is expensive..

In terms of diver's blending there own I would add a few comments:

1) Obvioulsy you would need to learn how to blend which is an additional class. My class cost about $300 if my memory serves me correctly.

2) You would need to either buy or rent the storgae bottles. I bought 5 H-bottles of He and the cost with the He was just over $1,000.

3) To the extent you are going to do your own mixing you will then need oxygen. Most people that I know do not like the idea of oxygen in their garage. I'm not aware of this issues respecting alerting the Fire Dept., proper warning signs and those type of issues.

4) If you are going to be handling 02 you will of course need dedicated whips, which mine costs nearly $1,000. I'll note that I bought digital gauges, so it could probably be done cheaper, but there are costs involved nonetheless.

5) You will then need a compressor and perhaps a booster.

All these costs get VERY expensive, whereas a shop has most of these fixed costs anyway.

I have bought Helium in many places and in all fairness to Jim Hoffman ( Scuba Toys), he is very competetive in his pricing...

Posted by kelphead on October 10, 2000 at 11:30:24:

**what about tables?? are helium tables available
and can one program them in, say, a nitrox computer????
how do you guys go about figuring out your ndl's
while incorporating helium as the gas of choice??

These are very difficult questions to answer on a NG forum.. These questions speak to the very heart of a trimix class so bear in mind that I am speaking in generics and my answers should NOT be taken as a substitute for a quality class. I recommend John Walker here in the South Bay and Wings Stocks in Northern Calif.

The basic Haldane and Buhlman models do NOT provide for Helium. There are several computers that now provide for He but my understanding is that they are very expensive. I understand the Proplanner Version is about $1,200 and the Nitek is upwards of $900. Please don't hold me to those numbers as I don't know exactly but I'm pretty sure there in the ball park..

Most diver's using Helium in there mix plan a dive profile ahead of time and then write there profiles on a slate or in the Wetnotes. That's not to say you can't use a computer, but most diver's that get to this level have a real good understanding of M-values ( NDL's), and are in a position to compute on the fly.

The key thing to remember about Helium is that the deep stops are the key.. If you plan your ascent properly, bearing in mind that Helium is much friendlier than Nitrogen, by the time you get to 15' you are in a much better position than if you had the same BT using only N2...


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