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The Atomic Aquatics M1 Octupus is a top end secondary breathing device for back up if your main breathing regulator fails when scuba diving, or if a second person needs to breath from your equipment due to an equipment failure of their own. The point of an octopus is as an emergency safety device, but it isn't expected to be used much and it is normal to try and reduce the cost (whilst keeping good functionality) so that you can spend that bit more on your main regulator.
The regulator is a single piece supplied permenantly attached to a hose which screws into the low pressure port of your first stage (the cylinder of metal with connection ports attached to the valve at the top of your air cylinder)
Unlike some main regulators (particularly other atomic ones) the hose doesn;t use a universal joint between the hose and regulator so can be a little hard to get in a good position.
The mouthpiece is of a similar quality to the more expensive main regulators and is comfortable to keep in your mouth without rubbing on the gums. Small ridges in the mouthpiece help with gripping it and mean it doesn;t move about too much.
The critical parts of the regulator are made from titanium which is lightweight and has superb resistance to seawater.
The valve body is made from blass plated zirconium. This isn't as lightweight as a full titanium build used in a lot of Atomics main regulators, but does reduce the cost by a considerable amount as zirconium is nowhere near as expensive as titanium. As a back up regulator the brass coated zirconium is good enough and provides decent corrossion resistance to seawater.
As with all atomics equipment that I have used, the build quality is very high. The balance of the valve is excellent and the materials used are of exceptional quality. There is no flimsyness and the hose is protected at the join with reinforcement making the whole unit strong and reliable.
The full cover on the front of the octopus means that the purge valve is protected from current surges in the water and will not go into freeflow easily when you hit the water jumping from a boat (releasing all your air when you don't want it to be released).
The purge is operated to clear water out of the regulator by either blowing out if you have air in your lungs, or pressing the front of the breathing unit to use air from your cylinder. I have found it very easy to clear the octopus as not much pressure is needed when blowing.
The air is released from the side of the octopus which means that bubbles don't mess with your mask and vision.
I have found it easy to draw breath up to my maximum depth of 35m and to be honest I haven't really used the adjustments much to vary the pressure required. I have found that the valve on the regulator can squeak a bit each time you draw a breath which can become annoying underwater, but this is a problem found with a lot of regulators and may be solvable using the adjustment settings.
The octopus doesn't have automatic pressure adjustment like some regulators (usually much more expensive) but has a manual knob at the side which can be used to set the valve and make it easier or harder to draw a breath.
The front cover can be replaced with different colour inserts available for around £20 from Atomic, however it is usual practice to make your octopus yellow so that a fellow diver knows where it is and can grab it in an emergency.
The M2 Octopus sells for around £200. For an octopus this is quite expensive as you could buy a cheap main regulator for that price. Personally I have had good experience with atomic, and I believe they still offer a lifetime guarantee subject to servicing. I chose this to match my main regulator but would recommend it if you are looking for high quality dive gear.
Atomic Aquatics M1 Octopus. Why A Family Of Octos-Most manufacturers produce just an -economy- and a -performance- octopus model. Yet, even their high-end octo cannot come close to matching the performance of the Atomic family of safe seconds. Each Atomic