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Thread: KISS Advice

  1. #1
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    KISS Advice

    In my quest for a second hand Classic unit and in the course of researching the options, reading the user manual, trawling the net etc. some queries have arisen that I wanted to raise with other users if that is OK?

    Initially there will be long hours of shallow work on it to understand it and trim it etc. but ultimately I would be keen to use it down to circa 70m and maybe beyond as experience and knowledge accumulate steadily. I am open circuit mix qualified (a long time ago).

    What inboard cylinders are preferred, aluminium or steel?

    Can any back-plate and wing be used, I have a Zeagle?

    How is your unit configured in terms of electronics and bailout gas and why (i.e. is the bailout plumbed into the unit or separate or a combination if using 2 or more bailout cylinders)?

    What is the minimum electronic set up (I may have budgetary constraints and have to upgrade over time)?

    What are realistic costs for 2nd hand units, I have seen one for 2.5k but had no cylinders, computer, handset, cam bands or harness, but did include a HUD also had some cave scrapes, this seemed expensive to me.......but what do I know!

    When buying SH are there any obvious issues to look out for in terms of wear/damage, ill advised mods etc.?

    Many thanks.

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    Where'd The Bubbles Go ....? Capt Morgan's Avatar
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    I found the Kiss quite easy to learn, by building and stripping it over and over again you will soon see how it works.
    The buoyancy was about the biggest change but I soon got that sorted, breathing out, into the loop, won't stop you going up
    I don't know anyone who dives it with ali cylinders when using a dry suit, 3l steel cylinders are chosen by most and I find that
    3l dumpy cylinders are a nice choice.
    I used the same back plate and wing that I used with my twins but soon changed the wing to a smaller one as it was getting in
    the way when trying to reach the valves to shut down the gas. I still use the same SS BP and harness though.
    The Kiss triple display is actually very good with each cell having it's own cable, power supply and display giving true redundancy.
    A Shearwater wired into the kidney along with a HUD is nice and simple to use but at the price of redundancy. I first dived with the
    kiss triple display and a stand alone VR3 for my deco, then I took one display off and hooked the VR3 to read one cell and give real
    time deco. Lastly I fitted a new kidney wired to a HUD and Shearwater but all that can be done over time.
    I hook my BOV into my deep stage with a QC6 connector as I don't like the thought of bailing out to a 3l but that's just my choice.
    As far as price goes it's best to keep an eye on the market to gauge a price, so many units have modifications it's hard to put a price
    for "a Kiss" but 2.5k for what you described seems a bit high in my opinion.

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    Established TDF Member OutOfTest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    In my quest for a second hand Classic unit and in the course of researching the options, reading the user manual, trawling the net etc. some queries have arisen that I wanted to raise with other users if that is OK?

    Initially there will be long hours of shallow work on it to understand it and trim it etc. but ultimately I would be keen to use it down to circa 70m and maybe beyond as experience and knowledge accumulate steadily. I am open circuit mix qualified (a long time ago).

    What inboard cylinders are preferred, aluminium or steel?

    Can any back-plate and wing be used, I have a Zeagle?

    How is your unit configured in terms of electronics and bailout gas and why (i.e. is the bailout plumbed into the unit or separate or a combination if using 2 or more bailout cylinders)?

    What is the minimum electronic set up (I may have budgetary constraints and have to upgrade over time)?

    What are realistic costs for 2nd hand units, I have seen one for 2.5k but had no cylinders, computer, handset, cam bands or harness, but did include a HUD also had some cave scrapes, this seemed expensive to me.......but what do I know!

    When buying SH are there any obvious issues to look out for in terms of wear/damage, ill advised mods etc.?

    Many thanks.
    Steel onboards 3L dumpy preferably. But I've dived it with 1 cylinder, no cylinders, odd cylinders. From Ali 0.5s to steel 5s and they all feel the same. Don't fret.

    Pretty much any backplate yeah. I don't use a wing though.

    Unit is unit, bailout is bailout. End of discussion. BOV plumbs into the dil manifold wherever the dil is coming from. But this is only to give me a few breaths before switching to real bailout. I sidemount two matched Steels of bottom bailout on 99% of dives. Have used everything from single al40s through steel 3s to 20L Steels though.

    I use a shearwater Petrel alone as electronics. Basically the minimum electronics is something which shows all 3 cells on your wrist. Anything else is overkill and false confidence in my mind.

    As for buying, 2k should get you a unit ready to dive tomorrow apart from cells.

    Watch out for cracked heads.

    This advice comes from a self-trained KISS diver using it for exploratory cave dives up to 9 hours in length, 3km penetration distance and 100m+ depth. So it may not be worth listening to me as I might not know what I'm on about and it might not translate



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    Nicotine, valium, vicodin... notdeadyet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    Initially there will be long hours of shallow work on it to understand it and trim it etc. but ultimately I would be keen to use it down to circa 70m and maybe beyond as experience and knowledge accumulate steadily. I am open circuit mix qualified (a long time ago).
    One thing you would need to be careful of is which valve it has on it. The original stainless valve (cylindrical) was depth limited to about 65-70m depending on IP. The 2nd gen (stainless, cylindrical but with flats on the sides) is by far the best and will do 100m. The 3rd gen is plastic and (I think) pretty crap.

    What inboard cylinders are preferred, aluminium or steel?
    Steel. I used dumpy 3's on mine but I think these are hard to come by now (they were bloody hard to find when I bought mine in 2004). Regular 3's project beyond the top of can which would worry me as a snag risk. I think if I was buying now I would rather put 2's on it than have standard long 3's.

    Can any back-plate and wing be used, I have a Zeagle?
    Pretty much but you want the unit as close to your back as possible. I had a Zeagle wing on mine, the one I had had straps in the middle rather than webbing so you could make it wider so it wouldn't make too much of a cushion on your back. I think I had a Dive Rite ally backplate which with a 14Ah canister light was neutral in freshwater.

    How is your unit configured in terms of electronics and bailout gas and why (i.e. is the bailout plumbed into the unit or separate or a combination if using 2 or more bailout cylinders)?
    I went through various options and settled on onboard purely for dil and the BOV connected to offboard with QC's.

    Electronics, I don't think you can beat the stock triple handset for resilience. It takes a LOT of failures to leave you with no useable display. I had a Shearwater on mine for a while but I took it off (I must be one of the few people that don't like Shearwaters). It was too much of a risk, SW uses a common negative on the cells so there is the potential that breaking one connection can wipe out all three cell displays. Or if the SW fails you lose everything, too. With the triple display, all the cells are truly independent, as are all the displays. To me, that's a very robust system that is hard to better. I never bothered with HUD's, I don't think they are necessary.

    What is the minimum electronic set up (I may have budgetary constraints and have to upgrade over time)?
    Like I said above, I don't think swapping out the triple display for something that introduces a lot of weaknesses is a great idea. The stock triple display is the best option.

    What are realistic costs for 2nd hand units, I have seen one for 2.5k but had no cylinders, computer, handset, cam bands or harness, but did include a HUD also had some cave scrapes, this seemed expensive to me.......but what do I know!
    If I remember right, I sold mine for 2400 in 2008 for a bare bones unit (no backplate, harness or wing) and a pair of dumpy 3's.

    When buying SH are there any obvious issues to look out for in terms of wear/damage, ill advised mods etc.?
    Main things:

    - ADV. The diaphragms were pretty shit for a while.
    - Check which version of valve it has. The 2nd gen is the best hands down. 1st gen is depth limited, 3rd gen is shit.
    - Look for cracks where metal components are fixed into the head. Main places are where the elbow for the oxygen hose is and the connections to the backplate.
    - Check for stripped threads. The KISS has a lot of stainless steel screws into delrin which is a real sore spot that Jetsam have never addressed (how much are a few helicoils, FFS?). Main places that get over-tightened are the cell kidney on top of the head, the faceplate on the handsets and the calibration plug on the back of each display
    - BOV. I really would budget to replace it with something smaller, better performing and more reliable. The original Paragon is OK when it works but has a real tendency to not work. The Mares it was replaced with is shite. I'd budget for a Golem or a Hollis or whatever is good these days.
    - Displays. There were three generations of the triple display (don't know what they use now). The two black ones were fine, the clear ones not so fine. They have a tendency to flood or crack. On the black displays, check the faceplate for cracks around the screwholes. I'm pretty sure they don't carry them as a stock spare part any more. When I got a replacement Kim said she had to hunt round the workshop for one. I'm sure you could probably have one made somewhere if you had to.

    Check if the displays have been flooded. Usually the LCD will look weird or there will be corrosion on the PCB. I am not sure if PCB's are still made for the older displays. The LCD's are a stock part from Lascar but with a component desoldered from the board on the back so easy to replace.

    - Retaining collars on the lungs. These can crack if over-tightened and are a ball ache to replace.

    If you get one, invest in a full set of o-rings and change everything.

    Most things on the KISS are easily fixable. Age is not much of a factor either. If anything, older units are better made than newer ones. I'd rather have one with old steel hoses than new miflex, steel MAV than the plastic one and the black triple displays than whatever they got replaced with. KISS is one unit that I would say really is best dived as a stock unit the way Gordon intended it to be. I think most people who own them a while fuck about with it but end up going back to its stock set up, it really doesn't need any bells or whistles.
    Last edited by notdeadyet; 13-09-2017 at 09:55 PM.
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    I had steel dumpy threes on mine. Tall threes were ok, but the dumpers are nicer.

    I believe that rebreather are for rebreathing and bailout is for bailout, and never the two shall meet. I was fine with the paragon bov, but only ever used it for two or three breaths when (practicing) to bailout.

    I can't say I ever had a problem with my third generation kiss valve. I had a spare, but never took it out if the bubble wrap.

    I split one or two Counterlung rings, but these are easy enough to replace. Just unscrew the tiwers and put a new one in.

    By far the best mod i made was a stainless steel case. Larger cl holes for easier access, more weight where you need it, and no dissimilar metal corrosion. Do check the the bolts unscrew freely and aren't corroded stuck.


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    KISS Advice

    I found mine much better with a golem shrimp, then better again with a Hollis BOV. Made difference in CC and in OC.

    I generally fed the BOV from the dil with the intention of getting a few breaths then getting into bailout, but never did it in anger.

    I did sometimes have a GCS to plug my bailout into the dil regand access it all through the BOV, but only really works with air and not worth the hassle in the end.

    3 litres are quite tall, and I found 2 litre steels very tidy in cold water.

    On the sport and classic I never had any trouble with the 3 clear displays but I did like the shearwater and isolated HUD with a narked kidney.

    A nice flat backplate that doesn't stand the unit far off your back and whatever wing you get in with works.

    I just sold a basic unit for not much more than 2K, with a nice steel case - try get one of those. And really learn how to tighten bolts and screws into plastic with your fingertips as they can be fragile.

    Bottom line, I don't think anyone regrets buying or diving a kiss.


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    Thanks very much gents much appreciated, just need to find one now!

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    Outoftest I am intrigued as to why you don't use a wing do you rely on the lungs and dry suit?

    Also have you undergone any formal rb training and then migrated to the kiss or are you self taught on rb generally.

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    Nicotine, valium, vicodin... notdeadyet's Avatar
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    Depends on what you are planning on diving. In caves you can get away without a wing.

    In open water I think it's a fairly risky way to dive. BMCL rebreathers breathe better the closer to your back you can get them. My Mk15 is noticeably different without a wing, KISS is similar. I dived it for a long time with just the drysuit but it doesn't take much to make it a struggle at the surface. Especially in rough weather. Then you have zero backup, too.

    I converted a Fladen lifejacket for use with my unit instead of a wing. Worked alright, very compact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post

    What inboard cylinders are preferred, aluminium or steel?

    Can any back-plate and wing be used, I have a Zeagle?

    How is your unit configured in terms of electronics and bailout gas and why (i.e. is the bailout plumbed into the unit or separate or a combination if using 2 or more bailout cylinders)?

    What is the minimum electronic set up (I may have budgetary constraints and have to upgrade over time)?

    What are realistic costs for 2nd hand units, I have seen one for 2.5k but had no cylinders, computer, handset, cam bands or harness, but did include a HUD also had some cave scrapes, this seemed expensive to me.......but what do I know!

    When buying SH are there any obvious issues to look out for in terms of wear/damage, ill advised mods etc.?

    Many thanks.
    Steel cylinders with a drysuit, only ever used ali bottles in Bali doing MOD1. I prefer 2 litre cylinders but use 3's if I am diving remote for a couple of days.

    Standard Apeks backplate, harness and wing from my twinset, bolted straight on.

    My unit was configured and imported to Denmark Easter 2015 by a Danish instructor. He never got round to assembling it and I bought it 6 months later 'undived' for 3800. Excluding cylinders, backplate, harness and wing (which I already had). It has a SW Petrel and a SW Hud. The Hud saved a long weekends diving in Scapa last March when the Petrel fried itself.

    For offboard bailout I fitted the AP gas connection system which runs through the manifold. I plug my deepest bottle into the unit and this is connected to the bov only.

    Hollis BOV which I like, nice and simple, and breathes nicely CC to 80m and OC to 60m (never tried deeper!). Unit is rated to 90m as standard, but I have upgraded recently for MOD3.

    I have a manual add valve on the diluent side which is the way the unit came, probably unnecessary.

    I added a N@90 stand as the unit is very short and difficult to don on a bench otherwise, it also means there is a handle for my rib buddies.

    Narked at 90 are now holding quite a few kiss spares.


 
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