Mustang /vs/ SOSpenders PFD - why the big $ difference? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-12-2007
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Mustang /vs/ SOSpenders PFD - why the big $ difference?

I happened to notice that Sailnet is selling the SOSPenders autoinflate PFD with integral harness for $160, but asking a full $100 more ($260) for the similar vest from Mustang.

Why the big price difference? Anyone have any idea?
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Old 06-13-2007
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I bet the Mustang is a Hydrostatic release, rather than a salt-tablet based automatic release.
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Old 06-13-2007
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It is. Are the hydrostatics so much more reliable then? And do you really have to sink--as opposed to splash in unconcious--before they trip?
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Old 06-13-2007
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Seems to me that a salt tablet dissolves fairly quickly in water, is cheap, and ought to be as reliable as anything else. Hydrostatic release reminds me of the story that NASA spent millions on developing a ball point pen that works in zero gravity, but the Russians used a pencil.
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How do the hydrostatic ones work? Is there an existing explanation somewhere on-line?

And, not to hijack hellosailor's thread, but how do the salt tablet ones work in a drenching rainstorm?
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Old 06-13-2007
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The older SOS ones trigger is pretty well protected from the elements. I've had mine out in some nasty weather with out any issues.
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Old 06-13-2007
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Check it out

Go here to check out the Hammar Inflator in detail: CMHAMMAR

BTW - I sprung for two of the Mustang harness PFDs.

Last edited by eherlihy; 06-13-2007 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 06-13-2007
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The problem with the salt tablets (and I've also heard it called aspirin, I'm not sure exactly what who uses) is that they can and will absorb moisture from the air and then one day...whoosh! the inflator goes off, leaving you shy about $30 for a re-arm kit, and worse, leaving you without anything except your spare (you did pack a spare, right?) while the vest has inflated and jammed itself against spiky things in a closet.

They're all fairly well protected from rain and splash from what I've seen, although on my PFD and BC I've tucked the manual inflation ball way up so it can't snag on anything and accidentally manually inflate. (If I need to pull that, I can stay afloat long enough to deal with it, or find it on the way down.)

From the Hammar web site:
"The Manual/Automatic version works like this:
When the Inflator is lowered more than about 10 cm in the water, the hydrostatic valve opens and lets the water meet the water sensitive element that in turn releases a stainless steel coil spring. The spring then drives a needle into the end of the gas cylinder, which is now punctured so that the gas instantly fills the lifejacket.
Total buoyancy is often reached within 4 - 5 seconds."

It sounds like the Hammar inflator is really the Crewfit type (paper mache over a compressed coil spring) and they've enclosed the whole bit in a sealed pouch with a weak one-way valve, so that the water can't come in until there's a real submersion. A clever extension of an idea--I couldn't figure out why they were calling anything that inexpensive a hydrostatic inflator, since water pressure itself isn't really inflating anything.

I don't mind a bit of thread drift at all--as long as we're on PFD's.

Last edited by hellosailor; 06-13-2007 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 06-13-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
The problem with the salt tablets (and I've also heard it called aspirin, I'm not sure exactly what who uses) is that they can and will absorb moisture from the air and then one day...whoosh! the inflator goes off, leaving you shy about $30 for a re-arm kit, and worse, leaving you without anything except your spare
Can the trigger tablets, whatever they are, be replaced w/o setting the thing off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
(you did pack a spare, right?)
At $160 a pop, not bloody likely. There'll be a pair of those, his & hers, and the rest will be old tech. (Oh, and my good ol' North Sails life vest that looks so good I'm tempted to wear it on shore!)

Thanks for the explanations.

Jim
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One other point that factored into my decision: the Hammar Inflator is good for 5 years, vs 2 years for the non-Hammar (assuming that you don't inflate the PFD with the inflator).

Check out the video on the above site.

Ed
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