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13.06.2020
Egypt, South Sinai Governorate, Dahab
Stories of diving professionals
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DIN versus Yoke Valves - What is the Difference?

  • Open Water Diver
  • Advanced Open Water Diver
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John Hauxwell
PADI - Open Water Scuba Instructor

Increasingly, manufacturers are producing tank valves with the newer DIN valve, and debates on scuba diving forums around the web are brimming with discussions as to which one you should use. Let’s try to clear that up.

As a scuba diver, you’re probably quite comfortable with the yoke valve. It’s been standard almost since scuba was invented. Increasingly, however, manufacturers are producing tank valves and regulators with the newer DIN valve. Scuba-diving forum debates brim on the web with discussions as to which one you should use. Let’s try to clear up the pros and cons when it comes to DIN versus yoke valves.

First, what is the difference between them? The yoke is a clamp-type mounting, which is placed over the tank valve and then tightened into place. The DIN is a threaded valve, wherein you screw the regulator into the tank valve. On the yoke valve, the main O-ring that seals the tank valve to the regulator first stage is placed on the tank valve. On the DIN, it is placed on the regulator first stage.

The name “DIN” is an acronym for Deutsche Industrie Norm, industrial testing and approval agency based in Berlin, Germany. The agency standardizes a range of products, about 30,000 at present, within the fields of mechanics, engineering and technology. However, the DIN valve was actually invented in the U.S. In the late 1950s, American diving manufacturer Poseidon launched what they named their “⅝-inch Threaded Connection.” But it didn’t enjoy much public support and the yoke valve became the standard for scuba diving. When DIN tested valves on pressure tanks for industry use, including commercial diving, they made the ⅝-threaded their standard, and it thus inherited the name of the organization.

Why DIN?

The German agency chose DIN for its higher pressure capacity, which comes in handy for industrial use and commercial diving. Whereas a yoke valve is generally only approved to a maximum working capacity of 200 bars, a DIN valve can be set up to handle up to 300 bars.

The first recreational divers to use the DIN were technical divers, not only because the extra capacity of 300 bars may come in handy, but also because of the increased safety that the DIN claims. The safety issue has long been a point of discussion among divers; some claim that anything but DIN is downright lethal, while others claim that the DIN isn’t really safer than a yoke at all.

Theoretically, the DIN valve does have safety advantages. The greater pressure capacity can reduce the risk of a rupture in case of overfilling when the tanks are attached to a compressor. Since the O-ring in a DIN is in the regulator, rather than on the exterior of the valve as in the yoke, it’s less likely to be lost or damaged during transport. Tests have also shown the DIN to be more resilient to impact compared to a yoke, which can be knocked off — an unlikely, but not impossible, scenario.

Why Yoke?

However, don’t jump to any conclusions about the yoke valve. Millions of dives have been conducted with yoke valves since scuba diving became popular, and it’s been proven to be plenty safe. It’s similar to debating whether the new Airbus 380 is safer than the old Boeing 737. On paper, the 380 has more safety features, but the 737 has millions of air miles to its name, with minimal accidents. It is also worth noting that DAN and other dive-safety organizations do not have policies against yoke valves. Technical diving, as a different discipline, may call for different tools. Tec divers do sometimes use higher working pressures in their tanks, up to 300 bars. When diving inside wrecks and caves, the increased protection against catastrophic impact damage, however marginal that risk, is worthwhile.

The tanks you rent on vacation typically feature yoke valves, so most travelling divers choose a yoke to ensure compatibility. If you prefer DIN, but still want to rent tanks, it’s usually a matter of removing a small insert from the yoke valve so that it will accept the DIN reg. If this doesn’t work, there are also DIN/yoke converters that will fix the problem.

A personal choice...

Price-wise, the playing field has levelled in recent years, too. In the past, DIN was only available for high-end or tech-specific dive gear. Today, many entry-level regulators offer either a yoke or DIN, depending on the customer’s preference.

So, if you’re primarily a tec diver, you’ll probably want to go with DIN. If you’re not a tech diver, it’s a personal choice. The cost is about the same, and you can easily remedy the problems of travelling and renting gear. Considering the DIN’s advantages, however small, even for recreational divers, I dive with a DIN. But again, it’s a purely personal dive choice.

A DIFFERENT VIEW

Once upon a time the Yoke fitting, also known as A-Clamp or International fitting, was the regulator fitting of choice until along came a European standard connection type called DIN (short for Deutsche Industrie Norm) which offered improved safety and an option for increased cylinder pressure.

So which is better? Is DIN safer? What if you do the majority of your diving in Europe with DIN but holiday somewhere that uses Yoke or vice versa? All are valid questions when deciding what regulator fitting is right for you.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Yoke Regulator

The Yoke connection uses a clamp type mounting which places an 'A' shaped frame over the cylinder valve and is tightened into place by a screw at the end of the A frame that pushes the first stage into the sealing o-ring on the cylinder valve face. This type of connection can only be used up to a pressure of 232 Bar.

DIN Regulator

DIN fittings work differently in that the o-ring is fitted to the regulator rather than the cylinder valve and the male thread screw into the cylinder valve to securely capture the o-ring. DIN fittings are available in three variants but generally only find two variants when it comes to picking a regulator. DIN regulators are typically fitted with an M25 300 bar connection as it will fit both 232 bar and 300 bar cylinder valves and negates the need for manufacturers to produce, test and market an extra model for each regulator. The other variant is a dedicated nitrox regulator which uses an M26 thread so is not compatible with standard M25 DIN cylinder valves.

The difference between 232 and 300 Bar DIN fittings is the number of threads with 300 bar having a few extra to support the extra pressure and prevent 232 bar rated connections being used in a 300 bar cylinder. A 300 bar regulator will seal correctly in both a 232 bar and 300 bar cylinder valve but a 232 bar regulator will only work in the 232 bar valve.

WHY CHOOSE DIN?

There are five main reasons for opting for DIN over Yoke:

Increased pressure capacity - DIN can handle up to 300 bar which, if you go by the numbers, offers an extra 120L of air from a 12L 300 bar cylinder (3600L total) compared to the larger but lower pressure 15L 232 bar cylinder (3480L total).

Seal integrity - The sealing o-ring in a DIN connection is housed in a groove on the first stage of the regulator which means it is less likely to subject to the pinching that can happen with Yoke, it is a lot less likely to fall out and is more protected from exposure to dust, grit and other contaminants.

Weight - That big lump of chrome-plated brass that makes up the 'A' frame and screw of a yoke fitting can add up to a surprising amount of weight. Depending on the manufacturer you might be looking at saving 200g just by opting for DIN

Technical diving - DIN is the widely accepted and preferred fitting for technical dive

Availability - If you do the majority of your diving in Europe or destinations where Europeans dive then DIN cylinder valves will be readily available and yoke regulators will likely need an adaptor (see below).

In our store at least, for every one yoke regulator sold, we sell four DIN regulators.

WHY CHOOSE YOKE?

The reasons to buy a Yoke regulator are definitely fewer but you can't ignore the fact that there has been literally millions of dives successfully and safely carried out using a yoke fitting.

The biggest reason a diver might choose a yoke regulator is for compatibility with cylinders when diving in North America where yoke is still popular but with the availability of valve converters even that isn't a problem.

ADAPTORS AND CONVERTERS

Making the decision to go one way or the other isn't final and permanent. Whether you or for DIN or Yoke there are adaptors and converters that will make your regulator compatible with the other fitting type.

DIN To Yoke Adaptor

For DIN regulators you can buy screw-on DIN to Yoke adaptors that will temporarily convert them for occasional use on a holiday for instance. These are not ideal and certainly not a permanent conversion as they add extra weight to your kit and their design means the first stage sits closer to the back of your head which might cause some discomfort. Some adaptors, like the Scubapro Ultra Light Adaptor, are also made from alloys that are not compatible with the chrome-plated brass fitting on the regulator so it is important to remove them when not in use to prevent them essentially welding together.

Cylinder Valve Insert

For Yoke regulators the temporary conversion is much more subtle with just an insert screwed into the 232 bar cylinder valve to provide you with a surface o-ring to seal against. The only issue is remembering to remove your insert from the valve once you have finished with it otherwise you'll be regularly buying more.

At the end of the day, it will come down to personal choice and what is best for you and your diving. There are no price differences between yoke and DIN and adaptors are available for both. If you think you might move into technical diving you can opt for a bit of future-proofing and go for DIN.

If push came to shove and you decide you want to switch then the vast majority of first stages (age depending of course) can be converted by a technician at a cost.

John Hauxwell
PADI - Open Water Scuba Instructor

About author

I am always well prepared and organised in my teaching, following standards and make certain they are communicated and adhered to by my students. Being patient is vital. Learning should be open, fun and entertaining — to encourage engagement, memory and mastery — so I always assess my students’ capability and capacity for learning and temper my training style to their needs. Diligent, punctual, hardworking and focussed on results — whilst...
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