Santi drysuit connector or Santi Thermovalve 303?… Which is better, what’s the difference? It’s a question we often get with requests to explain the difference between the two.
Simply put, the SANTI heating system drysuit connector is a cheaper alternative to the SANTI 303 Thermovalve and can be used with existing SiTech or Apeks drysuit inflator valves. But here’s a short comparison of the two starting off with their common points.
Both the SANTI Thermovalve 303 and the Drysuit Connector are used to connect an external power source to your Santi heated vest, heated gloves or heated undersuit (and quite possibly heated dive socks in the future :-).
The SANTI Drysuit Connector does this by being attached to your existing drysuit inflation valve, continuing to use the original valve for inflation and running power through the connector element. It adds 19mm height to your valve.
The SANTI Thermovalve 303 is a full low profile replacement of your existing drysuit inflation valve, lower in profile, with an on-the-fly 303 degree rotatable inlet nipple for inflation.
Whether you need an Apeks or SiTech version of either valve depends on what valve is currently on your drysuit, as there is a difference in diameter between the two. There is no functional difference between the versions.
In either case your existing valve can always be used in the future whenever heating systems are not needed, and it is a good idea to keep hold of the valve as a backup.
The SANTI Drysuit Connector
To start off, all you need to do is to identify the make of your current drysuit valve (as Apeks and SiTech have different diameters) and select the model you need.
The E/O cable entering the connector is at a fixed angle so the angle needs to be adjusted as you put the connector and valve together. Doing this is very simple and takes hardly any time:
1. Remove your current drysuit valve: Unscrew the inflator part from the back. Remove the shield on the back part so the inner cable angle can be adjusted later.
2. Screw the existing inflator into the Santi Drysuit Connector.
3. Place the Santi Drysuit Connector in the vacant valve hole, hold it at the angle you want the outer E/O cable to run.
4. Inside the drysuit, screw the back of the valve to seal against the connector at the angle it has been fixed.
5. Adjust the angle of the inside cable the way you want and replace the cover that acts as a protective layer distancing undersuit and valve for unhindered inflation.
The only two downside of this “connector” system is that it adds an extra 19mm to the existing height of your inflation valve.
With that said, a number of divers using thick winter dry gloves have given us feedback that they prefer that extra height for ease of use, reflecting savings while utilising an existing valve.
The SANTI Thermovalve 303 Connector
Once you identify the make of your current drysuit valve, select the model you need.
The process is one of a simple swap where you unscrew the current valve on your drysuit, remove it, replace it with the Thermovalve 303 which runs the power cable into your drysuit and acts as an inflator at the same time.
It is a far simpler and lower profile system but of course adds to the cost.