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Getting back to diving after 20 years - what to do with old gear?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by jjeff1, May 29, 2011.

  1. jjeff1

    jjeff1 Angel Fish

    So I have a YMCA cert from about 20 years ago when I was a teenager, and haven't really dove at all in 15 years. But after an intro to diving thing on a cruise my GF wanted to get SCUBA certified, so I'm looking to re-do my open water cert with PADI along with her.

    But I have almost a full set of gear, all of which was bought used (or older) some 20 years ago. I'm sure technology has changed, I know masks fit much easier, but what else has changed and what's best to spend my money on?

    Pictures are attached.

    Tank: 1970 VOIT steel tank.
    BC: 1990ish US Divers Aqualung Pro Line BC
    - appears to work, but is losing air just sitting here, so has some type of slow leak. Seals I'd guess, but this is probably my #1 item to replace.
    Regulator: 1990ish Conshelf 21 1st and 2nd stage
    Octo: 1970s Calypso
    Pressure Gauge: 1990s US divers
    Depth Gauge: none
    Fins: 1990ish TUSA Mini Liberator - Plastic fins, only 20 inches long, but a good size for a skinny me.
    Mask: new! But doesn't fit really well, I'll probably replace it.
    wetsuit: none

    I took my tank in to get it tested, it was worth the $ just to own a working tank. The LDS had this to say about my regulators. The US Divers stuff is very reliable. But given the lack of use, they highly recommended they be serviced, at a total cost of about $130. That's for the 1st, 2nd and octo and pressure gauge. They also said some of the newer stuff they sell comes with a lifetime of free parts and service for normal maintenance, I think? With a full service costing $130, that sounds like a no-brainer to buy new.

    Also, my GF has no gear at all, but I can probably give her my dad's unused stuff, which is almost identical to mine, so she is in the same situation.

    1st-2nd.jpg finsmask.jpg BC.jpg octo-pressure.jpg

    Any thoughts?
  2. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Murphy Cove, NS ,CANADA (Eastern Shore-Atlantic)
    Tanks from the '70s can still be good. The other stuff sounds like replacement.
    I don't know about the rest. Annual reg checkup here is about $100. Hard to decide. What is the cost of a new reg. for you? A new reg in Canada is a bazillion dollars. Buy a used wetsuit, get a spare mask.
  3. ktomlinson

    ktomlinson Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Statenville, GA
    It does look like you need a new bc. Hopefully you will get a good report on the tank. Regarding the regs, I guess it depends If you want to pay for them to be serviced or use that cash towards a modern regulator. I started diving with a vintage regulator. There is nothing wrong with it, and it was and still is a dependable regulator, but I decided to buy a new regulator because the new one I bought is lighter, and has dive/pre-dive and flow adjustments. My advice is after you have mask and fins is to buy a comfortable wetsuit while learning (unless you live somewhere that you require more exposure protection) and try and rent or borrow a couple of styles of bc before you buy one. Both my wife and myself bought bcds that we wish we hadn't before finding harness style bcds and going with trans pacs.
  4. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northeast US
    check on that, there are a number with free parts but generally you pay for the service itself.
  5. Paladin

    Paladin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: West Virginia
    Keep the Conshelf 21, the Calypso octo, the pressure gauge and the tank.

    The Conshelf is still an excellent reg and uses the same internal parts as the AquaLung Titan. The Calypso octo is till a good second and if the pressure gauge works, use it. If the Voit tank passes hydro and vis, dive it.

    I have several Conshelf regulators of different models and I love them. They are bulletproof, dependable and easily serviced. I'm a big fan of the Conshelfs.

    $130 dollars for service sounds high to me. I usually service my own regs but on the rare occasions that I've had my LDS do it, it's been around $40. Even at $130, that's about a third to a quarter what you would spend on a new, comparable setup.

    Steel tanks last a very long time. We have eleven steel 72 tanks from the '60s and '70s and dive them all. I'm using two of them as a set of doubles connected by an old-style J-valve manifold that has one, center tap between the tanks.

    No sense in throwing out gear that is perfectly serviceable.

    TommyDSports sells good wetsuits for less than a hundred bucks. I have a couple of them and they are surprisingly good for the price.

    Tusa Liberator X-10 fins can be bought new for less than $30.

    Check out the VUE mask from The Snorkel Mart. Inexpensive, very comfortable, fits well and better than average visibilty.
    mbalmr, drdaddy and AfterDark like this.
  6. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    Do a dive with the gear after getting it checked. Just because 20 years as passed doesn't mean the gear can't or shouldn't be used. I also have tanks from the 70's that I still use.

    A quick example of how rugged steel tanks are; I found a steel 72 for sale. It was made in 1972 it was empty sitting in a garage with the valve open. There was some much rust inside the valve was caked with it. I bought it for $10.00. The dive shop cleaned it, VIP it and had it hydo'd. It is now one of 2 72's I use as doubles.

    I use the same Mark 5 reg I bought 40 years ago and I've since bought 2 others on Ebay for less the $100. for both. IMO most gear like regs for example were made to last a life time and they do. With the exception of the BC the gear you have is as good or better than anything made today. There are BC designs today that are far and away better than the your BC. Welcome back!
  7. aquaregia

    aquaregia NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Cruz, CA
    The BC might be salvageable, but I probably wouldn't bother. Quickly check the inflator (stick it in the sink with the BC full) -- if that's the problem it's an easy fix.
  8. ozzydamo

    ozzydamo Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Get the primary reg and 1st stage serviced and put the rest in your own personal dive museum!
  9. Gilldiver

    Gilldiver Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northeast US
    Here is what I would do:
    Conshelf 21 - get it serviced, it has 20 years left on it. Service is mostly replacement of the rubber and o-rings
    Calypso - Either service it or replace it. The reg itself is fine and also has 20 years left on it, but some uninformed shops and DM's may say it is dangerous just because of its age.
    Steel 72 - If it has the larger 3/4" valve threads it can be dove by your grand kids in 30 years. My oldest tank is a 1960, I'd have older but the 1/2" pipe thread used on the older tanks is a pain to work on.
    SPG - It should be fine, but there are 2 very small o-rings that should be replaced
    Reg Hoses - Check them out and replace as necessary - if you see cracks in the outer rubber when you bend them, or if they have deep slices and nicks, they need to be replaced.
    Mask and Fin straps - Replace them
    BC, Blow it up and make sure it holds air over night. If not it can be serviced.

    The main thing is to think of any rubber part as life limited, it may work fine for a few more years or go south on you just before a dive. Would you take a car out and do 70 mph with 20 year old tires with visible dry rot cracks?
  10. Avonthediver

    Avonthediver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ocala, Florida
    junk it all cept the tank and get new gear ...think safe!

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