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What if the water gets into first stage?

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself - DIY' started by jeff_ca, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. jeff_ca

    jeff_ca Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: Toronto
    I have apeks xtx200. One day, I forgot to put the dust cover back while putting my regs in a fresh water tank to clean it. Wondering how bad it is if water got into the first stage? and how to fix it? Or is it possible the water would come out by itself after a while?

  2. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    How long was it in the water? The things you need to be worried about are not just the first stage but the pressure guage and second stages. If water gets in and they are not dried out properly then you may have to replace the gauge, and the second stages could start to corrode. In fact you could have corrosion in all parts of the reg. If it was more than a few seconds and you are not comfortable servicing your own gear take them in and get em checked. THe water will not come out by itself. You can hook it up to a tank and crack the valve slightly but you have to remove the spg. Other wise you only force water into it. Take em in, pay the service fee, and learn a valuable lesson.
  3. dave4868

    dave4868 Old diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Vero Beach, FL, USA
    Jim's approach to dry out the regulator is smart, but it's probably not necessary as only a tiny amount of water would have gotten past the inlet filter. It isn't likely to get very far and it probably won't cause problems since it's fresh water.

    As far as the water coming out by itself, it will probably dry out after the first few minutes of your next dive. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it, even if I had nice, new gear. :D

    If you want a little more piece of mind, as Jim said, just connect the regulator to a tank, remove the high pressure hose, crack open the valve and let air slowly dry out the 1st stage for 5 minutes.

    Then, just get your annual service as scheduled in the off-season. Since it was fresh water, you've got nothing to worry about, unless the regulator is going to sit around for a couple of years. :)

    Dave C
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  4. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    It's a tough call since nothing here is absolute and you have some expensive gear and maybe even your safety in jeopardy. Cold water diving is a real bad time to find out there is still moisture in there.

    If it's all clean fresh water it's a lesser concern than if salt water was part of the dive or in the rinse tub.

    If it's all fresh then purging a lot of air may dry the air delivery system out fine. If it got into the SPG or gets pushed that way then it's in jeopardy since it's a dead end.

    Most shops will offer a regulator inspection. I'd have them take a peek.

  5. ZenDiver.3D

    ZenDiver.3D Rejecting Reality ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Kuwait, but home is Savannah, Georgia
    I agree with Jim, and it is quite possible for it to get right into the pressure gauge, when you next crack a tank. My hubby has the xtx 200 and had teh same thing happen to him. He did end up with just a tiny bit of vapor in teh pressure gsuge and that is all it takes... New pressure gauge needed. Lesson learned. But. The xtx is one tough reg. You shouldn't have too much trouble. Talk in person to an Apex guy...
  6. Randy43068

    Randy43068 Orca

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    salt water will take a bit more work to clean. Fresh water, not so much. Good advice from everyone.
  7. awap

    awap Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Central TX
    What parts in a 2nd stage are vulnerable to corrosion in this manner? What parts in a 2nd stage are not exposed to water on every dive?

    I don't know of any 2nd stage (including octo/inflator) that will be damaged by exposure to water if it is cleaned (soaked) and dried out normally (as you would after any dive) before storage.

    Water in a 1st stage is a potential problem because it can expose dynamic o-ring seating surfaces to salt and other deposits that can not be readily cleaned without disassembly. It may also lead to corrosion of other metal parts that also can not be cleaned without disassembly.
  8. awap

    awap Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Central TX
    If you are seeing water or water vapor inside a working SPG, it is entering through the case and not through the 1st stage.
  9. halocline

    halocline Solo Diver

    How long ago did this happen? If it was more than a day or two, (you said "one day") and it was in the rinse tank for several minutes, and you simply put the dust cap on and put the reg away, a rebuild is probably the best idea.

    For the future, if you suspect that water might be in the first stage, like if you look into the rinse tank and see your reg in there with no dust cap, you can try drying it out with tank air, but you should do it immediately. To do this, take all hoses off the reg, then plug all the LP ports, leaving both HP ports open. Run a few bursts of air through, make sure there's no water coming out the HP ports, and wait while the HP air dissipates through the ports. Then plug the HP ports, unplug all the LP ports, blast a little more air through, in short bursts. A lot more air is going to flow; you won't be able to leave the valve open for more than a few seconds without everything getting really cold. Then, if you're really paranoid, attach a 2nd stage to one LP port, plug the rest, remove the SPG from the HP hose, attach the hose to the HP port, blow some air through it. You can purge the 2nd stage to release the pressure quickly once you've turned off the air.

    Then, finally, attach both 2nd stages, re-attach the SPG, and pressurize. Check the IP if you have access to a gauge, make sure the SPG works, take a few breaths and purge each 2nd stage.

    That's about as much as you can do without tearing the whole thing apart. FWIW, after the last salt water dive and subsequent rinse on a trip, I almost always take the HP hose off my reg, put a plug in, and run some air through my first and both second stages.
  10. Doc Ed

    Doc Ed Solo Diver

    I've seen and taken apart regs that were covered in verdigris - sintered filter all gunky, crusty seconds, and stuff inside hoses. Yet prior to that, they were still working. Yeah, i think it takes a lot of abuse before a reg fails. I think an accidental dunk in fresh water wouldn't be much of a problem. Just remove the SPG. You'll note that the orifice going to the gauge from the 1st stage is so small - meaning only a small amount (if any) of water could/ve gotten in. Attach the reg to a tank and let it purge out the water slowly.

    On the flip side, slight damage to the HP seat as a result of crud build-up can lead to unstable IPs, inability to reach lock-up, IP creep, and as the pressure builds up beyond the 2nd stage pressure, a tendency to free flow might occur.

    Bottom line, I wouldn't fret too much about this incident.

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