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When tanks are visually or hydrostatically inspected, how does the inspector mark the tank? Is it with a sticker of some sort, a stamp into the metal, or what? How recent should the inspectin be? I'm asking because I'm thinking about buying some used tanks and want to know how to tell whether they were properly inspected.
Last edited by Diving Dave; December 8th, 2002 at 06:22 PM.
Yep. But since I've always rented tanks, I wasn't sure exactly how they were marked and how often they had to be reinspected.
Kind of like driving. Been doing it for years, but can't tell you how much gap my spark plugs should have ! Now, in high school, when I liked tinkering with my Dad's '71 Ford Torino, I could tell you how much gap those spark plugs needed. Diving is not like bicycle riding - you do forget some things.
A visiual inspection, called a "Visiual Cylinder Inspection" or "VCI" is done at least once a year, depending on how heavily the cylinder is used.
This is identified by a sticker on the cylinder.
A hydrostatic test is done at least once every five years and the results are hammered into the shoulder of the cylinder.
Walter's question was based on the fact that this is not like a spark pulg gap, this is more on the level of where the ignition key goes. You look (or when renting SHOULD look) at these every time you pick up a cylinder.
This is one of the things your instructor should have coverd. When you did your class. When I teach that is one thing I try to get across. Even when you rent or buy. Or get one from a friend.
Because you would not what to get some where and find out that it is out of hydro,vip. It could cost you some $. Even if you rent from your LDS you want to make sure they are keeping up with there tanks. When hydro they will stamp the date into the shoulder. something like this 01-03 and then there mark. Be careful buying used tanks. New al tanks are not that much.By the time you buy a used one get it hydro and viped you can all most buy a new one.
I've had some luck buying used cylinders. I did remember what we were taught about tank markings. When I bought a pair of AL80's virtually unused, sat in a garage for 3 years, I was able to point out and explain the meaning of the markings, the fact they'd need a VIP immediately and hydro in a year. I offered them half what they were asking and aquired 2 Catalina AL-80's. They were never used enough to be abused, and this will be their first re-test, so I don't have much doubt they'll pass. On the other hand, I aquired an older Luxfer AL-80 and made a rather low offer conditional on passing hydro, with me paying for the hydro. The gamble did pay off.
On knowing the markings and checking when you rent. I was picking up 2 of mine from my LDS, when a diver arrived in with tanks from a shop in Toronto. Both "in" hydro, but near the end, neither with a VIP sticker. She was a little p***ed off at the store she rented from, when my LDS refused to fill. Had done 2 dives the day before and planned on doing 2 more on the way home. Her buddy had gone on ahead to the dive site, which was not on the direct route home, so she was goin gto have to drive there and then return home, paying for the days rental (she didn't think she'd make it in time to return them that day). We suggested she point out the lack of a proper inspection sticker and ask for at least a partial refund as she had to end her trip when she couldn't get fills. Not sure if she tried another shop (I've had fills in all 3 local shops, all are very careful about checking hydro/VIP, so she wouldn't get air in this town.
Ok, so tank stamps aren't like spark plug gaps, but they sure as shootin' ain't the ignition key either. Next time I rent a tank from the local Halycon dealers here in Virginia Beach I'll be sure to do it right. Probably can't trust those guys to keep their rental gear up to date. Roak, thanks for letting me know that you know SOOOO much more than me. And to think that I came to the Ultimate Scuba Source for information!