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Buying used BCD - what to check?

Discussion in 'Diving Into New Gear' started by Orestis82, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Orestis82

    Orestis82 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Denmark
    27
    4
    3
    I’ve found a Seacsub Pro 3000 for roughly €130. From what I can gather it was a high-end BCD in its time, with fancy systems etc. I’ve found a good review about it so it seems interesting. Also, in the local classifieds, you can’t get any decent BCD for less than €100, so I figured what the hell.

    I was wondering if there are things to check while doing a visual inspection. Of course I’ll check all the harnesses, clips, signs of wear etc, but what about other things? Should I insist on submerging it in the tub to check for leaking valves and what not? What else should I look for?
     
  2. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    1,715
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    Look for verdigris (green oxidation) /rust around the inflation valve nipple. Check that the dump valves work. If they leak it is often because the rubber disk has taken a set against the flange and when activated it does not line up...you can typically by new rubber disks for them or just flip the one in the dump valve over.

    If the corrugated hose has a dump at the top of it make sure that works too.

    If you can submerse it in water that would be ideal but if you can't then blow it up nice and full and let it sit for as long as possible.

    I am not familiar with that model bcd so if there are any weight pockets make sure they are both present and in good shape, especially if they use velcro to close. Make sure the mechanism that retains the pockets works properly.

    Make sure the velcro on the cummerbund is in good condition.

    Make sure any zippers work properly, have sliders that are not broken or seized.

    Look for cracks in the corrugated hose, also go on Dive Gear Express website and familiarize yourself with what their attachment point of their replacement hose looks like (the octagonal piece that sits in the flange) and unscrew/remove the corrugated hose from the BCD to what kind of fitting it has. Some companies use a proprietary fitting making it difficult or expensive to get a replacement. If it matches up with the one at Dive Gear Express you will most likely not have issues finding an inexpensive replacement if needed.

    Look for signs of mold in the fabric...check in the pockets, under any padding etc.

    Oh, and make sure it fits

    -Z
     
    aviator8 and lamarpaulski like this.
  3. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
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    make sure the corrugated hose attachment point at the bladder looks good (no cracks/damage) especially if it has an inflator hose pull dump. Many of those from that era were sonically welded to the bladder
    and are not repairable,

    I doubt you would find a replacement.
    it was originally marketed as a "tech" BCD so maybe it's held up better.
     
  4. Orestis82

    Orestis82 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Denmark
    27
    4
    3
    Are you referring to elbowparts.jpg
    ?

    I should be looking for an octagonal “receptacle” attached to the BCD, right?

    I’m not sure I get the ultrasonic welded part - does it mean that the hose itself cannot be removed or that the “receiving” end is welded to the bladder and can’t be replaced?
     
  5. Pao

    Pao Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manila, Philippines
    995
    210
    43
    Look for fading. It means that it has been left out in the sun for too long. UV damages plastic and fabric.
    Check for the fittings welded to the bladder. They degrade/crumble with age.
    Excessive scuff marks/excessive wear. It means the previous owner was not very careful with the BC.
     
  6. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
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    The bottom side of the part marked Flange could be welded to the bladder -- it was a common practice. About the only way to tell is to feel inside the opening or flex it to see if it feels intact.

    If that inflator hose has an integrated pull dunp it would stress it each time.

    It probably is OK. Just almost impossible to fix if not. Given the age/brand of the BC I think replacement bladders are hard to come by/not available.

    Actually good point in the previous post ALL the dumps are typically welded in the same way, they may get less stress though being typically center pulled with your fingers. Check them while you're verifying that the rubber disks in each are intact and functional,

    The only reason I mentioned it is that it occurs occasionally in BC's in the 10-20 year old range.

    Is that a photo of the BC in question? it looks to be in pretty good shape.
     
  7. Orestis82

    Orestis82 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Denmark
    27
    4
    3
  8. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    1,715
    1,155
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  9. Orestis82

    Orestis82 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Denmark
    27
    4
    3
    Well, you know how this goes - it fit perfectly and it really looked like top condition so I got it. Fellow selling it was decent enough to offer a return if something is off. Apparently he bought it new 9 years ago, then stuffed it in a closet for 8 years and in a basement for the next - and now he got a double set wing so has no need for it. He’s only dived 10 times with it.

    I’ll try it in two days on an easy shallow beach dive before venturing deeper.

    The entire hose elbow looks indeed just welded together, I don’t think there’s a way to even unscrew it. I won’t try to force it though :)

    Apparently this model was one of the first “tech” BCDs. It has some huge metal D-rings plus a retractable crotch strap. Nice big pockets, adjustable harness, 4kg of trim weights in the back and a system that allows you to “tighten” the bladder around the waist so it behaves more like a wing, and when at the surface you can let the air in again so it behaves like a jacket. Will give you the scoop on that after I try it!

    Weight pockets in the front are Velcro only unfortunately. It’s in excellent condition but I’m not sure I’d trade that for a trusty weight belt.
     
  10. Pao

    Pao Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manila, Philippines
    995
    210
    43
    How about the dump valve? It was around that time that the RF welded fittings on my bladder started to crumble. Simultaneously for the elbow connection and the dump valve.
     

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