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Regulator maintenance intervals

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by loosenit2, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Perryed

    Perryed Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Missouri
    If you know nothing about how your regulators operate then you need to go to your LDS and get it serviced. They like to keep you uninformed about anything but the barest minimum of service. If you do a routine yearly inspection of your equipment and know what you are doing you replace things as needed for your own diving profile. I`ve bought 40-50 year old dive equipment that hasn`t been touched in years that just needs a very little TLC to be just fine. Hell, my LDS wouldn`t even sell me O-rings for LP and Hp ports for fear of liability! Mention anything to them about servicing your own equipment and it`s like you told them you were going to perform your own open heart surgery. My point is that they love to get you in to service your stuff and try to get you to update and waaaaaay overservice your stuff.
  2. undrwater

    undrwater Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cerritos, CA
    Is RCM used in the marine industry? Or perhaps the space industry (this one is probably less applicable due to highly trained users)?

    I inspect gear that has been exposed to salt water far more than anything else.
  3. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    @loosenit2 you're using the same decision making process that I use at work when determining PM schedules or designing/specing out equipment. For us, the cost of service and cost of downtime matter so you want to do thorough analysis to make it cost effective. What you are missing on this is the fact that the industry doesn't want the maintenance to go to longer intervals because it reduces their income.
    Edd Sorenson has been diving with HOG D3 regulators since they were in prototype. Those regulators have gone for THOUSANDS of dives, over at least 5 years, with a guy who is known to straight up abuse equipment *aside from the fact that he's taking them into very abusive environments*. Those regulators only get serviced when they ask for it *i.e., start leaking or have IP creep*. They get tuned somewhat regularly because he's picky about his second stages, but to try to get one to test to failure is not going to happen.
    Another example, I was talking with another instructor at another university. They use Apeks DS4's with ATX50 second stages. Those regulators are used in a pool *and university pool so HIGHLY chlorinated*, roughly 6 hours a day, 4 days a week, 40 weeks per year. They haven't been serviced in a decade. The exhaust diaphragms degrade because they're rubber so those have been replaced, as have the hoses, but the internals have not been replaced because they haven't asked for it. My Poseidon regulators are currently 4 years since service and performing just fine. They get adjusted for IP and cracking effort every 6 months, again because I'm picky, but that's it. Both of us are predominantly cave divers with exceedingly little time in the ocean which certainly helps from a cleaning perspective and the issues associated with dried salt deposits, but at the same time as sidemount and CCR divers, our regulators are used less frequently and are often covered and filled with silt/sand/etc from going through small passages, or having safety bottles dropped on the line, etc which leads to a lot more abuse than a normal OW diver would experience.

    All that to say that proper evaluation of this isn't in anyone in the dive industries best interest except the consumer which means even if it has been done, it will never be published or changed. Use your better judgement and learn how to analyze your own equipment and you choose the service interval that works
    markmud, snowdog61 and loosenit2 like this.
  4. loosenit2

    loosenit2 Solo Diver

  5. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    I've had the same experience on old and newer, 20 - 40 years old, regs I've picked up to tinker with in my garage. The last three reg sets I just needed some SPG's and paid $10 apiece. Not only did the SPG's work, but now I have three more functioning reg sets I don't really need. My buddy's kid thinks it's great since he doesn't need to buy a reg now.

    I'll go through the regs, but experience tells me they won't really need work, but I will get rid of some of the o-rings I have hanging around.

    Although some regs are abused and put away in poor shape, most I've seen that look decent, were not used much and/or taken care of well, then put away with the intent of using them again, which never happened.

    Perryed and markmud like this.
  6. GJC

    GJC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Southern California, USA
    Maintenance data is really hard to collect.

    Manufacturers don't collect servicing data from local dive shops and techs. Local shops may only have records of what service was done with no info on age of the regulator, prior service history, or any record with info on details of failure.

    Regulators usually don't fail by themselves. There have only been a handful of design errors and manufacturing defects that have been found after regulators were produced and sold. What does cause a regulator to fail is either foreign material pushed into it (like water or rust from a tank or dried out bits from the inside of a hose) or wear and deterioration of the rubber parts that are replaced when it is serviced.

    So I think your question should be about the reliability and longevity of the o rings, seats and diaphragms. You may get good info on this from those manufacturers.

    A secondary consideration should be the quality of the service provided. A fairly frequent complaint is a regulator free flows on first use after servicing. This is almost always a result of the way it was tested and tuned by the service tech.
  7. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    Not to mention the less frequent catastrophic failure after service do to service tech error. I'm pretty through when I service my own gear, but I still will do three actual dives, one being in the neighborhood of 120', before I trust a reg or lend it out. It's not that I've ever had a problem with one of my regs, but I'd rather be the diver that gets supprised if and when it happens.

    GJC likes this.

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