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Servicing your own regulators

Discussion in 'Regulators' started by Rick Warren, Feb 20, 2021.

Would you take a Manufacturer Approved Class on regulator servicing if offered?

Poll closed Feb 27, 2021.
  1. Yes

    92.3%
  2. No

    7.7%
  1. Rick Warren

    Rick Warren New

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: North Carolina
    1
    3
    This seems to be a very touchy subject. On one side you have draconian manufacturers and Local Dive Stores that say no one but them should service your regulators because of safety reasons and they will say if they sell you parts that makes them liable, One the other side you have people like me that feel much better about their life support equipment if they service it themselves. Then you have the cheapskates that only want to service their gear because it saves them a penny.

    The manufactures say only service techs that have undergone their training are allowed to service their regulators. Then they proceed to say that they will only offer that training to local dive shops that are dealers of their products. That screws over the customer without whom the local dive shops or the manufacturers would not exist. I think a dose of reality is needed.

    The whole liability argument does not hold water. If gun stores can sell ammo, auto supply stores can sell brakes, Home Depot can sell gas hot-water heaters and gas line fittings, I am sure that Mares or ScubaPro could sell me a few O-rings, diaphragms and a high-pressure seat without fear. If it bothers them that much, have a lawyer draw up a liability release document and I can sign it.

    I have had a few instances where Local Dive Shops either contaminated my gas cylinders, failed to eddy current a 1983 AL-80 cylinder I took in for hydro (and specifically asked for eddy current testing) or improperly tuned my regulators (all this happened to me at 3 different local dive shops over the years).

    I purchased all my own equipment (DACOR back in 1988) because of a J-valve failure on rental equipment on a dive that left me up current from my dive buddy on a drift dive in the Suez Canal where it dumps into the Red Sea. That experience convinced me that I am a much better guardian of my life than someone else. Since then, I have purchased all my own gear. I also maintain all of my gear except regulators. I continued to have my regulators serviced at an authorized dealer for the brands that I own now (ScubaPro and Mares). I have reached the point though that I am done with that practice.

    I am diving more Nitrox and pure oxygen (rebreather) now so I want to ensure my gear (cylinders, valves, hoses, regulators and rebreather parts) stay functional and oxygen clean. My usage levels may dictate that I actually oxygen clean and service some equipment more than once a year.

    I have taken the TDI Visual Tank inspection course and would be happy to pay to take a regulator class as well but, the regulator manufacturers (except for HOG) do not allow non-dive store (dealer store) employees to take their courses.

    If I service my regulators or tank valves and they fail then I have no one to blame but me because I did the work on it. If I continue to find it nearly impossible to find OEM parts for my Mares and ScubaPro regulators then I will end up selling them and getting HOG regs that will sell me parts and will also provide training on the proper service of their regs through the TDI Training Agency.

    The other manufacturers need to stop trying to use equipment service to drive business into local dive stores. I spend a lot at my local dive shops already and resent being subjected to this captive servicing scam.

    Servicing of one's own dive equipment is not for everyone just like servicing one's automobile isn't. If a person owns the equipment and feels they want to service it though they should be able to do so. If they don't feel competent enough to do it then they can continue to take their equipment to their local dive store. There is nothing wrong with either approach.
     
  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    18,665
    11,134
    and Deep6 and Poseidon

    The founder of HOG left and founded Deep6 and took the service course concept with him, and then Poseidon started theirs a few years ago not long after a conversation between the head of Poseidon USA and I sitting in front of the tropical reef exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium.

    I would go with Deep6 over HOG based on the quality of the company. The regs are very similar, but the Deep6 are one step ahead of the HOG's. I have over 2 dozen Poseidon regs and half a dozen Deep6 regs right now, as well as others, but those are the two I primarily dive.

    If you want to DIY service, the Deep6 are going to be the best course and the cheapest course of action since they give you free parts kits every other year if you take the course which was a brilliant choice by @cerich and @LandonL
     
  3. shurite7

    shurite7 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: In transit
    1,196
    631
    When you attend the manufacture’s course ask questions. I’ve plenty of people sit through the entire course and don’t questions, then they gripe later that evening over drinks they were not taught everything little thing. The instructors can’t teach every single problem a technician comes across. They also can’t help if one doesn’t ask questions.

    Every time I’ve renewed my cert I learned something new. I’ve even taken regs that were giving me problems to the service clinic. Instructors that I’ve dealt with have loved it when someone brought a trouble reg.
     
    rob.mwpropane and TTPaws like this.
  4. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Napa, California
    5,880
    7,627
    Without hijacking this thread, but instead piggybacking on it...

    Would you travel and pay $500 for a two-day course that teaches you all the little stuff never covered in manufacturer's seminars, to get you from "interested and capable" to "generically safe to service most regulators" assuming you could get the parts?

    I have pondered offering this in scattered locations around the country, assuming I could find a motel with a meeting room. But running the numbers, from equipment transportation to practice regs to tool sets, then adding meeting room rental, doesn't get me under several hundred dollars per student, even assuming I did it for free.

    The problem I see with the seminars I have attended is that fully half the audience has never opened a reg, yet the practice equipment is clean and pre-loosened, and all you learn is how to change parts, rather than learn the damage you can do with a steel pick.

    Or maybe a one day "advanced course" for those that know their way around regs, but are interested in the fine points that only come after a decade.

    Should I start another thread? Does this fit with the OP's question? The logistics hurdle is huge.
     
  5. formernuke

    formernuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New England
    3,118
    2,812
    Not everyone has the technical skills to survive their own regs.

    Liability or lack there of is easier with car accidents etc then with scuba in addition more is known about cars and home stuff then about a sport that a majority of the population knows nothing about.

    So although I don't agree with limiting service classes and parts to dive shops because I'm a diver with the technical skills as an attorney I do understand it.
     
    BoltSnap likes this.
  6. p_kos

    p_kos Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    338
    298
    $500 for a two day course like this would be a steal. Count me in if you get one going and if I can actually travel from Canada to the US by then.
     
  7. Open Ocean Diver

    Open Ocean Diver ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
    1,310
    869
    Yes I think you should I would definitely be interested in your tech course.
     
  8. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    14,647
    11,176
    Not does everyone not have the skills, many of us have no desire to service our own regulators. This push for self service is aimed at a very discrete group of divers. Manufacturers pushing this pathway also have a limited audience. You may save money up front, maybe, or maybe not, over time. It is certainly one variable to take into account. If you have a problem with your regulator at a remote location, does anyone service it, or not?
     
  9. formernuke

    formernuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New England
    3,118
    2,812
    You actually won't short term over time yes. I looked into taking one with one who does class and needed tools was around 600 plus air ticket and hotel. So I would take years to break even.
     
    scubadada likes this.
  10. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    18,665
    11,134
    depends on the regulator and what's wrong with it. If you have Apeks style regulators, then servicing in the field is really easy and I've done it while travelling. Poseidon requires a few extra special tools that are annoying to bring with you. People advocate buying Apeks/Aqualung/Scubapro because of global service if the reg fails despite that actually being a really stupid idea that is fraught with flaws, but if they argue for that, why wouldn't you self service if it was something minor like a HP seat failure. You can easily just swap the HP seat without a full service and be back on your way in about 20 minutes. I personally prefer to just bring a spare regulator, but if I was doing a month long trip somewhere remote then I would bring the tools to service myself. It's a couple allen keys, an adjustable wrench, an IP gauge, some o-ring picks, some lube, and a pin spanner. Pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of packing.
     

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