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Air quality analyzer

Discussion in 'Compressors, Boosters & Blending Systems' started by shark_tamer, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. shark_tamer

    shark_tamer Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    When I got back from my last dive trip, I brought my regs to my LDS to have them checked and serviced.

    At this time, I told the technician that on one of the dives I did not feel well ( I aborted this dive after only 5 minutes ) and I seemed to having difficulties breathing !!

    When I went back to pick-up my regs, the tech showed me the Q-Tips he used to clean my regs and the 1st stage .... :confused::confused: There was rust debris in the 1st stage filter, all the way to my reg . This is what I was breathing :shakehead:

    He replaced all the o'rings in my 1st stage, reg and octo because they were so dirty !!

    I asked the tech who serviced my regs if there was on the market an air quality analyzer like a Nitrox analyzer, and he told me that there is no analyzer of that sort on the market.

    My question is : How do you ( on the spot ) check air quality of a dive center ?
  2. SteveAD

    SteveAD Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: danvers,ma
    If it is gross enough to leave residue inside a reg that can be picked up by a q tip days later, simply stretch a white cloth handkerchief over the valve orifice and crack the valve for 5-10 seconds. If there is any discoloration on the cloth ....RUN AWAY!

    This will not detect CO or many other trace contaminants.

    This method can really only tell if the air quality is truely horrendous, but short af carrying around a portable lab, it's all I'm aware of.
  3. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
    Hold a white cloth over the valve outlet and crack the valve for a few seconds. If the air is as dirty as the tank you encountered, you will see something on the cloth.
  4. mselenaous

    mselenaous Island girl ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Key Largo, FL... Dive Capital of the World
    Sorry you got a bad fill.

    Any reputable fill station should be having their air analyzed each quarter by a company like Trace Analytics (Compressed Air Testing Specialists - Makers of the AirCheck Air Sampling System - Trace Analytics). For sport diving, there are standard tests to meet either PADI air quality standards or the more stringent ANDI standards. Your facility should have these posted prominently for customers to see. In the case of a failed test, the facility has 30 days to correct and retest (usually something simple like change filters). If you don't see their testing certificate, don't be afraid to ask them about their proceedures for maintaining acceptable air quality.

    You should also be checking the VIP dates on the cylinders you use. Cylinders that are used more than 5 times per week are supposed to be VIP'd much more frequently. It only takes 3 droplets of water on a valve or fill whip under a high pressure fill to coat the inside of a cylinder and begin the oxidation process. Gone unchecked with time, this too can be a source contamination.
  5. simcoediver

    simcoediver Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ontario, Great Lakes
    I see you are from Montreal, did you get the tanks filled there or is this a fill from a vacation, if so where?
  6. pescador775

    pescador775 Contributor

    Shark, you experienced rust in the scuba tank and regulator filter. It can cause free flow and/or hard breathing, headache and, possibly, psychosomatic illness. Possible sources have been mentioned. It is unusual for modern compressors to pump water and the likely cause is water in the valve inlet. However, we don't have a clue as to what, where and who so don't expect an accurate review of your problem. As to the "analyzer"; well, if there were an analyzer then questions would be promptly floated here as to accuracy of those things. The circle is complete.
  7. shark_tamer

    shark_tamer Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    Wouldn't like to point finger at a particular dive center if I'm not 100% sure which center is responsible, but I was diving Cayo Coco ( Cuba ) last January and last October, and I was in Varadero last July.

    I have read somewhere of divers coming back from Varadero with similar problems, but debris in my regs/1st stage was much too fresh to be from Varadero !!!! :wink:
  8. treasurehunter

    treasurehunter Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal,quebec
    I dived in cuba five years strait and yes my reg was always full of rust.

    Always serviced my reg as soon as i got back. This was a big reason why i don't dive cuba anymore.
  9. markbruscke

    markbruscke Solo Diver

    Any time you get a fill in a 3'rd-world location you are taking your chances. Due to the embargo you would have to assume that the dive shop is starving for cash for all purposes; servicing the compressor won't be 1'st on their list of priorities.
    Sounds like you might have had some CO; if so, that's very bad. Lawrence-Factor had - note, alas, the past tense - a product called the "CO-Cop". It came in 2 versions. One with a yoke fitting to use on your tank; the other with a BC hose fitting. In either case, you bleed some gas thru the device across a sensor that will get black dots if CO is present. I just need to spring $10 per year for a new sensor.
    Unfortunately, L-F didn't sell enough of the CO-Cops to justify a new production run. That's really unfortunate because it was very reasonably priced; about $50 or so.
    If you are mechanically inclined you might be able to cobble a home-made CO-Cop together yourself out of a clear plastic cylinder. Take a look at the L-F web site; they still illustrate the CO-Cop product. And, they still sell the sensors so you can buy that part (which would be hard to reproduce yourself).

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