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Buyer Beware . . .

Discussion in 'Regulators' started by Bigbella, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
    797
    782
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    A long-time client recently sent me one of his regulators, along with the complaint that the breathing seemed somehow "wonky." He had an offer -- an actual paper coupon -- from his local dive shop, Back East, to do his annual rebuild, for a price I simply could not match, not even for parts; and was set to travel, in March, to PNG, provided that Covid-19 has not derailed his long-awaited vacation plans.

    It arrived with the octopus attached and a loose primary regulator. The IP was a bit low; but other than that, little else seemed off -- that was, until I disassembled the primary. I sent him the "Where's Waldo?" photo below, and asked him, what, if anything was absent?

    He even called it; the exhalation diaphragm was actually missing; and, in addition, the "operating device," a little, hinged, fiddly bit (with an admittedly piss-poor name), along with the valve piston, was misaligned and twisted off to one side. The parts were dirty; hadn't seen an ultrasonic cleaning. The base of the valve seat was also stripped and had to be replaced. He didn't trust his first stage either, and wants it rebuiltl.

    This was almost a year to the day, when I received a friend's "fully operable," "recently serviced" eBay bargain basement FFM, whose first stage was corrroded inside and out; had antiquated parts, whose upgrade kit was pricey; and whose inner mask had actual rodent damage.

    I have yet to see any true bargain, related to responsible, realistic regulator repair, which hasn't cost a client twice of what he or she should have paid, in further repairs. If I could offer any advice to novice divers, it would be to reconsideri that order of 15.00 avocado toast, and drop a little more cash into an equipment maintenance fund . . .
     

    Attached Files:

    couv and Protondecay123 like this.
  2. Protondecay123

    Protondecay123 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Apex of Moronia
    490
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    There are few “ real “ bargains. So much better to buy gear that your life depends upon from a trusted skilled and reputable source. The LDS part of that is pretty sad.
     
  3. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    4,125
    1,822
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    at this point, it makes more monetary sense to buy a new set of regs from Deep 6 or DGX, dive them till they need service and then sell em off to get a new set then bothering to pay for rebuilds that may or may not be done correctly if you aren't going DIY.
     
  4. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
    797
    782
    93
    That would all depend upon whether you liked the regulator and the fiscal impact of its replacement cost. I probably rebuilt that regulator seven or eight times over the years, without any issue. It just took some lobotomites in Maryland, to make him rethink his priorities.

    They probably worked on his regulator as a loss-leader, in the hope that he'd buy other gear, at typically inflated dive shop prices.They would have had to eat much of that cost themselves, judging what he claimed to have paid. Now, he has received a full refund (having refused store credit) and won't do any further business with them.

    Eh, so picky; what's an exhalation diaphragm between friends?
     
  5. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Parma, ITALY
    1,272
    1,893
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    DIY is the only safe way for servicing a reg, in my opinion.
    I would never put the life of me, my wife and our sons in the hands of an unknown technician, which possibly has not a master degree in engineering, nor many years of experience tuning his regs and then testing them diving at depth...
    And if you cannot go DIY, then the strategy of Runsongas is fully endorseable.
     
  6. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
    797
    782
    93
    The fellow who initially trained me, was far from holding a masters degree in engineering; but was a gifted technician, all the same -- a machinist during the Korean War; and was capable of fabricating any number of components from scratch, if need be. His passion, even back then, was vintage gear.

    That said, his training was similar to the one you previously described -- industry taught, and very thorough and rigorous. Today's training is less than a seminar; more like a three hour kaffeeklatch, with techs of greatly varying degrees of experience and competence. At the last industry refresher that I attended, there was no bench-testing whatsoever, save for the instructor's briefest efforts at a demonstration . . .
     
  7. BRT

    BRT not a soft touch ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Go buy a used older Sherwood on Ebay and my experience is that they work for years before I need to put any parts in. All for $50-100, often including an extra second and a pressure gauge. At some point you might have to put $15-30 worth of parts in them.
     
    Bob DBF likes this.
  8. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
    797
    782
    93
    That's easier said than done. I have repaired almost as many eBay "bargains" as regularly-tuned regulators, in the last few years. No one can resist a perceived bargain; and no one really wishes to lose an auction -- all of that last minute dopamine.

    Having seen some serious regulator failures in the field, over the years, I wouldn't risk my safety or that of others, on some dilettante's discarded regulator, which has spent more time in a clioset than the late Rock Hudson . . .
     
    rjack321 and Protondecay123 like this.
  9. BRT

    BRT not a soft touch ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I regretted my post after I made it. No point in raising prices.
     
    Hoyden likes this.
  10. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    7,176
    5,813
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    I was once at my shop when a woman was picking up the regs her husband had bought on eBay and brought in for service. They were so old that they couldn’t be fixed. No parts available. She wasn’t happy she had to shell out something around $200-250 for service on regs that couldn’t be used.
     

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