How old of regs would you use?

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GJC

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The standard lp port is 3/8".
Spare part is the deciding factor.
For a period of time, years ago, Aqualung and others produced first stages with one or more 1/2" LP ports and hoses. The idea was that the bigger port and hose would be able to supply more flow with less resistance when used on deep dives and they actually had a measurable improvement over 3/8" ports. But in reality, the increased performance was way beyond what was needed in real world use and the larger ports faded away.
 

GJC

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I would hazard the guess that it was simply piss-poor maintenance and not the age of the regulators, per se, since the symptom of what you were describing was probably a torn or improperly-installed diaphragm; and should have been noticeable at pressurization.

Two years between overhauls has become a standard among many manufacturers; but that interim, should be based soley upon its rate of use, and not the calendar . . .



At one scientific company, years back, I was responsible for about sixteen regulators -- the oldest of which, were approaching thirty years; and the youngest, four to five years.

All were well-maintained and overhauled on an annual basis; there were no failures; and all of the rubber "consumables" were replaced when something showed obvious wear; or, during overhauls.

It is just a matter of regular maintenance and nothing more; and I would have been willing to use any of them, at any depth . . .
It's a little more than good regular maintenance. It's also how things are stored between use and how it's rinsed and cleaned after each use. It's also the durability of the parts that are not normally replaced annually (or every 2 years).

I love my 40 year old US Divers and Scubapro chrome plated brass first and second stages. With good care, they just keep on performing better than some of the new stuff that's available now. But I have also seen a Scubapro diaphragm and a Conshelf purge button (plastic) that suddenly failed even after they looked really good on inspection during servicing. A high enough percentage of the rubber and plastic stuff I have owned over the years seems to fail somewhere in the 5 to 10 year age range that it makes me very wary when those things get more than 5 years old.
 

JoeFriday

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You should probably make a call to the NYC Police Department Dive Team and have a chat with them about equipment replacement standards and policies.

I suspect that your teams equipment is not used often and spends long periods of time in storage between use. I also suspect that your equipment is not used immediately after servicing to ensure that there are no problems. When stuff sits unused, the rubber, plastic and lubricants tend to dry out, get sticky and brittle.

I would not trust any rubber or plastic regulator parts that are more than 5 years old. I do dive some vintage regulators with platic parts, but I would not use or depend on them for use in hazardous environments or for rescue.
How long can (does?) stuff last. Over the years I have noticed multiple posts about suspect scuba gear material (rubber & plastic) having "short" lifetimes.

But then I think about those same materials in other applications where material lifetime does not seem to be a worrisome aspect. Cars have lots of rubber and plastic parts...
 

Bowers

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The standard lp port is 3/8".
Spare part is the deciding factor.
These regulators have one 1/2” lp port and the rest are 3/8”. This makes it harder to swap hoses around :(
 

lowwall

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How long can (does?) stuff last. Over the years I have noticed multiple posts about suspect scuba gear material (rubber & plastic) having "short" lifetimes.

But then I think about those same materials in other applications where material lifetime does not seem to be a worrisome aspect. Cars have lots of rubber and plastic parts...
Cars immersed in saltwater don't do so well.
 

GJC

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How long can (does?) stuff last. Over the years I have noticed multiple posts about suspect scuba gear material (rubber & plastic) having "short" lifetimes.

But then I think about those same materials in other applications where material lifetime does not seem to be a worrisome aspect. Cars have lots of rubber and plastic parts...
Depends on the quality of the rubber or plastic and exposure to heat and sunlight.

Early gum rubber fins, mask skirts and regulator parts turned into sticky goo after a few years. Now Viton and EPDM rubber have a guaranteed shelf life of 10 years or more. And then you have various rubber and silicone compositions that are somewhere in between.

Plastic has a lot of variability in durabilitty depending on what the composition is. In the 80s, Sherwood and Aqualung produced their first plastic seconds stages and the yellow and orange ones developed cracks almost immediately with use. Now carbon fiber plastic can last longer than metal.
 

Bigbella

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I'm a Fish!
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It's a little more than good regular maintenance. It's also how things are stored between use and how it's rinsed and cleaned after each use. It's also the durability of the parts that are not normally replaced annually (or every 2 years).

I love my 40 year old US Divers and Scubapro chrome plated brass first and second stages. With good care, they just keep on performing better than some of the new stuff that's available now. But I have also seen a Scubapro diaphragm and a Conshelf purge button (plastic) that suddenly failed even after they looked really good on inspection during servicing. A high enough percentage of the rubber and plastic stuff I have owned over the years seems to fail somewhere in the 5 to 10 year age range that it makes me very wary when those things get more than 5 years old.

Maintenance also plays a big role, in terms of gear storage and other responsible after-dive treatment; and there's not a single part of the thirty-plus year old regulators that I've recently dealt with, which cannot easily be replaced; nor have I experienced any of those sudden failures which you have mentioned, even among newer gear. None.

I have, however, seen pecker-wood equipment fail on a regular basis, when I worked boats, as a kid -- typically, that usual run of ill-treated rental gear; but it was always absolute crap, from day-one. Everyone knew it.

Ultimately, you do get what you pay for -- either disposable gear, and I fully understand the rationale for going in that direction; or equipment that one has a potential interest in maintaining -- such as my oft-used Cyklon 300, from 1976 . . .
 

SlugMug

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This is spot on with my thought process. We went on a body recovery that the mother watched us rekit do to a second stage issue during predive checks. We also have frequent problems with training scenarios being put on hold because regulators (to be fair often it’s hoses) that had significant problems. Last week one of our first stages started blasting a stream of bubbles out from under the environmental cap during the first couple minutes of a dive. These add up to old and abused regs in my opinion. And we get them serviced professionally every year.
So personally, i would like to update the regs. I like my hog regs for price and durability, not to mention the every 2 year service recommended instead of yearly.
Get my chief to approve purchasing new instead of continuing to use what we’ve got is the issue. I have a list of pros and cons forming and want to strengthen my argument with some “industry standards” or at least examples of what other teams are doing.
It's hard to claim you're any sort of "safety diver" when your equipment is less than safe. :wink: It sounds like you have a decent case to present what value it provides to your team and end product. Ideally, write these incidents down, including about when they happened, and maybe other details like what the costs or risks of those incidents were.

Make sure you do research on what kind of regs to get instead, because otherwise you risk getting stuck the cheapest crap off the shelf. For example, does it need to be balanced? Environmentally sealed? Are you doing cold-water or salt-water diving ever?

The suggestion of getting team-members trained in regulator maintenance is interesting, but I'm not certain how practical. If team-members wanted to learn, and didn't mind servicing a dozen or so regulators every couple years, maybe that's fine. I don't mind servicing my own, but servicing a dozen would be rather off-putting and tedious.
 

Centrals

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For a period of time, years ago, Aqualung and others produced first stages with one or more 1/2" LP ports and hoses. The idea was that the bigger port and hose would be able to supply more flow with less resistance when used on deep dives and they actually had a measurable improvement over 3/8" ports. But in reality, the increased performance was way beyond what was needed in real world use and the larger ports faded away.
No need to tell me on this.
I have couple of old Apeks regs with the 1/2" lp port. Buying hose to fit was a nuisance. 1/2" blanking plug is what I used. The design has long been discontinued.
 

Centrals

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These regulators have one 1/2” lp port and the rest are 3/8”. This makes it harder to swap hoses around :(
I know how you feel because I have the same issue with my older Apeks regs.
I just used 1/2" blanking plug and forget all about it. One less lp port to use but it is a lot easier than trying to find hose to fit it.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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