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Old steels denied fills due to store "policy"

Discussion in 'Tanks, Valves and Bands' started by Ana, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

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    This past Sunday, my husband and I went to Force E to fill a few tanks. Normally my husband does that during the week but the water is so stupid cold this days I wanted to see what's out there before bringing out the dry suit.
    Suddenly I see my husband turning colors and started to fume. Turns out the Sunday employees of this ForceE located on US1, Pompano Beach, wouldn't fill up our old tanks because there is some "company policy" against filling old tanks.
    Didn't matter that were within the first year of hydro, with valid VIP ...nope, no gas for us.
    I then went to ForceE website where I found zero reference to this policy. Sent a comment online requesting a reason why I was refused air for those STEEL tanks and the reply a day later was a question about my tanks age and manufacturer. I would think the proper response had to be:
    Yes we have this dumba$$ new policy about not filling steel tanks older than the tank monkeys we hire.
    Or similar silly policy, but damnit give me a policy... Nah the response from ForceE headquarters was questions about my tanks.
    Well, with help from a scuba boarder here I now have a new dive shop that didn't have any issue with my perfectly functional tanks. They looked at the dates stamped and the VIP stickers and proceeded to fill those babies up.

    ForceE if you're reading this. How about explaining?
     
    AfterDark, captain, Schwob and 3 others like this.
  2. Caveeagle

    Caveeagle Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: High Springs, FL
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    Dare we ask, how old are these tanks? I have some 104s and 72s from the early 70s... and they are great tanks, despite their age.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  3. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

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    Yep 1971 and 1970.
    3000psi
     
    AfterDark and dead dog like this.
  4. happy-diver

    happy-diver Skindiver Just feelin it

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: same ocean as you
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    Congratulations I can see octopi, and cuttlefish, and a steam whisle poking out the top of your husbands head Ana
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    We must be vigilant to never walk the path with the inadequate

    I walked off a boat the other day having once again been subjected to the offence of gross stupidity
     
    johnohuk and dead dog like this.
  5. chris kippax

    chris kippax Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Australia
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    One of our LDS's has a similar rule, Once a piece of equipment is 15 years old they refuse to service/fill it.
    They will be their own undoing.
     
  6. txgoose

    txgoose Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Houston
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    A local quarry/spring has a 20 year policy. It was an okay site but thankfully not amazing, and not in my normal circle of diving. No need to go back.
     
    AfterDark and Ana like this.
  7. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

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    I just checked the dates of the industrial bottles I have. Two are dated the exact same date (9-1-42), and one is dated 1918. 101 years old and still in current service. I have plenty of older steel scuba tanks dated in the 60s and 70s, they still get fills.

    Shop policy can be anything they want. Only fill yellow tanks they sold new in the past 5 years, OK, that is there policy. But as you stated they are going to loose customers left and right. No air, no window shopping, no sales. I've seen it enough times. Someone comes in for a fill. Take it in back, start filling. Get to talking and next thing you know they just bought a new wetsuit since the old one shrank a little. If they didn't come in for the fill, they would not have made a purchase.

    Now playing a little devil's advocate, not hearing there side of the story, I will not condemn the shop yet. Unless there policy is that cut and dry then they are idiots who want to go out of business. Anyway there are the "bad alloy" aluminum tanks. They do sometimes go pop even in hydro and passing a simple VIS. Not all shops can do the eddy current on the neck they really need. I can see the shop not wanting to fill one of those. Not trusting the VIS on those that the eddy current was done on them. The tank monkey may have simply been told don't fill anything before (pick date here). With zero regard to the difference between steel or aluminum. Or the tank monkey just knows to fill every tank as if it were an AL80 and 3000 in everything. Instead of training them to read the tank for a 2250 fill, just don't fill it. Or the tank monkey screwed up and popped a burst disk overfilling one and was told no more filling old tanks.

    I do agree that a tank in good condition with the correct stamps and stickers should be filled. If the shop doesn't want to, they are pushing people away. And I don't know of any shop that can afford to turn away a paying customer. But if they don't want you, easy enough, don't go there.
     
  8. Coztick

    Coztick Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: calgary
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    I asked the closest shop about filling steel 72's and the response was "absolutely no problem provided they had a current vis and hydro."

    Store policy here is nothing more than a marketing strategy.

    "Old equipment is unsafe even if seviced"
    Just too much to go wrong and then yer dead.
    Sooooo wanna look at some shiny and safe gear over here by the credit card terminal?
     
  9. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
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    I have had 72's from the sixties and filled no issues. This is very unusual especially when it comes to steel tanks. People are afraid of the old Al tanks and refuse to fill them regardless of the brand/alloy but steel tanks with valid hydro and VCI is unusual for me.
     
  10. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
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    Like @broncobowsher I'll play devils advocate and be unpopular at the same time

    The issue with cylinders, is that there is no real record of their history. Vis inspection is almost comical and incredible subjective requiring minimal training (I use the word training in the loosest possible sense). Hyro is only a go/no go based on the elastic properties of the material. It's good enough most of the time - but as you get to the extremes of age it becomes less so.

    With a Steel tank (especially) you have no proof of history - even if you're the original owner. The shop has no idea if you've tumbled the tank on numerous occasions or used abrasives on the external faces to remove corrosion. They have no way to assess if the wall thickness of the tank is within limits.

    You could easily do this with a simple ultrasonic inspection - but shops don't have the expertise. The time and effort to "re-cert" a tank would be more than the tank

    At some point you need to accept that equipment has a finite life. 48 and 49 years of age is getting pretty much past it, So I can understand a shops reticence. Given the cost of diving new Tanks are small beer. Replace them I say.
     

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