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Regulator Lifespan . . .

Discussion in 'Regulators' started by Bigbella, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
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    I was told, years ago, by a tech, that the typical regulator, regardless of its price, only sees servicing about five times during the course of its life, before it is eventually shelved and replaced.

    How frequently do you have gear serviced or replaced; and how long have held onto any given regulator?
     
  2. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Parma, ITALY
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    That's entirely wrong.
    I purchased my first Scubapro MarkV (that is a MK5 + 109) in 1975, and in the next 5 years I purchased other 3, so both I and my wife have two each.
    I always serviced them personally (after attending the course at Scubapro Italy in 1977, when it was time of first servicing my first one), at intervals ranging between one to five years, depending on usage and conditions. We are still using them now!
    And they are still performing better than most more recent regs, having applied all the updates that SP released for the following MK10 (concave seats),156 (fully balanced poppet), and G260-S600 (S-wing poppet).
    This kind of regs (full metal body both at 1st and 2nd stage) were designed for lasting forever, of course servicing them properly, using the proper tools and skills, and replacing all the parts subjected to wear at the intervals prescribed.
    Some more recent regs, with plastic body, eventually degrade so much that it is safer to replace them.
    I am not the only one still using those classic regs of the seventies, all metal, and would never replace them with those newer plastic things...
    Here on SB you will find a lot of people still using them!
     
    AfterDark, couv, Perryed and 4 others like this.
  3. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
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    My work horse is Apeks DS4 + TX 50 which I acquired back in 1998. Serviced it on numerous occasions by technician first and then I took over.
     
  4. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

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    Regulators last as long as there is manufacturer support. They are mostly big lumps of metal handling air. The bits that wear or age are replaceable IF the manufacturer is in business and reasonable.

    Having said that my club has 10 sets of Oceanic regs with Alpha 9 stages which are scrap after less than 5 years due to the plastic purge covers being brittle and impossible to replace. Oceanic changed hands, the Alpha 10 replaced it etc...

    Those regs get serviced every year, as will the Apeks that replaced them, my own Apeks get serviced less often.
     
    Compressor and Bigbella like this.
  5. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
    797
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    93
    I too was a bit skeptical at first; and there are, admittedly, a few of us -- who are also probably statistical outliers -- who have held regulators for decades; and, even fewer, who service their own. I still have a Cyklon 300 from the late 1970s -- rebuilt any number of times (certainly multiples of five) -- which still sees water; but I know now of more people, in this age of planned obsolescence, who replace dive gear, regulators included, with greater frequency than they do phones.

    Perhaps, it's just the nature of mass-consumerism nowadays; or is there a general decline in quality?
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  6. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Parma, ITALY
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    I would look at the statistics the other way around: which percentage of those glorious vintage regs is still in use?
    At that time, in the seventies, scuba diving was not for everyone, and the sale numbers were very small.
    Looking at the offers of these regs on Ebay (which is just the upper part of the iceberg), you see that more than 40 years later they are actively sold and purchased, and the prices are often higher than more modern regs.
    So many of them are yet on the market. But the large part of them will never be sold, as their original purchaser keeps them with great care and will never depart from them!
    The percentual of full-brass items which have been really dumped is much lower than what happened to more recent plastic regs, which are often dumped at their first or second service.
    Of course, it is not just all-brass vs plastic. It also depends a lot on the brand, on the availability of special parts, and the possibility to upgrade the reg to becoming as performing as their successors.
    In this field no one beats SP, as their first regs of the sixties (such as the Mark IV) are yet fully supported, and all the service parts are easily available.
     
    AfterDark and Compressor like this.
  7. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
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    I think that that phrase is hardly a refutation of the claim that I had heard from the tech, some ten years ago -- those plastic regs, you mention, dumped after their first or second service. You and I, and few others, are dinosaurs; and have kept and maintained most everything we've ever had -- but there is a great deal of disposable plastic out there . . .
     
  8. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Parma, ITALY
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    Yep!
    Dump plastic, keep good old brass !!!
    My point is: knowing this, why the hell people buy those plastic things, which are designed to self-destroy in a few years?
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  9. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
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    There are quality plastic as well junk!

    All my Apeks 2nd stages are plastic.
     
    Compressor likes this.
  10. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Parma, ITALY
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    Of course, "plastic" is a general term, and there are quite different materials categorized as "plastic".
    Some are more durable than others.
    But brass is forever:
    bronzi-di-riace.jpg
    These two guys are made of brass, and remained underwater, near Riace, in Calabria, at shallow depth, for approximately 2400 years, subjected to abrasion from sand, waves, etc.
    Do you think that even the better reinforced plastic could last so long, with no wear?
     

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