When others handle your first stage...and you have to worry

How fussed are you about (salt) water entering your first stage?

  • Zero tolerance, I worry about it constantly

  • I try to avoid it but accept that it does happen

  • Not too concerned, taken care of every year or two when serviced

  • I handle it without particular care, don't stress about some corrosion


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BoltSnap

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I use Atomic regs with the seat-saver feature, and they are supposed to be rinsed under pressure. I always inform the DMs and crew that I want to change over my own tanks and that at the end of the dives I need to rinse the reg under pressure. Since I now dive mostly with the same outfit they are getting used to my situation, but at first there was a little pushback when I would dunk my reg, bcd and tank into the rinse barrel before disassembling. Before disassembling, I blow air out the regs to get as much water out as I can, and try to keep the first stage above the second stages, and as soon as I get home I put the reg under pressure again before soaking. Still I end up having to have the reg serviced about once a year based on monitoring the IP for creep. Even trying to avoid water in the reg, the parts still get a fair amount of corrosion. Enough that I'm thinking about getting another reg set without the seat-saver feature.


I have been using Atomic regulators since late 90's for my personal diving and in my dive school without the issues you describe. I NEVER had the issue with IP pressure creep with Atomic at all since the late 90's. I can go on 3 - 5 years between servicing without issue and the regulators still perform like new.

The myth that water will find its way through the second stage to the first stage because of the "seat saving" feature is just that, a myth. If you really have issues with IP creep that frequently, you have other issues with the regulator nothing to do with what you think it is. The seat saving feature is one of the features that make the Atomic regulators super reliable.
 

mi000ke

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I have been using Atomic regulators since late 90's for my personal diving and in my dive school without the issues you describe. I NEVER had the issue with IP pressure creep with Atomic at all since the late 90's. I can go on 3 - 5 years between servicing without issue and the regulators still perform like new.

The myth that water will find its way through the second stage to the first stage because of the "seat saving" feature is just that, a myth. If you really have issues with IP creep that frequently, you have other issues with the regulator nothing to do with what you think it is. The seat saving feature is one of the features that make the Atomic regulators super reliable.

Yeah, I was surprised at the IP creep, so you may be right about something else being the issue, though I’m not sure what. That said, quoting from their manual (printed in boldface): “Avoid soaking the regulator unpressurized as water may enter the second stage and first stage mechanism.” They go on to advise repressurizing the reg and blowing air out if the second stage is rinsed after pressure purged, to avoid water entering the first stage. So they seem to think it could happen. I’ve just been following their recommendations.
 

AFdivedoc

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I accidentally left my Poseidon Jetstream in the rinse tank after my last dive in Bonaire last week. I was packing my gear when I realized I didn't have it. I checked the rinse tank and it was not there, and the dive shop was closed. I retrieved it the next morning. It has spent several hours in the tank with the DIN inlet cover in place, and was out of the water overnight in the dive shop (the staff brought it in at the end of the day). First time this has ever happened to me.

I took the reg apart when I got home, and the first stage had a good bit of moisture in it--all fresh water. I went ahead and cleaned it up (first and second stages) like I do when I service it, and everything was just fine. No evidence that any water got into the SPG.

Lesson learned. I was busy and distracted with other activity after the dive--took care of my other gear but forgot my reg.
 

Divectionist

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It has spent several hours in the tank with the DIN inlet cover in place

These covers are useless, just get a Delrin screw-on cap that enables a watertight seal with the DIN O-ring and you can submerge your first stage forever without issues.
 

Jiminy

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I have been using Atomic regulators since late 90's for my personal diving and in my dive school without the issues you describe. I NEVER had the issue with IP pressure creep with Atomic at all since the late 90's. I can go on 3 - 5 years between servicing without issue and the regulators still perform like new.

The myth that water will find its way through the second stage to the first stage because of the "seat saving" feature is just that, a myth. If you really have issues with IP creep that frequently, you have other issues with the regulator nothing to do with what you think it is. The seat saving feature is one of the features that make the Atomic regulators super reliable.

Care to share your post dive rinse procedures? Pressurized or unpressurized?
 

BoltSnap

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Care to share your post dive rinse procedures? Pressurized or unpressurized?

Unpressurized and for just in case, I put the first and second stage in the water bucket with the LP hose pointing up above the first and second stages to prevent any potential water from traveling to the other stage (just in case). I frequently let the regulator setup soak in the water for hours.
 

Blasto

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I use Atomic regs with the seat-saver feature, and they are supposed to be rinsed under pressure. I always inform the DMs and crew that I want to change over my own tanks and that at the end of the dives I need to rinse the reg under pressure.
It's also acceptable to rinse or splash the first stage first, then rinse the seconds while holding the first stage high up, and keep it that way while it drains. Still an inconvenience, but not as much as lifting a tank.

Both the ACD and the dust cap are a backup to proper rinsing procedures. Mind the name, "dust cap"; some will keep the water out, but they are not by design a waterproof element. You don't need to soak the first stage, just briefly wash off the salt from its surface. It's the second stages that cycle saltwater through them and need a good rinse.

Still, partially for this reason I have switched from my titanium Atomic set to the less-picky Legend LX for travel to poorly-equipped locations that are likely to ignore proper procedures. I did get IP creep once, and titanium doesn't corrode; it's the salt deposits.


P.S. In my subjective impression, the Legend is a considerably less pleasant regulator to use overall. It was the difficulty of getting an Atomic serviced in many places that drove the decision, and I might switch back anyway.
 

lexvil

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Due to crazy weather, storm after storm, diving has been spotty at best, so I have time on my hands and thought I wold run a little test on what happens with a regulator and water when done wrong.
I have a paper weight Atomic body, actually wouldn't use it as a paper weight because the thing continues to shed chrome like the oak trees shed leaves. I gathered a bunch of used parts and put it together.
46257596894_775960911b_z.jpg

Chrome falls off just with handling, this was a defective chrome job that was an issue for Atomic a few years ago.
46982087611_e4094bd990_z.jpg

I tested for leak by because the chrome issue isn't just external
46982088111_85b50f5385_z.jpg

After going through several used HP seats I got one that performed consistently with an IP about 135 which would creep to 150 and stay locked there for several hours. By the way if I saw my reg do this just before a dive i would dive it and service when I got home
46257596684_5c7bb1d6fa_z.jpg

Next with a G250 on it i dropped it into a bucket of water, swished it a little and let it soak.
46982087501_2b311fb5d6_o.jpg

This isn't a loos dust cap test its a not dust cap test.
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The same performance was shown after the dunking as before.
46257596504_c4be837a3d_o.jpg

Opened it up and saw no signs of water on the HP side
46257596324_9d871c9471_z.jpg

Next was a dust cap with an Atomic seat saver second attached
46982087151_5a07e7d3ac_z.jpg

I went extreme by listing the second out several times with the mouth piece up
46257596224_69bc70b07f_o.jpg

Proving the claims about Atomics and the open seat needing a little extra care, there was a drop of water in the hose.
Next I went full stupid heavy rinsing action with no dust cap and the Z2 second so the reg is basically open at both ends.
46982087041_ac304cbc68_o.jpg

46257596134_e33c25a74b_o.jpg

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The result; water everywhere!
46257595984_84a3091faf_o.jpg

46982086791_8b50998aeb_o.jpg

Performance exactly the same.
After test breathing and purging
46257595904_394970645e_o.jpg

46982086671_85c176242f_o.jpg

There were signs of water throughout
46982086481_c0bf36d3f8_o.jpg

What I've taken from this is the special rinsing for Atomic is valid, and if your reg gets the full stupid treatment a service is called for ASAP but at least with a piston reg you can continue to dive until you have the chance to service it. I do have a Titan diaphragm reg that i will test this week if the storms continue.

This concludes the documentation of my boring weekend.
 

BikerBecca

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I dont have to worry on my Legend supreme main as it has the ACD. But I still try to avoid the issue with other regs

I like the ACD on my Legend too. :)
 

kablooey

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If it's saltwater, I'd get it serviced ASAP.
This is what I was taught to do in the field as an emergency quick-fix in case of freshwater in the first stage:
  • Remove the computer or transmitter HP hose, leaving the first stage HP port open.
  • Be absolutely certain no electronics, SPGs, or closed-end units are connected to the first stage.
  • Reconnect the first stage to a cylinder.
  • Open the cylinder valve gradually until a steady stream of gas is coming from the open port at a moderate rate.
  • Allow the flow for about thirty seconds.
  • Purge the second stages and inflator a couple times.
  • Turn off valve, reconnect HP computer hoses.
  • Make the next dive. Take the unit in for servicing as soon as possible.
We've done this many times after students freshwater dunk their regs and forget to put the rubber stopper back on the first stage.
I don't remember ever having to do it for saltwater, but I think it wouldn't hurt.

Theoretically the dry gas from the cylinder will expel any internal moisture safely out of the open port.
This is what I was taught, but I'm open to suggestions if this is not a correct action.

K
 
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