This past week and weekend was extremely busy indeed. As you know we have been going non-stop these past weekends with a trip to Ulleongdo and Dokdo, a wedding on the East Coast all followed up with rebuilding regulators and servicing gear. Each event means pictures, blogging and video editing. Most of this is done at night after work long into the night. Scrubbing video footage and marking our favorite clips and pics. Once that is done we add in our logos, splash and end page as well as any effects and or transitions. Needless to say not a quick task despite us doing it all the time.
Once the wedding video, pre-wedding dive video and finally Ulleongdo video was finished it was time to service gear. Carefully inspecting the regulators, hoses and all other attached items ensures that we have a good idea of what kind of condition the gear is currently in, and it will help to identify any troublesome areas.
Once inspected as a whole the main components are tested to give a benchmark then each piece is broken down into the simplest component and each thoroughly inspected one-by-one. Then comes the careful cleaning of each and every piece, to include hose ends, hose o-rings and even transmitters and SPGs. A thorough rinsing and drying is needed followed by replacing all the parts that were discarded as per manufacturer recommendation.
Now comes the meticulous re-assembly noting some parts are lubricated while others are absolutely not. Torque specifications are strictly followed and careful application of new parts and o-rings. Order and attention to detail is critical. Once the equipment is roughly 98% complete each piece is tested using the guidelines laid out by the manufacturer. The 1st stage needs to perform between a certain IP (intermediate pressure).
Once the 1st stage is calibrated the 2nd stages must be calibrated. Each second stage must be calibrated to manufacturer specifications. This might even mean that you must use a separate 1st stage to conduct these tests to achieve the proper IP pressure for 2nd stage testing. The tests for the second stage are critical to achieve maximum performance from the regulators. First set the IP to spec, then adjust the regulator to hear a very minor leak…then turn slightly back to stop leak. Once more turn adjustment knob slightly and viola the reg should be very close. Finally the 2nd stage is validated with a cracking test (officially called the Inhalation Effort Test). This test simply measures the force needed (or difficulty) to breath from the regulator. For this you need a Magnehelic gauge.
Ultimately repairing your own equipment will give you the satisfaction of knowing the job is done right and you can fine tune your equipment for you. The downside is that the equipment to get started gets pricey quick. It will cost the average person around $500-$1000 just for the specialty tools and calibration equipment. This won’t even cover the cost of attending the manufacture’s training so that you can buy the parts and have access to the repair manuals. There are places that you can save some money while still getting some great test gear. For example the single item that I would recommend is the DUAL PRO STAND, 0-3 MAGNEHELIC, IP GAUGE, FOUR SPINON ADAPTERS. Just like it says it is a dual gauge that verifies IP and breathing effort (inhalation and exhalation with this model). As you can see it is nearly $400 once you add in shipping. That is half of a high-end DIY’ers budget. Now you can see why shops charge so much for servicing gear.
If you are a DIY’er look no further than Scuba Tools for each and every tool you may need. This company is a small business that supplies even the large manufacturers with tools and customized equipment. They are great to deal with as well.