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March 2005 Vol. 20, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Regulator Tips

from the March, 2005 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Regardless of whether you send your regulator out religiously for servicing, carefully maintaining it after every dive cuts down on contamination/corrosion. Dave Farrar of Gypsy Divers (Raleigh, NC) suggests that maintenance begins before you mount your first stage on a tank. He recommends cracking the cylinder valve slightly to blow any salt water, dirt, or other matter out of the cylinder valve orifice so contaminants won’t be forced into the first stage filter of your regulator when you pressurize your system. This would be especially helpful on a dive boat where tank valves are not covered by a dry dust cap.

More tips: Once the regulator yoke is in place, crack the tank valve slowly, then stop and allow the regulator to slowly pressurize. Once your gauge indicates the system is pressurized, open the valve all the way. Slow pressurizing allows your regulator valves to close gently rather than slamming. This avoids unnecessary pneumatic shock to regulator components.

When taking your first stage off a tank after a dive, don’t attempt to clean the filter with a blast of air from your tank valve. In typical wet boat-deck conditions, this only blows atomized water into the first stage filter. When the salt water evaporates, the left-over salt forms crystal patterns that can cause valves to seat improperly, leading to problems such as free-flow. A better technique is to gently blow dry the dust cap or dry it with a towel and replace it on the first stage immediately.

Most industry experts recommend soaking the entire regulator in warm fresh water overnight or longer with the “doors” closed (keep the dust cap in place and do not depress the purge button). Periodically check the first stage filter, which should be a dull pewter color. Green, red, or chalky deposits are warnings of various kinds of corrosion and indicate that serious maintenance is needed.

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