PDA

View Full Version : Getting fills outside the LDS



Rileybri
03-09-2009, 08:05
I posted this question in an alternate thread hear on ST but it is a bit buried in another thread topic. As I have heard many different answers to this question and as more and more Local Dive SHops are going away I felt it would be prudent ot bring it up in its own thread. What are other filling options for people in rural areas or placed where there regular filling station does not exist? I have hear the local FD can and will on fill tanks for you. I have also heard there are potentially some concerns with the air you would get from the FD compressor. What are your thoughts and suggestions as it becomes harder and harder for people to find gas.....

acamato
03-09-2009, 10:05
FD's are supposed to get their air checked quarterly. They should have a certificate on the wall by the compressor. They have to meet NFPA 1989 (2008 Edition). Here is more info on the different air specs: http://www.airchecklab.com/assets/docs/08AirSpecs.pdf

ReefHound
03-09-2009, 11:55
One of our fireman divers will tell you better but my understanding is that most FDs have quality grade E air. Air quality will probably not be an issue. The real issue is whether they will even fill for you, unless you work there or have an inside contact. Many departments are not allowed to fill for the public for liability reasons. You'll also need a special fill adapter but that's easy.
Your other options outside an LDS is to get fills onsite at scuba parks that have fill stations. Or go in with a group and buy a small compressor for a few thousand.

MSilvia
03-09-2009, 12:00
Another option is to make friends with tech divers. The odds are good they'll know someone with a fill station in their garage, as it's often impossible to find a nearby LDS that can fill tanks with the gasses necessary for trimix dives with O2 deco and argon drysuit inflation. If folks want to do those dives, they often find it easier to do the fills themselves than to wait for someone to open a dive shop selling something other than oxygen/nitrogen mixes.

DarinMartell
03-09-2009, 12:02
What about gas companies. Places that fill O2, helium, etc... ?

CFDAlden
03-10-2009, 02:18
My department has a scuba certified air compressor. I do 99% of my fills there. Never had a problem, and tanks have passed visual every year. LDS owner actually shook my hand when it was yearly service time, saying my wifes reg, as well as mine, were some of the cleanest yearly service regs he's worked on. :)

acamato
03-10-2009, 06:47
Another option is look for a place that does hydro tests. The DOT has a listing on their website of approved testers.

ReefHound
03-10-2009, 20:19
My department has a scuba certified air compressor. I do 99% of my fills there. Never had a problem, and tanks have passed visual every year. LDS owner actually shook my hand when it was yearly service time, saying my wifes reg, as well as mine, were some of the cleanest yearly service regs he's worked on. :)

Does your dept. do fills for the public?

mike_s
03-10-2009, 21:07
air fills won't be a problem.... (if LDS's go under)...

Nitrox will.


Yeah you could get o2 and do partial pressure filling youself, but them you have to have E+ air and most commercial operations aren't doing that.


I can get air fills at my local Fire equipment retailer.... they sell fire equipment all across the nation and do air and co2 fills. but they don't do Nitrox fills or have o2 compatible air.

CFDAlden
03-11-2009, 01:18
My department has a scuba certified air compressor. I do 99% of my fills there. Never had a problem, and tanks have passed visual every year. LDS owner actually shook my hand when it was yearly service time, saying my wifes reg, as well as mine, were some of the cleanest yearly service regs he's worked on. :)

Does your dept. do fills for the public?

We can't. Liability and all, so we fill for the few members that dive, and fill on site (The compressor is trailer mounted) for the local dive team if needed.

This is the trailer:
Cambridge Fire Department (http://www.cfdvt.org/22a1.html)

CompuDude
03-11-2009, 02:23
In short, unless local dive spots start setting up fill stations, or you and your local diving friends want to drop several grand on compressors, or you are lucky enough to work for a fire department, if LDSs really start to go away, getting fills is going to be a problem.

The "support your LDS" thing gets old sometimes, and is certainly overused at times, but it's not completely without foundation.

mm_dm
03-11-2009, 08:27
In short, unless local dive spots start setting up fill stations, or you and your local diving friends want to drop several grand on compressors, or you are lucky enough to work for a fire department, if LDSs really start to go away, getting fills is going to be a problem.

The "support your LDS" thing gets old sometimes, and is certainly overused at times, but it's not completely without foundation.

+1. As half-a**ed as the few dive shops here in my town are, I still support them for that exact reason. I don't really want to imagine what my diving life would be like without the easy access I currently have for fills.

clararhb
03-11-2009, 09:50
Is getting fills that much of an issue? I haven't been diving long but if it was a quarry dive the quarry has a compressor. If on a boat then the shop we work out of has a compessor. I would think that the dive boat ops would make sure one way or the other that you had a fill. No fill, no dive...no dive, no ned for a boat and they shut down. I don't see that happening.

Get nitrox, trimix or O2 could be a problem.

MSilvia
03-11-2009, 10:08
Is getting fills that much of an issue? I haven't been diving long but if it was a quarry dive the quarry has a compressor. If on a boat then the shop we work out of has a compessor.
And if the dive is neither from a charter boat nor in a quarry?

The OP and I often dive from beaches, or private boats. If you're assuming that all (or even most) dive sites are businesses, or that access to them is controlled by the dive industry, you're mistaken.

MSilvia
03-11-2009, 10:10
Yeah you could get o2 and do partial pressure filling youself, but them you have to have E+ air and most commercial operations aren't doing that.
You don't need air at all, unless you can think of a reason you can't blend oxygen and nitrogen instead of oxygen and air.

in_cavediver
03-11-2009, 11:04
Yeah you could get o2 and do partial pressure filling youself, but them you have to have E+ air and most commercial operations aren't doing that.
You don't need air at all, unless you can think of a reason you can't blend oxygen and nitrogen instead of oxygen and air.

if someone where truly inclined, you can get inert gas boosters fairly cheap that run on 'shop' air. Simply add the o2, transfill as much as you can from clean N2/He and then top using the n2 booster.

Where I am, o2 is about $30 a T bottle, n2 is around $6-$8 a T bottle and I can get for roughtly double the cost, a 6000psi bottle of N2. If I found myself needing more capability, I could do it. Realistically, I simply joined my VFD and have access that way. (and provide a service to my community as well)

CompuDude
03-11-2009, 13:10
Is getting fills that much of an issue? I haven't been diving long but if it was a quarry dive the quarry has a compressor. If on a boat then the shop we work out of has a compessor. I would think that the dive boat ops would make sure one way or the other that you had a fill. No fill, no dive...no dive, no ned for a boat and they shut down. I don't see that happening.

Get nitrox, trimix or O2 could be a problem.

Like Matt, I do a LOT of local shore diving, from nearby beaches. No one keeps compressors at the beach, here. There's also the matter of private and smaller boats that don't have compressors onboard.

If you ONLY dive at quarries with on-site compressors (none of those in Southern California... not a single one) and on boats that have on-board compressors (or are associated with a shop that is still in business?), perhaps your local dive shop's ability to fill tanks (or rent them to you already full, if you don't own your own) isn't important to you. But for a large number of us, it's vital.

cummings66
03-11-2009, 15:59
I know of only one quarry around my parts the has a compressor, almost all of them do not. It's not that common from what I've seen.

Me, push come to shove I'd buy gas from a supplier. You can actually get plain compressed air from a gas supplier that is good enough to breathe, get enough cylinders and build your own bank system. That's my plan...

Rileybri
03-11-2009, 18:39
My department has a scuba certified air compressor. I do 99% of my fills there. Never had a problem, and tanks have passed visual every year. LDS owner actually shook my hand when it was yearly service time, saying my wifes reg, as well as mine, were some of the cleanest yearly service regs he's worked on. :)

I assume that your LDS is the same as mine? If so Jonathan and Joe say that to everyone!!! If Water Front goes under I am calling you!!!:smiley20:

clararhb
03-11-2009, 20:23
Hmm, first day and I ask a simple question and get attacked.

in_cavediver
03-11-2009, 20:42
Hmm, first day and I ask a simple question and get attacked.

I'm sorry if you took it that way. Matt and CD are generally some of the nicest folks to talk to.

I think the easy answer to the question of "Is fills that much of an issue?" is - well maybe. Around my parts, the dive sites all have compressors. There are shops with air/nitrox/trimix/02 in the 45min - 60min drive range. For some, there simply isn't a dive shop close.

It still doesn't solve the fundemental buisness problem many LDS face. They can't compete on gear, they undercharge for air and instruction so they can't compete and survive. I am confident those areas underserved by LDS/fill stations will come up with a solution. This is America, we always come up with something. It could be the rebirth of club diving or an extension from the paintball crowd or a simple creative use of the exisiting industrial gas suppliers.

At any rate - welcome to the board

CompuDude
03-11-2009, 22:30
Hmm, first day and I ask a simple question and get attacked.

Sorry if you felt that way, it genuinely wasn't meant as an attack, merely pointing out the difference of perception between your circumstances, where something appears one way, and others, showing that diving circumstances vary wildly by location, so it's seldom safe to make assumptions based on how things are in your area. I learned a lot about how other parts of the country deal with issues that never even occurred to me could possibly even BE issues, they're so foreign to the types of diving we do in my area.

The reverse is true as well... fresh water divers, for instance, diving in lakes and quarries in landlocked states, seldom fully consider the impact of diving salt water. Very basic things like how much weight you need get changed, and gear that works beautifully in fresh water rusts away to nothing in a month given salt water use. Stuff like that.

So again, sorry if you felt attacked...the emphasis on "you" was more intended to point to differing circumstances than you as an individual person.

MSilvia
03-12-2009, 08:46
Hmm, first day and I ask a simple question and get attacked.
Yikes... I certainly didn't mean for what I said to come across as an attack either. For future reference, if I say something that can be taken as an attack, look at it again to see if there might not be another way to interpret it. If so, that's probably what I meant.

CFDAlden
03-13-2009, 02:06
My department has a scuba certified air compressor. I do 99% of my fills there. Never had a problem, and tanks have passed visual every year. LDS owner actually shook my hand when it was yearly service time, saying my wifes reg, as well as mine, were some of the cleanest yearly service regs he's worked on. :)

I assume that your LDS is the same as mine? If so Jonathan and Joe say that to everyone!!! If Water Front goes under I am calling you!!!:smiley20:

Actually, I go through both Waterfront, and Victory. Depends on what I need. I have great expierences with both shops. :) Cleanings are with Vicotry, as that's where they were purchased.

When I do Nitrox this spring, I'll do my EaN fills at Waterfront, as they fill premix. Victory blends.

Rileybri
03-13-2009, 10:15
My department has a scuba certified air compressor. I do 99% of my fills there. Never had a problem, and tanks have passed visual every year. LDS owner actually shook my hand when it was yearly service time, saying my wifes reg, as well as mine, were some of the cleanest yearly service regs he's worked on. :)

I assume that your LDS is the same as mine? If so Jonathan and Joe say that to everyone!!! If Water Front goes under I am calling you!!!:smiley20:

Actually, I go through both Waterfront, and Victory. Depends on what I need. I have great expierences with both shops. :) Cleanings are with Vicotry, as that's where they were purchased.

When I do Nitrox this spring, I'll do my EaN fills at Waterfront, as they fill premix. Victory blends.

Hijack.

I dont know if you hagve been into Victory lately but they are discontinuing carrying Dive Rite and all of there stock is half off!!!! FYI We are diving together this summer wether you like it or not!!!!!!

cummings66
03-13-2009, 14:21
For what it's worth, I'll echo Matt's statement, I never intend to cause trouble. Reread what I wrote because I try hard to be honest and tactful in what I say.

CFDAlden
03-15-2009, 23:49
Hijack.

I dont know if you hagve been into Victory lately but they are discontinuing carrying Dive Rite and all of there stock is half off!!!! FYI We are diving together this summer wether you like it or not!!!!!!


Most definatly! I'll drop you my cell in a PM.

/end hijack!