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markknight
02-26-2011, 15:13
I have a 1987 Aluminium tank that looks brand new but was told that it could not be filled. What are my options

Fireplug
02-26-2011, 15:41
Possibly donate to your friendly, local scuba instructor who could have it cut in half, after draining, to use as a teaching aid. Show what the inside of a tank and valve assembly looks like, possibly show corrosion. I have used cutaway fire extinguishers, fire pump parts, etc., as props. Really helps students understand how things work......

If you can get a great white to put it in his mouth and shoot it with a high powered rifle, you get a great special effect.

Did my ST order..............Posted smarta** comment on board...........time for my nap.

thecheeseman
02-26-2011, 17:51
If you can get a great white to put it in his mouth and shoot it with a high powered rifle, you get a great special effect.


This is really your only option. Sell the video of this to TMV and make some $$$ :D

scubadiver888
02-26-2011, 20:36
Cylinders from 1988 or older are subject to sustained load cracking (SLC). What happens is the cylinder develops cracks over time and at some point it will peel apart like a banana but very violently.

The longer the cylinder has been stored full the higher the risk of SLC. Many shops will not fill these cylinders because they their believe there is no safe way to use them or they don't fully understand SLC. Because your cylinder is older than 1988, it is most likely made from 6351 alloy. This is the alloy which is subject to SLC. In 1988 Luxfer switched to 6051 alloy, which does not suffer from SLC. They also have 6351-T6, which should be fine as well.

Since your cylinder is most likely made of 6351 alloy, it will fail due to SLC at some point. SLC is not detected by regular hydrostatic testing or visual inspections. PSI, a cylinder inspecting company, developed a procedure called eddy current testing or Visual Plus. When a PSI trained inspector, with the proper equipment, does a visual and eddy current test, they will stamp the cylinder with a -VE after the hydrostatic test date. On a visual inspection they will note eddy current testing on the visual inspection sticker.

If you get a VE inspection and it passes then the cylinder is still safe to fill. However, shops may still ignore this and refuse to fill the cylinder. In my country, I don't know anyone who will do a VE test. So no shop in my area will fill them and we just scrap them. If you can find a shop that will do a Visual Plus inspection on the cylinder they should also be willing to fill it, if it passes.

Generally speaking, if you do things like weekend trips and not all sites will fill the cylinder, it might not be worth getting it Visual Plus inspected every year. Additionally, the extra cost of getting it VE tested might be more than just buying a new cylinder after a few years.

josh7284
06-13-2011, 18:19
recycle it, maybe pick up some cash with the way the metal market is now

nooykt
09-17-2011, 21:53
Is selling it off to paintball enthusiasts an option?

Zeagle Eagle
09-17-2011, 22:11
It would make one heck of a lamp for your man cave.

Charon
09-18-2011, 11:00
Cut off the bottom, hang it, and have a great gong.

Davetowz
09-18-2011, 12:29
Is selling it off to paintball enthusiasts an option?
Not really as they would have the same issues with fills.

Culcuhain
10-21-2011, 22:50
Catalina tanks were never made of the "bad alloy"

Rich Keller
11-04-2011, 14:11
I have a 1987 Aluminium tank that looks brand new but was told that it could not be filled. What are my options

If your LDS will not fill a tank the DOT says is safe to use they are just trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank from them. Check out the link below for a list of DOT inspection stations in your area and go to them instead. Not all of the locations listed deal with scuba tanks but the ones that do are also the ones your LDS sends the tanks to for Hydro. These locations can also VIP and fill your tanks.

PHMSA - Cylinders - Authorized DOT Cylinder Retesters: Domestic (http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/portal/site/PHMSA/menuitem.ebdc7a8a7e39f2e55cf2031050248a0c/?vgnextoid=18dee6285188e110VgnVCM1000001ecb7898RCR D&vgnextchannel=90892f5484d87110VgnVCM1000009ed07898 RCRD&vgnextfmt=print)

clara
11-04-2011, 17:12
I had one, notice past tense. I cut the bottom off and made a bell. Sold the bottom for scrap AL and made a few bucks. I even gutted the valve and put it in my spare parts box.
Other options are: lamp or mail box. I think there are photos of both on Scubaboard...sorry guys.

in_cavediver
11-05-2011, 16:37
If your LDS will not fill a tank the DOT says is safe to use they are just trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank from them. Check out the link below for a list of DOT inspection stations in your area and go to them instead. Not all of the locations listed deal with scuba tanks but the ones that do are also the ones your LDS sends the tanks to for Hydro. These locations can also VIP and fill your tanks.

PHMSA - Cylinders - Authorized DOT Cylinder Retesters: Domestic (http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/portal/site/PHMSA/menuitem.ebdc7a8a7e39f2e55cf2031050248a0c/?vgnextoid=18dee6285188e110VgnVCM1000001ecb7898RCR D&vgnextchannel=90892f5484d87110VgnVCM1000009ed07898 RCRD&vgnextfmt=print)

Whats the point if you can't get a fill?

Seriously - the 6351 alloy is bad juju. You want people to take risk (literally thier lives) in filling this tank for little to no profit just so you don't have to spend $150 on a new tank or $10 to rent one?

The risk-reward equation is not there for me. I do not fault any dive shop owner who agrees and refuses to deal with this alloy. If you say the risk is 1/1000 or 1/100,000 its still there. It will catch up to somebody and more and more people don't want to be that somebody. Unfortuneately for that somebody - the consequence is usually severe.

Oh and for the record - until just recently my VFD has AL SCBA bottles - many of which were 6351. Just this past year - over 10 have failed with neck cracks. These were full, in service riding around on the trucks just days before. Thankfully these were caught before catastrophic failure. A note - these are maintained *exactly* to DOT/NFPA requirements. They are literally ticking time bombs.

Rich Keller
11-06-2011, 07:30
I am not a big fan of aluminum tanks to begin with but as long as the tank passes the yearly eddy current test and a hydro there is no problem with that tank. I have three of these tanks myself that came off a triple 30 cu/ft tank manifold that I used as a confined space bail out system when doing narrow pipe penetrations. I still use them and as long as they keep passing the tests I am more then comfortable continuing to do so.

scubadiver888
11-06-2011, 12:10
If your LDS will not fill a tank the DOT says is safe to use they are just trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank from them. Check out the link below for a list of DOT inspection stations in your area and go to them instead. Not all of the locations listed deal with scuba tanks but the ones that do are also the ones your LDS sends the tanks to for Hydro. These locations can also VIP and fill your tanks.

PHMSA - Cylinders - Authorized DOT Cylinder Retesters: Domestic (http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/portal/site/PHMSA/menuitem.ebdc7a8a7e39f2e55cf2031050248a0c/?vgnextoid=18dee6285188e110VgnVCM1000001ecb7898RCR D&vgnextchannel=90892f5484d87110VgnVCM1000009ed07898 RCRD&vgnextfmt=print)

Rich,


It is unfair to say a LDS is trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank. I know someone who owns a dive shop and had dozens of old aluminum tanks. She scrapped them all. Was she trying to strong herself into buying new tanks? She had seen what happens when a tank explodes. She didn't feel safe around them. Was it rational? Not really but it is her dive shop. She is the person filling the tank. She knows hpeople make mistakes. What if someone checked the tank but didn't eddy current test it? To her it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

clara
11-06-2011, 18:06
I sat in on a VIP class a few years ago and the instructor had a couple pics of tanks that had exploded in the cab of a fire truck. Luckily nobody was close when they went off. Yes, they were 6351.

Whats the point if you can't get a fill?

Seriously - the 6351 alloy is bad juju. You want people to take risk (literally thier lives) in filling this tank for little to no profit just so you don't have to spend $150 on a new tank or $10 to rent one?

The risk-reward equation is not there for me. I do not fault any dive shop owner who agrees and refuses to deal with this alloy. If you say the risk is 1/1000 or 1/100,000 its still there. It will catch up to somebody and more and more people don't want to be that somebody. Unfortuneately for that somebody - the consequence is usually severe.

Oh and for the record - until just recently my VFD has AL SCBA bottles - many of which were 6351. Just this past year - over 10 have failed with neck cracks. These were full, in service riding around on the trucks just days before. Thankfully these were caught before catastrophic failure. A note - these are maintained *exactly* to DOT/NFPA requirements. They are literally ticking time bombs.

PlatypusMan
11-06-2011, 18:47
I sat in on a VIP class a few years ago and the instructor had a couple pics of tanks that had exploded in the cab of a fire truck. Luckily nobody was close when they went off. Yes, they were 6351.

He still shows those pictures as of my class this past week at DEMA.

Rich Keller
11-07-2011, 08:51
The dive shops are the ones doing the yearly eddy tests so if they have a problem with it being done wrong they just need to look in the mirror for the cause. Your LDS can not over rule the DOT on what is safe. That being said the DOT is not going to get involved either. What I would worry about is LDSs going too far in making up their own rules and causing DOT or some other government agency to want to regulate scuba diving. This in my opinion would be a very bad thing for all of us. The SCBA tanks are very different from scuba tanks. The metal is much thinner than a scuba tank and gets its strength from the carbon fiber wrapped around it. This makes it lighter and able contain the same pressure but the carbon fiber can do nothing to support an internal defect in the metal and as the metal is so much thinner it would be more prone to fail.

ScubaToys Larry
11-07-2011, 10:35
Rich, there are aluminum scba tanks... not all are wrapped tanks. We have filled a lot of plain aluminum scba's at our shop for the fire department. Now the newer more expensive ones are wrapped, but two different things.

And the LDS can easily over rule what the DOT says is safe. Any shop can refuse to fill any cylinder, or all cylinders if they so choose. We won't fill them at our shop.

What you need to think of, is just because a tank has a sticker on it, does not mean it is safe. Who put the sticker on?? Did they do a good test?? Or did they just slap on a sticker and charge someone? I've seen divers tell other divers they would sell them VIP+ stickers...

If your worry is the DOT wanting to run in and regulate, I would take the stance that not having any more 6351 tanks blow up, by not filling any might be a good way to make sure they don't start regulations.

It's one of those situations where everyone has to make their decision, but we scrapped dozens of tanks when we found there was a problem, and set the policy to not fill them. It's just not worth risking my shop, or my employees because someone wants to use a tank that is 30 years old. It was 100 bucks back then... 3 bucks a year amortized over it's life... less than the price of one fill.... In my mind, it's just not worth the risk - so we don't fill them.

CWSWine
11-07-2011, 10:37
One of our local instructors tells this story and has a the tank for show and tell.

Had a customer come in with several 1980 series tanks that need hydro, viz and filled the tank that had the problem still had about 5 months on its hydro but decided to get done anyway. The customer stated that they were full but the had been several years since they were used. So the instructed drain the tanks and just took a quick look inside of each tank to make sure they not all corroded and worth sending out to hydro and found nothing wrong with either tank. Few days later he got a call that one of tanks had split down the side during hydro and it failed going though 2700 psi and the tanks did pass eddy just prior to failing. This place will not fill old tanks, matter a fact you bring them into the shop he will make you remove them from the shop and put the outside. Later the instructor found out that the owner of the tanks had owned the tanks many years and they were stored in a garden shed. I don't think any of the shop locally will fill the older tanks, just not worth the risk no mater how small for 5 dollar fill charge.

PlatypusMan
11-07-2011, 10:56
Your LDS can not over rule the DOT on what is safe...
That being said the DOT is not going to get involved either...


Quoting from a recent article by Bill High of PSI:

The US DOT has, in its proposed HM220F (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/pdf/e6-14255.pdf) rules that all 6351 alloy cylinders be examined at least annually with an eddy current instrument. If enacted as proposed then those millions of cylinders, including scuba, found to be free of SLC will remain in service. That same rule will require that those filling cylinders be given some form of protection. Commonly used plastic garbage cans, sheet metal tubs, etc. will not qualify as cylinder filling containers.
----------------------
While any business can enact a policy, DOT rules and regs have the force of law behind them; I can also easily see this as an OSHA concern as well.

Rich Keller
11-07-2011, 13:29
Quoting from a recent article by Bill High of PSI:

The US DOT has, in its proposed HM220F (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/pdf/e6-14255.pdf) rules that all 6351 alloy cylinders be examined at least annually with an eddy current instrument. If enacted as proposed then those millions of cylinders, including scuba, found to be free of SLC will remain in service. That same rule will require that those filling cylinders be given some form of protection. Commonly used plastic garbage cans, sheet metal tubs, etc. will not qualify as cylinder filling containers.
----------------------
While any business can enact a policy, DOT rules and regs have the force of law behind them; I can also easily see this as an OSHA concern as well.

6351 alloy scuba tanks were already getting annual tests so if enacted this will make it impossable for shops to refuse to fill them. It will also end up costing them to upgrade their fill stations. Now you have the government taking its first step into regulating scuba diving. It should have never come to this!

ScubaToys Larry
11-07-2011, 13:49
Rich, that will not make it impossible for me to refuse... I can say no to anyone for any reason. It will just mandate that if I do want to fill them, I will need to upgrade my fill station to offer a blast cage to protect my employees. I choose instead to simply not allow them in my shop. Easy.

So yes, if the industry will not regulate its self by taking out dangerous tanks, then osha or dot may walk in and say if you insist on filling 30 year old tanks that are known to have problems.. you must put these measures in place. But no one can force a business to fill any tank.

PlatypusMan
11-07-2011, 15:37
6351 alloy scuba tanks were already getting annual tests so if enacted this will make it impossable for shops to refuse to fill them. It will also end up costing them to upgrade their fill stations. Now you have the government taking its first step into regulating scuba diving. It should have never come to this!

Not true, as the upgrade is not a requirement; it gives teeth to a fill station operator refusing to fill said tank by pointing out that there is no protection for the operator in place should that specific alloy tank let go. The DOT has given them a perfectly acceptable 'out' with the protection requirement as written, without bringing shop policies into play at all.

Rich Keller
11-07-2011, 16:42
I get what you are both saying and for now you have an out but the bigger problem as far as I am concerned is not the issue of filling 6351 alloy tanks, it is that the DOT is now involved. Today they are saying you need to upgrade your fill station in order to fill this type of tank. Tomorrow they may tell you that all fill stations must meet that standard if that is not already part of this bill. This has opened a door that can never be shut and as I said earlier this is one of the worst things I can think of that could happen to the sport.

ScubaToys Larry
11-07-2011, 16:47
I know what you are saying... It's too bad that the scuba industry didn't impose a self ban on these tanks when the problems first arose, but too many people cared more about their 100 dollar 30 year old tank, instead of someones leg, arm, or life.

But guess what... DOT has always been involved. They set the rules for tank testing... that is why it's stamped DOT on the tank. They tell us to get hydro's etc.

They are not going after scuba here. The are going after things that are dangerous to protect people, and it is no different for scba, scuba or paintball, or anyone else who wants to fill these tanks.

Rich Keller
11-07-2011, 17:09
Until now the DOT standards applied only to the places doing the hydros and as far as I know no dive shop in the country does hydros. The VIP and eddy tests were done by us, not required by them. I still think this is not a good thing for the sport.

ScubaToys Larry
11-07-2011, 17:23
I guess that speaks to how dangerous these tanks are. And if new regs means 1 less person loses an arm or a life... then I think it is good for the industry.

AfterDark
11-08-2011, 00:02
Rich, that will not make it impossible for me to refuse... I can say no to anyone for any reason. It will just mandate that if I do want to fill them, I will need to upgrade my fill station to offer a blast cage to protect my employees. I choose instead to simply not allow them in my shop. Easy.

So yes, if the industry will not regulate its self by taking out dangerous tanks, then osha or dot may walk in and say if you insist on filling 30 year old tanks that are known to have problems.. you must put these measures in place. But no one can force a business to fill any tank.

Excuse me but isn't that a part about filling 30 years old tanks with problems a little convoluted in light of the fact that DOT is implying they are "safe" to fill after testing? If there are dangers then why isn't DOT doing it's job and protecting us by refusing to give "their stamp of approval" to them. I've got one that I retired on my own, I don't need to carry around a time bomb. As far as I'm concerned a dive shop is no different from any other business in that they can refuse service to anyone.

Having some kind of protection when filling tanks isn't a bad idea but shouldn't be required by Federal law. Someday OSHA will get involved and some kind of protection will be mandated for worker safety.

navyhmc
11-08-2011, 00:23
Excuse me but isn't that a part about filling 30 years old tanks with problems a little convoluted in light of the fact that DOT is implying they are "safe" to fill after testing? If there are dangers then why isn't DOT doing it's job and protecting us by refusing to give "their stamp of approval" to them. I've got one that I retired on my own, I don't need to carry around a time bomb. As far as I'm concerned a dive shop is no different from any other business in that they can refuse service to anyone.

Having some kind of protection when filling tanks isn't a bad idea but shouldn't be required by Federal law. Someday OSHA will get involved and some kind of protection will be mandated for worker safety.

When I started diving, the industry was very good at regulating itself to keep out governmental red tape...I mean regulation. I still think this is a good process to take. The less medelling in the Diving industry the better IMO. So the more the industry keeps itself safe the better. Remember, there are more than dive tanks out there if 6351 alloy: SCBA's, fire extinguisher to name two. DOT is controlled by the goverment, which menas that it is highly influenced by politics and to a lesser degree lobbyists. There are over 10 million 6351 tanks out there which means if you mandate that all of those be condemned, there is a huge amount oc compensation that has to be done which means a huge loss of revenue and jobs. IS the DOT standard safe? Probably...I'm not a metalurgist so I can't say with any confidence.

The 6351 controversy has been brought up here a number of times, so I will only add this thought: the odds of your tank suffering a SLC failure are low: 1 to 2 to maybe 5 tanks out of 10 million is a statistically small risk when you consider that there have been only 16 documented SLC failures that resulted in injury or death. But to a LDS, it's a bit different: There are maybe 2,000 fill stations in the US for those 10 million tanks so the risk to an LDS is 16 in 2,000 which is statistically significant. The lsat time I had my last 6351 filled, I found myself uncomfortable standing near where it was being filled. That sealed it's fate. It's now headed for lamp land.

in_cavediver
11-08-2011, 06:23
The other aspect at looking at stats is you only hear about the tanks that fail catastrophically. As I said earlier in this thread, we have had 10+ 2216psi AL SCBA bottles fail this year. All with neck cracks. Now - did our process (DOT/NFPA) catch them in time. For the sake of the government agency - yes. We are allowed time to convert on our schedule to new bottles rather than on the DOT schedule. There are a LOT of tanks removed due to failures during inspection and hydro.

There were a LOT of options put forth several years ago when the DOT added eddy current testing to the required level for these tanks. The industry (mostly fire extinguishers) said it would be to much of a burden to condemn these tanks. A lot of these tanks operate at lower pressures - 1800psi - than the typical scuba tank. Also around this time, Luxfer offered a 'buy back' program to get these tanks off the market. Also realize, many of the other users do have blast cabinets they use for filling these tanks. We have a couple at my VFD.

So - the question of are they safe if properly tested/maintained. My answer is 'probably'. For a business - IE dive shop, that probably may not be good enough for the safety of thier employees and the best interest of the shop in general (damages due to a failure). Its risk reward.

Rich Keller
11-08-2011, 07:57
I know what you are saying... It's too bad that the scuba industry didn't impose a self ban on these tanks when the problems first arose, but too many people cared more about their 100 dollar 30 year old tank, instead of someones leg, arm, or life.

But guess what... DOT has always been involved. They set the rules for tank testing... that is why it's stamped DOT on the tank. They tell us to get hydro's etc.

They are not going after scuba here. The are going after things that are dangerous to protect people, and it is no different for scba, scuba or paintball, or anyone else who wants to fill these tanks.

Just banning the tanks and sticking the consumer with the full cost of this mistake is what started this problem in the first place. There must be a lot of people complaining about this to get the DOT involved. The industry should have handled this instead of washing thier hands of the problem. You keep saying this is not a lot of money so why didn't Luxfer offer people a credit for turning in a 6351 tank when buying a new Luxfer tank and the shops could have switched over the valves and done an overhaul at no charge. Trying to ban the tanks now that the DOT is involved may cause the DOT recall all of these tanks and stick Luxfer and the shops with the total cost of this mistake.

ScubaToys Larry
11-08-2011, 08:25
so why didn't Luxfer offer people a credit for turning in a 6351 tank when buying a new Luxfer tank

They did... it was a program that lasted for 3 years.... trade in a 6351 aluminum and get a $50 credit toward a new tank. It was in every scuba mag, front page of our web page, etc.... Some people still did not want to do it.

I'm trying to think of any other item, that cost less than 100 bucks or so, that I still have from 30 years ago, that could possibly kill me that I still hold on to....

Heck, how many computers have you thrown away that are less than 4 years old because they are obsolete, and you paid a thousand bucks for them... and they don't blow up and kill people... they just run slow.

Perspective.

clara
11-08-2011, 14:51
So - the question of are they safe if properly tested/maintained. My answer is 'probably'. For a business - IE dive shop, that probably may not be good enough for the safety of thier employees and the best interest of the shop in general (damages due to a failure). Its risk reward.
Probably isn't good enough for me when it comes to something like this. I'm in a group that has bought a compressor and we DO NOT fill 6351 tanks no matter what. One of the guys in the "co-op" has one and we still hear about it.

Rich Keller
11-08-2011, 16:34
We could go on about this forever but it seems like a mute point now because going foward it looks like DOT will be making the rules not the scuba industry. Getting the government involved in what was a self regulated industry is the biggest mistake that could have been made.

in_cavediver
11-08-2011, 17:53
We could go on about this forever but it seems like a mute point now because going foward it looks like DOT will be making the rules not the scuba industry. Getting the government involved in what was a self regulated industry is the biggest mistake that could have been made.

DOT has always been involved. DOT writes the procedures for handling the tanks, the required inspections etc. This is also very tightly coupled to the compressed gas association (CGA). The CGA represents most the makers and handlers of these tanks/gases and works with the DOT to provide the regulations for construction and safe handling and inspection of these tanks. In General, the DOT cares very little about the SCUBA market - its only when the problems and injuries crop up and OSHA gets involved that the DOT *may* come into play.

The SCUBA industry uses the DOT rules (which are law) and the CGA guidelines (many are law as well) as a starting point to govern how to handle high pressure tanks. The SCUBA industry does not have the option not too frankly. For a specific example - the scuba industy decided that scuba usage is a 'very severe use' of the tanks and therefore should have at minimun annual visual inspections. DOT/CGA regs that are adopted as law call for 5 years for most scuba tanks min. The industy has created a standard thats better (above that) than required by law as its industry standard.

Realize - the biggest single user of 6351 AL HP tanks is the fire extinguisher industry. SCBA's were right behind that but those have been mostly converted to composites these days. SCUBA is the minority in this - by a LOT. The discussions on how to handle the 6351 tanks were quite technical and several options put forth. The 'buy back' from luxfer coupled to a move by the Fire/SCBA industy to retire these tanks and the fire extinguisher side to replace them led to the choice of a eddy current test rather than condemation. The meetings and proceeding of the discussion are all available online. Read them yourself if you like. Specificly look at the stuff from Luxfer.

The refusal to deal with 6351 tanks is coming from the dive industry itself - not the DOT. Just as Luxfer had predicted actually. If you really want to use the 6351 tanks, you have options. Find a shop willing to fill them or buy a compressor and do it yourself. The DOT has a regimen to keep your tanks 'in service' if you want to. Just don't be too suprised when a lot of the industry shuns your tanks and does not allow them in thier facilities or on thier boats. Thier place, thier rules and its thier right to refuse to allow items on thier premises they deem hazardous to thier employees/customers.

in_cavediver
11-08-2011, 17:59
Probably isn't good enough for me when it comes to something like this. I'm in a group that has bought a compressor and we DO NOT fill 6351 tanks no matter what. One of the guys in the "co-op" has one and we still hear about it.

I agree with you and we are not alone in this.

Rich Keller
11-08-2011, 18:52
The refusal to deal with 6351 tanks is coming from the dive industry itself - not the DOT. Just as Luxfer had predicted actually. If you really want to use the 6351 tanks, you have options. Find a shop willing to fill them or buy a compressor and do it yourself. The DOT has a regimen to keep your tanks 'in service' if you want to. Just don't be too suprised when a lot of the industry shuns your tanks and does not allow them in thier facilities or on thier boats. Thier place, thier rules and its thier right to refuse to allow items on thier premises they deem hazardous to thier employees/customers.

The DOT has always set the rules for hydros, VIPs and if I am not mistaken eddy current testing was something the industry did on its own. Their rules were for the people doing the hydros and never directly effected the scuba industry. Now they are getting directly involved and seem to be coming down on the side of the people who own 6351 alloy tanks because the dive industry refused to fill tanks the DOT said were safe. Setting standards that say if the tanks pass eddy and hydro tests they must be filled and taking it further by mandating how a dive shop now must set up their fill stations. Do you really think it is going to stop there? I see this going the way of the state laws mandating that divers must use a dive flag. I have heard of lots of divers being ticketed for not having a flag but have never seen or heard of a boater ever being ticketed for coming too close to a dive flag. That is because the people who make and enforce those laws are not divers. Telling me what my options are is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if the DOT is going to be setting the rules on this going forward, they will be telling the industry what their options are as far as filling these tanks. If Luxfer was so sure this would happen they should have done more to prevent this from happening instead of forcing the government to step it and settle the issue.

in_cavediver
11-08-2011, 20:14
The DOT has always set the rules for hydros, VIPs and if I am not mistaken eddy current testing was something the industry did on its own. Their rules were for the people doing the hydros and never directly effected the scuba industry. Now they are getting directly involved and seem to be coming down on the side of the people who own 6351 alloy tanks because the dive industry refused to fill tanks the DOT said were safe. Setting standards that say if the tanks pass eddy and hydro tests they must be filled and taking it further by mandating how a dive shop now must set up their fill stations. Do you really think it is going to stop there? I see this going the way of the state laws mandating that divers must use a dive flag. I have heard of lots of divers being ticketed for not having a flag but have never seen or heard of a boater ever being ticketed for coming too close to a dive flag. That is because the people who make and enforce those laws are not divers. Telling me what my options are is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if the DOT is going to be setting the rules on this going forward, they will be telling the industry what their options are as far as filling these tanks. If Luxfer was so sure this would happen they should have done more to prevent this from happening instead of forcing the government to step it and settle the issue.

Rich,

Let me start with a few things off the bat.

First - the DOT *does* already mandate how the fill stations are set up. There are baseline guidelines written by the CGA for handling different types of gases at different pressures. SCUBA is just specific gases in a specific pressure range. The DOT adopts portions of the CGA guidelines to be law. Other portions are specifically referenced in regulations. These range from labeling to handling to transport requirements. The end goal is to have a workable and safe environment for people to work with high pressure gases and high pressure tanks.

Second - the DOT added eddy current testing as a requirement for hydrostatic requalifiers as part of the requalification procedure for 6351 tanks. If you do a hydro on this tank, as a licences requalifier, you *must* do the eddy current test and stamp according to DOT protocol. The dive industry started this earlier as part of the industry standard but that was voluntary. It was the CGA/DOT who met following the discovery of SLC to determine what if any action should be taken by the DOT for the use of these tanks.

Now - the DOT rules do not directly affect the scuba industry unless said dive shop is a licenced requalification facility with the DOT. (hydro shop). All tanks still have to meet DOT standards of course but industry standards can do more. Quite frankly, those dive industry requirements are not required at all by DOT standards so there is no force of law behind them. (industry standard yes buy not DOT standard no).

As for other aspects - yes, changes and evolutions in the DOT regs and CGA publications do and should impact how the dive industry operates with its industry standards. If there are new technologies or hazards that can be mitigated, how is that a bad thing to change to make use of new information. Also realize in many instances OSHA requires this for a safe workplace. This is nothing new. It has been the case since the beginning really. I would expect the standard for a fill station to evolve in ways to ensure the fill operator is given as much protection as possible. How exactly is that bad or do you not favor aggressive workplace safety initives?

As for the drama and end of the world scenario - I don't see it. The DOT made these rule changes several years ago. That was it - several years ago. As tanks cycle through the new hydro cycle, they become subject to the new rules. I have not heard ANY new rules from the DOT or CGA regarding these tanks since the last revision. I did not see any request for proposals or request for comments on rule changes either (looked about 6 months ago regarding NIOSH testing and SCBA cylinder qualification process). As has been stated, if you want to use 6351 alloy tanks - you can. The DOT only requires specific periodic retesting to do so. (its different that 6061 but so what - there are lots of different protocols for different tank materials). Notice I said you can use them. It does not mean you can force someone else to use or support them.

You seem to be fixated that its the DOT telling shops not to fill or use these tanks. ITS NOT. I'll say that again. THE DOT IS NOT TELLING ANYONE NOT TO USE THESE TANKS. There are many in the CGA whose recommendation is to end of life these tanks for known issues but its not unanimous nor is written in regulation or protocol. A general consensus is that these tanks *are* at the end of the expected service life so retirement is not an unreasonable expectation. Again, just to reiterate - the government is not stepping in and its not settling any issue here. As of today, the DOT has a process to keep these in service if the owner want to.

As for the comment about who makes the rules - yep, by in large they are not divers. They are the manufacturers and engineers associated with the companies who make and test these cylinders for all uses (CGA). I would trust them over a 'diver' any day of the week. After all - how exactly does being a diver qualify you to make recommendations on safety based on mettalurgical information of the construction of the tanks? I don't recall that chapter in my OW course. As for the contstruction of a fill station for a dive shop to ensure employee/customer safety - I don't recall that chapter in OW course either. Perhaps something on fatigue life, stresses or sustained loads on crystalline structures - nope, not that one either. Engineers, working together, vette the process for qualification and testing of these items to determine safety.

6351 tanks were last made in 1988. That is 23 years ago. SLC was discovered well AFTER these ended production. Luxfer spend millions getting lots of these tanks off the market. You missed the window. Sorry but you did. Lots of people don't like the risk associated with these tanks. Some of those people own businesses who fill tanks. Its thier option to service/fill these tanks. You cannot force them to assume this risk.

navyhmc
11-08-2011, 20:14
The eddy current is mandated by DOT standards.

As I recall from a class I took in '74, DOT does not govern SCUBA tanks, they govern the transportation of compressed gas cylinders that include SCUBA tanks. DOT does not nor can they govern whether or not a LDS will or won't fill a tank 6351 or otherwise. In the case of a cylinder catastrophically failing while being filled falls under OSHA and (jurisdiction depending) Fire/Public safety, not DOT. If a clyinder fails while being transported, then it falls under NHTSB to investigate. YMMV, but can anyone direct me to a reliable information source that says that DOT or other governmental entity has the intent to mandate that an LDS fill a 6451 tank whether they want to or not?

I can recall a guy who was not certified bought a full set of gear, saying he was goign to take a class soon and wanted to have his gear already. The next time he came in, he wanted a full fill so he could use his tank in his class (that he hadn't signed up for with us or any other LDS in town) he was pissed that I would not fil his tank. The guy even called the cops to the LDS so they could "Make" me fill the tank. The officers laughed at the guy and said there was nothing they could do, no laws were broken.

ScubaToys Larry
11-08-2011, 23:09
Setting standards that say if the tanks pass eddy and hydro tests they must be filled...

Perhaps it's just a huge misunderstanding here... the rules, laws and regs say nothing of the sort anywhere.

AfterDark
11-08-2011, 23:44
http://forum.scubatoys.com/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by Rich Keller http://forum.scubatoys.com/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://forum.scubatoys.com/junior-divers-88/what-do-1987-aluminium-tank-35736-post463256/#post463256)
Setting standards that say if the tanks pass eddy and hydro tests they must be filled...



Perhaps it's just a huge misunderstanding here... the rules, laws and regs say nothing of the sort anywhere.

+1 there DOT can't mandated that a tank be filled, only that it must be test and how the testing is conducted if transported over roads. Some would argue that testing is only for cyls used for commerical purposes that are transported over roads.. Indeed if a person has a compressor there is nothing to compell that person to get their tanks tested. There may or may not be action taken after an incident, but nothing before the fact. If someone lives on the wate,r has their own compressor and never transports tanks off their property what compells the tanks to be tested? Aside from a self preservation?

navyhmc
11-09-2011, 01:30
[QUOTE=AfterDark;463268If someone lives on the wate,r has their own compressor and never transports tanks off their property what compells the tanks to be tested? Aside from a self preservation? [/QUOTE]

Depends on what you mean by on the water. If he is residing in US waters, he still needs to abide by DOT rules. DOT governs ground, air and water transportation systems. So even if the guy lives on a houseboat in the FL keys, he still needs to follow DOT rules. If he stays out of the US waters, there's nothing that can be done...unless his boat is US registered...then the Coasties can still follow DOT rules

AfterDark
11-09-2011, 01:49
Depends on what you mean by on the water. If he is residing in US waters, he still needs to abide by DOT rules. DOT governs ground, air and water transportation systems. So even if the guy lives on a houseboat in the FL keys, he still needs to follow DOT rules. If he stays out of the US waters, there's nothing that can be done...unless his boat is US registered...then the Coasties can still follow DOT rules


No he doesn't, DOT rules don't apply there. There is no enforcment mechinism. He, fills them himself and carrrys them to his boat then goes diving. What can DOT do? Nothing. Transportation over public roads. No transportation over public roads no testing required. That's why it's DOT regulatons, transportation.

navyhmc
11-09-2011, 06:26
Actually, I have to respectfully disagree with you. DOT has jurisdiction over:
Public roads: Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and Federal Motor Carrier Administration FMCA),
Aviation: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),
Railroads: Federal Railroad Admin (FRA),
Maritime: Maritime Administration (MARAD) and USCG,
Security: Your friend and mine: the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

So, yes, in US waters/US Flagged, he still has to follow the DOT rules on transportation of compressed gas cylinders. Since he's on a boat, it implies transport so he is bound by DOT rules. Will they come after him? Probably not...unless he has a catastrophic failure, at which time the USCG will be the investigation agency and if it's found that he did not have proper testing and certification of his cylinders (current hydro and annual eddy current-if a 6351 tank, but not a VIP) he could be fined.

If you have a tank at your lake home on Beaver Lake (why you haven't invited all of us to come visit is beyond me...), never take it off the property, have your own compressor, you can fill it to your heart's content with no regards to testing and be okay. Having a tank at a residence does not in and of itself, imply transportation so it's okay...Until you decide to go dive Norfolk Lake then you COULD be in trouble if you get inspected not to mention no fills for you at Norfolk. Of course, in 35 years of diving and transporting scuba tanks for personal use, I have never been inspected, but that's a different story.

As far as personal transportation of scuba tanks, the guideline seems to be no harm, no foul, until there's a mishap requiring investigation and then any prosecution is at the whim of the USAG. There is an enforcement mechanism, it's just not very active at the personal level as it would be too manpower intensive to oversee.

The DOT does however take the tesing seriously: DOT - False Testing on Compressed Gas Cylinders Spurs Prison Term | Office of Inspector General (http://www.oig.dot.gov/library-item/5035)


A U.S. District Court judge handed William B. Courtney, owner of a now-defunct Memphis, TN, fire-protection company, a term of 6 months in jail followed by 2 months' home confinement on a charge of mail fraud. Courtney--also sentenced to pay a $10,000 civil fine to the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) and to pay $1,380 in restitution to victims--had falsely certified that compressed-gas cylinders handled by his firm had been tested and found free of potentially hazardous cracks or other flaws. He pleaded guilty to the charge. Courtney's incarceration will be followed by 2 years' supervised release. The case was jointly investigated by OIG, RSPA (a DOT administration regulating transportation of hazardous materials) and the FBI.

If you want to see a few other cases DOT investigated: DOT - Home | Office of Inspector General (http://www.oig.dot.gov/search/apachesolr_search/criminal%20investigation%20compressed%20gas%20cyli nder) From what I can see, all the cases were against companies, but personal transportation of HAZ MAT (including filled Scuba tanks) is also covered by DOT.

navyhmc
11-09-2011, 06:47
Just so all can read the information on the 6351-T6 alloy:

http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/Files/3al_advisory.pdf

How many aluminum cylinders have exhibited SLC? - Luxfer: Setting The Standard Worldwide (http://www.luxfercylinders.com/es/frequently-asked-questions/sustained-load-cracking/87-how-many-aluminum-cylinders-have-exhibited-slc)

http://www.americanairworks.com/SVR-PDFs/TB108.pdf

SAFETY NOTICES (http://www.scubaengineer.com/stop_pressx.htm)

AfterDark
11-09-2011, 06:48
Well then there's no disagreement. DOT is primarly for the commercial end of things, private citizens using scuba tanks are low on their list priorities, which was my point, if there's nobody filling the tank but the owner DOT's options are very limited enforcement wise. I've been diving and transporting tanks for going on 40 years never been checked aside from the LDS.

navyhmc
11-09-2011, 06:58
True, I am aware, however of a diver on his personal boat out of Key West who had a Coast Guard inspection on high seas and was ticketed/fined for 3 out of hydro tanks. My tanks were good to go though. This was 1985 so it has been a while, not to mention that the Coastie j.g. was a total...well, let's just say he was compensating...

AfterDark
11-12-2011, 05:17
True, I am aware, however of a diver on his personal boat out of Key West who had a Coast Guard inspection on high seas and was ticketed/fined for 3 out of hydro tanks. My tanks were good to go though. This was 1985 so it has been a while, not to mention that the Coastie j.g. was a total...well, let's just say he was compensating...

Regadless what the Coasties may claim when they board a boat they want to and will find something. The trouble with these "abuses" is the cost in disputing them. Paying the fine is cheaper than the legal fees to fight it, so it goes unchallenged.
In the opinion of some legal types DOT regs were never intended to apply to people not engaged in commerical activites, but it'll cost to try to prove.

NickPhillips
07-21-2012, 18:37
You can go to IKEA and buy large fake flowers and whatnot and use it as a large vase.. That's what my wife did and I like them.

seriousdiver
07-22-2012, 08:25
You can go to IKEA and buy large fake flowers and whatnot and use it as a large vase.. That's what my wife did and I like them.

Or you could skip the flowers and buy their swedish meatballs. You could hae a giant aluminum container of swedish meatballs....

But really, I don't blame any LDS for not wanting to deal with 30 year old+ equipment. Gotta love how thrifty people will be when it comes to products. It's no different than people using computers 10 years old and then complaining it can't run any new programs, buying shoes every 3 years and complaining they're not built to last, etc.

At the end of the day Government regulations most often come about because self-regulation by industries RARELY is as effective.

NickPhillips
07-23-2012, 21:52
Oh man those IKEA meatballs! I had them for dinner last night. They are amazing!

tbuckalew
07-25-2012, 12:57
Yep, one of my beloved Super 80's is on the edge. On the good list, passed hydro and viz this year, but because of its 08/88 manufacture date, some places, like CSSP, will not fill them. I cannot blame them - I would take the same stance myself. It is a bit of a personal injury - caring for this great gear that has been with me in the alpine lakes of Southern Germany and Austria to the near-zero vis of Lake Whitney, TX and the weekends in Clear Springs in Terrel, TX.

My favorite reg (Dacor, pre-Mares, also late 1980's) blew the seal a few months ago - of course, no more parts - so I had to upgrade :) .I have one more Super 80 (1990 manufacture) and love the shorter size for my shorter torso, when compared to normal 80's. This might be the time I look at switching to an LP Steel tank. Looks like the XS SCUBA LP 95 is about the same physical size!

Anyone know if they fill those at CSSP?

bottomdweller
09-21-2012, 10:15
11674

CWSWine
09-21-2012, 10:34
That's cool.....

Zeagle Eagle
09-21-2012, 14:53
11674
Now that's a grill. Did you plumb in propane from the valve?