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Thread: Deep cleaning your regs.

  1. #1
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    Deep cleaning your regs.

    I know this is a double post; but, I didn't know how to move it from the Dive Alert Plus thread.

    If you are as fanatical (my wife says anal, no wait a minute she says butt head), as I am about cleaning and maintaining your equipment. Here is a good video about cleaning your regs. I do it after every dive trip; but, I suppose once a year would be just fine also. The only thing different I do for my regs that the video doesn't do is I use distilled water. I told you I was a fanatic.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg8oOYL6E1s
    --Zeagle Eagle

  2. #2
    Using distilled water isn't being paranoid. I have worked with medical equipment and are all emphatic about using distilled water. Some tap water will do less damage and a good ultrasonic cleaning can prevent any damage some tap water minerals can cause longterm. However some water is fine to drink but not at all okay to clean breathing equipment with, including regulators.

    I would say however I have a few problems with the video. Mostly it does not explicitly point out some of the things they are doing. First, he pours something into the water before starting. Your average wash tank has more salt and bacteria in it that is good for your regulators. He is starting with clean water and adding in chemicals to ensure there is no bacteria growth.

    Second, he is using the DUST cap. On some regulators the cap is watertight and it is acceptable to put it in place before submerging the regulators. Some will argue you can put the dust cap on and try to break from the second stage. If you get no air it must be watertight. You can leave the dust cap off my regulators and if you try to breath from the second stage you'll get nothing. This does not mean ALL of the first stage is water tight. Additionally, over time the cap wears out and are no longer watertight. Some aren't watertight from day one. If your regulator has a ball it will be more likely to be and remain watertight:
    2920_xxl.jpg

    Third, it only flashes the length of time to soak the regulators is 5 minutes. You should not let this soak overnight. Soaking overnight increases the risk water will leak into the first stage and leave deposits or generate bacteria.

    Fourth, the video shows an icon indicating not to put it in direct sunlight but they actually show drying them in direct sunlight. Do as we say, not as we do.

    Fifth, they recommend checking under the hose guards and cleaning thoroughly. I'd argue that you shouldn't even use the guards. There is no reason to cover the hose connections to the first stage. These guards just make things look 'pretty' but they are not at all functional.

    Sixth, the bottle of liquid is vinegar. It shows French and hopefully everyone noticed it was vinegar but in case you missed it, you want to clean with 5% vinegar.

    I would not recommend taking the hoses off the first stage more than once a year. In some cases I haven't done this more than once every two years. I would rinse the regulators after each dive trip. My general attitude is to give them a quick rinse after each day on a trip because I know they will be wet again the next day. Before I go home (or when I get home) I'll give them a more thorough rinse but I don't remove the hoses. Essentially, the salt or debris that might collect after a dive can cause some serious damage once the regulators dry off. So before they become completely dry you want to wash off the salt and/or debris.

    I like to hook my regulators up to a tank, pressurize the system then rinse everything. The positive pressure ensures you aren't going to get water in the system.

    I have to say, I used to get my regulators services annually. Have the time they'd come back from servicing and didn't work quite as good as when I sent them in. My current regulator is now 3 years old and works as good as the day I purchased it. It has yet to be serviced. The manufacturer recommends servicing it every two years.
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  3. #3
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by scubadiver888 View Post
    I have to say, I used to get my regulators services annually. Have the time they'd come back from servicing and didn't work quite as good as when I sent them in.
    Why I service them myself. It ain't rocket science. As long as you have the service manual and an IP gauge it's actually quite simple. Most of the specialized tools (at least for my regs) can be had at the hardware store and the rest from a good bicycle shop (spanners) quite less expensively than from the manufacturer. Not only do I hate paying for something I can easily do myself, I hate having it done poorly.

  4. #4
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    Wow, some great tips. I did not catch the 5% vinegar thing. I had been using 100% on a q-tip to clean the small bits followed with a thin coating of silicone. I think I may add a little to the rinse tank. I do hook my hoses up to a tank and pressurize like you do, for the soak. Not sure about the hose "stubbies". I have always used them and never experienced a hose failure. I do clean underneath them. I don't use them on my miflex hoses. It seems no matter how fastidious I am about soaking and rinsing, I always get a little salt on the threads. It probably just makes me feel better to clean it off; but, I doubt it really makes much of a difference.

    I got the following info from DA Master on Scubaboard: The more traditional hose protectors used over the swagged fitting and first couple inches of the hose are currently out of style in some diving circles. Some tech divers concerned with hose routing and streamlining often use some very tight bends in the hose near the regulator and remove the hose protector to facilitate the tight corners used to achieve the desired routing.

    Personally, I think this is a really bad idea as a tight bend in the hose will drastically shorten it's life. A hose failure due to this abuse is a far more certain problem than the theoretical problem of the hose protector trapping something next to the hose or preventing inspection of the hose. I think it is more of a justification for getting rid of them than it is a valid concern about having them.

    I have never encountered problems achieving efficient and streamlined hose routing when using hose protectors as long as I used a regulator with a swivel cap. And I have very seldom encountered insurmountable problems with a reg with fixed LP ports.

    The hose protector does just that and more importantly prevents the hose from being bent sharply in the area near the swagged fitting. This part of the hose is extremely vulnerable as a bend near the fitting stretches or compresses the hose against the hard metal edge of the fitting ensuring rapid failure of the rubber hose cover. The rest of the hose is far less susceptible to damage from tight bends as there are no hard surfaces to cut the cover.

    They also extend the life of the hose if you prefer to hang the reg in storage or store it in a small regulator bag. Without the hose protector, a crease quickly develops where the hose is bent near the swagged fitting. With proper care a low pressure hose will last 15-20 years with no concerns at all.

    High pressure hoses used to be just as durable but the recent production HP hoses are much more susceptible to developing leaks due to their different construction. But detecting these leaks is not impeded by a hose cover or hose protector as they are usually not visually detectable anyway but rather are found when they start leaking in the water along the length of the hose in a manner very similar to an air stone in a fish tank. I have had HP hoses fail in less than 100 dives.

    I tend to agree with DA; but, in any case. I don't think it will hurt and may help.

    You were right on about not soaking overnight. I do a quick rinse between dives on a trip, mostly to prevent salt crystals from forming and then a deep clean when I get home.
    I am also one of those annoying people that shoot some air across my 1st stage to dry it. It ain't diving if I can't hear that noise...lol.

    BTW, the ONLY way I have found to remove the water from a Dive Alert Plus is to hook it up and blow air through both the H2O side and the air side. That is the one piece of gear I do soak for an hour or so.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  5. #5
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    You got me all psyched up about diving again. I got my 10 year old daughter, PADI Junior Open Water, certified last week in COZ. I may have to go back tomorrow so we can do some real dives and not just training. Anyway, I flooded my GoPro last week on the very first dive and need to get some pixs of her. I bought a new one on eBay and am dying to try it out.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  6. #6
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charon View Post
    Why I service them myself. It ain't rocket science. As long as you have the service manual and an IP gauge it's actually quite simple. Most of the specialized tools (at least for my regs) can be had at the hardware store and the rest from a good bicycle shop (spanners) quite less expensively than from the manufacturer. Not only do I hate paying for something I can easily do myself, I hate having it done poorly.
    I keep meaning to take a tech course on reg servicing and repair. It's on my bucket list. I am going broke servicing all my equipment. I have a family of 6 and what with regs and BC's and tanks, that's a whole dive trip I could have gone on.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  7. #7
    Just to be clear, it is 5% acidity distilled white vinegar, not 5% acidity vinegar diluted to 5% again.

    If you clean your gear on a regular basis then having the "stubbies" probably won't be a problem. It is only of you dive in salt water a lot and don't clean under them after each trip. The video recommends once a year but I think you could still get some corrosion if you dive in salt water and let them sit for months. I just prefer to not use them. By not covering the hose connection to the first stage I don't have water build up under the "stubbies" plus I can see the connection in case them come loose or start corroding.

    The first shop I worked at would HATE you for blowing air across your 1st stage... I know because they used to give me heck.
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  8. #8
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    and when I cough I use my hand not my elbow. I am old school and probably will never change. PS thanks for straightening me out on the vinegar thing. I did think it was 5% by volume.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  9. #9
    TadPole
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    For what this is worth, I service 300 ish regs a year on a Caribbean Island (salt water)( ha ) Yes I have spent time diving in 40 degree fresh water, thanks you can keep it. Everything I say is FWIW!

    Hose protectors, fine as long as you pull them back to expose the metal surfaces during the rinse, if diving fresh not saltwater then you are basically rinsing algae out, so whatever you feel necessary. Salt water = corrosion!

    If you dive a reg that is "environmentally sealed" (ie. MK17) then a basic fresh water rinse is good. If you are diving something else in saltwater then an extended rinse in FRESH WATER, not vinegar! is the approach. The acidity in vinegar pr ultrasonic cleaners is fine until you are talking about o'rings and lubricant. I am sure your piston reg with frequent vinegar baths will have a much shortened life, as the lubricant on the o'ring will have a shortened life span. Ask any tech if they ultrasonically clean parts with o'rings on them, and just reuse them that way? New lubricated o'rings should be used anytime the o'rings are soaked in any type of solvent.


    Rick

  10. #10
    TadPole
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    If you are following the video,, I hope you are using Christolube or Tribolube , not the silicone that the video is using. Taking the hoses off every dive and relubing is very much overkill. Just wondering, when you put the hoses back on how much do you tighten them?

    I can see that video as more of a problem for the general public, if I saw someone doing that after every dive at the rinse tank, believe me they would be as far away from me on a dive as possible!!!!

    Rick

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