The winter is almost over and it’s nearly time to go diving again. Some of you might have forgotten to have your regulators serviced or you have had your equipment serviced, but you haven’t had the time to use them since. Now is the perfect time to dust off your equipment and try to pick up any problems early so you don’t get them at your next dive site. Leaving you with enough time to service or replace anything. Nothing is better than a proper service.
1. Bubble Test
A simple test which a lot of us don’t use. Simply place your assembled regulator that’s pressurized into a container big enough that’s filled with water and leave it for a couple of minutes. Make sure there are no bubbles flowing from your first stage, meaning check all the ports, second stage connections and your high-pressure connections including your high-pressure gauge. Any bubbles from these areas indicate O-ring problems. If air is coming out from either your second stage or alternative, you need to take your regulators to a service technician. It can either be that the first stage intermediate pressure is too high, or the valve seat in the second stage is worn and not sealing.
2. High-Pressure Gauge
If you find bubbles trickling out where the gauge connects with the high-pressure hose while doing the bubble test, it is most likely the swivel pin. You either need to lubricate the O-rings or replace them. Remember to use silicone grease or Cristo lube. Sometimes it’s better to replace the swivel pin especially if it looks worn.
3. Regulator Hoses
You can have the best regulator in the world, but if you don’t take care of the hoses your regulator won’t help you. Check your hoses for cracks, cuts, perishing or even bubbles forming under the outer layer. Also, remember to move your hose protectors if you have them to make sure the hose is not damaged underneath them. Remove your hoses from the first stages and look at the condition of the O-rings. Look if they don’t perish, split, too loose, flattened or getting pinched when your hoses are re-attached to the first stage. It is a good idea to get an O-ring kit.
4. First Stage
This is something most people are not going to be able to service themselves, but if you see a lot of corrosion or damage then, it’s a good idea to take your regulator for a service. Never let any water get into your first stage, especially if it is salt water, so be careful how you wash your regulators after a dive.
5. Second Stage
There’s not a lot to check on a second stage. One thing to do is to see if the diaphragms and exhaust diaphragms all seal correctly. All you need to do is, with your first stage dust cap on, try and gently breath from your second stages. If the diaphragm seals correctly you should not be able to breathe any air in. Don’t inhale too hard as you could dislodge the diaphragms.
Another thing you can check is to shake the second stages next to your ear, it shouldn’t sound like something is rattling inside. You may hear a gentle tap against the diaphragm. If you hear a rattling noise and you need to push the purge button more than 5 mm before the air starts coming out, your second stages need some adjusting.
We all know divers that eat their mouthpieces, so always check the condition of yours. Check for splits or cracks at the teeth grips and check for splits or perishing or the cable tie area. If you need to replace a mouthpiece, make sure to get the right one to avoid having problems later. A mouthpiece to big could leak or come off, too small and you could split it trying to stretch it over.
And last make sure that the cable tie is tight and secure but also that its cut off smooth to avoid sharp edges.
Written By: Marinus Goosen