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Re: Why do they put the scuba tank in water while...
A scuba tank is design to hold a certain volume of air, at a particular at a particular temperature. In the US, the standard tank is an aluminum 80 CF tank. At room temperature and 3,000 psi, the tank holds 72 CF of air (yeah, I know they round up calling it 80 CF tank).
When you are filling the tank, the air and tank will become warm/hot. If you check the pressure guage while the tank is warm, it will give you a reading of X. Once the tank cools, it will give you a reading that is less than X. They put the tanks in the water in the hopes of keeping the temperature do, and filling the tanks closer to the design pressure and temperature.
Some examples that you can see...
In Mexico, many of the tanks will be sitting in the sun while on the boat. The tank may have a reading of 3,200 psi. Once you jump in the water, and the tank cools down, the new reading may be 2,800 psi without ever breathing any of the air.
I have been ice diving, the tank was acutally colder than the water. Since the water temperature was warmer than the tank, me pressure reading was slightly higher.
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Get thee to a SCUBA store the sells that brand. It's an easy replacement. One thing you could try would be to turn the existing gasket over and see if the unused surface will make a seal. The overflow valve is a CRITICAL safety item on your BCD. Make sure it's working properly before you use the BCD.
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I have integrated weight pockets, and i am also a cold water dry suit diver (IE: much more weight is needed) and i have never had a problem with the integrated weight pockets not being able to handle the weight. (now they person you talked to at the company was right, most trim pockets cant handle more then 4 pounds.) you may want to give Dive Rite (Trek Wings) a try... that is what i have and i will never buy another BCD... Trek Wings by Dive Rite give you more maneuverability and is trusted by tech, wreck, and cave divers. i also prefer them as a instructor... I have seen Cressi BCD's in action before, but i have never really been impressed.
There are four main variables affecting this:
1. The (total) internal volume of the tank(s)
2. The pressure to which that tank has been filled
3. The ambient pressure at depth
4. The rate at which the diver uses the air out of that tank for their breathing and buoyancy control (including drysuit inflation).
The first three are simply a matter of physics and will be the same for everyone under the same circumstances.
The major variation comes from the last one, which is usually a function of the diver's experience/ competence (not the same thing!). One who is less so will go through air quicker than one who is more so.
So the best answer for your question is "It depends..."!
However, many resorts and guides set a maximum dive time of one hour, so they know when to expect a diver back on the boat (or, when they have to call out the Coastguard!). This might be the source of your friend's assertion.
FYI: The current world record for breathing off a single tank of air while sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool is a little bit short of 8 hours. The divers in question were using 12-litre cylinders charged to 200B and breathing verrrry slowly! (approximately 12 x 200 litres / 460 minutes = 5.22 l/min)
Any preesurised gas container should be visually inspected annually (at least) and pressure tested every 5 years, 3 years or annually according to local law.
If you are going to have it tested, screw the valve in loosely as they will need to examine the threads on it in order to pass the tank and valve as a unit.
BUT ALL THAT ASIDE, the answer to your original question is: Replace the tank neck O-ring, very lightly lube the threads of the valve with a SCUBA silicon grease, wind the valve in to finger tight (if you have a torque wrench you could find out setting) if no torque wrench, nip the valve tight with a light tap from a rubber mallet on a 12" wrench (I know it is a bit approximate, but the O-ring makes the seal, not the tightness)
"There is only one bit of advice you need when you own your own tanks: bring them to a professional for filling and regular inspection.
Tanks are required to be visually inspected once a year, which involves removing the valve and looking inside for signs of corrosion or damage. If the tank is deemed safe, an Evidence of Inspection (EOI) sticker is applied to the tank showing the date of inspection.
A hydrostatic test is required every 5 years, which determines the tank's ability to contain pressurized gas. A certified hydro test facility will stamp the shoulder of the tank below the valve with the date of pass.
This inspection makes it easy for you to know if your rented tank has been properly maintained and inspected. If the hydro test stamp is more than 5 years old or the EOI sticker is more than a year old, don't accept the tank.
Corrosion is the major culprit in tank degradation. Scuba tanks are filled with very dry air, to prevent moisture from rusting the interior of the tank. That is why certified divers learn never to leave a tank empty. Always leave at least 100psi of pressure in the tank at the end of your dive, so no moisture can get in when valves are opened."
"The scuba tank is one of the most important pieces of dive equipment. It must be looked after. A well-maintained tank could give 20 or 30 years service. A neglected tank can fail with the force of a hand grenade. It pays to care for a scuba tank, not only for economy, but also for safety and diving enjoyment.
The following ten tips can help ensure a scuba diving tank will provide many years of faithful diving service.
1) Never completely empty a scuba tank. Always leave at least 1000 kPa to ensure moisture doesn’t enter.
2) Always rinse the scuba tank and valve in fresh water after use.
3) If the scuba tank is to be stored for a few months, drain the air down to around 1000 kPa. This is to decrease the amount of oxygen that can cause corrosion.
4) A scuba tank should be stored standing up out of direct sunlight.
5) A scuba tank should be carried with care and attention. They shouldn’t be carried on the shoulder as a fall can lead to the valve getting smashed off and the tank taking off like a rocket.
6) A scuba tank should be regularly tested in accordance with statutory regulations.
7) A scuba tank should not be left in a closed car in the heat of the day. It can heat up and explode or the burst disk can rupture; both scenarios leading to damage to the car. When in the car the tank should be carried with the valve towards the back. If the car brakes suddenly the tank valve won’t be damaged as the tank moves forward with its momentum.
8) The scuba tank valve should not be turned off too tightly. It only has to be just nipped closed enough to stop the air flow.
9) A scuba tank should be filled with clean, dry air. Any discolouration around the air outlet or bad odour should be treated with suspicion. If there are any doubts that a tank has been filled with bad air, it should not be used for scuba diving and should be checked immediately. A bad fill can lead to damage to the tank, as well as pose a threat to a diver.
10) If painting a tank, ensure no heat curing paints or strippers are used as these could affect the strength of the tank."