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SurfLung
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Infuriating Hydro Testers

Thu Apr 01, 2021 5:16 pm

Infuriating Hydro Testers
- Just when I thought we had a good place to take our precious vintage tanks, the place changed. Hydrostat of Rice MN was a welcome breath of fresh air and common sense two years ago when I first brought them tanks for hydrotesting. The fellow I dealt with said their business is "Re-Qualifying" pressure vessels. We talked about testing our vintage tanks and he said, "That's what the testing is for... To confirm that the tank is good. It doesn't matter what it looks like or how old it is. If it passes the hydro test it is a good tank."
- So I got a hint a few weeks ago when Ron brought them a nice set of vintage 38s. They failed both tanks and stamped a bunch of Xs on them to condemn them without a second opinion. I asked if he spoke with "Mike" (our contact from last time) but it was somebody else. (A second opinion saved my beautiful Sportsways 42s a few years ago... A proper test was re-done and they passed by a wide margin of safety.) But Hydrostat just failed Ron's tanks and condemned them without calling up Ron to ask what he wanted to do.
- Now this week, Rich and I brought in 12 tanks for re-qualification and found that our previous contact "Mike" was unknown to anyone. We asked if it was possible to request that they don't condemn anything without checking with us first but we didn't get a clear answer. Rich had a set of ScubaPro Twin 45s that we looked inside of and they were absolutely PRISTINE. I had two vintage 18 cu ft tanks (like the Vigo 18s I'd shown here before). These had discolored paint on the necks. So right off the bat they refused to test the two little tanks but thankfully they didn't condemn them.
- Then today we got back the 10 tanks they tested and damned if one of Rich's twin 45s was condemned with XXXs stamped in it.
- We're back to the same old suspicions/conditions we used to deal with:
1. The technician doesn't like antique tanks and takes it upon himself to condemn them out of circulation.
2. The technician doesn't know how to test galvanized tanks (test to 90%, release, and then perform the full test.)
3. The technician can't handle a condition he hasn't seen before so he declares it's against the law or regulations.
4. The technician can't give the benefit of a doubt when a test fails. There is no respect for the value and rarity of these antique tanks. We've seen good tanks fail when a test is run badly. These tanks deserve a second chance, a second opinion, before condemning them.

This current technician would not test my two 18 cf tanks because the necks looked like they had been heated to get the valve off. These are steel tanks from about 1930s and 1940s era. How does he know that ANY tanks that are that old haven't had all kinds of things done to them from heating the necks to bead blasting to tumbling to re-painting, etc. etc. The whole point of the Hydro test is to see if the tank is still good. A passed hydro test erases its past and gives it a fresh start with a clean bill of health. So, where does this technician get his idea that he won't test my little tanks because the necks are discolored? I believe he is making that up. Easier to say no than to understand. Thankfully at least he didn't X them out and condemn.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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simonbeans
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:28 pm

Don’t you guys have your own compressors? Fill them, use them and forget the hydro guy. When was the last time you were ever stopped when you transported interstate tanks? Even if you are stopped, chances are the stopper doesn’t have a clue about ICC rules of scuba cylinders.
Check out my website: www.vintagescubastuff.com

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captain
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:05 am

What Allen said, I have gone literally decades filling my own tanks and not getting hydros. Look in them once a year to be sure you haven't pumped any water in them and live free of the hydro idiots.
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SnarkIII
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:42 am

I've dealt with a few of these Infuriating Hydro testers myself. One guy told me that he would hydro my steel 72 (pre DOT) with ICC markings, while my triple 35's he wouldn't because the ICC makings were not valid. Another guy told me they changed the procedure for doing hydros which would result in the majority of our old tanks failing, so I should toss my old tanks and buy new ones from him.

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SurfLung
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:11 am

I got a call from Sea Hunt Jerry last night with pretty much the same opinion as Allan and Tom. And I think from here on, my four sets of Twin 38s will forego the risk of hydrotesting. They are a known commodity, I know they've already passed a hydrotest and I have not abused them since. So, why would they need more testing? And YES, I fill them myself so I don't have to please any dive shops.

But when we get a new (old) tank, I guess I was/am feeling like doing the hydrotest gives me a clear sense of safety in going forward. Rich had a new-to-him set of Twin 45s and I had a new-to-me pair of Vigo 18 tanks. As we've seen in the past, when we find the right guy to do the hydrotest, he seems to know the situation and the tanks almost always pass. Doggone HydroStat had a guy named Mike that was great. He wasn't there this time.

And then also, we're not immune to the constant brainwashing. We're "doing the right thing" to get our tanks tested for the safety of humanity. How many times do we get a slap in the face as a reward before we wake up? Thank you guys for the good advice.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

h2operations
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First Name: Paul
Location: Coronado CA

Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:41 pm

I don't know if it is of interest to anyone but some times we have to school the specialists at their own job.
It's sorta like the shop owner that tells you a double hose will kill you......

https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/pressu ... -cylinders
https://www.cganet.com/what-we-do/stand ... lications/

I find in my travels, even working within the Govt/MIL the experts are not at all that... I suspect that you are getting someone who was given a 12 min brief or took the abridged version of the training course. They may have even been trained by some douche nozzle that just wanted to make their life easier and fail the tank versus actually testing it. On another note the last place I would trust to test.. is a location that sells tanks.
sorry for my 1/2 psi.

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captain
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:00 am

SurfLung wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:11 am
I got a call from Sea Hunt Jerry last night with pretty much the same opinion as Allan and Tom. And I think from here on, my four sets of Twin 38s will forego the risk of hydrotesting. They are a known commodity, I know they've already passed a hydrotest and I have not abused them since. So, why would they need more testing? And YES, I fill them myself so I don't have to please any dive shops.

But when we get a new (old) tank, I guess I was/am feeling like doing the hydrotest gives me a clear sense of safety in going forward. Rich had a new-to-him set of Twin 45s and I had a new-to-me pair of Vigo 18 tanks. As we've seen in the past, when we find the right guy to do the hydrotest, he seems to know the situation and the tanks almost always pass. Doggone HydroStat had a guy named Mike that was great. He wasn't there this time.

And then also, we're not immune to the constant brainwashing. We're "doing the right thing" to get our tanks tested for the safety of humanity. How many times do we get a slap in the face as a reward before we wake up? Thank you guys for the good advice.
You got it! Several years ago I came into a set of the Navy non mag tanks. As you know these are not DOT spec tanks and can't be hydroed and stamped although they had stamps of hydros being done in the 70's by dive shops. These stamps did not have the 4 digit code identifier now used, just a symbol the shop had chosen for itself.
I took them to the local fire equipment company that does SCBA tanks. I explained that for my personal benefit I needed the tanks tested and I understood he could not stamp them. All I wanted was the results of the test, pass or fail, and the expansion numbers. These tank have all the hydro specifications stamped on them, test pressure, volume, REE, etc. He tested them and they passed with flying colors. I will never have them tested again.
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SurfLung
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:56 am

Epilog...

To bring this up to date and close it out, I DID call up the Hydrostat company and managed to get our original guy "Mike" on the phone. He remembered talking to me a couple of years ago and was polite... I had left a message and he called me back.

I explained that our vintage tanks are often rare and hard to find items... Like Rich's Twin 45s. We might be searching for such things for a few years and when we finally find them, we open them up and check them inside and out ourselves. In some cases, we cross our fingers that they'll pass the hydrotest. But in others, they are like new inside and out... Like Rich's Twin 45s. In any case, if they fail, we want to be sure they really failed and it wasn't just an erroneous test... And we have experienced erroneous tests in the past. So, I asked Mike, why did you stamp out that tank without giving us a chance for a second opinion. He said, "That isn't us, that's DOT rules." I argued that those tanks use a different O-ring than the usual AL80s and that might have caused a leak during the test. He responded that their equipment is calibrated every day and they don't seal at the O-ring but rather at the bottom of the threads... You can see I was getting nowhere.

I next asked him about my two little 18 cf surplus tanks. One was a USD Vigo 18 and the other was formerly an 18 cf CO2 fire extinguisher. These tanks had discoloration of the paint at the neck. I had told them the neck of one had been heated to help get the original valve out. They had declined to test these tanks but thankfully they did not stamp them out. He said we don't test any tanks that had the necks heated. To which I said, "How do you know how ANY of the tanks you test have been treated by various owners over the years? Isn't that the whole point of the hydrotest?... To requalify the cylinder? If heating the neck damaged the tank shouldn't it fail the test? And if it passes the test, shouldn't that be final... The tank is good? Well apparently not... He said the once heated neck may have issues under a long term of pressurization.

So, the hydrotest doesn't really assure us that our tanks are good at all.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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captain
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:05 am

The only thing you got assurance of is that the hydro test guy is an idiot.
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h2operations
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First Name: Paul
Location: Coronado CA

Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:30 pm

I am really sorry for your loss, that is how I feel about your tank being violated. At least they did not do this to the tank. See ***** Below the rest in banter that we all pretty much know


If the cylinder passes the internal and external inspection and retest, the retester marks the all-metal cylinder by stamping into the metal or labels a composite cylinder with a label sealed in resin. The information marked or labeled includes the RIN identification and the retest date. A record is then made of the requalification with the information mandated by the DOT.
The retester is required to stamp out cylinder DOT markings with X’s or with the word “Condemned” if the cylinder does not pass the hydrostatic testing process. Cylinders that are fully wrapped with composite materials that do not pass requalification are labeled condemned. The cylinder should be rendered unable to hold pressure with the permission of the cylinder owner. It is recommended that all cylinder owners permit the hydrostatic testing facility to render condemned cylinders *****unable to hold pressure by drilling through the cylinder or terminating valve threads*****. A record is made of condemned cylinders, according to DOT standards.


IF anyone finds a good Hydro Shop it may help us all to share.

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time2dive
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Re: Infuriating Hydro Testers

Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:37 am

I know of one way out west that is experienced with old tanks. The owner is a vintage diver and owns quite a few old cylinders. It may be difficult to get them there. It is on the West Coast....of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is my shop. I almost always do a "pretest" on steel cylinders, I have found that most newer Faber cylinders and Asahi cylinders don't need a pretest. I also do a "pretest" on small aluminum cylinders and Spare Airs.
If the cylinder fails hydro I am required to either stamp out the DOT numbers with a X or stamped CONDEMNED on the cylinder. I have had customers get upset with me for stamping out the numbers...they wanted to sell the cylinder to someone else. I have condemned a couple of my own cylinders.
Cranky old man, diver, photographer, scarer of children
http://www.kona-hydrostatic-testing.com/

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