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Old 03-04-2019, 18:19   #1
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What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

I have a new vest.

If I put a cartridge in it, how long can I rely on it before it needs to be replaced?

If I buy a bunch of replacement cartridges and set them on a shelf, how long can I rely on them still being good?
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Old 03-04-2019, 18:24   #2
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

It would be good till it rusts through or a hole is punched into it. Should be able to determine charge by weight but don't know if that would work with a small cartridge. Biggest problem with self inflating vests is the pill that needs to dissolve to actuate the firing mechanism.
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Old 03-04-2019, 18:33   #3
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

In most vests you canput the CO2 cartridge in and take it out without a problem. They stay whole till triggered.
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Old 03-04-2019, 18:49   #4
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

They should have the gross weight printed on them. You can weigh them on a decent kitchen scale to confirm they're still charged.
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Old 03-04-2019, 19:30   #5
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Biggest problem with self inflating vests is the pill that needs to dissolve to actuate the firing mechanism.
The pill on mine says:

Quote:
JUL21
18 HR
Which I'm assuming means July, 2021.
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Old 03-04-2019, 23:01   #6
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

I agree that weight checking of the cylinder is a good routine.
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:20   #7
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

I would not rely on that type of vest! I know of two separate incidents of a vest failure. Not with your life.
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:55   #8
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

Working both the Pacific Cup and TransPac finish lines for years I've talked with crew who had their self-inflate vests go off when a big sea came over the side and soaked them. One guy told me he used up his three standby cartridges on one race.

I have two vests which can be switch between self-inflate to manual pull. What to do? Maybe manual in high winds and seas, manual in calmer conditions?
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Old 04-04-2019, 14:21   #9
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

I took a couple of vest cartridges to a friendly jewelry store and got more precision on weight than needed. They were over ten years old and checked out good as new. I don't recall how I knew how much they were supposed to contain but the tare weight was stamped on the cartridge.
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Old 04-04-2019, 14:31   #10
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

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Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

I have a new vest.

If I put a cartridge in it, how long can I rely on it before it needs to be replaced?

If I buy a bunch of replacement cartridges and set them on a shelf, how long can I rely on them still being good?
Hello Jdege,

We had one go off spontaneously in the cockpit a couple of years ago, the vest was sitting in the sun. It was over 20 yrs. old. However, manufacturing standards may have changed. In Australia, they want them replaced every 5 yrs., but the jackets themselves to be checked every year., and noted. As long as you test them yourself, that's okay, but the notation must be there.

Ann
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Old 04-04-2019, 14:33   #11
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

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Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

I have a new vest.

If I put a cartridge in it, how long can I rely on it before it needs to be replaced?

If I buy a bunch of replacement cartridges and set them on a shelf, how long can I rely on them still being good?
Hello Jdege,

We had one go off spontaneously in the cockpit a couple of years ago, the vest was sitting in the sun. It was over 20 yrs. old. However, manufacturing standards may have changed. In Australia, they want them replaced every 5 yrs., but the jackets themselves to be checked every year., and noted. As long as you test them yourself, that's okay, but the notation must be there.

It was an old WM one, and it stayed inflated 48 hrs., when I squashed the air out of it, and packed it away. Still inflatable by mouth.

Ann
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Old 04-04-2019, 16:36   #12
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

Co2 cartridges have an expiration date printed on them. I always change them out by the date and throw the expired one in a box to use for training with new crew.
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Old 04-04-2019, 16:49   #13
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

Here in Australia there are a number of states where the jackets themselves need to be recertified periodically, in one case, I think it might have been Tasmania, I saw a three year recertification period.

I assume the CO2 cartridge is replaced as part of this process.

As for the self inflating thing, we had one get snagged at a bad moment on a small boat and it seriously incapacitated the wearer for a few moments until she could get it off. The convenience of the lack of bulk is all very well until the darn thing fills up, then it's not all convenient. That being said, there's no other type that I will wear, just too practical.
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Old 04-04-2019, 19:55   #14
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

INFLATABLES HAVE ESSENTIALLY A HIGH FAILURE RATE- READ THE CHICAGO-MAC REPORT FROM 2018
FAILURE RATE OF JUST SHY 10%
seriously- like all equipment- the captain should determine the appropriate for the passage.one type does not fit all.,
that said- question asked was how to test-
weight should be stamped on bottle neck- if not check manufacturer website an weights should be readily available- take to post office and they can measure
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Old 04-04-2019, 20:28   #15
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Re: What is the shelf life of CO2 cartridges?

You don't get six nines of reliability by trying to build parts that cannot fail.

You get six nines by layering multiple parts into a system where all of them have to fail in order for the system to work.

I have a new inflatable vest/harness. I think it may have a place in my safety precautions, I'd not have bought it. But I'd never trust it, alone, for safety. Or anything else, for that matter.

Case in point. I'm not concerned about it accidentally triggering in breaking seas, because I'd simply never use it if I thought there was any significant chance I'd end up in the water. I'd not wear it when sailing dinghies, for example. I have another PFD that's better suited for that.

And while it has something like a harness, if I was in a situation where I wanted a harness so I could clip in, I'd use a dedicated harness, not the d-rings on the vest.
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