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Old 10-02-2019, 04:20   #1
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SCUBA air fills

For the many of you who enjoy diving, what do you do about fills?


Do you rent tanks locally where you plan to dive?


Do you get fills locally in your own tanks? Have you run into regulatory problems in countries that do not recognize your tank certification?



Do you have a compressor aboard? Where do you keep it?
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:33   #2
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Re: SCUBA air fills

Our soon-to-be new boat has tanks and a compressor on board so no worries about that Our alternative plan was to rent locally.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:35   #3
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Re: SCUBA air fills

We carry our own tanks, as Iíll only dive steel tanks if at all possible.
I assume that the US hydro is good anywhere, the VIP is not a rule or law, itís just an industry standard (another source of income in my opinion).
The French would I assume be the ones that would be sticky if anyone would, but that begs to wonder if your tanks cert isnít accepted, is your Dive cert?

I have a Bauer jr in storage, but only way I could carry it aboard is to have a dock type box built for it and carry it on deck, and even then you would have to be diligent on corrosion.
As itís gas powered that pretty much means on deck only, electric ones I believe require a 7kw or there about generator to power them, but they are much easier to mount down below, if your boat is big enough for that.
Theoretically there are ways to use a smaller generator, but itís not as easy or as successful as some would have you to believe, it takes an enormous amount of power to compress air to 3000+ PSI. or even to 2000.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:36   #4
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Re: SCUBA air fills

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
We carry our own tanks, as Iíll only dive steel tanks if at all possible.

I'm with you on that.


Quote:

I assume that the US hydro is good anywhere, the VIP is not a rule or law, itís just an industry standard (another source of income in my opinion).
The French would I assume be the ones that would be sticky if anyone would, but that begs to wonder if your tanks cert isnít accepted, is your Dive cert?

I believe that Europe and Australia would be the likely sources of difficulty. There's been a harmonization effort just in the last few years by the packaged gas industry, so that cylinders can be manufactured to a single standard and used worldwide, but I've never seen or heard of a dive cylinder made under those rules.


How many cylinders do you bring aboard? What's your experience been like getting fills? Do you find dive shops that have dockside service or haul the cylinders in a taxi or something?





Quote:

I have a Bauer jr in storage, but only way I could carry it aboard is to have a dock type box built for it and carry it on deck, and even then you would have to be diligent on corrosion.
As itís gas powered that pretty much means on deck only, electric ones I believe require a 7kw or there about generator to power them, but they are much easier to mount down below, if your boat is big enough for that.
Theoretically there are ways to use a smaller generator, but itís not as easy or as successful as some would have you to believe, it takes an enormous amount of power to compress air to 3000+ PSI. or even to 2000.



I have a 2HP compressor in my garage that delivers somewhat less than 2 cfm. Plugs into a 120v outlet. It would run on most generators or inverters. The problem is that it's loud and slow, and has to be babysat. Mine is homebrew from military surplus, but you can get Bauer Jr II's that are set up the same way.


https://www.bauercomp.com/sites/defa...ortables_1.pdf
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:39   #5
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Re: SCUBA air fills

I now have a compressor onboard, we just dive so much more when in a diving location because of it.

Sometimes getting tanks filled just isn't an option.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:58   #6
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Re: SCUBA air fills

Unless you are traveling to remote areas with spectacular diving it makes more sense to get fills locally than carry your own compressor. Space issues, parts availability as well as the other issues raised should be carefully considered in my opinion.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:02   #7
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Re: SCUBA air fills

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
I now have a compressor onboard, we just dive so much more when in a diving location because of it.

Sometimes getting tanks filled just isn't an option.
This.

We carry two tanks and figured that wherever there is good diving there would be a dive shop to get refills. We were wrong.

Our two biggest regrets now are not bringing bicycles and not getting a dive compressor.
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Old 19-02-2019, 20:06   #8
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Re: SCUBA air fills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I'm with you on that.





I believe that Europe and Australia would be the likely sources of difficulty. There's been a harmonization effort just in the last few years by the packaged gas industry, so that cylinders can be manufactured to a single standard and used worldwide, but I've never seen or heard of a dive cylinder made under those rules.


How many cylinders do you bring aboard? What's your experience been like getting fills? Do you find dive shops that have dockside service or haul the cylinders in a taxi or something?










I have a 2HP compressor in my garage that delivers somewhat less than 2 cfm. Plugs into a 120v outlet. It would run on most generators or inverters. The problem is that it's loud and slow, and has to be babysat. Mine is homebrew from military surplus, but you can get Bauer Jr II's that are set up the same way.


https://www.bauercomp.com/sites/defa...ortables_1.pdf
How big of a genset do you need to run a normal Bauer Jr. electric compressor?
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Old 19-02-2019, 20:31   #9
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Re: SCUBA air fills

NZ and Oz require annual recertification of tanks. Boo hiss!

Best is to get fills from cruisers with big enough boats to support compressors, if you don't have room yourself. If you live a generous lifestyle, this always worked seamlessly, you're all sharing *whatever* with each other since meeting up in the Marquesas, and tend to keep doing so.

Ann
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Old 19-02-2019, 21:41   #10
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Re: SCUBA air fills

There are fewer and fewer dive shops around because the internet has basically killed off their retail sales and lessons & fills just don’t add up to a sustainable business model.

Next consider a use-case. For example, cruising the San Juan Islands. When I’m up there, I want to dive AT LEAST four or five times a week, if not every day. Even if you plan to stop at Anacortes or Friday Harbor every week for groceries, where you can get air fills, that means carrying at least four or five tanks. If not fourteen.

My MaxAir (Coltri) compressor takes up a bit less room on board than two scuba tanks. That and two tanks gives me infinite diving ability without spending a day sailing back to town. If there are more than two people on board, we take one tank each. That’s actually enough, but you have to spend more time running the compressor.

BTW: Try to run the compressor more on passage between islands, or on the lunch hook somewhere remote, rather than in the anchorage. Unless you want to be the most hated boat in the anchorage...
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Old 19-02-2019, 21:48   #11
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Re: SCUBA air fills

I use to dive a lot. My boats during that time had a compressor on a pto off one of the diesels. If my choice was a small gas compressor, I'd buy more tanks.
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Old 20-02-2019, 00:01   #12
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Re: SCUBA air fills

6-7 cfm Honda gas powered......in a deck box, much cheaper than electric with a large generator.....
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Old 20-02-2019, 04:48   #13
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Re: SCUBA air fills

Thing about a deck box is I assume you would have to have it so that one side opened up to allow cooling air into the motor?
My Bauer jr has a snorkel that it draws air to compress though so not worried bout that, but compressor and motor cooling has to be an issue?
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Old 20-02-2019, 06:46   #14
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Re: SCUBA air fills

Thanks for the replies.


FWIW there are electric motors up to about 3 HP available that run on 12v or 24v DC. They're mainly used for forklifts and battery-powered floor maintenance equipment and are continuous duty. My compressor at home has a 2hp 120v motor but it would be easy to switch to DC as would any of the portable Bauers etc.
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Old 20-02-2019, 10:30   #15
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Re: SCUBA air fills

AC or DC, itís still the same load.
Assume 5KW at 120 VAC, 6000W.
That is 500 amps at 12VDC.
Do you have a battery bank that can sustain that kind of load continuously say for an hour? One hour is 500 AH of course.

If you do then your going to have to recharge it anyway, so your going to have to push about 550 AH bank into the bank, likely 600 cause you drew it down in one hour.

6000W may not be the correct answer, but I know itís not 4000W
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