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Hi all .. Just thought Id put a post to site about a recent and ongoing experience which I am currently involved in and if any of you can give me some advice then that would be great too.

I recently went to a dive shop located in the South near to where I am living now (name will remain unpublished on this site but those wishing to know can send me a mail and I will inform you that way)

My initial visit was to convert my Mares MR16 to Din Conversion, I initially phoned a shop one day on the offchance to see how much this conversion would cost me and was rather delighted to hear the chap on the phone tell me that it was 35 quid all in. Ok that gave me a rough idea of the price - Unfortunatly I was busy the following week with work and I lost my print out of the shop with details and price - I somehow confused myself mentally and thought I could remember the name of the shop without my piece of paper  (this happens after years of alchohol :doctor: , drug abuse
and too much sex with gorgeous women :tongue2: ) Unfortunately it was the wrong shop which originally quoted me the 35 quid price - but once at this shop which I thought was the right place - handed over my 1st stage and informed that it would be ready to go next week - great ... in time for Cornwall .. I finished work late and in a mad frenzy of a rush packed up and threw my kit and the reg in the back of the jeep off to meet up with a buddy and old comrade for a night on the lash and a couple of easy shore dives the next day. The night went well and the next day we geared up - but noticed that there was something unusual about the Din conversion, there was an unusual gap and a meaningless o-ring sat in the middle of the thread which served no purpose when it looked like it should, also the Yoke wheel was not that flush to the body of the 1st stage, I connected it up - it did not leak or hiss .. but when I took a breath from it there was a distinctive but very very faint  whining coming from it, something which I had never heard since I purchased this very sweet rig nearly 2 years ago.
Ok I know I should have checked it before I even left home , the fact was I have spent the last 3 weeks overhauling all my kit and getting it repaired, serviced ect ect the only thing I missed out was the reg as A) it had recently been serviced , B) I assumed the Din conversion would have been carried out correctly c) I was in a rush to miss the traffic on the bank holiday weekend - yes a stupid mistake and one which I learned from - but not to worry as I had by chance left one of my other regs in my toybox - Luckily I didnt have to abort the dive, and if I had I would have been gutted especially after the trip and  how much I had looked forward to it. To top it all off the guy charged me 57 quid for the inconvenience of it all.

The next available chance I had to visit the shop I took the 1st stage back...very miffed off - unfortunatly the guy in the shop was not the original fella I had handed my 1st stage into but when I raised it to his attention he agreed to have it checked again for me and called the service tech from the back to check it. Whilst he was in the back checking it I also made equiries into having 2 other regs serviced, I have just acquired 2 x Scubapro MK10s and on these I have 2 Oceanic omega IIs - Ok not an as bought from the shelf piece of kit but in my eyes a good combination of 1st and 2nd stage. I just wanted them fully serviced ready to go, but I ended  up in a long and lengthy conversation on how HSE regulations blah blah have increased and how they have to carry out full modifications on kit that is old to upgrade it , I was informed that they would service them seperatly but I would get them back in pieces and to top it off it would cost me 120 quid for both of them. Do any of you think this is slightly expensive ?? Ok maybe Im a bit dumb .. but Its been a long time since I got my regs serviced in Uk .. and to be quite honest dont think I will be again. I was also getting sick of the guy offering me an alternate deal on a brand new first stage for an extra 10 quid on top of the 120 he wanted for servicing, The actual cost of the service is 25 quid but he told me that they have to put new pistons in each 1st stage - this is mandatory throughout. This was very off putting - I know these guys have to make a living ... but this is one way of losing it...

Meanwhile the service tech came out from the back,, And I would just like to add at this point that it was not the original guy who said he would fit it, He openly stated that this had been bodged on and was the wrong one, the one that was on was for the MR22 which requires a considerably longer stem .. mmmm than the MR16....
Well to top it off I know have to wait another 2 weeks whilst they order the part from Mares, I had to listen to the guys HSE speal on the 2 1st stages and regs I took in and then get offered alternate 1st stages for an 130 quid (only 10 quid more than the service cost - oh and they would chuck a lifetime guarantee in with that and service one of my OmegaIIs free as a good will gesture - Not only that ,, If I wasnt aware of my own 1st stage kit and didnt notice or trusted them completely in what they did and dived on it,,, what would the implications have been. I know there are HSE regulations in place to cover the butts of the businesses that service our equipment, but what about HSE regulations protecting us. I believe this could have been avoided by a simple check of part numbers - or a phone call to Mares
Im a little bit sore about it because I think it could have endangered me , would like your opinions and advice on this and does anyone think that I should pursue this further not for my own sake but for others.

Adios all

Carl
 

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You've just put your finger on the reason why so many people want to be able to service their regulators themselves, instead of having to risk it being done by numpties at the dive shop


A lot of people I know just don't service their regs - they consider it unecesary and risky. A lot of others bypass the shops and send the regs back to the manufacturers themselves, just be be sure they get a proper job done on it. The other alternative is to put the money you would spend on yearly servicing aside somewhere, and buy new regulators every couple of years with the money you've saved.

99% of what dive shops tell you about HSE regs is unadulterated garbage, especially when it comes to regulator servicing & upgrading - they're very fond of quoting advisory guidelines as mandatory laws.

HSE regs are, incidentally, not there to "cover the butts of the businesses", they're exactly the opposite - they're there to prevent businesses from being able to put profit before safety.

I've had one regulator serviced, once, by a shop who I trusted to do it. I don't know that I'll bother doing it again - Someone in my club had an identical reg used on 100s of dives, Nitrox as well as air, never been serviced. Finally sent it in for one, asked about what condition it was in, was told it might have been brand new for the condition the O-rings etc were in.

You might want to consider going to http://www.airspeedpress.com and buying yourself the book about regulator servicing - they're publishers OF phenominally good diving books. Their divelight companion is frequently reffered to as "the bible" by the HID dive light yahoo group, and I've lost count of how many people have recommended their Oxygen handbook...

Even if you don't want to service your own regs, they tell you what the facts are about servicing and the like.

Bit of a rambling post, this, now I look back over it.. Oh well
If nothing else, ask other dive shops for their opinion. And consider asking the manufacturers as well.
 

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Hi Carl.

Dom beat me to it, I was also going to recommend airspeedpress. Get the Vance Harlow book, Scuba Regulator Maintenance and Repair, it has specific diagrams relating to 1st and 2 stages, not just generic info. Mail me offline for more info.

I don't trust anyone to service my kit. I know of dive shops who don't even carry out an O2 clean properly. I can give you some details offline relating to the law on this kind of stuff, don't know if you've heard of SITA or not?
For interest, I would pursue this because not everyone might be as vigilant/switched on as you and might not notice a mistake had been made. A recent-ish incident (last couple of years)where someone died in shallow water was found to be the fault of dodgy servicing/maintenance by the dive shop they took regs etc to. I see this kind of thing as a moral responsibility to fellow divers to eradicate shoddy maintenance standards. Attempting to charge you on top is outrageous. You could always advise them that you will be making the details public via dive magazines and websites if they don't compromise with you. As long as you state truth and facts then you are not committing libel.
 

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nice one ammers.. would be more than willing to accept further information on this that you have.. no have not heard of SITA and their guidlines .... let me know please ... as for general DV and 1ST Stage maint... yes ... thought I knew it after taking several pieces apart in my time, Like Andy, I like to know how things work and what they do....even sometimes putting myself in a situation where I have taken my kit apart and had to seek professional advice to re-assemble.. embarrassing at the time .. but worth it later...especially when Ive saved myself a bob or two ,  the fact of it is there are that many pieces of kit out on the market at the moment .. and the more advanced they get they get the more specific they get in the tools you need to strip and assemble them ... its not a case of diving in there with a couple of allen keys and a screwy anymore.... but then again is it.... at the end of the day you can provide general maint for your kit.. but you need at some point as us engineers refer to is 2nd line maintainence... this is what I expect when I put my kit in for an 100 percent overall ... its not like I want to buy a dodgy MOT cert to keep my Motor on the road... its like I want a ticket to say that my kit is 100 percent.. a guarantee and insurance for myself... but It seems I did not get that...and on advice I will pursue this further on the fact that I owe it to all .... I will keep you posted on the outcome .. at this moment I am waiting to receive the mentioned equipment back where I shall take it to another dive shop for verification that the work has been carried out correctly this time . The simple fact I have to do this for own peace of mind states something ...

I will not dive with a life support system that I know may be defective or bodged, this I will clearly state in my complaint. Thanks again for the advice,,, hope this post makes aware to all that there are Shops/service people out there that are willing to cut corners for our money, this should not be the case especially where lives are concerned.

Take care all

Divedog  
 
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