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I figured that the best way of making sure you can fix something when it goes wrong is to be able to take it apart and put it back together again.

But I'm too much of a chicken to start in on my own regulators without a bit of practice first..

So for the grand sum of £20, I bought a clapped-out old set of regs off ebay, a few weeks ago - only has two LP ports, and the HP port is the same size as the LPs.

Last night, I finally got around to taking tools to it.

Two adjustable spanners, some pliers, and a swiss army knife later, and I'm done.

My God, regulators are simple things!

Okay, it's an unbalanced piston first stage and a classic downstream second - about the simplest regulator type in existence.

But even so... it only had three O-rings in the entire first stage. No specialised tools necessary. And no instruction manual either, it was so obvious how it all worked.

No wonder shops try and build up the mystique about "Don't try and work on regs yourself, they're hideously complicated" - if anyone actually looks, they'll wonder how anybody can charge £30 for a reg service...

I almost feel ready to start breaking up my TX100...
 

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Dom

You are the typical british shopper.

"anyone actually looks, they'll wonder how anybody can charge £30 for a reg service..."

I have my own computer business, and we get people like you in every day, its not the building of the computer that is hard (my daughter is nearly 3 months old and has built her first
 ), its the time taken and the knowledge over heads.vat, tax ,insurance...........

It may be three "o" rings and a nut, do you know how much it costs for an ultrasonic cleaner ? testing panell, ETC.

Stop moaning and leave it to the experts


Simon
)
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]You are the typical british shopper.
Nicest thing anyone's said to me all day

[b said:
Quote[/b] ](my daughter is nearly 3 months old and has built her first)
Pfft. I bet it's Microsoft

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]do you know how much it costs for an ultrasonic cleaner ?
Yes. I also know you don't actually need one, tho they are nice to have..

But hey, I never actually raised any objection to the prices they charge, if you look. It was purely reinforcing my point that there's a world of difference between the image of a reg that dive shops put across (massively complex, don't even look, it's beyond you mere mortals) and what they really are (one moving part and a few O rings)

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Stop moaning and leave it to the experts
Where's the fun in that?

Who's moaning?
"The bastards won't sell me the parts to do a service" would be a moan. "The bastards over-charge me" would be a moan. "It makes you wonder" is not by any definition a moan.
Besides, since when did attending an unfailable course make someone an expert..?

FWIW, I could easily get my regs serviced cheaper that the £30 I currently get them done for when I send them in for their annual service (Which they've had every year since I bought them). I don't because the shop that charges it does a good job of it and I consider it worth the price. They've never yet had any complaints from me, especially about the prices they charge.

I've had to endure a lot of bitching off them often enough, tho. Especially when I've taken in cylinders to be filled that they know I bought from somebody other than them. You want to pi$$ them off, just mention that you're going to the next dive show and watch them burst into flame.

But then, you know all about that attitude, I'm sure, your post being a perfect example of a typical british shop-owner complaining about bad customer attitudes...

Ciao
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Dominic @ Aug. 04 2003,11:19)]Besides, since when did attending an unfailable course make someone an expert..?
Padi Open Water?  
 

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Smart-arse
 

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<font color='#728FCE'>I've had to service regs whilst working as an instructor, and as an ex RAF vehicle technician they are easy things to service. But with all things in life someone has to make a living, this is why the UK is becoming more of a massive service industry.

If the cost of getting your gear serviced bothers you, consider your car, do you service it and do the MOT. As yet there is no mandatory requirement to get your kit serviced, so be happy to play.

And now the punchline, it is life support equipment!
 

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I've done two service technician courses, both run by the manufacturesrs in question. Guess what I learned - nothing. A few hours pulling them apart and putting them back together is all a qualified service technician has in terms of expertise. The tools needed are minimal, simple and cheap. And it really is very, very easy to service a regulator. Actually I did learn that ultra posh regs share the same cheap materials and poor build quality as the cheapo ones, and share  most of the same components. If you've never looked you might be surprised at how flimsy and cheap the components of say an apeks atx200 are co mpared to an old spiro. But then they are shiny and cool.
 

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I've thought about servicing my regs as well but decided it wasn't worth it for me.  Over here in the US if you get your regs serviced by a qualified tech every year, you get the parts for free.  Now I know that's not much, but since I can't find the parts anywhere, I really don't have much of a choice.  My regs are older Aqua-lung conshelf regs.

Anyway, the labor really isn't that much so I decided to forgo doing any of my own reg. service work.

With that being said.... I did locate a copy of a service manual for my regs so maybe I'll just tune them a little...

Tony
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (kramynot2000 @ Aug. 04 2003,14:18)]I've thought about servicing my regs as well but decided it wasn't worth it for me.  Over here in the US if you get your regs serviced by a qualified tech every year, you get the parts for free.  Now I know that's not much, but since I can't find the parts anywhere, I really don't have much of a choice.  My regs are older Aqua-lung conshelf regs.

Anyway, the labor really isn't that much so I decided to forgo doing any of my own reg. service work.

With that being said.... I did locate a copy of a service manual for my regs so maybe I'll just tune them a little...

Tony
"Parts are cheap, it is the labour that is expensive"

This is an actual quote from a dive store opening in the Southwest.

They are looking to offer "Free servicing for the life of any equipment purchased from them for the duration of the original ownership".

Value added service?     YES

There is much moaning in the retail industry about the internet business ruining the local dive shop industry.    Sorry but that's competition.  I don't mind paying a bit more at a local dive shop if they are offering additional value to the sale but gone are the days when I will let them take the piss on their prices for no additional benefit.

Daz
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]since I can't find the parts anywhere
Nor can anyone else, usually - shops won't sell them to you because you aren't qualified, but only dive shop employees can get trained. Convenient, huh?

You can get them from Germany, where it's illegal not to sell spares - let's hope that appears in EU legislation, would stop a lot of threads on UKRS


But in all honesty, new parts aren't often needed - There are regs in my club which are probably older than I am but have never had a service, and work absolutely fine. And many spares can be had from other sources - O-rings are certainly available from all kinds of places.

However, I'm not worried about getting parts so I can service regs - they don't really need it. I just want them so that if one breaks when I'm on a dive trip, I can fix it myself. And I got those parts in a little plastic bag when I got them serviced. Filter, HP seat, the lot. They might've been used for a year, but they're still pristine, and they'll let me fix anything that goes wrong.

Imagine how sick you'd feel if you went on a week-long liveaboard trip but couldn't dive because your reg broke and you couldn't get a spare..

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]There is much moaning in the retail industry about the internet business ruining the local dive shop industry
There's much moaning in my local dive shop of dive shows and other shops ruining the local dive shop industry.
When I bought a pony cylinder at a show and took it to the shop to be filled, the bloke there was on the verge of refusing to fill it because it might be a dodgy tank. And even when he agreed to fill it, I spent about quarter of an hour listening to a tirade about customers crippling dive shops by buying from other places.
But it wasn't until the Compressor debate that I decided they'd lost me as a customer...
 

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I went through a period of giving my dive shop the chance to make me an offer on gear I was thnking of buying elsewhere.  usually they wouldn't.  Now I don't ask, I just get it elsewhere.  Places like Go Dive and Online Scuba are little LDSs, but with the nouse to do internet business.  I have been to both shops "in the flesh" and found the proprietors very helpful (and generous) in a way that my LDS hasn't been.

The world is alot smaller and some places need to buck up and realise it.  I'm with Daz on the"value added" vibe!!

Lou
 

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The only problem with the above, very valid, arguments is getting fills. Providing air fills is a non-profit endeavor- comprssors cost a fortune to buy, maintain and run and then add qualified personnel, insurance etc. Fills are a service provided to divers. If everyone stops buying kit at the local lds, and they fold then where the hell are we going to get air? Clubs I suppose but then what about 300 bar, nitrox, cylinder servicing, repairs etc.
 

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Stoney does air fills as does Wraysbury, if they didnt and I couldnt get my tanks filled there how long would these places stay in business. If I want a second dive at Stoney they have to fill my tanks else I dont dive and there's no way I'm trundling up the M1 at silly o clock for ONE dive. Other dive sites would also become less attractive if they didnt offer fills. I am not going to be blackmailed into getting fills at my local shop so they can charge extra for kit or let them give me 'attitude' about where I might have bought some of my kit on the pretext I cant get it elsewhere - yes I can and do.
Air fills might be a service but how many times do you go and get air and air alone. I think they call it a loss-leader.

Matt
 

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Such as Go-Dive, who do free air. OK, I take the piss with it a bit going in for air alone, but where am I about to take a mate who needs a twinset buying? Where do I phone when I need a part for this, that or the other, and where am I trying to convince my club we should be buying all of our kit?

The cost of the compressors and all the rest of it is covered by the price of the fill, just about. It might not make a profit, but I'd be extremely surprised if they were making much of a loss, too. It's the little things. LDSs need to realise that they just aren't going to compete over big items that they cannot stock many of, and that they can't really compete with the big players on. They already have a selling point, they're local. So why don't they stock hard to find, yet relatively cheap items? Things that you'd go in there and think "that's a really good idea" and buy, or that it's just not worth getting elsewhere.

SDS for me are case and point. They might well have the internet thing up and going, and can offer some competitive prices, but it's their latching system that I think is the real money-maker. And customising twinsets that customers want funny mods doing to them. Whatever else happens, they're going to sell those sets, as they've got a good product which works. Selling other people's gear is all well and good, but doesn't seem to be the future for the LDS. If they put the price up on air, fine. I'll save my money by buying my equipment elsewhere.

I suppose most of this has come about because I've never had great service from a LDS. Never had to rely upon them, as there's plenty of others around, and they're all very accommodating for my needs. If you have to tell customers they should be loyal to your business, you're doing something wrong. They shouldn't need telling. They should want to buy from you, even if it's a bit steeper.
 

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Yep I've heard this old story before about where would we get air,

I have heard tell of one shop phoning all of the other shops in the area and telling them to put the price of their air fills up just because they wanted to increase their prices.  And they did  
  Office of fair trading ?

I will get my air from the sites I dive, who seem to manage pretty well on just air fills and still charge less than the LDS's in my area.  

Or I will get my air from the dive shops that are willing to offer value added service and offers a realistic competitive price.

OK I accept that if I buy over the internet and anything goes wrong I could get stiffed for return postage but I am willing to accept like for like service from a LDS who is willing to try to compete and I would even pay a small premium for their help and advice.  

The problem is many dive shops seem pretty greedy and take advantage of naive individuals by charging them upto 50% over what you could get it on the internet...  Sorry but that is taking the piss and even worse are the ones who's advice is focussed totally on the stock they keep and do not really care whether it is the kit you actually need.  

Daz
 

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I'm firmly in Dom's court, and agree with Daz and everyone else about the servicing.

I have always got my car serviced by a garage - I do check out the prices and go for the cheapest garage but I get them to do it because for the hassle and for their knowledge I'll pay over and above the price of the parts.

HOWEVER, I've been on Dole Patrol for eight months, and as anyone will tell you, I'm now as tight as a tight person when it comes to cash.  So guess what?  This year, I bought a manual, popped into Halfords and did it all myself for a quarter of the price.  Why?  Because I had the fr*gging option to!  And that, I think, is Dom's point - we don't have the option and we should.  If anyone has an APEKS service manual for an ATX40/50 by the way, then I'd be very interested.  Likewise, if anyone has a source for servicing parts.


Oh, and the life-support theory.  Anyone who has seen me drive will understand that my brake pads are as much life-support as my regs - and I changed them too!


The computer shop analogy doesn't work I'm afraid - yes you are paying someone for their knowledge, but actively preventing people from acquiring and using that knowledge is the point here.  It wasn't so long ago that PCs had "warranty void if label removed" on the case to stop people from maintaining/upgrading their own computers.  And quite rightly, the customer complained that this was unfair and the practice was dropped.  Did PC World go out of business?  No, because there are enough people who don't know enough, aren't confident enough or don't care enough about fiddling with the guts of their computer.  For the rest of us, they sell the bits and we fiddle to our heart's content.

The "Dive Shop isn't a charity" bleating is also bogus.  Good businessmen price to what the market will bear, not what the product or service is worth.  So, dive shops are at liberty to add a huge mark-up to catch those who are ignorant, affluent, or have lost a fin/torch/computer and will pay over the odds rather than risk missing the dive.  We as customers are at liberty to get best value for money and buy elsewhere.  The dive market must and will change to reflect this - airfill prices will go up, services we can't live without (servicing, boat trips,training, gas) will go up and lots of dive shops who don't recognise this will go out of business, if they haven't already.

Some of us will make our own gear, buy on the internet or at dive shows, buy our own boats and skip unnecessary training.  We are not the target market for dive shops and they should recognise this - and there really aren't that many of us to worry about anyway.   But we will pay for things we can't do by ourselves, and this is where they can score.  So getting huffy about filling tins bought elsewhere is childish and unrealistic - I had the same tosh and can sympathise.  If they are nice and helpful, we will be back more often.  And a lot of a little is still a lot.

Blimey!  I didn't notice that soapbox - is this what Americans call "issues"??!!!  
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>How many of you would chuckle and perhaps scoff at the motorist by the side of the road with a flat waiting for the rescue service? As with cars, computers, home plumbing, etc it's a good idea to have a working knowledge of the kit you are using, especially when "... it is life support equip... " (Chris Hall)
Being aware means you can discuss your probs in detail with the service guy, if you use one, and he will know you know what he knows, and you will know he knows you know
 Most importantly it is essential, not just to be able to strip and rebuild but, to have the experience and knowledge to identify parts which require replacement.  Manufacturers generally, would not as a rule advocate re use of servicable parts ("o" rings gaskets etc) It is always easier to suggest total replacement, as this allows for a reduced skill level requirement of the so called "Technician".  However, in this case I wouldn't advocate skimping on live support equipment, but to know whats involved must be a good thing.

Cheers
 

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Where would I get fills with no dive shop?

Same place I already do - my club hut. We can do 300 bar fills and recently got clean air installed as well. £10 a year for all the clean air fills I want. On the downside, I'm one of the few compressor operators who bothers to turn up, so I tend to get stuck with doing the fills.

Shops bitching about how little money they make on air & nitrox is something that really gets on my nerves - they HAVE to have a computer to run their diving courses, and they'd make a huge loss on it if it weren't for us subsidising the running costs. They should thank us for turning their huge loss-maker into a small profit-maker, instead of moaning about how little they make.

My local dive shop offers me nothing I can't get elsewhere for less money, so I don't really care if they stay in business or not. And there's ever-increasing numbers of divers with much the same attitude - the industry has been lording it over the divers so long, we'd rather pay extra money to do it our way than get them to do it for us.

So when we find a way of doing it that's CHEAPER, your dive shop has to REALLY offer something special. I'm not interested in subsidising my local shop - I don't have money to throw away, I'll buy from wherever I can get the best deal. And that doesn't necessarily mean the cheapest option.

Anyway, rant over..

Md - I have service manuals for Apeks 1st and 2nd stages. I know exactly where the paper copies are. I'll see if I can dig out the elctronic copies if you like..?
 
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