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How long are scuba tanks good for?

November 7 2006 at 5:27 AM
Keith  (Login kmccoy)

I've seen a few on ebay that were made in the 70's and evn some made in the 60's. Would these still be usable?

Keith in West Virginia

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Mike Z Red
(Login MikeZRed)

There's a cornucopia of things that effect the usable age of a scuba tank. It is

November 7 2006, 6:02 AM 

entirely possible that a tank from the 60s or 70s is still usable. I believe one of my tanks that is still good is from the mid to late 70s.

A scuba tank must be visually inspected annually, and must be hydrostatically tested every 5 years.

I would suggest that you have the seller send you images of the hydrostat sticker(s) to verify the last time the tank(s) were hydrostated.

As a scuba diver, I personally would not buy a tank, no matter how old/new it was, that was not hydrostated in the last six months, 1 year at most. Scuba tanks can be very dangerous, and anyone selling one should, IMNHO, extend the common courtesy of making sure the item they are selling is safe for the buyer.

Hope this helps.

The hydrostat is an interesting test. They take the tank's inner volume, and force 120% of that volume of water into the tank (water doesn't compress like a gas, so the tank has to expand). Then they measure the deflection (aka swelling) of the tank and make sure it's within limits for the given tank. All of this after a thorough visual inspection of the inside of the tank and especially the threads.

Once it's broke, it stays broke until somebody fixes it.

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(Login v_i_n_c11)

Good post Mike. I agree on everythin u said. However, regarding PCP air reservoirs...

November 7 2006, 10:21 AM 

...as far as I know, once every 10 years its a fair time period to have your gun's steel tank/tube hydro tested (and if properly maintainted/tested, it can last for a lifetime). However, when the tank/tube is aluminium, then it has a life span of about 15 years and has to be discarded after its expiry date.

P.S.  PCP air tubes are not required by DOT to be hydro tested but in Europe, 400-500cc buddy bottles they do require now a proper hydro test.



This message has been edited by v_i_n_c11 on Nov 7, 2006 10:28 AM

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(Login CVanMeter)

Mike, you may know more about this....

November 7 2006, 12:03 PM 

Couple weeks ago, they wanted to do the annual "visual test" on one of my tanks. First time I got to sit and watch the process. When he was looking into the tank, I asked him if he was looking for cracks and such. He said no, but for build up of oxidization ??? As an electrician, I understand how alluminum wire oxidizes and produces something of a powdery film. Is is an issue resperatory saftey that they are concerned about??

"If you can't find the answers your seeking, change your question"

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(Login RLT59)

There are some old tanks you want to stay away from

November 7 2006, 7:24 PM 

Luxfer 6351-T6 aluminum tanks have had some problems.

I didn't know when I got my 3000 PSI tank that it was on
the 'watch' list! But, it had just been tested and
I only payed $50 for it..

I have a steel tank purchased in 1968 that is still good.
It's been a while since it's been in for testing, but
I'm pretty sure it would still pass. But, not worth
the money for only 2350 PSI..


Remember the Alamo!

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