After paying more than a thousand dollars for our scuba regulator, we think it ends there, without considering that the regulator needs to be checked and maintained by Authorized Technicians from the respective brands. It is not difficult to go to Google, Facebook or Instagram and search for a dive centre or scuba diving shop that provides this service. But how do you know whether they are doing a good job in helping you maintain and service one of the most important equipment in your diving inventory, your scuba regulator!
So we decided to find out what are the common mistakes Singaporeans or Singapore based scuba divers made.
They are cheap so we went over to them
A very very common reason why divers make this mistake. Do not get us wrong, we kindda of like the idea of scuba divers making this mistake, as they generally will return to us to troubleshoot or for a re-servicing (Yes, I know we are evil to feel this way, and may God forgive us).
To avoid this mistake, there are a few things that you can ask. I have learned this the hard way as well as a motor car owner. Each time I bring my motor vehicle for inspection, it always comes back with more things that needed to be fixed. I am not sure if I am a bad owner or am I just unlucky. So I got so sick and tired of paying the unnecessary cost for servicing, I came up with a list of questions that I will ask the car mechanic before agreeing to service my car with them. Using that template, I am going to share with you what you should do before agreeing to the dive center that they can service the regulator for you.
CHECKLIST OF A PROPER REGULATOR SERVICING CENTRE
Asked them if you could actually view the service centre prior. We personally do not think it is rude for such questions, as a matter of fact, we encourage scuba divers to view our service centre. Every brand of regulators requires some form of specialized tools and if a dive shop advertises that they can service most brands, I will imagine they have an entire wall filled with tools. A few wrenches and gauges DO NOT constitute a wall of specialized tools. For instance, just for us to service Apeks Flights, there is a total of about 4 specialized tools for servicing Apeks Flight, and this is excluding the “common tools” of Apeks and other models. So you can imagine that our service centre wall of tools is jammed with tools.
Availability of Service Kits or Maintenance Kits – Any prudent dive shop that claims that they are able to service most brands of regulators, you will be able to see their inventory of service parts all over their regulator servicing counter. A typical regulator like Scubapro Mk25, S600 with a R195 Octopus complete regulator will need three separate Scubapro Maintenance Kits.
This point is new. I added it about 6 months ago after witnessing a Scubapro regulator being damaged by a local dive shop without a proper workbench. When I was attending a workshop on how to service regulators 20 years ago, I remembered the technician commenting “You should always have a workbench made of solid wood or metal, and not one of those cheap tables from Ikea.” I never paid much attention to it and of course, I never did really like Ikea tables, to begin with. The logic is quite simple, most scuba divers are guilty of not performing their own maintenance routines on their regulators and by the time it comes to a technician, it might be crusted with salt deposition. To open such a regulator, we need a very good vice that is mounted firmly on a stable table. If not, accidental damages can occur.
With popular websites like Tao Bao, Lazada, Alibaba, many dive shop are resorting to buying ultrasonic cleaner meant for jewelry to attempt to clean and service your precious regulator. If you see one of those small jewelry ultrasonic cleaners, turn around and run, please.
is there really a one stop servicing centre for all brands?
This is a tough question to answer. But in theory, it is possible but the setup cost will be really huge and there might not be a ROI for it. For instance, Orpheus Dive keeps every single moving part (not just maintenance or service kits from the different manufacturers) of every model of Atomic Aquatics, Scubapro and Apeks Regulators.
We have chosen to specialize in these three brands as they are the most common brands of regulators. We are slowly adding more inventory to our Aqua Lung collection since 2018 as we see more and more of overseas customers with Aqualung regulators coming to our store.
For Mares and Cressi regulators, we generally only keep their maintenance kits as we no longer see much of these two brands of regulators.
I personally do not think that there is one dive centre that can stock and service all brands of regulators. Orpheus Dive has stayed very focus on a few selected brands.