What is the best way to determine equipment size and fit?
“XS Scuba provides wetsuit, BC and fin size charts on this website to assist with the proper fit. However, due to body shape variations, it is recommended that the item be tried on at your local XS Scuba Dealer before making your final purchase.”
How do I get technical assistance on a product?
“When seeking technical assistance we always recommend speaking with the XS Scuba dealer whom you purchased the product from, or feel free to send us an email at email@example.com and we will be glad to help you with any assistance that is necessary.”
Are XS Scuba Regulators compatible with nitrox?
XS Scuba regulators have been prepared for use with enriched air nitrox (EAN) where the oxygen percentage does not exceed 40% (EAN40).This is because the regulators are built to a high standard of cleanliness using EAN compatible parts and lubricant. If it is your intention to use your new XS Scuba regulator with EAN up to 40%O2, it is critical that you maintain the internal cleanliness of your regulator (see section on Care and Maintenance in the owner’s manual). If it is your intention to use your regulator interchangeably with breathing air, the breathing air should be “oxygen-compatible” or “hyper-filtered” whereas the condensed hydrocarbons in the air do not exceed 0.1mg/m3. Your local XS Scuba Dealer can help you determine whether the breathing air they provide meets this criterion. Standard compressed breathing air, often referred to as “Grade E” does not necessarily meet this criterion. Grade E breathing air may contain certain levels of hydrocarbons, including traces of compressor oils, that while not considered harmful to breathe, can pose a risk in the presence of elevated oxygen content. Passing hydrocarbons through a valve and regulator creates a cumulative effect where the hydrocarbons build up over time along the internal passageways of the equipment. When these hydrocarbons come in contact with high pressure oxygen enriched air, they can pose a very real hazard that can lead to combustion. Therefore, if a regulator has been used with Grade E breathing air, it should receive overhaul service, including hydrocarbon cleaning, prior to being put back into nitrox service. Although second stage components are not subjected to high pressure EAN, XS Scuba recommends that the same guidelines apply.
My regulator was breathing fine at the surface but got hard to breathe or stopped working at depth. Why?
This is caused from a restriction in the air passageway. Air at or near the surface is less dense than the air we breathe at depth. The less dense air flows past the restriction while the dense air at depth is unable to. The restriction is most likely caused by one of these two things:
- The cylinder valve is not opened all of the way.
- The regulator filter is partially clogged. This happens because of corrosion and particulate matter located in the cylinder. If the filter is partially clogged you must take the regulator and the cylinder in for service. If you were not using your personal cylinder it is very important that you notify the owner of the cylinder to have it internally inspected and to make sure that the valve has a dip tube in place.
Miflex Braided Hoses
I read a DAN article recently about braided hoses degrading, causing internal crystals to block the air passageway. Are Miflex hoses, that XS Scuba distributes, subject to this degradation?
Answer from Miflex: We confirm that Miflex has been actively involved with DAN to discuss and offer advice on the inspection process for diving hoses, in a very positive manner. Please note that all Miflex hoses carry the full company marking and required data on the fittings, as required by EN250. Additionally in the packaging of every Miflex hose (LP & HP) we supply Miflex user information for use, inspection & warranty details. This is unlike the majority of manufacturers of diving hoses. No hoses with laser markings showed disintegration problems.
DAN requested Miflex’s advice on the lifespan for diving hoses, and although Miflex advised that their hoses typically have a higher lifespan than other styles of hoses, they would recommend that hoses are actively reviewed for replacement every 5 years (typically circa 500 dives). This is also the standard adopted by most major diving equipment manufacturers as a time for sensible review & potential replacement. Miflex is pleased that DAN has provided a positive report to assist divers with advice on how to inspect their hoses and look for signs of age and damage, as is prudent to do for all diving equipment prior to use.
Knives and FogCutters
My knife / FogCutter blade is made of stainless steel. Why is there rust or corrosion on the blade?
- The first fact that you have to come to terms with is that stainless steel can and does corrode. Yes, you read it right!
- The irony is that the higher the quality of stainless, the more it is likely to corrode. It all has to do with the carbon content in the steel.
- The tradeoff here is that less carbon means less corrosion. Less carbon also means a softer steel, one that will not hold an edge or stay sharp for long.
- The lesser expensive dive knives have blades made of 304 stainless. These have the least amount of carbon and therefore have the best resistance to corrosion. If you are not good at taking care of your dive knife, if you don’t rinse it each and every dive, then you should have a blade made of 304 stainless. You should never pry with a 304 blade as it can bend rather easily.
- Moving up in price, you find blades made of 420 stainless. 420 stainless will corrode, especially around serrations and line notch cutters. Fogcutter knives have 420 ss blades. These knives MUST be removed from their sheaths, rinsed in fresh water and dried after each dive outing. If you leave them in their sheaths without rinsing, you will be disappointed the next time that you go to use them. On the positive side, it is harder than a 304 ss. While it is more difficult to sharpen, it will hold its edge for much longer than a 304.
- Moving up in price again, you get to the 440 ss blades. These are the best at holding a sharp edge for a long time. Even after rinsing and drying, it is common to see rust on them, especially around serrations and line notch cutters. The rust is best removed with steel wool.
What’s the best way to remove rust and corrosion from my FogCutter or Dive knife blade?
After rinsing and drying thoroughly, remove the corrosion with steel wool.
How do I keep my mask from fogging up when I dive / snorkel?
Prior to First Dive
When the mask is new, prior to the first dive, it must get thoroughly cleaned. A film forms on the glass during the manufacturing process. This film must get removed before any of the commercial de-fogs or saliva will work.
Uncoated lenses - scrub the inside of the lens(es) with toothpaste and your finger. It is better to use a traditional paste rather than a gel. Put a dab on the inside lens and scrub aggressively with your finger. Be sure to get the edges and the corners. Rinse out the toothpaste. Hold the clean lens under running water between your thumb and forefinger. When you rub your thumb over the glass, it should squeak. If it doesn’t, clean it some more.
Coated lenses - Do not use toothpaste on lenses with specialized or mirrored coatings. On these masks, just scrub the inside thoroughly with mild dish soap and water. Subsequent Dives
Prior to the dive rub saliva or a commercial defog product over the inside of the lens(es). Rinse thoroughly.
Once the mask is on your face, you must fight the urge to exhale out of your nose. Become a mouth-breather. Exhaling out of your nose is one of the leading causes of fogging.
How exactly do the filters work?
- One of the misconceptions about the filters is that divers think that they add color. “If I look through the red filter, everything will be more red”. Actually, just the opposite is true!
- The various filters actually subtract certain wavelengths of light. For example, red is opposite of blue on the color wheel (from high school physics). A red filter actually removes certain wavelengths of blue light. The problem with underwater viewing is that there is too much blue light. While diving in blue water, if we add a red filter, we remove much of the blue light. This allows the warm colors, e.g. reds, yellows and oranges, to become much more pronounced and vibrant. The improvement is spectacular.
- Likewise, magenta is opposite green on the color wheel. When diving in green water, add the magenta filter and like magic, the green water turns blue! The effect is wonderful and results in a much more pleasant dive.
Which type of cylinder should I get, aluminum or steel?
As with many choices in life, there are pros and cons to each. We list some of the more common ones here and then you’ll need to consult with your local store or your instructor to determine which is best for you.
- Less expensive than the steel
- While they can corrode if moisture gets in them, it is way less severe than if you get moisture in a steel cylinder, which can rust.
- They come in many colors and finishes
- They are more buoyant than steel cylinders. A common aluminum 80 cu. Ft. cylinder can go from almost 2 lbs negative when full to a positive 3.5 lbs when it reaches 500 psi. That is over a 5 lb swing in buoyancy. You will need additional lead weight to compensate for this.
- They are larger than a similar capacity steel tank and often times heavier too.
- You get more gas in a smaller package. They are usually shorter and often weigh less than a comparable capacity aluminum cylinder
- They are less buoyant which means you can carry less lead weight on your dive!
- They can rust on the inside and the outside if they are not properly cared for
- They are more expensive than their aluminum counterparts
Twin Cylinder Bands - While installing my new tank bands, the nut seized on to the bolt. Why did this happen? How can I prevent it?
This is actually two questions but we’re feeling generous today! Thread galling is a common, yet seldom understood problem with threaded fasteners. Galling, often referred to as a cold-welding process, can occur when the surfaces of male and female threads are placed under pressure. The frustrating aspect of fastener galling is that galled nuts and bolts may pass all required inspections (threads, material, mechanical, etc.), yet they still fail to function together. Stainless steel fasteners are particularly susceptible to thread galling. During the tightening of the fastener, pressure builds between the contacting thread surfaces and breaks down the protective oxide coatings. With the absence of the oxide coating, the metal high points of the threads are exposed to one another, which increases friction. The combination of these two events can generate enough heat to fuse and seize the nut and bolt together. Minor galling may cause only slight damage to the thread surface and the installer may still be able to remove the fastener. However, in severe cases galling can completely weld the nut and bolt together and prevent removal of the fastener. If the tightening process is continued once galling begins, the fastener may be twisted off or have its threads stripped. Unfortunately, even with an understanding of the mechanism of galling, little is known on how to successfully control it. However, galling can be minimized with the following measures:
- Clean the nuts and bolts
- Scrub the threads with a toothbrush and detergent. Rinse thoroughly. Make sure that there is no visible debris.
- Use the hex nuts rather than the nylon insert locknuts (Nylok nuts).
- The most common stainless steel galling occurs with nylon insert lock nuts. We only include them in the kit to keep some of the old-timers from complaining.
- Use a lubricant
- The best lubricant for this job is a molybdenum (moly) disulfide. These lubricants are readily available at most hardware and auto parts stores.
- The most common household option is 3-in-1 Oil
- Apply the lubricant to the bolt threads ahead of the nut
- Go slowly
- The idea is to try to prevent the buildup of heat
- When installing, you may want to try rotating the nut on 3 revolutions then back one, etc. You must do likewise during removal of the nuts too.