Faber 3 Ltr 300 Bar Cylinder
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Review of "Faber 3 Ltr 300 Bar Cylinder"
A dive cylinder is probably the most important, yet overlooked pieces of diving equipment. It's purpose is to hold compressed air to allow you to breath underwater and to provide a method for supplying this air to you.
About Dive CylindersDive cylinders are pretty standard pieces of equipment, however there are a few options and differences between makes. These are not particularly important to a newbie diver, but with experience you start to know what you like and want to get equipment that will fit with your existing set up.
Dive cylinders come in standard sizes. The main sizes available are 10L, 12L and 15L. Obviously the larger the volume the larger the cylinder and the heavier it is. A smaller person can struggle using a 15L and a larger person will hardly get their head wet before running out of air using a 10L.The second choice is whether to use an aluminium or steel cylinder. Aluminium is lighter, however it is weaker and therefore the walls need to be thicker making the cylinder more bulky. As the aluminium is lighter, the cylinder weight as you work through your air will change more and makes controlling your level slightly harder throughout a dive. Aluminium also corrodes less in seawater.
Lastly you can choose the valve type at the top of the cylinder for connecting to your first stage regulator (the bit you breathe through). The standard fittings are A-clamp where the regulator clamps onto the valve or DIN where the regulator uses a screw thread to attach to the valve.
The Faber 15L CylinderSO, after wading through all the choices above, I opted for the 15L steel cylinder made by Faber. I chose this based on the more constant weight throughout a dive and the fact that my bouyancy would vary less and therfore require less adjustment and fiddling about underwater.
The cylinder can be used as a single cylinder or twinned using a duel cylinder set up for really lnog dives (although I haven;t tried this as one is heavy enough!)The Faber cylinder is designed to the relevant UK design codes (BS EN 144 in the UK with a CE stamp) and can take a pressure of 232 bar (some cylinders go to 300bar). It is marked with all the required information including the working pressure, serial number, manufacturer, metal type and test date (more to come on testing).
The cylinder is painted white with black and white quaterred patern at the top. This is the international symbol for breathing air or nitrox (nitrogen enriched air).I opted for an A-clamp valve at the top (although to be honest, an adaptor can be bought for a few pounds to DIN so it isn;t that important)
The cylinder somes with a boot (check as this is not always the case and you'll need one) which is the rubber section at the botttom of the cylinder. This really just provides some stability for standing the cylinder on one end and a little protection against bumps.I bought the cylinder from a local dive shop (Amphibian sports in West Norwood - Highly recommended) and it was ordered in on the week of it's test date to give me the maximum life before a test is required. For safety and to meet design codes European Union countries require a visual inspection every 2.5 years, and a hydrostatic every five years. A dive shop would be very unlikley to refill your air without a stamp showing that the cylinder is in test (They used to return them with a hole drilled through the side).
In UseIt's impossible to say how long the air in a 15L faber cylinder will last as this is determined by lots of factors including how deep you go, how much you breath, your weight, your fitness, are you a smoker, how cold is it, are you swimming or drifting with the current......and endless other things. With experience you can estimate how long it will give you and I have never run out of air so far!
There aren;t many working parts to review really, but I can say that the valve is easy to operate using the valve handle which is grooved for grip and I haven;t had any leakage between my regulator and the valve.I've had my 15L cylinder for 2 years and apart from a few minor scrathes to the paint it hasn;t shown any signs of corrosion.
I may have adapted to the cylinder, but I find it easy to maintain my level when weighted correctly underwater.The one weakness is that it doesn't come with a carrying handle and as it is quite heavy can be hard to carry using the valve as a handle. I bought a screw on handle for about £10 which rews around the neck of the cylinder and makes lugging gear about a lot easier!
I paid around £160 for my Cylinder from Aphibian sports in West Norwood, which is a very good deal. They seem to be available online for around £175, but beware that delivery charges will be high! This is a reasonable price and doesn't vary by brand much at all.
Care of the CylinderI thought I would add a few notes on care of the cylinder for anyone who might have or be looking at buying one.
Firstly, wash it off in fresh water after a dive in the sea or pool. This will stop the valve and bottle corroding.Secondly, when in use store horizontally. If it falls over and the valve breaks it will get messy. When not in use store with a small pressure of air in it. It can be stored vertical if secured so that the side lying on the garage floor doesn't corrode.
Lastly, get the vave serviced every few years. Don't try and do this yourself unless you are a valve expert as you are are relying on it working again underwater!
SummaryFaber are well known and probably the biggest supplier of dive cylinders in the UK. The cylinder meets all codes and has lasted well. It's well priced and a good choice.
Product Information : Faber 3 Ltr 300 Bar Cylinder
Manufacturer's product descriptionScuba Tanks
Long Name: 3 Ltr 300 Bar Cylinder
Genre: Scuba Diving
Type: Scuba Tanks
Listed on Ciao since: 19/11/2005