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Killer Kat 02-01-2002 04:53 AM

Do it yourselves Fill Stations (Part 1 Scuba's)
 
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This is for HPA or Nitrogen users only.

WARNING!
It's important that you use common sense, and safety at all times. Have your hydrostatic testing done on their rountine basis!

I left the world of CO2 behind for a couple of reasons (cost and convenience) not to mention the better consistency I was told I'd get by going to HPA. So with that in mind I set out to get my own fill station.

First place I went was a Scuba diving shop and looked into the price of scuba tanks. I found both used (white one)and new (the yellow one)available at fair prices. With the purchase of a tank most shops will offer 1 free fill, I inquired about additional fills, the shop owner told me I could buy a punch card, that would allow me 20 fills. So I signed up.

Now "why two tanks?" you ask. Well what I've been told (and the method I've followed since) is that the first scuba tank fills the majority of your guns tank, and the second tank tops it off. That way the second tank uses less of its air. Once the first tanks has done about 8 fills (on a 68ci tank) it's pretty tired and ready to be refilled. So off to the scuba shop re-fill it and now it becomes the top off or #2 tank, and the other becomes the first fill.

The pic is what the tanks look like.

Killer Kat 02-01-2002 04:54 AM

Another Angle - Fill station valves
 
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Keep in mind you need to purchace scuba fill station valves like the ones shown in the picture too.

Killer Kat 02-01-2002 06:12 AM

Part 2 The Big Boys Full Size Tanks
 
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Once again safety first! Regular inspection of your tank is and can be a life saving measure. Always check your hydro dates and maintain those inspections too!
If you have the ability to rent a full size tank, do it! They come right to your door an a big truck (based on your usage or consumption of air/nitrogen). Once you've got the tank all ya need is a regulator and a couple shut off valves a gauge, and a npt fitting.

In this picture you see the entire station, the reg's coming off the tank, right under the reg is the bled (bottom yellow handled shut off valve) valve. Above the reg is the tank gauge and the tanks on/ off valve. And the all important npt fitting.

Killer Kat 02-01-2002 06:14 AM

The NPT
 
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Without this you outta luck!

Killer Kat 11-25-2002 08:44 AM

F.S.Q. Faq Filling Station Questions
 
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Recently Intelliphreak PM'ed me and asked about Scuba Tanks (I've got three) and Filling stations. We agreed there might be questions others here would be asking so we've decided to start a thread for just that.


Scuba tanks can be a great way to fill your nitro or HPA tanks if you decide to get away from C02. Scuba tanks hold 80 cubic feet of compressed air and they can range in the 80 to 100 dollar range for used, and 140 & up for new. Keep in mind that scuba tanks need to be hydro tested just like a H.P.A or nitro tank for your marker, they also require a visual each time thet are re-filled.

I bought all three of mine from a shop outta Buffalo www.Aquasportz.com where they also sold me a refill card. (It's kindda like a lunch ticket, 10 refills for 35 bucks plus tax, and 20 refills for 55 bucks plus tax) each time I get my tanks refilled they punch my ticket.

What I do with my tanks is called cascade filling. I fill my 'geddon 68 all the way up off the first scuba tank, then I move to the second scuba and "top off" the 'geddon, and finally to the third scuba tank and finish topping off. Once I've gotten to (after 10 to 12 fills) about a 1000 to 1200lbs fill off the first scuba tank, I'll take it in to get it refilled and put it at the end of the line in my cascading order.

Filling stations, In order to fill off a scuba tank you will need a filling station, Now I'll list the 5 parts of the station (or at least what I call them) and they'll match the picture below.

A) Set knob, This is a set screw that will hold the fill station in place connecting to the valve assembly on the scuba tank.

B) Scuba tank fitting, This fitting will line up the filling station to the valve assembly on the scuba tank (once the station is slipped over the scuba tanks valve assembly) The Set (A)knob then will be tightened down securing the station in place. It's important to insure the gasket inside the scuba tanks valve assembly is maintained and in good shape.

C) Air release knob, When your H.P.A. tank has ben filled and your scuba tank valve has been shut off (closed) this knob allows you to release the pressure from the nipple of the tank and the npt (D) fitting.

D) NPT fitting, This is a female fitting that slips over the nipple on your nitro or H.P.A. tank.

E) Tank pressure gauge, This gauge tells you the pressure delivered to the nitro or H.P.A. tank only. It does not tell you what's left in the scuba tank.

sck 04-08-2003 02:36 PM

The Wonderful World of SCUBA
 
Major props to Killer Kat and Crick, they helped me understand this all in the first place.

In the last few weeks/months, there has been a preponderance of questions regarding the utilization of SCUBA tanks in filling HPA bottles. Thus, I am authoring this post (by request) in an attempt to enlighten, clarify and resolve any misunderstanding or misgivings you may have in regards to the use of SCUBA tanks. While I do not claim to be an authority or expert in this field, I believe my experience more than qualifies me to give an introduction to those that lack basic knowledge concerning SCUBA tanks. While this post will not shed any new light for paintball vets, it will hopefully be informative to those new to the game, HPA, or SCUBA tanks.


BASIC INFORMATION

SCUBA tanks are gauged not only by psi, but their basic size. More specifically, they are measured in Cubic Feet (cu. ft.) The most commonly used SCUBA tanks are 3000 psi/80 cu. ft. (there are other sized tanks available, but the 80 is definitely the way to go in terms of value.) While there are 4500 psi tanks available, they have tendency to be inconveniently bulky, and more importantly, three to five times more expensive than their 3000 psi counterpart.

While I cannot be sure, I would assume SCUBA tanks are fairly universal in size. I have two 80 cu. ft. tanks, one new, one used. They are both 30¨ in height, 7.5 inches in diameter and weight approximately 45 pounds when full. They fit easily into the backseat of my car (though I drive a big old man car!!)


GETTING STARTED

FILL STATION: Before you even get a SCUBA tank, you will need a fill station. The fill station is used to connect the SCUBA tank to your HPA bottle; a SCUBA tank is worthless to a paintballer without a fill station. These are very common and easy to find. You can find them at most local pro-shops and online paintball retailers. They can range from anywhere from $40-$80. I have the cheap $40 variety and notice no difference to a nicer fill station.

SCUBA TANK(s): As previously stated, I recommend an 80 cu. ft. tank. You can find them at Paintball websites/stores, EBay, some sporting goods websites (e.g. sportschalet.com), and/or local dive shops. I would not pay more than $110 for a NEW tank. I actually paid $80 for a used tank at a local dive shop. The tank has to have a "K-valve¨ (I believe that is the name) so it is compatible with a fill station. Most dive shops have probably dealt with paintballers, so theyˇ¦ll know how to direct you. I bought both of my SCUBA tanks off the shelf, ready to go, so I donˇ¦t think valve compatibility should be an issue. I like supporting small business (sorry to get political) so I recommend you go to the dive shop. They will probably be the people filling your tank to begin with, so it doesn't hurt getting on their good side and supporting them! I have one new and one used tank, though since hindsight is 20/20, I just assume buying USED tanks.

AIR FILLS: This can sometimes be complicated. I've found that while many people are willing to sell you a SCUBA tank, they're not nearly as cooperative in filling them. Many vendors require a C-Card or diving certification in order to fill your tanks. BE SURE TO CALL AROUND AND MAKE SURE YOU CAN GET YOUR TANK(s) FILLED BEFORE MAKING AN INVESTMENT!!! If and when you do find someone that fills tanks, I would recommend buying your tanks from them assuming the price is decent. I pay $4.00 to fill one 80 cu. ft. tank.
--When getting your tanks filled, always make sure to bring your fill station and top off your bottle. This will require them to fill the SCUBA tank, top off your bottle, and then top off the SCUBA tank AGAIN (thatˇ¦s why you want to get on their good side.) This way, when you leave you will have a full HPA bottle and SCUBA tank. In my opinion, this is very important in conserving the air in your SCUBA tank. You will see why in the following sections.


USING A SCUBA TANK

Setting up and using a SCUBA tank is an easy and self-explanatory task, hence I prefer not cover it. Nonetheless, I will pay it heed. On all fill stations, one end contains an OPENING and SCREW to attach to the SCUBA tank. The other end has a nozzle piece that attaches to your HPA bottle. On the side of the fill station, there is a release valve. It will all make sense when you see the pieces.

1. Screw the fill station onto the SCUBA tank
2. Close the release valve (if it isnˇ¦t closed already)
3. Attach HPA bottle to nozzle portion of fill station
4. SLOWLY, open the valve to the SCUBA tank. For best efficiency, always fill your bottle slowly. Going too quick excites the gas, thus pressurizing the bottle too rapidly, and will not let allow you to reach the potential maximum psi.
5. The SCUBA tank will STOP filling on its own.*
6. Close the valve to the SCUBA tank
7. Open the release valve
8. Remove your HPA bottle from the fill station
9. Remove your fill station from your SCUBA tank

*Initially, your HPA bottle will fill up to 3000psi; however it will drop with subsequent fills. Essentially, the SCUBA tanks quits filling when it can no longer project air into the HPA bottle because it lacks the internal pressure. The MOMENT you release air out of your full SCUBA tank, it looses internal pressure. The more air you release, the more pressure you release. I will devote more on this in the next section.


AIR CONSUMPTION/PRESSURE LOSS

ONE 80 cu. ft. tank WILL ONLY YIELD ONE OR TWO 3000 psi FILLS!!

You did not misread that, ONE FULL SCUBA TANK will only FILL your tank a couple of times. A SCUBA tank doesnˇ¦t have enough pressure to go over 3000 psi, so in reality, the fill is closer to 2800 once the air settles. Following that, EACH fill will lose approximately 100-250 psi/fill, because as stated earlier, the SCUBA tank lacks the internal pressure to do so. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but remember, the MOMENT you release air out of your full SCUBA tank, it looses internal pressure. Thatˇ¦s why there is that 100-250psi drop off between fills!!!

Example: Utilizing ONE tank

Number of fills PSI (of both tanks, before settling)
1 3000
2 2800
3 2750
4 2550
5 2300
6 2150

As you can see, with each fill, the SCUBA tank becomes less and less pressurized, and thus looses its ability to fill an HPA bottle. Obviously, the more you gas up, the more pressure you use. Thus, I recommend topping off as often as possible. It is less taxing on the tank to go from 1700 to 2800psi opposed to 600 to 2800psi. Actually, I just hate shooting with less than 1000psi so thatˇ¦s why I probably recommend it!!


CASCADING: Cascading is a way to get around the pressure limitations of a single SCUBA tank. You will need at least TWO tanks to utilize this method. This way, you would use one tank(s) as the primary fill tank, and the another tank exclusively to top off. This way, while one tank loses pressure at a rapid rate; the other remains relatively full, enabling it to keep filling at a higher psi.

Example: Utilizing TWO tanks

Fills-- PSI/SCUBA #1-- PSI/SCUBA #2, HPA bottle
1 2400 3000
2 2300 3000
3 2200 2900
4 2100 2850
5 1950 2700
6 1800 2550

Example: Utilizing THREE tanks
Fills-- PSI/SC#1-- PSI/SC#2-- PSI/SC#3, HPA--
1 1500 2500 3000
2 1450 2400 3000
3 1350 2300 3000
4 1300 2250 2900
5 1250 2200 2800
6 1150 2100 2700

Thus, as you can see, the more SCUBA tanks you have, the longer you can stay at a high PSI. The numbers listed above are NOT scientifically researched, rather, a rough approximation to illustrate how cascading works.

4500 and 5000psi HPA bottles CAN be filled with a SCUBA tank, however they will only get up to 3000 psi.

One scuba tank is more than enough for one person, assuming you just shoot a case (or two) a day . I have two because I have a tendency to be excessive, and because I share with friends (they always kick in for the fills.) I also like going into a game with over 2500psi in my tank! I go through AT LEAST a case and half a day as well. I went out both Saturday and Sunday last weekend, and the tanks sufficed for the entire weekend (though I was not happy with them by Sunday afternoon!)

Well, I hope this helpful for some of you! I love my SCUBA tanks and encourage anyone who is thinking about it to make that investment. As long as you play regularly, the purchase will eventually pay for itself over time.

xavier678 04-12-2003 08:43 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by BourneKiller


:P yeah, same here. Xavier, if you could perhaps spell that out some more for us. haha

i cant tell if you are being sarcastic or whatever because i cant tell your tone but i have nothing better to do now.


basic chem gas laws, Bohr's law or Graham's or ***-Lussak or someone, it doesnt really matter
P1 x V1 = P2 x V2.

we have to assume a volume for the tank being filled so i go ahead and say 4cu ft.

known equations:
P1 = 3000psi - SCUBA tank pressure
V1 = 80 cu ft - SCUBA tank volume
P2 = Unknown variable
V2 = 84 cu ft - SCUBA tank volume + HPA tank volume.

put that in the initial equation:
(3000psi) (80 cu ft) = (x psi) (84 cu ft)

which, using algebra:

(240000 psi cu ft)/(84 cu ft) = x psi

cubic feet cancel with cubic feet

240000psi/84 = xpsi

= 2857.14... psi in the HPA tank as well as the SCUBA. everytime thats what is happening.

the second fill (from a completely empty tank):

(2857.14 x 80) / (84)
= 2721.09

etc...

Aglar 06-21-2003 02:16 PM

One thing that might be worth mentioning is they make scuba tanks out of both aluminum and steel. Steel is about 3 times heavier, and is good for diving because the extra weight helps to keep the diver down, whereas with a lighter aluminum tank the diver will need additional weights.

For paintball use, though, it doesn't matter, so your best bet is to save your back and go with the lighter aluminum tanks.

mxmaniac2000 06-25-2003 07:43 PM

Hey! i think this is a great idea, but how really cost effective is this? i mean how long is it going to take me before i pay off all this stuff i have to buy.

Aglar 06-25-2003 08:53 PM

If you ask me, it shouldn't be done if you just want to save money. Do it more so you can do fills at home when you wannt bust off a few rounds in the backyard, or tweak your setup.

If you live in an area that doesn't do HPA fills it would also be a good idea. Or if you're into outlaw ball.

One other motive is this:

Most tanks nowadays have a TC stamp along with the DOT certification. Tanks in Canada _must_ have a TC stamp, otherwise it's illegal for any Canadian field to fill it (they and you can both be fined $50,000). It's actually illegal for the tank to be in the country at all. Many people don't realize this. In my area local fields just caught wind of it a couple months ago, and for a while people were getting good use out of their scubas because nobody else would fill their tanks.

Aglar 06-26-2003 03:00 PM

Ack, sorry to keep posting on here, but is there any harm in leaving the fill station on a scuba? The instructions above say to remove it, just wondering if it's necessary.

Killer Kat 06-26-2003 06:19 PM

I do! (leave the stations attached always, unless transporting) haven't had a problem.

Aglar 06-26-2003 06:21 PM

Glad to hear it. You can remove any of my posts that aren't relevant.

StealthElephant 06-28-2003 06:43 PM

Does anyone use the higher pressure SCUBA tanks? I was looking around and the highest I saw for service pressure was 4400psi and the tank was like 369$ and anything over 3000psi required some sort of DIN valve on it.

They actually make 5000psi High pressure breathing air compressors to fill HPA paintball tanks...like 3k....

http://www.americanairworks.com/paintball.html

like 3400$, doesn't say what PSI it fills too...kinda pricey...I would imagine if you have alot of friends you play with recreationally though it could pay itself off in a year or so.

MrScorcher 06-29-2003 12:08 PM

My dad was given some tanks that were used for oxygen and i am wondering if i would be able to fill tanks meant for oxygen with compressed air instead.

Also if anyone could give me an approximate cost of getting a scuba tank hydroed i would appreciate it. Thanks everyone!

Anh 07-08-2003 03:24 PM

Hi would you need sum special fill station to fill a Raptor Rex? its not a screw in so i hav no idea how i would go about fillin one. Thanx fo ur helpz bai bai

mxmaniac2000 07-19-2003 08:22 AM

Can i use one of the fill stations for a scuba tank on a 3500 psi, 300 cubic feet nitrogen tank?

levi333 08-12-2003 12:29 PM

these dont make sense, they contridict each other, any help?

Killer Kat says:

Now "why two tanks?" you ask. Well what I've been told (and the method I've followed since) is that the first scuba tank fills the majority of your guns tank, and the second tank tops it off. That way the second tank uses less of its air. Once the first tanks has done about 8 fills (on a 68ci tank) it's pretty tired and ready to be refilled. So off to the scuba shop re-fill it and now it becomes the top off or #2 tank, and the other becomes the first fill.

SKS says:

AIR CONSUMPTION/PRESSURE LOSS

ONE 80 cu. ft. tank WILL ONLY YIELD ONE OR TWO 3000 psi FILLS!!

BourneKiller 08-12-2003 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by levi333
these dont make sense, they contridict each other, any help?

Killer Kat says:

Now "why two tanks?" you ask. Well what I've been told (and the method I've followed since) is that the first scuba tank fills the majority of your guns tank, and the second tank tops it off. That way the second tank uses less of its air. Once the first tanks has done about 8 fills (on a 68ci tank) it's pretty tired and ready to be refilled. So off to the scuba shop re-fill it and now it becomes the top off or #2 tank, and the other becomes the first fill.

SKS says:

AIR CONSUMPTION/PRESSURE LOSS

ONE 80 cu. ft. tank WILL ONLY YIELD ONE OR TWO 3000 psi FILLS!!

They're both right.

SKS says that one 80 cu ft tank will only yield one or two 3000psi fills, but many more "fills" at 2900psi, 2800psi, 2700, etc...

woolf 08-27-2003 04:12 PM

i have a 80cu 500psi tank i was wondering it i could still fill my 3000psi tank with it


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