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Lost diving automaton still working after 3 years at sea! - video

Reliability is one of the most important features which diving equipment must have. Especially if its task is such an important function as the supply of the breathing medium. From the very beginning, the producers of scuba diving equipment outdo each other in developing new solutions and technologies, which will make their product better. However,
Published: January 31, 2020 - 13:30
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:13
Lost diving automaton still working after 3 years at sea! – video

Reliability is one of the most important features which diving equipment must have. Especially if its task is such an important function as the supply of the breathing medium. From the very beginning, the producers of scuba diving equipment outdo each other in developing new solutions and technologies, which will make their product better. However, nothing verifies the equipment as much as… life.

At the end of 2019, Apeks was approached by Per Wichstad, a diver from Norway who in 2016 drowned some of his equipment in the sea, including a set of Apeks XTX 50 breathing apparatus. After a 3-year search, the man finally found his doom, which was resting on the seabed at a depth of 25 metres.

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By his own admission, he expected the worst and had already seen his kit on the scrapheap. Fortunately, not everything was irretrievably destroyed by the salty sea water. During the inspection it turned out that there was still air in the cylinder and the automat was… still working!

The fact is that maybe the aesthetics of the Apex fished out after 3 years was not very encouraging, but in a crisis situation no one would look at the microcosm which was now overgrowing the machine, only at whether the equipment works and can fulfil its basic and most important function. It turned out that the XTX 50, after such a long stay in a hostile environment, was still fully operational and ready to work, and all it needed was a decent cleaning!

As soon as the manufacturer was informed of this unusual situation, they knew they had to take a closer look at the machine and assess with an expert eye what adverse effects such a long time in salt water could have.

“When we received a set of his automatics from Per, our first task was to clean it of the crab shells, stones, marine life and sand that had accumulated over three years. Despite the encrustation covering most parts, the first stage head still turned very smoothly and the second stages were still fully operational.”

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Confident that the regulators needed no mechanical intervention or immediate servicing, they were placed in the ANSTI machine to simulate a dive and see how they performed underwater. When it was realised that their interstage pressures were still identical to the factory, it became clear that this would be an authoritative and interesting test.

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The pressure in the chamber was set to the equivalent of a depth of 53 metres and the water temperature lowered to 3°C. The respiratory rate was set at 25 breaths per minute and all that was left to do was wait to see what would happen. Despite all that the machine had been through over the last 3 years, it continued to operate normally and met all the standards that are required by EN250A.

In spite of this extraordinary longevity and preservation of full efficiency after such a long time spent in cold water with high salinity, the manufacturer strongly recommends observing the service intervals for particular elements of Apeks automats, and the above story should be considered only as a curiosity, showing how much our equipment can withstand.

Per-1

Source: Apex

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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