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Recreational divers don’t necessarily need to fill their air tanks because most of them just rent their diving equipment. However, professional divers might want to have their own scuba tanks and refill them themselves.
However, can you fill scuba tanks with an air compressor? The short answer is yes. But you can only use a scuba air compressor as a regular air compressor doesn’t have the same pressure.
If you’re wondering about the same thing, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about filling your scuba table with an air compressor, including its types. Let’s dive in!
Why Shouldn’t You Use a Regular Air Compressor to Fill Your Scuba Air Tank?
A scuba tank is an essential piece of equipment for divers. So, using a scuba air compressor to fill it up with clean and breathable air is a lot more desirable than a regular air compressor. Here’s why:
You Need High Pressure
Typically, you need a high pressure of about 3,000 pounds per square inch of PSI to fill your scuba tank, especially if you’re diving in greater depths.
This way, you’ll have more air that goes to the tank. Unlike a scuba air compressor, a regular compressor only ranges between 70–90 PSI.
Good Filtration Is a Must
Unlike a regular compressor, a scuba air compressor comes with a series of filters that you can use to get rid of hydrocarbons. It’s also equipped with moisture separators that eliminate moisture and gas contaminants.
Overall, a scuba air compressor ensures that the air supply is clean and breathable for divers to breathe in.
What Are the Types of Scuba Air Compressors?
A scuba air compressor plays a big role when it comes to having a safe diving experience. It’s categorized via their power sources. Here are the types of scuba air compressors:
1. Electric Compressor
The most popular type of scuba air compressor is an electric compressor. It runs quieter compared to other types. So, if you’re bothered by the noise compressors make, an electric compressor is your best bet.
This compressor usually needs single-phase electricity with 220 to 240 volts. Large models will require three-phase electricity.
2. Diesel Compressor
As the name suggests, this type of compressor is powered by diesel. It doesn’t need an electric power source. But, it might be hard to carry around because a diesel compressor tends to be bulkier and heavier.
These components make it more durable than other compressors. But, if the diesel compressor does need a repair, a small motor shop might not have these components, making them more difficult to repair.
A diesel compressor also costs more than a gas compressor. So, if you live in a country where diesel is readily available and money is no issue, this type of compressor is for you.
3. Gas Compressor
Although a gas compressor is louder than an electric compressor, it makes less noise than a diesel compressor. Also, since it doesn’t run on electricity, it’s easily portable.
It has a built-in motor inside its unit, so it’s great for when you’re opting for off-the-grid power. Aside from that, a gas compressor is more affordable than a diesel compressor. It can also be repaired easily due to its widespread availability of components.
Keep in mind that a gas compressor needs regular maintenance and additional fuel additives to keep it in good shape.
Another major disadvantage is the carbon monoxide the gas motor can produce.
To keep the carbon monoxide emissions from getting into the air intake of the compressor, you should keep the exhaust engine downwind of the compressor’s air intake tube.
How Do You Fill Your Air Tank With a Scuba Air Compressor?
If you’ve already chosen which type of scuba air compressor is for you, you have to ensure that you’re refilling your air tank correctly. Here’s how you can safely fill your tank with a scuba air compressor:
Inspect Your Tank
Before starting the refilling process, inspect your tank to see if there’s damage. A visual inspection might not be enough if you want to be thorough. So, you should also check if the tank is completely dry.
Your tank shouldn’t have debris or water inside. To check, shake the tank gently. If you hear any sound of liquid movement, then it’s not safe to refill your tank. There’s a higher chance that the tiny damage can crack further when exposed to increased underwater pressure.
Drain Air From Your Tank
After a thorough inspection, you need to make sure that your tank doesn’t have extra air left inside, as it can over-pressurize the tank and cause damage. Yet, releasing air too quickly might accumulate moisture inside and cause the tank to rust.
Therefore, you should slowly open the air valve and let the air out until the tank’s pressure becomes lower than 10 pounds. You can check it on your pressure gauge.
Turn on Your Scuba Air Compressor
Connect your compressor’s filter and moisture separator and turn it on. You must let the compressor filter the air to make it safe for breathing. Set it up to the correct pressure and size settings.
For instance, the majority of air tanks require an average of 3,000 psi.
Connect Your Air Compressor To The Tank
A hose, called a yoke, should fit securely into the hole of the tank. Ensure that you purchased the right one, as yokes can have specific compatibility with the types and sizes of the tanks.
Once you’ve turned on the air compressor, make sure that you fill it slowly to maintain a steady flow of air into the tank.
So, can you fill scuba tanks with an air compressor? With the right scuba air compressor, yes, you can!
You just have to choose which type of scuba air compressor suits you best. Yet, remember that you can’t use a regular air compressor that you find in a hardware store as it doesn’t have enough pressure to fill the tank properly.
Keep in mind that you need to check for damage, debris, or liquid inside the tank before filling it up.