I bought a 9l ali a while ago from a Pawn shop near the cost for R100 (bottle still "looked" to be in a very good condition) -some of you might recall that I asked your opinion on the worthiness of this buy...
Well I Got it and the last time this cylinder was tested was in 98. So took in to a certain dive shop to have it's tests done (holding my thumbs that it will pass...)
Well the shop examined the bottle and then told me " this ali is about 30 years old man!" The one guy told me...no we won't send it in - they probably...and I QUOTE: " DON'T HAVE THE EQUIPMENT ANYMORE TO DO THE VISUAL TEST...THE HOLE IN THE NECK IS TOO NARROW..."
The other guy then said: " O well lets send it in and see what they say..." . I was then told that they only send their bottles in on a certain day and they only receive them back on certain days. Basically it will take 2 weeks before I see it again..." no chance to get it earlier" they said.
Long before the 2 weeks were over I received a call : " Um hi Mr Papenfus, Yes your bottle is here...they couldn't do any testing so you can come get it and it will cost you only R80 ". I tried not to laugh and just said..." Thank you I'll come get it ".
When I got to the shop 2 days later, the man told me that the price was "R70"...hmmm. So I then asked what the (now) R70 was for if they couldn't DO anything? Then he didn't really know what to say and said it was for transport and handling...
I then asked to see a pricelist which he gave me. There were prices for EDI tests, Rumbles and all sorts of things but nothing for transport or handling...
When I asked again what the money was for he said..." We had to courier it to get the job done asap.. ." At this point I nearly burst out in laughter but managed to hold my pose only just. Then he said: " well if you don't want to pay anything you can take the bottle and that's fine too."
I said tank you very much...and good day sir. When I got to my car I noticed that they had removed the 98 stamp and remembered that the guy also said :" we had to remove it from the system ". This made me quite unhappy.
This dive shop made me unhappy before, I've never heard a good word about them from anyone who had delt with them (including my brother who did his coarse through them) but unfortunately they are quite big and they KNOW they have a bit of a monopoly in the the area.
Luckily a very good friend of mine, whom met on the forum told me I should try to take the bottle to a company called Dräger. He had heard of them due to his line of work as an engineer. He gave me their details.
I phoned the place and the guy I was directed to in the cylinder department was so friendly - made me laugh 3 times in the short conversation. He said they will DEFINITELY have the gear to test it and I can bring it in 8am the next(yesterday) morning. I took it in and received a call this morning just before 9am : " Sir your bottle is tested, certified, and filled to 206 BAR. You can come pick it up anytime today..."
These guys were an absolute PLEASURE to deal with! They refill bottles at R20+vat and do all the tests necessary! Again...Everyone I delt with there was So friendly and helpful. He even took me on a tour through the facility and showed me how and where they do everything. ps: They have loads of 300 BAR Carbon Fibre Bottles there! These things way NOTHING! And he tells me some scuba divers also use them. I WANT ONE. But..they go for about 4 Grand he said so...maybe that will have to wait + off coarse most dive shops won't be able to fill it to 300BAR.
They mainly supply and test the bottles the Fire stations use and I think he said they did the bottles for the navy divers (subject to correction).
O and you can chose how you want your bottle tested 1. For under water use ( then you have to certify it annually) or 2. for Above water use ( only need to certify them every 2 years). I chose option nr one for I scuba from time to time and might want to use the bottle for that too.
All in all I'll never deal with anyone else ever again If I can help it! I can ABSOLUTELY recommend them. They are situated in Stikland , right next to the R300 at the end of the Bottelary Road: 021 9454241.