- Never play with an out of hydro or non-certified cylinder.
Using an out of hydro or non-certified cylinder is not only dangerous to yourself and others but it is also a federal DOT violation to use, fill, and transport. The DOT hydro testing laws are not a suggestion, they are a requirement for the safety of you and the others around you. The hydro test can be done locally at a dive shop, paintball field, or sent to various paintball vendors that offer the service through their websites or stores.
The hydro test ensures the proper expansion and contraction of your tank. You can not test it any other way then with the hydro test. It's inexpensive overall and only comes every 3 to 5 years depending on your cylinders permit number. A tank is only in service for 15 years in total so if you have a 5 year cylinder you only need to do the test twice before the tank must be taken out of service.
Using an out of hydro cylinder at a field or national tournament can lead to you be removed from the premises or disqualified from play. This is a very serious matter, it is not a joke, it is not something to skirt and argue. Fields can face fines for filling an out of hydro tank and denying your two dollar fill is a much better option then facing those consequences. The same goes for a non-certified cylinder, it does not have the DOT clearance or testing to ensure it meets their safety standards and is there for not acceptable to use, fill, and transport.
- How to properly screw in and remove your air system from your marker.
This seems like such a simple thing but you may be surprised that you are in fact removing your system in an improper fashion from your marker or screwing it in improperly to begin with.
As mentioned earlier if you are going to lubricate your tank threading, use a silicone based grease. This will keep the o-ring from drying out and also make it easier to screw your tank in and out easier but this isn't necessary.
The most important thing to do when screwing your tank in is not to force the threading in. It should screw in easily and smoothly, if you're cross threading it, back it out, forcing it in is only going to make the threading bind or snap off. It should require little effort to go in smoothly until it nears the bottom when you may need a small amount of force to ensure the regulator is seated all the way.
Removing the system the user should never grip the cylinder body to break the threading free. This can be a critical juncture where an accident may occur and often times does. Grasping the tank cylinder promotes stress on the regulator to tank cylinder threading as well as the regulator to asa threading. Should your asa and tank be cross threaded or bound tighter then normal, the regulator can begin to separate from the cylinder. This is when you can have a tank come flying off and causing injury or death to a person nearby. People have been killed with these flying tank accidents
, there are news reports from across the country to confirm this.
The proper way to remove your cylinder is to grasp the tank regulator itself and use that to break the threading free. That puts the stress on the regulator to asa threads, not the regulator to cylinder threading. Once you break it free and back it out a couple of turns you can grasp the cylinder to finish unscrewing. You should ALWAYS be observing your regulator and cylinder though to ensure there is not a separation occurring until the tank has been removed fully from your marker. It is also important to ensure that your regulator has been properly installed onto your cylinder from the start with proper tool force and/or thread sealant; especially if you have installed the regulator yourself or had a local shop do it.
- What happens when a tank explodes?
What happens is not the cylinder itself rupturing (From what has been seen thus far) but rather the regulator itself becoming the central ignition and bursting point. Please bare in mind this can happen to ANY regulator made by ANY manufacturer. These incidents do not discriminate, there is no regulator on the market that is 'more safe' then another when it comes to an ignition. They all fail in similar fashions. This is why you NEVER USE OIL PRODUCTS in your air system.
Going back to point one about oil in the fill nipple the oil travels into the fill nipple, down the threading (stem) of the regulator, and enters the cylinder. There is a small volumizing chamber the air enters when leaving the fill nipple, this is where the regulator stores some air before it enters the piston to be regulated. This is also where the ignition most commonly occurs.
Once the ignition happens, the regulator fails; catastrophically. It essentially explodes from a violent ignition or rapid melting of the regulator internals and body. This leads to a full separation of cylinder and regulator. Not only do you have an explosion but now you have a cylinder that has rocketed off and will continue to fly until it strikes something or someone. The separation is sudden and violent with no warning until you hear the 'bang' of the explosion.
Users that have experienced the explosion first hand have suffered serious injuries such as broken bones, been knocked unconscious in some cases, as well as severe burns.
Burst/Destroyed tanks as per DOT safety regulations- Every 2 out of 200 units must be randomly chosen during manufacturing and overfilled to bursting to ensure they meet minimum safety requirements or the entire 200 unit batch is condemned.
Stako Incident- Ripped/Burnt jersey, broken hand, tank destroyed. (No other photos available)
Exploding tank- Severe burns, gloves burnt on hands, knocked unconscious, damaged/destroyed marker, tank destroyed.