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Buyer's guide to HPA tanks


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#1 CrazyLittle

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 03:05 PM

Three things to remember when buying a tank:

  • All paintball tanks must be tested for safety every 3 or 5 years. The only exception to this are aluminum tanks less than 2-inches in diameter and under 2-feet long.
  • All fiber-wrapped tanks expire in 15 years from when they were manufactured, regardless of the last hydro test date.
  • Tanks are considered generally safe as long as the hydro test is current and there are no unraveled/exposed/damaged fibers sticking out.

How to read a Hydro label on a fiber-wrapped tank
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TC-SU #: This is the certification for use in Canada. If your tank doesn't have it, you can't legally use it in Canada.
DOT-E or DOT-SP #: This is the USA cert license number. You can google that whole thing "DOT-E #####" and get the full document that tells you how often your tank needs to be retested. For most tanks in the USA it's every 5 years. DOT-E 9634 is one example of a tank that requires testing every 3 years until it's 15-years old and then should be thrown away.
## © ##: This is month and year that the tank was manufactured. For the purposes of testing and expiration dates, the Department of Transportation counts from the first of the month. In the example above, this tank will be unusable after January 1, 2019.

Hydro recertification label
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## [X] ##: This is the month and year that the tank was last hydro tested. The numbers in the middle are the D.O.T. certification of the place that did the test for you. Every hydro tester has their own unique code. This tank was tested at Acme Fire Extinguisher Company in Oakland, CA in June 2008.

Reply below with a DOT-E number and I'll dig up who makes your cylinder, and how often it should be tested.

Edited by CrazyLittle, 15 June 2012 - 03:59 PM.

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#2 CrazyLittle

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 11:50 PM

(ps- First!)

DOT-SP 14387: Gayston, retest every 5 years and dispose after 15 years.
DOT-SP 14003: INOCOM, retest every 5 years, dispose after 15 years
DOT-E 10945: SCI / Structural Composites Industries, retest every 5 years and dispose after 15 years.
DOT-E 10915: Luxfer, retest every 5 years and dispose after 15 years.
DOT-E 11194: Carleton, retest every 3 years, retest every 5 years after 2001, dispose after 15 years.
DOT-E 9634: Luxfer, retest every 3 years and dispose after 15 years.

Edited by CrazyLittle, 01 March 2010 - 12:15 AM.

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#3 bdell

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 07:58 AM

Nice guide man! This helped alot

#4 mrmeatloaf5

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 03:06 PM

now my tanks out of hydro

#5 midwest rider

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:31 PM

This helps alot!

#6 bRoKeBaLLeR916

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 04:24 AM

Hey just wondering ..... If a carbon fiber hpa tank that was made in 98 and last date of hydro was 02 , would you think it would still pass hydro now or is it useless now ?! Thanks in advance for the info :)

#7 Scorch

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:52 AM

Hey just wondering ..... If a carbon fiber hpa tank that was made in 98 and last date of hydro was 02 , would you think it would still pass hydro now or is it useless now ?! Thanks in advance for the info :)


Pretty much useless. If it's over 15 years, the result might be bad.
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#8 madsnipes

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:03 PM

thx 4 the info i didnt know they were garbage after 15 years

#9 Chris From Flurry

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 12:17 PM

CrazyLittle, thanks for the write up. One thing I noticed though, shouldn't

In the example above, this tank will be unusable after April 1, 2019.


actually be unusable after January 1, 2019?

Thanks again for the write up.

#10 get.lit.up!

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:34 AM

Excellent guide! Can I add this to the newbie's guide?
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#11 StReaKeR

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 10:10 PM

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#12 italian Stallion

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:29 PM

(ps- First!)

DOT-SP 14387: Gayston, retest every 5 years and dispose after 15 years.
DOT-SP 14003: INOCOM, retest every 5 years, dispose after 15 years
DOT-E 10945: SCI / Structural Composites Industries, retest every 5 years and dispose after 15 years.
DOT-E 10915: Luxfer, retest every 5 years and dispose after 15 years.
DOT-E 11194: Carleton, retest every 3 years, retest every 5 years after 2001, dispose after 15 years.
DOT-E 9634: Luxfer, retest every 3 years and dispose after 15 years.

So if i have a carleton tank, and it was last hydro tested in January of 09, because its after 2001 its still in hydro until January of 2014? whats up with the change in time between hydros?
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#13 n0buddy

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

About the "less than 2 inches in diameter and under 2 feet in length" exception:
Not a single person on any paintball forum (or anywhere on the web, thus far) was able to provide a definitive link to a Code of Federal Regulations, or even cite a Department of Transportation representative, stating this exception to be true. I took it upon myself to fully investigate this. I have called today the Department of Trasportation in Washington DC [(202) 366-2301], and asked to speak to the HazMat Division (that's who handles the HPA tanks). The representative has pointed me to Title 49, section 178 and Title 49, section 180.209 of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), where id definitively states that ALL CYLINDERS MUST BE HYDROTESTED unless the cylinder was made under specification "4L" (see the table in Title 49, section 180.209 of the CFR).
Personally, I have never seen a tank under 2 inches in diameter with a "4L" stamp on it. They're all "DOT"-something, that I've seen. Thus, the bottom line is this: ALL TANKS NEED TO BE HYDRO-TESTED. THE ONLY EXCEPTION ARE TANKS MARKED "4L". The "under 2 inch diameter bla-bla-bla" exception is FALSE.
All being said, however, it is nice that the field operators are still human beings and keep that "under 2 inch in diameter" exception myth as a rule and fill those small tanks regardless of hydro expiration date.

#14 n0buddy

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

Actually, I just noticed, that that table in Title 49, section 180.209 of the Code of Federal Regulations has the notation "1" that reads 1Any cylinder not exceeding 2 inches outside diameter and less than 2 feet in length is excepted from volumetric expansion test. I'll call up HazMat myself and confirm that, but this, essentially, points to the original most authoritative source there can possibly be out there - the Code of Federal Regulations - stating that YES, Any cylinder not exceeding 2 inches outside diameter and less than 2 feet in length is excepted from volumetric expansion test.
So, I have effectively disproved my previous post! :D

#15 CampinNewbie

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:32 PM

Where can you send them in to get hydro'ed

#16 kingJurzy

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:46 PM

your local SCBA shop or Ninja Paintball.


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