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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    331

    BCA Float Avalanche Bag Canister Refill

    Hello,

    I am a US guy living in europe for the next 3 years (PhD) and want to invest in an avalanche airbag pack and decided that I would opt for BCA's float bag for one because it is much cheaper than the competing markets (I'm a PhD student), two it won't restrict my mobility and vision like the snowpulse (I set off a small slide once early this season and I was able to side cut across and ride out of it, but doubt I could have with my mobility and vision restricted), and three because I hope to be able to do the refills myself (I have access to an unlimited supply of compressed air in my lab :-).

    My main question then is, has anyone here worked in a lab or in a place where there is compressed air that you can get out of a faucet; any advice on what the output valve name is for these compressed air faucets? Second question for anyone who thinks they can give me a relatively educated answer, do you think it is possible for me to find an adapter to fit such a faucet to the BCA canister for refill? I honestly would rather not go to a shop to get my cannister refilled and plus this will not be possible in europe.

    Thanks in advance for any help
    Arash

    PS. I don't know what kind of outlet the compressed air faucet is. I'll post picture if anyone thinks they can help out though.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    10
    Where in Europe? You'll need to get either a DIN or INT adaptor for a scuba tank and will then be able to fill it at any scuba shop. It's quite likely that the compressed air in your lab will not work unless you can fill to 2700 psi. And I'm not sure what type of adaptor you'd need on that machine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    331
    Switzerland.

    I realized, if I can get a hose which I can attach a piece that will fit to the canister, I should be all set. Good point for checking the pressure though. I have actually a very easy way of testing to make sure I can get 2700 psi. I'll post a picture of the nozzle outlets I have in the lab though as well just in case yourself or anyone else can provide me with additional info (not till monday though).

    Arash

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    419
    I'm also an American student who will in Europe next year (Grenoble). I'm definitely going to get an airbag pack, and like a BCA for the exact reasons listed by the OP. I believe there are a few differences between the US and Euro versions of the pack, but does anyone know if different adaptors are needed to fill up in Grenoble vs. the US?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Simi Valley, CA
    Posts
    2,445
    In the US scuba-to-paintball adapters are about $25 on ebay.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    331
    And yet I have not posted a picture of the source I have at my disposal. Shame on me.

    So from what you are saying 1000-oaks I guess all I need is to be able to hook up a paintball adapter to a tube which hooks up to the source I have (these tubes are plenty available at my lab). That sounds simpler than I thought originally. Guess I have to do some research on that tomorrow at work instead of actual work research I normally do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Simi Valley, CA
    Posts
    2,445

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    331
    Okay, so I checked and it looks like the compressed air in my lab has only 1/10th of the pressure I need. Guess I'll need to go to a scuba shop then and pay.

    So just to sum up and clarify, it seems that if I can get compressed air from a scuba shop then all I need to get is a scuba to paintball adapter like those shown on ebay. Will any of the models work, or are there some I must stay clear of? Anyone have any clarification on this?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    6,476
    Arash, can the BCA cylinder be disassembled? Because if you can't open it up to see inside the cylinder, you might have some trouble to fly with it. (I'm assuming you want to buy in US and bring over). TSA has to be able to open it up and inspect inside it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    331
    Ripzalot. I think it should be fine. There is the recent thread where it shows a pov of a guy getting caught in an avy (he had the bca bag) and he mentioned that he flew to japan with it no troubles. I'm thinking the ABS bag will be more trouble for flying since it has an explosive trigger (plus it is way cheaper). I heard so long as one empties the canister before flying and puts it in checked baggage it should be ok.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    10
    You need to establish if it's a DIN or INT connection in Switzerland (any scuba shop will know) and then that should guide your adaptor purchase.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    331
    Thanks for the tip Steve, I'll look into that detail and let you all know in case any of you will be in Switzerland.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    33
    Dragging this thread out of the grave...

    Just got a Float 36 and was curious about refilling the cylinder myself. I have easy access to: 02 (medical and aviator's), N2, and He all at pressures of up to 5000psi. However, I don't like the idea of a 150L bag of pure N2 or He sitting next to my head in the event of a burial. And high pressure pure 02 is out as I don't think it'll play nice with the o-ring or grease...filling the bag up with fire does sound pretty awesome though, in a Myth Busters kinda way.

    As far as I can tell, the requirements for the BCA system are:

    1) air
    2) dry
    3) 2700psi @ 20C

    So what about using filtered shop air and a bootstrap pump? Is there anything special about paintball or SCBA air that I can't seem to find by googling?

    I'll email BCA too, but I suspect they'll just tell me to send the bottle in or go to an authorized refiller, to cover their ass.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    2

    BCA Refill in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by rot View Post
    Dragging this thread out of the grave...

    Just got a Float 36 and was curious about refilling the cylinder myself. I have easy access to: 02 (medical and aviator's), N2, and He all at pressures of up to 5000psi. However, I don't like the idea of a 150L bag of pure N2 or He sitting next to my head in the event of a burial. And high pressure pure 02 is out as I don't think it'll play nice with the o-ring or grease...filling the bag up with fire does sound pretty awesome though, in a Myth Busters kinda way.

    As far as I can tell, the requirements for the BCA system are:

    1) air
    2) dry
    3) 2700psi @ 20C

    So what about using filtered shop air and a bootstrap pump? Is there anything special about paintball or SCBA air that I can't seem to find by googling?

    I'll email BCA too, but I suspect they'll just tell me to send the bottle in or go to an authorized refiller, to cover their ass.

    Realize this was posted a fair while ago, but thought it'd be useful to bring back up. Did you guys get any further on figuring out what exactly you need to refill here in Europe?

    I live in London and recently bought a BCA pack (for all the reasons everyone else has pointed out), but have been regretting the decision based on the fact it is difficult/impossible to travel with a full canister on an airplane, despite what BCA says regarding IATA regulations outside of North America. I've travelled with both Swiss and British Airways in the last two months, and neither will allow a full canister on board even with the changes in IATA regulations as of Jan 1 that scraps the 250ml canister limit (BCA canisters are 290ml). The only way to get the full canister through is to throw it in your checked bag and hope security does not find it. I've had some friends who've managed to get away with it and others who haven't...but the risk of getting my bag yanked off a flight with all my gear in it is not worth it.

    Also, finding SCUBA shops in ski towns is kind of like finding ski shops in SCUBA towns; there are not that many around. There is a place to get refills in Chamonix and some of the other French resorts, but Switzerland is a black hole. If there is an easy way to refill that I'm missing so that I can fly with an empty canister and refill when I get to Switzerland please let me know. I'm headed to Engelberg tomorrow and with all the massive amounts of snow they've gotten I'd certainly prefer to have a functioning airbag.

    On a side note, the snow in the Northern Alps is unreal at the moment...anyone in North America thinking of heading this way in the next couple of months should not think twice.

    Cheers,
    J

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