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I bought an auto/manual inflate PFD at Cabelas nearly 10 years ago. The directions specified that the PFD should be re-armed (new CO2 bottle and bobbin) every 3 years. At the 3 year point, I manually fired the unit to discharge the gas cylinder by using the pull tab so I could re-arm the unit (below photo).

 

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So, I used the rearmed unit another 3 years and instead of re-arming it at that point - I retired it (and bought a new unit of the exact same model). It was a dirty, greasy, sweaty mess that had been worn for about 1,800 hours on the water (I wear a PFD 100% of the time while in the boat).  I then threw it in a storage cabinet in my garage where it has sat for the last 4 years. I pulled it out this morning and it looked like this:

 

large.85685257_10-yearcondition.JPG.45e726f5d4077c42328392b43ca6841b.JPG

 

The color indicator on the pressure valve still showed "green" (pressurized) so I tied my 5 pound canoe anchor to it and went down and threw it in a lake. The bobbin took about 4 seconds or so to dissolve and then BAM - the unit fired and the PFD had full inflation - just like it's supposed to:

 

large.780392374_10-yearinflation.jpg.e89cf064f4d8b3221dc096aea7c4ddeb.jpg

 

So, 10-years old, re-armed 7 years ago, tossed in a storage cabinet 4 years ago, and tossed in the lake today - works as advertised...

 

I'm not sure this proves much being a sample size of one, but this gives me a bit more confidence that these units will work as advertised as long as pressure remains and the bobbin has not deteriorated - and if you re-arm every three years as directed, the bobbin should still be serviceable.

 

FWIW - YMMV

 

 

 

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Cool thanks for sharing. I've never seen one of these inflated.

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I change the bobbin on my Mustang every three years or so and now just buy the bobbin because I had a drawer full of gas cylinders.  One day last year just for kicks I  took out a 10 yr old cylinder, put it in the bench vise and popped it with a center punch....wow, very much alive, but why not they are sealed. 

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Earlier this summer I changed mine, not because of the date on the bobbin but because I had to. Somehow, while “adjusting” a small backlash, the wind managed to wrap a loop of line around the “pull here” tag, and when I grabbed the line to pull out the backlash, I got a fairly rude awakening. The 10 year old thought it was absolutely hilarious. After letting out the air, and grabbing a spare out of the front box we were good to go, and I got a new cylinder and bobbin for it later that week. 

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Just an FYI.

 

My Mustangs turned 10 this spring.  I tested each one and they worked perfectly and I plan to continue using them rest of this year.

 

However, I read somewhere we should replace all automatic pfd's after 10 years use.  I called Mustang to verify and they confirmed.  They said the materials used in construction could deteriorate and fail.  

 

I also noticed on mine the label showing CG cerrtification had faded away and no information appeared.  I bought new cheap Walmart pfd's and placed in my boat so I'd be ok if checked.

 

I'll be buying new Mustangs in the spring.  

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I have two I bought from Cabela's at least ten years ago. The instructions say to change the bottle if the green indicator turns to red. After all these years they are still green.  I have opened them up and the contents are in like new condition. 

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2 hours ago, Dogface said:

I have two I bought from Cabela's at least ten years ago. The instructions say to change the bottle if the green indicator turns to red. After all these years they are still green.  I have opened them up and the contents are in like new condition. 

You might consider rechecking the instructions to see what it says about the bobbin.  While the system may still be properly charged, the bobbins have a service life of 3 years (at least the bobbin in my Cabelas PFD does as specified in the instructions). To properly maintain the unit, the bobbin should be periodically replaced, which in turn requires a new CO2 bottle. Now, will the bobbin remain serviceable longer than 3 years? "Probably maybe" I guess. My PFD mentioned in the first post worked properly at the 7 year mark...but for this type of equipment, I tend to mostly follow the recommended servicing schedule.

 

The pesky instructions also specify that the unit should be initially checked upon purchase by manually inflating it (using the tube) and then leaving overnight to assure that it holds air. I do that with a new PFD.  The instructions then say that this test should be repeated every two months during the boating season and I'm guilty of not doing that. I do try to remember to do that test at the beginning of each season however.

 

For me, since I wear the PFD 100% of the time in the boat, I get a lot of sun damage to the outer shell as well as a lot of sweat, sunblock, fish slime, etc. So, like for my first unit, my process will be: buy new, re-arm at 3 years, and toss at 6 years - then start over...

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Mine are not auto inflate units. 

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21 minutes ago, Dogface said:

Mine are not auto inflate units. 

Ah - no bobbin !

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