Also called Pressure Regulator, the scuba regulator is the diver s life support a few feet of sea water below the surface. The cylinder tank may be the receptacle for compressed air, making it possible to carry breathing gas underwater, but it is the scuba regulator device of an open circuit scuba set that reduces the over 2000 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure teeming from compressed air to safe, breathable pressure of say 135 to 150 psi. Composed of two main components-- first stage and second stage (demand valve), the first stage converts air in the cylinder tank to ambient pressure and a then to a preset intermediate pressure. Meanwhile, the demand valve supplies breathable air at ambient pressure upon detecting the diver s inhalation effort.
However, the classification for scuba regulators does not conclude with the specification of its mechanism and functions. In fact, many start-up scuba divers often find themselves confounded with the different types of first and second stages that come about in the acquisition of a scuba regulator set. After all, said device is not a generic piece of scuba equipment to easily satisfy any diver. There are performance, cost, comfort and compatibility issues that a scuba regulator designer needs to carefully consider. In the end, different regulator designs have been intended to meet differing diver preferences as well as to match determined dive profiles. The preceding paragraphs will provide guidelines to the selection of a scuba regulator set to meet your needs.
Performance Features. Balanced or unbalanced? Sealed or unsealed?These terms often come about in a discussion of scuba regulator sets, particularly its first stage an second stage components. Seasoned divers would always recommend the use of a balanced first stage and reject the notion of using an unbalanced first stage, even for shallow dives. Now that would not be so much of an issue since most regulator sets are outfitted with balanced first stages out of the box. Meanwhile second stages are either balanced or unbalanced. An unbalanced second stage will suffice as long as the balanced first stage is able to sustain uniform intermediate pressure. Nonetheless, getting a balanced second stage to match a balanced first stage promotes easier breathing and entails lesser inhalation effort on the part of the diver.
Cost Considerations. Should you get a mid-Range or a top of the line regulator set? If you got deeper pockets, why settle for low range when high performance scuba regulators could create a big difference in breathing comfort as you pursue multi-level dives, particularly below recreational depths. Nonetheless, the perception of comfort and performance varies from one diver to the next and only the diver can determine which type of scuba regulator set design conforms to his needs. For recreational diving, a budget to mid-range regulator set would be appropriate while the top of the line regulators fit specialized and professional diving activities.
Acquisition of Scuba Equipment. Rent or Buy a scuba regulator set? It would probably take a few open water dives before a diver will be able to determine the scuba regulator that he will be most comfortable with. When renting scuba equipment, make sure to take note of the maker, model number and specifications of the scuba regulator set used. This would save you time and energy the next time you decide to purchase a regulator set to complete your scuba gear and accompany you on your upcoming scuba diving adventures.