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The Importance of Diving Regulator

One of the most critical pieces of diving equipment is the diving regulator. The right regulator, good service, and proper use all contribute to your underwater safety. A good diver should understand how the diving regulator works as well as how to properly attach the respiration regulator to the tank. Let’s start with a definition of a diving regulator and how it functions. A scuba regulator’s principal job is to take high-pressure air from your scuba tank and reduce it to the pressure you need to breathe. It supplies you with oxygen when you inhale (on demand) and then directs your expired breath into the surrounding water when you exhale. If you’re using a dry suit, a regulator will also direct air to your BCD (buoyancy control device), diving equipment, and drysuit.

Where do things go?

Given the importance of air delivery in a scuba system, you’d think everything would be obvious and error-free. That isn’t the case. It’s not easy to figure out what goes where when looking at a regulator with hoses, mouthpieces, instruments, and everything else hanging off it. Yes, there are two ways to connect a yoke regulator to a tank (one is correct and the other is incorrect), and the section with all those low-pressure lines can face up or down. It’s very easy for inexperienced divers to make a mistake. So, here’s how a yoke-type regulator should be put up:

Place your tank in front of you and wrap the BC strap around it. The on/off valve knob on the tank should point to the right. Now loosen the yoke screw knob and place the yoke over the tank’s valve, with the yoke knob facing you and the section of the regulator with the mouthpiece and secondary air source hoses coming out facing down, not up! You’ll be OK if you go about it this way.

High-Pressure Relief

Scuba regulators decrease the high-pressure air from the scuba tank to the pressure required by divers for underwater breathing. The regulator provides ambient pressure air as the diver inhales (on demand), and the diver’s expired breath is subsequently routed into the surrounding water. The First Stage mechanism lowers the cylinder’s high pressure to a more comfortable level (approx 9 bar above ambient). The diver breathes through a rubber or silicone mouthpiece at ambient pressure, with an alternate air supply second stage, sometimes dubbed an octopus, as a backup in case of a diving emergency. Low-pressure pipes deliver extra air to the buoyancy control device and, if you’re wearing one, the drysuit, while high-pressure air is directed to the divers’ instruments and submersible pressure gauges, allowing the diver to keep track of his air consumption. The parts of a scuba regulator need to be serviced on a regular basis, and general maintenance will substantially improve the efficiency and reliability of your regulator set. Many regulator issues can be avoided with routine maintenance and fixes. Because some regulator repair tools are not available to the general public, servicing and repairs should be performed by qualified regulator technicians who follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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