In the previous blog post on choosing the best scuba regulators, some tips have already been provided on the best scuba regulators for shore dives. Read on for more additional tips on how to find the best scuba regulators for your personal needs.
The second stage of a regulator goes into your mouth. It is at the end of the low-pressure hose that contains the air at intermediate pressure delivered by the first stage. As the diver inhales, a diaphragm is bowed, which presses a lever connected to a valve. The harder the driver inhales, the more the lever is depressed, allowing an increased flow of air.
When the diver exhales, the exhaled air pushes through a simple one-way flap valve and escapes without allowing water to enter. The exhaled air is funneled through a tee beneath the mouthpiece to disperse the bubbles. The purge button on the regulator pushes the lever that allows air to flow. This lever is the same lever that is pushed by the diaphragm when you inhale.
To deliver air as easily and efficiently as possible, manufacturers have come up with various diver-controlled means by which divers can fine-tune the flow of air. The result is the emergence of devices with names such as air assist, vanes and venturi effect devices.
Most modern regulators have a tendency to free-flow at the surface if the second stage is in the water and if the mouthpiece is not in the diver’s mouth and is higher than the purge button. This happens because the second stage is so finely tuned that the difference in pressure of only a few centimetres of water is enough to start the delivery of air. To stop the free flow, just turn the second stage over so that the mouthpiece is pointed downward.
Ports not just deliver air to your mouth. They also deliver air to other devices such as the inflator for a buoyancy conpensator, an alternate air source, or a dry suit. All regulators provide either high-pressure and low-pressure ports. Regulators typically have one or two high-pressure and three to four low-pressure ports. The ports are clearly marked to prevent hose mistakes.
Your submersible pressure gauge is connected to the high-pressure HP port via a high-pressure hose. The three low-pressure LP ports are used with low-pressure hoses for the primary second stage of your regulator (the one that you breathe through), the secondary or alternate (octopus) second stage, and the BC inflator.
If you still need to inflate your dry suit, you will likely need an additional LP port. You may therefore need to purchase a more expensive regulator. The more expensive regulators typically provide more ports, both HP and LP, allowing you to more easily configure your gear.
Watch the video below on how to assemble your scuba regulator:
A good scuba regulator lets you breathe easily over a wide range of tank pressures, which implies a balanced first stage. When shopping for a scuba regulator, choose a widely used regulator which can be easily serviced by facilities anywhere you happen to be and that uses readily available parts.
The type of diving you plan to do will have an influence on your selection. If you plan to do most of your diving from shore, you should avoid a pilot-valve second stage which is easily badly affected by sand and dirt. Regulators with diaphragm first stages are a better choice if most of your diving is from shore.
If you do not have a scuba tank, consider purchasing the tank and regulator at the same time so that you can match the fittings of the regulator and the cylinder valve. If you dive in water that is near freezing, be sure to selct an environmentally shielded regulator. Take note also that enriched-air nitrox and mixed gases require specially cleaned and dedicated regulators.