The diving cylinder and scuba regulator are the primary components of an open-circuit SCUBA set. Thus, it is only necessary for beginner scuba divers to be properly oriented on pertinent f unctionalities and to obtain a skillful mastery of its use as well. The cylinder tank and regulator set sure looks like complicated pieces of scuba equipment where the lack of expertise could spell disaster; particularly if the scuba equipment malfunctions a few hundred feet below sea water and the scuba diver has no way of telling how to handle the mishap due to lack of training and experience.
The article will make a rundown of helpful literature related to the basic features and use of pertinent open-circuit scuba set components.
The Diving Cylinder
Also called cylinder tank, the diving cylinder overwhelmingly contributes to the drag that any scuba diver has to contend with in the conduct of multi-level dives. Nonetheless, it is perhaps the most important piece of scuba equipment considering the fact that its forged steel or cold-extruded aluminum body is the storage bin for compressed, high pressure Air or Nitrox mixes. Note that handling Nitrox mixes requires extensive training and certification if a breathing gas mixture concentrated with up to 40% oxygen is preferred over atmospheric gas.
Most diving cylinders are designed to handle pressure ratings of up to 3000 or 4500 per square inch (psi) which the diver could optimize to support his breathing requirements while probing decompression limits and during his ascent to the surface.
Divers are advised to carry a second cylinder tank when diving cold-water environments with a low visibility profile. Moreover, scuba divers should periodically monitor gas levels in their tank through the pressure gauge and perform an ascent with at an least 500 psi pressure remaining in their tank.
The Scuba Regulator
Referred to as the pressure regulator, the regulator set conveys breathable air to the diver by reducing the pressure of gases flowing through the tank; available at psi levels that will prove to be injurious to the diver if inhaled directly.
The scuba set is composed of 3 primary mechanisms, namely the first stage, second stage (primary valve) and the octopus regulator or alternate air source. The first stage directly connects to the cylinder tank, drops the pressure to intermediate levels and transports it to the second stage where intermediate pressure is converted to ambient pressure and conveyed to the diver through an adjustable mouthpiece. Meanwhile, the octopus regulator functions as a secondary primary valve that divers can use as back up in case of second stage free flow or to share gas with a buddy during an emergency.