Evaluation of Commercially Available Open Circuit Scuba Regulators
Test and evaluation rept.
NAVY EXPERIMENTAL DIVING UNIT PANAMA CITY FL
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Phase 1 consisted of unmanned testing of 51 SCUBA regulator systems commercially available in the U.S. Breathing resistance, work of breathing, and first stage performance was evaluated. Phase 2 consisted of unmanned tests of selected open circuit SCUBA regulators, equipped with low temperature conversion kits. Breathing resistance, work of breathing, first stage performance and performance in cold water was evaluated. Phase 3 consisted of an open water human factors evaluation of the regulators tested in phase 2. As a result of phase 1 testing a new NEDU open circuit SCUBA regulator performance criterion was developed to supersede the 1981 NEDU performance standard for 132 FSW. The new standard is work of breathing not to exceed .14 kg 1X1 ml at all depths and RMV up to 62.5 RMV at 198 FSW. From the field of 51 regulator models tested, 8 met or exceeded the upgraded performance standard at 198 FSW, 17 met or exceeded the 1981 NEDU standard at 132 FSW, 43 met or exceeded the military standard of respiratory pressures Mil-R-24169B, and 6 failed. Two regulators were unable to undergo objective analysis of breathing resistance and work due to 2nd stage inhalation pressure incompatibility with the test systems. Phase 2 test results indicated that low temperature conversion modifications frequently increased the work of breathing. In cold water 5 regulators were considered to have superior performance, 1 considered moderate, and 4 unacceptable.
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