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April 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Gas-Integrated Computer Transmitters

why do we avoid them? and a few recommendations

from the April, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Let's admit it. We divers are a funny lot. Although we are often seen as being very adventurous, we are usually very unadventurous when it comes to equipment innovation. This hard-to-understand state of affairs probably stems from newcomers being taught by instructors who have their credibility invested in long-established ideas. New ideas have to be adopted by these usually older divers and instructors, and that can take time to diffuse into normal practice. For example, why do so many sport divers dismiss gasintegrated computers out-of-hand? A bit of history is in order.

Back in the early '60s, divers used tanks with J-valves. When the air was depleted, the regulator became harder to breathe. The diver then pulled the J-valve release, which allowed access to the last quarter of the tank's supply; the regulator freed up and it was time to ascend. Then came submersible pressure gauges, which were met with similar resistance. Some divers saw them as an additional failure point, thinking they could easily explode with so much pressure inside them. A legacy of that is seen today when trainee divers are still taught to hold the gauge away when they first turn a tank on.

Then came resistance to horse-collar-style buoyancy compensators. Many believed it was too easy to inflate them and they would inadvertently send a diver hurtling to the surface. When conventional BCs replaced them, divers resisted them because they might float an unconscious diver face-down at the surface (unlike the horse-collar that worked more like a life jacket). Nobody asked why the diver would be unconscious. Presumably it was because he had lost control of his buoyancy and hurtled to the surface....

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