Every rebreather diver needs at least one regulator to bail out onto, and there are a few reasons for this.
When it is all going pear-shaped underwater, you really want the thing you are going to stick into your mouth able to deliver the much needed gas you require without hassle.
If you are diving with a / another rebreather diver, and you have a gas issue, the last thing you want to do is grab the breathing loop out of the mouth of your companion. That said it is possible to buddy breathe on a rebreather - I practiced this skill in the late 1990s when I did my Drager Dolphin course - but I wouldn't race to do it anger.
How does rebreather buddy breathing work? The out of gas diver swims above the donating diver. The donating diver takes two breathes, then closes the mouthpiece and passes it up to the receiving diver. At all times the donating diver holds onto the loop. The out of gas diver places the mouthpiece into his mouth, clears / opens the loop, takes two breaths, closes the loop and passes the mouthpiece back down to the donor diver.
We were able to keep on diving whilst buddy breathing and we didn't flood the loop. But we were completely unstressed, diving in benign conditions and finning very slowly. This is certainly not the ideal optimal solution when Murphy comes calling. So pretty much every rebreather diver will have at least one if not two regulators staged for their personal and the team / buddy's use.
When you are diving from home, your set up is likely to remain the same, i.e. you will have your cylinders and regulators configured to suit your personal style of diving. When you travel however, or you dive with club or you run a dive centre, you cannot always access the optimal equipment configuration you would wish to have. A number of divers get around this issue by diving unhanded regulators - it doesn't matter which way up you put in the regulator it will always work.
The rest of the world dives handed regulators. This refers to the direction from which the regulator hose must come when the regulator is in your mouth i.e. the hose must come from the right hand side when you are using a right handed regulator.
It is possible to change a regulator from a right-handed configuration to a left-handed configuration, however this procedure can normally be performed by an authorised Service Technician. Until now.
AP Diving launched the world’s first diver configurable regulator - the 'AP Switch' - at EUROTEK.2016.
This will be great for divers that want to configure their kit on the fly - Alex Wall, AP Diving R&D Manager
According to AP this regulator has a unique patented clip and switch mechanism that allows the diver to change the second stage from a left to a right-handed orientation in seconds - at the dive site or on the boat - without the need for specialist tools or an authorised service engineer. Simply press in the clip, undo the adjuster, undo the hose, then screw home the hose on the alternative side and refit the clip.
This high performance reg will come in two versions - cold water (sub 10ºC / 50ºF) and warm water (anything above 10ºC / 50ºF) - with divers being able to choose a DIN or A clamp fitting. AP Diving state that there will be three versions of the second stage:
- A primary second stage with chrome detailing
- An octopus second stage with yellow highlights
- A nitrox second stage in green suitable for diving with Oxygen up to 100% straight out of the box
Both the primary second stage and the octopus can be dived with nitrox up to EANx40 straight out of the box.
Other features include an adjustable inhalation valve and a Venturi control with pre-dive and dive positions.
AP Diving believe that the Switch Regulator will be good as a primary, octopus or stage cylinder reg for techies, cavers, rebreathers, side-mounters, instructors and all divers who demand the best in terms of performance and reliability but also need to re-configure their kit frequently to suit the diving mission.
Available: Spring 2018