by Bonnie J. Cardone
By now you're probably very familiar with the Spare Air alternate air
source from Submersible Systems. You've seen it carried by divers wherever
you go and it's been featured prominently in the media (used by record
setting freediver Pipin). Quite likely, you already carry one of these
handy, backup breathing systems on your dives. If so, you'll really
appreciate the latest Spare Air innovation, the Universal Refill Adapter.
It not only makes filling your Spare Air from your scuba tank a snap,
it eliminates the concern of whether your tank has a yoke or DIN fitting-because
the Universal Refill Adapter attaches to the first stage of your regulator
instead of your scuba tank.
If you already have a Spare Air and are well-versed in the advantages
of this amazing self-rescue system, you might move to the section discussing
the Universal Refill Adapter. Otherwise, take a moment to study the
following highlights. You might realize just how much you've been missing,
safety-wise. Convenient Emergency Air Source: Spare Air is a lightweight,
compact, backup air source that is completely independent of your primary
breathing system. This is a tremendous advantage because, regardless
of what problem might strike your primary system, the Spare Air is unaffected-and
ready to provide you with enough breaths to reach the surface in a calm,
Spare Air consists of a miniature aluminum scuba tank that can be filled
to 3,000 psi. It has its own balanced, single stage regulator, purge
button and silicone mouthpiece. A check valve allows the device to be
filled over and over again and a pressure indicator can tell you at
a glance when this is necessary. In an out of air emergency, Spare Air
is easy to use. All you have to do is place the mouthpiece in your mouth,
purge the regulator, then start breathing lifesaving air.
You can attach your Spare Air to a handy spot on your BC harness using
the optional Universal Mounting System. To prevent accidental loss of
your Spare Air, there is the optional Safety Leash.
As mentioned, the Spare Air can be filled over and over. Adapters are
available to fill the unit from an air compressor or a scuba tank. The
original tank adapter (still offered) has a yoke-style attachment at
one end that fits over your scuba tank valve. The other end threads
onto the check valve of the Spare Air. Previously, this was the only
method of filling your Spare Air from a scuba tank. Now you have a choice.
Universal Refill Adapter: The newest and hottest Spare Air option is
the Universal Refill Adapter. No longer does it matter whether your
scuba tank has a yoke or DIN valve. In fact, you don't even have to
remove your regulator from your (full) tank to fill your Spare Air.
The Universal Refill Adapter allows you to quickly and easily fill the
Spare Air directly from the high pressure port of your regulator's first
The Universal Refill Adapter has three rugged, machined, nickel plated
brass parts. One fitting screws into the high pressure port of your
regulator first stage. (Your high pressure hose then screws into the
other end of the fitting.) This fitting has a hole in the middle. Most
of the time, the hole will be filled by the second part of the adapter,
an O-ring sealed 'plug.' A retaining clip holds the plug in place.
When you want to fill your Spare Air, you utilize the third part of
the adapter. It is another fitting, one end of which you screw over
the Spare Air's check valve. The other end of this fitting is another
O-ring sealed plug, but this one has a small orifice that leads through
the fitting to the Spare Air check valve. You simply turn off the air,
unclip and remove the non-perforated plug from the regulator fitting.
Then you slide in and clip on the perforated plug in its place. Open
your tank valve and the Spare Air automatically fills to equalize with
the pressure in your scuba tank. You can be assured of an accurate pressure
reading while refilling your Spare Air because the adapter allows you
to check it with your tank pressure gauge. Turn off the air, switch
plugs again, remove the fitting from the Spare Air-and you're ready
to go. However it may sound in print, the actual filling process is
very simple, requires no tools and can be accomplished in less than
a minute with practice.
Whether Sport or Pro, the Spare Air has always been an incredibly handy
and reliable backup air source-with the important advantage of being
completely independent of your primary air supply.