When I purchased a new BCD (buoyancy control device) I decided to go with the Aqualung Balance thanks to a few recommendations by fellow divers and because I liked it’s minimalist and streamlined design. The Balance comes standard with the Airsource 3 as it’s power inflator, the one design I didn’t like, so I purchased a separate regulator inflator. Why did I do that?
Here are some reasons why I didn’t want the Airsource 3:
- I train scuba divers and the BCDs we rent to students come with what I consider to be “standard” power inflators. Press the blue (or grey or black) button to inflate the BCD. Hold the power inflator above your head and squeeze the top to deflate.
- The dump and inflate buttons are side by side on the Airsource 3 making it easy to confuse their functionality. There’s added risk when diving with a student is learning to dive at the same time they are learning specialized equipment (equipment different from others). I’ve been in a panic situation with a dive buddy and neither of us knew how to dump his air because of the different button scheme (he panicked and couldn’t remember and I never knew).
- The Airsource 3 has a different mechanism for detaching when compared to the standard inflator. If your inflator becomes stuck in the open position you can only close the hose, you can’t detach it completely.
- The BCD is designed to use the Airsource 3 as the alternate air source, eliminating the need for an octopus and your buddy get’s to use your primary regulator. Why is that a big deal? It adds extra risk that your dive buddy may not know what to do in a emergency situation and for comfort divers should add extra length to their primary hose to accommodate this new design.