Diving Gauges

4-6.1 Selecting Diving System Guages. Select a gauge whose full scale reading approximates 130 percent to 160 percent of the maximum operating pressure of the system. Following this guideline, a gauge with a full scale reading of 4,000 or 5,000 psi would be satisfactory for installation in a system with a maximum operating pressure of 3,000 psi.

Selecting gauge accuracy and precision should be based on the type of system and how the gauge will be used. For example, a high level of precision is not required on air bank pressure gauges where only relative values are necessary to determine how much air is left in the bank or when to shut down the charging compressor. However, considerable accuracy (% of 1 percent of full scale for saturation diving operations and 1 percent of full scale for surface supplied operations) is required for gauges that read diver depth (pneumofathometers and chamber depth gauges). Depth gauge accuracy is critical to selecting the proper decompression or treatment table.

Many gauges are provided with a case blowout plug on the rear surface. The blowout plug protects the operator in the event of Bourdon tube failure, when case overpressurization could otherwise result in explosion of the gauge lens. The plug must not be obstructed by brackets or other hardware.

All diving system gauges should be provided with gauge isolation valves and calibration fittings. If a gauge fails during an operation, the isolation valve closes to prevent loss of system pressure.

4-6.2 Calibrating and Maintaining Gauges . All installed gauges and portable gauges

(tank pressure gauges, submersible tank pressure gauges, and gauges in small portable test sets) in use must be calibrated or compared in accordance with the

Planned Maintenance System schedule unless a malfunction requires repair and calibration sooner. Programs such as the Shipboard Gauge Calibration Program as outlined in the NAVSEA Instruction 4734.1 (series) provide authority for a command to calibrate its own gauges. Calibrated gauges not in use should be kept in a clean, dry, vibration-free environment. The Meteorology Requirements List, NAVSEA OD-45845, should be consulted to determine storage times not considered part of the calibration interval.

Calibration and comparison data must include the date of the last satisfactory check, the date the next calibration is due, and the activity accomplishing the calibration. Labels attached to gauge lens are satisfactory for recording this data.

When oxygen systems are being cleaned, gauge lines should be removed and cleaned separately, after first cleaning the system with gauge lines attached. This will ensure that the gauge lines are thoroughly flushed. All gauges should be removed from the system prior to the cleaning process to avoid dead ends in the system and damage to the gauges from the cleaning solution.

Gauges are delicate instruments and can be damaged by vibration, shock, or impact. They should be mounted in locations that minimize these factors and should always be mounted to gauge boards, panels, or brackets. The piping connection should not be the sole support for the gauge. A gauge can be severely damaged by rapid pulsations of the system when the fluid pressure is being measured. When this condition exists, a gauge snubber should be installed between the isolation valve and the gauge to protect the instrument. Most gauges are not waterproof and are not designed for use in a marine environment. Enclosures of transparent acrylic plastic, such as lucite, can be used to protect the gauges from water and salt spray. However, the enclosure must have vent passages to allow the atmospheric pressure to act on the gauge sensing element.

4-6.3 Helical Bourdon Tube Gauges. Manufacturers make two basic types of helical

Bourdon tube gauges for use on recompression chambers and for surface-supplied diving systems. One is a caisson gauge with two ports on the back. The reference port, which is capped, is sealed with ambient air pressure or is piped to the exterior of the pressure chamber. The sensing port is left open to interior pressure. The other gauge is the standard exterior gauge.

Both are direct-drive instruments employing a helical Bourdon tube as the sensing element. The gauges are accurate to % of 1 percent of full scale pressure at all dial points. With no gears or linkages, the movement is unaffected by wear, and accuracy and initial calibration remains permanent.

A comparative check in lieu of recalibration should be made in accordance with the Planned Maintenance System. A dial adjustment screw on the front face of the gauge provides for zero-point adjustment and special set pressure. Dial readout units of measure can be in pounds per square inch (psi) and/or feet of seawater (fsw).

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