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This Makes Me Re-Think Helium Valves.

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  • This Makes Me Re-Think Helium Valves.

    Here is a page from the US Navy's 1959 dive watch testing report.

    <a href="http://s641.photobucket.com/albums/uu138/foxforce/?action=view&amp;current=untitled.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i641.photobucket.com/albums/uu138/foxforce/untitled.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    In the bottom paragraph it discusses a BP FF that blew its crystal out on a dry chamber 'dive' to 165 feet. That is a realistic range for any of us, not just the sat divers one always thinks of when the words "He Valve" are discussed.

    The report also serves to remind us of how recently the watches we take for granted first appeared, as well as how vastly improved most modern watches are from a purely technological point of view.
    www.usmcscoutsniper.org - Life Member

  • #2
    Think a second...

    "In the bottom paragraph it discusses a BP FF that blew its crystal out on a dry chamber 'dive' to 165 feet. That is a realistic range for any of us, not just the sat divers one always thinks of when the words "He Valve" are discussed."

    The ONLY thing that is going to make a crystal blow out at ANY depth is the helium molecule. The ONLY reason your watch would be breathing helium would be in either a very deep 'dry' dive situation, or a saturation (long term) 'dry' dive situation.
    Pretty sure I'll never be in either situation.

    But indeed, if you intend to spend considerable time in a dry helium environment, you could be a candidate for a helium valve. If you're just using tri-mix scuba, your watch will never see helium. Right?
    sigpic

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    • #3
      I believe that FF let air molecules in - its unlikely that there was any He present in that dry dive chamber. Nitrogen and oxygen may have another electron shell, but they're not that much bigger than Helium is in terms of mechanical watches (He diameter approx 1 angstrom, N diameter approx 1.5 angstrom). Thats why it causes me to re-assess: if the seals on a watch at 5 atmospheres can't hold out helium or the somewhat larger oxygen and nitrogen, then maybe its a good thing to have a valve afterall.

      I had to look it up, but an angstrom is a ten-billionth of a meter.
      Last edited by namor; 05-07-2012, 12:21 PM.
      www.usmcscoutsniper.org - Life Member

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      • #4
        He has a point, and although I have never seen any watches blow out on dry air dives, it could happen. Most dive watches on the market will never see diving application. Those that do will be wet scuba situations, and that will never involve air or any other gas penetrating the watch. Diving doctors, DMTs, Commercial Divers, Navy Divers... Those are about the only guys who will experience a dry environment under pressure. I will always have at LEAST 1 dive watch with a HRV in my collection, and that would generally be the one I would be diving anyway. Currently I have 2, and will likely add a 3d (Deep Sea) at some point.
        TKite,
        Hydronaut

        I need a new watch

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        • #5
          Let's agree...

          ...that no Helium was present on that 165' dive, and it was air got pressurized into the watch, and deco'ed too fast.

          Frankly, if I'm ever in a hyperbaric chamber of any kind, I'll have a whole lot more to worry about than my watch crystal.
          Your mileage, and all that....
          sigpic

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          • #6
            I have to agree, deco chambers are not my idea of fun!

            When I went through Scuba School at Coronado, they first test you in the chamber to see if you experience any problems at the deco pressures. Even though I had no problems, I found the experience a bit uncomfortable.

            My original point, though, is just that for twenty five years or so I always thought my HeV was entirely superfluous when in turns out that it MIGHT be useful for me too someday.
            www.usmcscoutsniper.org - Life Member

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TylerEOT View Post
              ...that no Helium was present on that 165' dive, and it was air got pressurized into the watch, and deco'ed too fast.

              Frankly, if I'm ever in a hyperbaric chamber of any kind, I'll have a whole lot more to worry about than my watch crystal.
              Your mileage, and all that....
              I have learned to 'never say never' in the field of diving.
              TKite,
              Hydronaut

              I need a new watch

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              • #8
                Guys...!!! 1958...!!! That's over HALF A CENTURY ago. I don't

                think a report on ANY technology from that era is particularly relevant today, except as a curiosity and being able to say: I can't believe they used to have to make do with THAT...

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                • #9
                  +1 , I would be more inclined to be "impressed" either positively or negatively by results on todays watches. I love my Snorkel, but it does not hold a candle dive watch technology wise compared to say even my Seiko SKX011.
                  sigpic Let the music be your Master, will you heed the Master's call?

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                  • #10
                    Interesting conversation this.

                    I tend to go with the idea that the HEV is just a "neutral" for me. If I like the design and it has one, great, if it doesn't, thats fine too. Lets face it, I think we all gravitate to the idea of buying "just a bit more capability" than we think we will ever need. Call it the "closet engineer" or survivalist in all of us. How many of us are not certified divers, or are sport divers who never drop below 150ft, yet we own watches that would make a commercial/military diver proud.

                    As some have said before, "Need" has nothing to do with this particular hobby.

                    Just sayin
                    "From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free."
                    Jacques Yves Cousteau


                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by S.L.Dickinson View Post
                      +1 , I would be more inclined to be "impressed" either positively or negatively by results on todays watches. I love my Snorkel, but it does not hold a candle dive watch technology wise compared to say even my Seiko SKX011.
                      Back in those days, heck everything was experimental... They were pushing the limits of everything because they didn't know how to deal with diving on many fronts. If something failed, it was a lesson for the books - don't do that. They figure out a way to correct or go around it.
                      TKite,
                      Hydronaut

                      I need a new watch

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