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  • 1. How does the Avelo System work, and how is it different from standard scuba?

    The Avelo System works by using the same principle as a submarine. Submarines are normally very buoyant. When they need to descend, the operator pumps water into the water chambers which makes the submarine less buoyant. If the operator wants the submarine to ascend, they purge water out of the water chamber.

    The advantage of this approach to buoyancy control is that the buoyancy of a submarine is ultra-stable. Once a submarine establishes neutral buoyancy it can go up or down in the water column thousands of meters (in theory) with no change to buoyancy. Even when a submarine is somewhat positively or negatively buoyant, it maintains the same level of buoyancy as it changes depth.

    This contrasts starkly to a buoyancy system that relies on an air pocket (a.k.a. BCD). An air pocket is very sensitive to ambient pressure. When a diver ascends slightly, the air pocket expands and buoyancy increases. This puts the diver on an ascent trajectory. Unless they release air from the BCD, this air pocket will continue to expand and will quickly lead to an uncontrolled ascent.

    The same process is true for a small descent. The result is that the diver must be on-guard the entire dive. In other words, neutral buoyancy when relying on an air pocket is unstable. We are so used to unstable buoyancy that we can’t imagine an underwater world where a diver just swims to the depth they desire, and then they simply stop swimming. In today’s scuba world, depth change equals buoyancy change.

    The Avelo System is a wearable lightweight submarine that contains the air you are breathing. It breaks the equation above. With Avelo depth change does not equal buoyancy change.

    The Avelo System’s main component is the Hydrotank, a lean scuba tank with a flexible inner bladder. Compressed air (or another breathing mixture) is stored in the bladder. When the diver enters the water with the Avelo System, they float because their gear is buoyant. When they are ready to descend, they turn on the pump for 30-60 seconds. As the water chamber of the Hydrotank is filled, they become less buoyant until they reach neutral buoyancy. They turn the pump off.

    Next, they swim down. Their neutral buoyancy is stable even if they go deep or are with thick wetsuits. It is a sensation that does not exist in scuba today. To fine-tune their buoyancy, divers use their breathing. This is how buoyancy was intended to be managed by using a BCD.

    However, since the BCD is a very large air bubble compared to the tidal volume of lungs, there is a substantial difference in how BCDs operate versus the Avelo System.

    Think of diving with a BCD as having a large air bubble riding on a much smaller air bubble that changes volume constantly (i.e. breathing). The BCD throws off the diver’s neutral buoyancy throughout the entire dive. Once this large air bubble is eliminated with the Avelo System, buoyancy control using one’s lungs becomes intuitive and makes even novice divers instantly present the buoyancy control skills of a divemaster. It shortens the learning curve of every other skill in scuba and accelerates buoyancy control mastery by orders of magnitude.

    With this perfect buoyancy, divers can move freely in all directions. When they stop swimming, they stop moving. As gas is consumed, the Hydrotank becomes lighter, so the diver pumps more water into the tank. A diver would typically use the pump 2-3 times in a dive, 20-30 seconds each time.

    On the water's surface at the end of the dive, the diver opens a purge valve to remove all water from the Hydrotank. The reduced weight makes the system even lighter which is beneficial for exiting the water.

    Our certification program provides in-depth information into how the Avelo System works and teaches how to dive Avelo.

  • 2. Is the Avelo System like a rebreather?

    No. The Avelo System is a self-contained, open-circuit underwater breathing and buoyancy control apparatus. The Avelo System is simpler, lighter, safer, and more efficient than standard scuba. It is everything you love about scuba: simplicity and freedom, just much better.

    Rebreathers recycle your breath by absorbing CO2 and replenishing the oxygen. Obviously, this is a gross simplification of how rebreathers work but is sufficient for the purpose of this answer. Rebreathers are a wonderful technology and some of us are very experienced with them.

    However, in terms of buoyancy control, rebreathers are the opposite of Avelo. A rebreather has a counter lung that expands when you exhale. This means that you cannot control your buoyancy with breathing and must rely 100% on the bubble inside the BCD. Buoyancy control with a rebreather is far more challenging than with standard scuba.

    With Avelo, buoyancy control using the diver’s lungs is so intuitive and simple that divers on their very first dive exhibit buoyancy skills equivalent to those of divers with 100 dives on standard scuba.

    The other big difference between Avelo and rebreathers is weight. Rebreathers by themselves are not light and require the use of bailout tanks.

    The third big difference is cost. Rebreathers are notoriously expensive and require considerable care and maintenance. The Avelo System cost is competitive with standard scuba equipment while providing a superior experience.

  • 3. Is the Avelo System safe?

    Superior buoyancy control means safer diving. Stable neutral buoyancy means that the diver is less anxious, less prone to develop problems, and has considerably more time to respond to evolving situations. Imagine an underwater world where there is no such thing as a rapid, uncontrolled ascent or descent. That is what the Avelo unit offers.

    Our Hydrotanks are DOT and CE approved specifically for their intended use in saltwater, pool water, hazardous liquids environments, etc. They are manufactured to a very strict ISO standard which is far more restricting than any aluminum or steel scuba tank produced today.

    The Avelo System is sophisticated in its working principle but relies on simple and very reliable components. Just like with standard diving equipment, our equipment is tested for safety and includes annual inspections and normal hydrostatic testing schedules.

    Our course teaches divers how to safely operate the equipment and includes pre-dive safety checks, maintenance information, and how to handle malfunctions.

    Result of gear malfunctions Standard Scuba Avelo
    Uncontrolled ascent

    Dropping a weight pocket or a "stuck’ power-inflator button will undoubtedly launch a diver to the surface unless they are professionals or otherwise extremely experienced. The change in buoyancy is very fast and a diver can find themselves on the surface in a matter of 10-20 seconds.

    Not relevant. There are no rapid buoyancy changes with the Avelo System under any scenario. The only scenario where the diver becomes positively buoyant is if there is a water leak from the high-pressure hydraulic hose that connects the pump to the Hydrotank. Even in this case, a leak is so slow that the diver will have 15-20 minutes to address it after they notice the leak.

    Uncontrolled descent

    This is caused by a ripped BCD bladder or ripped or broken BCD deflator tube especially when coupled with overweighting. Under any one of these scenarios, a diver is at serious risk of sinking or swimming hard to the surface. If they decide to drop their weights, it could lead to rapid ascent if some air is trapped in the BCD. Bottom line: the standard scuba system is very prone to rapid buoyancy changes.

    Not relevant. There is no scenario with the Avelo System that a diver can become so heavy that they can’t easily swim to the surface. If the pump or battery malfunctions (same likelihood as a ripped or broken BCD), there is NO CHANGE IN BUOYANCY. The diver maintains neutral buoyancy for at least 15-20 minutes.

    Bottom line: the Avelo System can’t develop the same rapid buoyancy changes that we are all used to as standard scuba system divers. This difference allows for significantly longer timeframes to stop, breathe, assess, consult with your buddy, and react. It’s a whole different world of safety.

    Rapid loss of air An o-ring failure, HP or LP hose failure, or second or first stage problems can lead to rapid loss of air. Obviously, a high pressure failure is worse.

    Same. The Avelo System works with the same regulators used today. The only difference is that our system uses a DIN adapter.

    One of the most common questions we get is: what happens if the bladder fails. The internal bladder can handle a pressure that is 4X larger than today’s standard scuba tanks. The Avelo experimental dive team intentionally punctured, ripped, and cut open the internal bladders during product validation procedures. The result is that a small amount of air transfers to the water side. Water does not enter the bladder because air pressure keeps it out. Air does not escape the Hydrotank just because the bladder is compromised, and it is not an emergency.

    Bladders are inspected and tested just like standard scuba tanks. The likelihood of this type of failure is equal to the likelihood of a scuba tank failing, except that the failure of a scuba tank is catastrophic whereas bladder failure is not even an emergency.

    Uncontrolled ascent

    Standard Scuba

    Dropping a weight pocket or a "stuck’ power-inflator button will undoubtedly launch a diver to the surface unless they are professionals or otherwise extremely experienced. The change in buoyancy is very fast and a diver can find themselves on the surface in a matter of 10-20 seconds.

    Avelo

    Not relevant. There are no rapid buoyancy changes with the Avelo System under any scenario. The only scenario where the diver becomes positively buoyant is if there is a water leak from the high-pressure hydraulic hose that connects the pump to the Hydrotank. Even in this case, a leak is so slow that the diver will have 15-20 minutes to address it after they notice the leak.

    Uncontrolled descent

    Standard Scuba

    This is caused by a ripped BCD bladder or ripped or broken BCD deflator tube especially when coupled with overweighting. Under any one of these scenarios, a diver is at serious risk of sinking or swimming hard to the surface. If they decide to drop their weights, it could lead to rapid ascent if some air is trapped in the BCD. Bottom line: the standard scuba system is very prone to rapid buoyancy changes.

    Avelo

    Not relevant. There is no scenario with the Avelo System that a diver can become so heavy that they can’t easily swim to the surface. If the pump or battery malfunctions (same likelihood as a ripped or broken BCD), there is NO CHANGE IN BUOYANCY. The diver maintains neutral buoyancy for at least 15-20 minutes.

    Bottom line: the Avelo System can’t develop the same rapid buoyancy changes that we are all used to as standard scuba system divers. This difference allows for significantly longer timeframes to stop, breathe, assess, consult with your buddy, and react. It’s a whole different world of safety.

    Rapid loss of air

    Standard Scuba

    An o-ring failure, HP or LP hose failure, or second or first stage problems can lead to rapid loss of air. Obviously, a high pressure failure is worse.

    Avelo

    Same. The Avelo System works with the same regulators used today. The only difference is that our system uses a DIN adapter.

    One of the most common questions we get is: what happens if the bladder fails. The internal bladder can handle a pressure that is 4X larger than today’s standard scuba tanks. The Avelo experimental dive team intentionally punctured, ripped, and cut open the internal bladders during product validation procedures. The result is that a small amount of air transfers to the water side. Water does not enter the bladder because air pressure keeps it out. Air does not escape the Hydrotank just because the bladder is compromised, and it is not an emergency.

    Bladders are inspected and tested just like standard scuba tanks. The likelihood of this type of failure is equal to the likelihood of a scuba tank failing, except that the failure of a scuba tank is catastrophic whereas bladder failure is not even an emergency.

  • 4. When the pump is on, the pressure I read will rise. How do I monitor my pressure?

    The Avelo System is compatible with your existing dive gauge technology (analog or digital). The same rules of diving for gas management apply to the Avelo System. The physics behind the consumption of gas allows the performance of gauges to operate in the same manner. Our certification program provides more detail and teaches divers how to easily monitor their air pressure with the Avelo System.

  • 5. What is a compressible volume, and what is the significance of it?

    The compressible volume in diving is a term used to describe the type of gear that is sensitive to ambient pressure. For example, the BCD contains a large air bubble. It is very sensitive to ambient pressure and expands or compresses every time you change depth, which changes your buoyancy.

    Another compressible volume is the exposure suit. Wetsuits are far less sensitive to pressure changes because the neoprene they are made from is a closed-cell foam. Think of it as a lot of tiny bubbles held together by a strong rubber shell. This and other factors severely limit the compression of wetsuits due to pressure. The Avelo Experimental Dive Team experimented with hundreds of wetsuits of different designs, sizes, types, styles, thicknesses (0.5mm to 10mm), configurations (multiple layering), color patterns, etc. Avelo works with all of them equally.

    Another type of compressible volume is a dry suit. Divers who regularly use dry suits are used to carrying a lot of weight. As a result, managing the buoyancy of both air pockets (BCD and dry suit) is more challenging. The Avelo System eliminates the BCD and allows dry suit divers to carry significantly less weight. While the diver still must manage the buoyancy of the drysuit, we found that diving Avelo with a dry suit requires far less weight than with a BCD.

    The significance of the compressible volume is that it destabilizes neutral buoyancy. The larger it is, the more sensitive it is to depth changes and the harder neutral buoyancy is to control. The Avelo System significantly reduces the amount of compressible volume. This is the magic behind our superior neutral buoyancy.

  • 6. Where can I buy an Avelo System and how much would it cost?

    Avelo is both an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and a certification agency. We work with dive shops that offer Avelo training services, access to Avelo Systems, and equipment maintenance. In 2022, we will work with a small group of early-adopting dive shops and resorts/destinations. We plan to work with an increasing number of dive businesses beginning in 2023.

    The price of the Avelo System will be competitive with standard scuba systems.

  • 7. How can I sell the Avelo System?

    We work with dive businesses that want to help new and existing divers immediately experience the freedom of diving. We offer our equipment, specialty training courses, and all the needed service parts as part of our Avelo Training Center program.

    In 2022, we will work with a small group of early-adopting dive shops and resorts/destinations. We plan to work with an increasing number of dive businesses beginning in 2023.

    If you own a dive business and are interested in becoming an Avelo Training Center, please join our sign-up page.

  • 8. Is the buoyancy control feature automated?

    The Avelo System is manual. Neutral buoyancy with the Avelo System may feel as if it is automatic at times because it is very stable and this form of stable neutral buoyancy lasts for long periods of time. However, the system is not automatic, so the diver has complete control.

  • 9. Does the Avelo team have a problem with BCDs?

    Not at all. We are all professional BCD users and instructors. BCDs became an important part of scuba for very good reasons. They allowed a much wider sector of the population to participate in this amazing activity. This led to the widespread awareness of how fragile the underwater environment is.

    The growth in scuba diving provided an important economic engine to displace harmful marine practices in many areas of the world. BCDs should receive a lot of credit for their part in this.

    We have now found a much better way to manage buoyancy and believe Avelo will lead to an even wider expansion of the diving community.

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