Defender CCR with SG-1 electronics - Opinions?

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macado

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Does anyone want to give me the no bullsh*t opinion on the Defender CCR with SG-1 electronics? I'm looking for people with personal experiences on the unit although I'm happy to hear opinions on Hammerhead / X-CCR as I realize they're mostly same platform with difference electronics.

I realize that's an incredibly vague question but I'm looking at maybe picking up a Defender and the one thing I'm not sold on is the electronics. I'm got plenty of friends with X-CCRs and they seem to like their units.

Have you had issues with the electronics?
Have they flooded? / Failed on you?
Any issues with internal battery in handset (which is not user replacement)?
Issues with firmware/software? Are their different revisions of the SG-1 electronics?
Will the electronics lock you out / prevent you from diving if you don't service yearly?

From what I gather they're both based on "Hammerhead" platform. I know IQSub in Czech Republic makes both units. The X-CCR has Shearwater electronics with controller / batteries in the head, CO2 monitoring and HP sensors in head while the Defender has controller and batteries in handset with traditional SPGs. From my understanding the SG1 electronics replaced the Juergensen Marine electronics which used to be the Hammerhead until Thorntons / Subgravity bought the rights to it?

I was told the SG-1 electronics are now made in-house in Utah by SubGravity. Does anyone know if that's correct? Otherwise scrubber design (various sizes), counterlungs, MAVs, T-Pieces, Loop are pretty much the same as X-CCR and it's just primarily the difference in the electronics?

If I do get one I plan on running it with a secondary Shearwater monitor and HUD as I like having two wrist monitors. Basically I'm looking at my third rebreather. I've got ~800 hours on a rEvo (pure mCCR) and ~350 hours on a SF2 (eCCR).

TL;DR - Tell me your Defender CCR experiences good or bad..
 

Dsix36

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I found the ADV to flow when I did not want it to just from body position. It is non adjustable (unlike the Optima) and I had to machine a shim to tighten it to my preference.

I never had any trouble with the electronics in either software or firmware. I only had mine for 10 months and it was one of the very early ones. I was getting regular software updates as they fine tuned everything.
 

kensuf

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@kierentec may be able to help you. He has previously told me he loves his Defender because it was tough as nails, but I know he's diving a Fathom now.

FWIW, About a year and a half ago I had an opportunity to pick up a fully loaded Defender at a bargain price, I decided that the SG1 electronics were the weak point and skipped it.
 

kierentec

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Sorry for the slow response.

@kensuf is correct, I have been on the Defender/HH/X-CCR since 2014, with around 1000 hours between the 3, and I’ve taught loads of courses on each. Of the 3, the Defender has always been the most reliable. I’ve never had an issue with my personal SG-1 electronics in around 600 hours of use. The machine is bomb proof.

That doesn’t mean the X isn’t a great unit, it just has a lot more failure points.

With that said, @kensuf is also correct that I have moved to the Fathom as my primary machine. I’m a fan of simplicity and robustness, and the Fathom is just that.

If you have any specific questions about the unit, I will be happy to answer and be a resource for you in any way I can.
 

Wstern5

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Not CCR trained but I do know two guys that bought new Defenders in 2019 and both of their controllers flooded after very little use, definitely less then 100 hours. I was on the boat when it happened to one of them.
 

Jeremy Williams

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I dive an XCCR but a frequent dive buddy has a Defender. They are basically the same except for the electronics. A couple of differences...

The Defender canister is actually larger than the XCCR. The largest scrubber for the X is 8 lbs, but the Defender can take the 9.1 lbs. The X is also coming with a different counterlung these days that i don't believe is coming with the defender. It has a one-way valve on the OPV, whereas the older design used on the Defender (and originally on the XCCR as well) uses a standard BCD pull-dump style OPV.

Overall, I think the Defender is well liked, but the electronics are clearly weak by comparison to any Shearwater DiveCAN unit. I find the Defender electronics difficult to use, but I know it's because I don't do it all the time. I'm sure if you got one that you'd get used to it. It needs this unique little harness to charge the handset and they aren't easy to get if you happen to loose yours. If there IS a problem with the handset, it has historically taken a LONG time to get it fixed but SubGravity had provided a loaner if I recall correctly. I've heard allegations that this is/was getting better but cannot confirm.
 

Sidescan

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For me, the decision came down to what do I trust more…Shearwater or a small manufacturer in Poland that makes the SG1 handset. I’m not saying that the SG1 is not reliable, and I’m not saying that the Shearwater electronics will never fail. I do know however that getting fast and reliable service and support from Shearwater is never an issue should it ever be necessary.
 
OP
macado

macado

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Thanks all for the responses. I took a gamble and purchased a Defender CCR. Time will tell about the SG1 electronics. I figure it's a poor man's X-CCR :)

I'm planning to run a Shearwater secondary like I currently do with my SF2 and rEvo. They say third time's a charm, right? Eventually I'll find the right rebreather.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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