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Making the leap: help choosing first rb

Discussion in 'Rebreather Diving' started by Zebra 1, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. Zebra 1

    Zebra 1 Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Houston, Texas
    Me and my buddy have decided to go cc.We have zero interest in cave diving, will be using for open water and wrecks without penetration. Primary reasons to go cc are no bubbles, longer dive times, somewhat deeper dives (200'), and we just want to:)
    We would like the units (2 of) to be travel friendly ish. Eventually we will graduate to spearfishing (after many hours on the loop). I use a Genesis scooter on almost all my dives. We would like to go with Shearwater and Dive Can electronics. Back Mount with BMCL's. We plan on using eccr with a low set point as a parachute. Located in Houston and travel to Florida panhandle 6-7 times a year. Neither of us are tech divers and plan on eventually taking the tech path on cc. I know some here will object to this but that's a different discussion.
    I have pretty much narrowed the search to Prism 2 or O2ptima but am open to others. I know a lot of people here do not like the Prism but I can't find solid reasons why other than they don't like the parent company.
    We have a local trainer on the Prism we have confidence in. Did I miss anything? Thank you in advance for your replies!
  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    make sure spearfishing on CCR is legal where you intend on diving. It is not in many places.

    The prism feels a bit flimsy and plasticy compared to other units out there and when compounded with Hollis's notoriously horrible CS which is now compounded by Huish's notoriously horrible CS, it's not a unit I'd recommend. It doesn't do anything unique, so the only reason I'd bother looking at it is if you get some crazy deal on it or you work for/with a Hollis dealer.

    BMCL Units with DiveCAN-probably missing one

    I'd avoid Prism and Revo, if anything because of the companies that make them, same with SF2 right now.
    X-CCR would get off the list because it's stupidly expensive and while it's a nice unit, it's not worth twice the cost of everything else on the list
    JJ is really nice and is worth looking at
    O2ptima is unique in how it works, BUT it comes from the factory with the option of the iBOV with face MAV's which are really nice and help to clean chest clutter up that much more. It's also quite cheap and the way the unit is designed there are no t-pieces or secondary loop hoses which is slick.

    I would recommend you find the instructor first, unit second. Don't go the other way around. Also don't discount the rebreather instructors in cave country though you aren't cave certified. You won't be going into the caves during the course anyway and the conditions can't be beat. Guaranteed good water conditions which gives you the opportunity for TONS of hours in the water compared to doing it in the oceans, and the water is at least relatively warm and clear which is better than lakes/quarries.
  3. rddvet

    rddvet Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    I agree with what tbone said above. I would highly consider JJ, Optima, X-CCR, and Fathom. If you're interested in electronic rebreathers I would look at JJ, Optima, and XCCR first. If you prefer manual like I do, then Fathom. Fathom was built for cave diving but that doesn't mean it doesn't excel in saltwater. It also travels very well. XCCR looks great, but it's expensive as hell. JJ is great but not the most travel friendly. I've never been a big optima fan because it's a little different than other units and early on I had quality issues on DR gear I bought which made me question the quality of the optima. I think things have gotten better on that front though.
    I would avoid the Revo like tbone said. I'm not a fan of units with proprietary parts and the Revo has them. And I don't think the user can service things like the counterlung. And it's a Revo and who wants one of those anyway?
  4. Zebra 1

    Zebra 1 Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Houston, Texas
    Thanks for the replies, what would the pros and cons be of the JJ vs the O2ptima?
  5. rddvet

    rddvet Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    JJ's pretty bulletproof and they're becoming popular around the world, so finding spares won't be tough. I can't really give you a lot of info on the optima. I've just never been a fan of it for various reasons. If I were between the two I'd go JJ. If you're boat diving you can slap some 50s on the JJ and have a nice boat rig. I don't know if that can be done on the optima. In my book the JJ wins over the Optima hands down.
  6. dogbone

    dogbone ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: indiana
    No interest in cave diving...pfft, I feel like most people say that, then somehow find themselves at the back of a cave in a year or two... Why I bet you used to have no interest in rebreathers as well lol :)
  7. moose_grunt

    moose_grunt NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Saipan
    It's also worth considering what, if any, rebreather community is active in your location, and what units they dive. As a newbie CCR diver, having some veterans around can prove invaluable for all of the random questions you'll run into. Yes, ask your instructor and whatnot, but having someone who is within driving distance can be a sanity-saver when you just *can't* get something supposedly simple to work. It also helps when you break something a day before a dive trip--the more similar units there are around, the higher the chances of someone having a spare you can use.

  8. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    I would: 1) throw out your entire wish list (unless you have money to burn) 2) buy a used unit and dive it a lot then 3) decide what you really want once you have experience to know.

    Sell the first unit for close to what you paid and get what you (newly) want - unless its somehow magically ideal.
  9. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl
    I know where Tbone is coming from when he says find the instructor first, then the unit, but I think it would be better stated as "create a short list of instructors, then a short list of units, and see where they intersect." I would hate to see you pick the Prism just because you have found one good instructor, when there are many more great instructors available who teach on better units.

    It's tough to compare pricing exactly, the O2ptima list price I believe includes the Divesoft BOV with the MAV built in. I'm not the biggest fan, you get less chest clutter but more loop weight and more finicky stuff. I have mine setup with a loop like the JJ, and it also happens to be cheaper. JJ includes steel tanks, optima includes aluminum, which is another difference.

    O2ptima horizontal canister results in low loop volume and great work of breathing, and the water trap design is good too, but it doesn't work with tanks bigger than LP27's. But the extra oxygen isn't the biggest deal, and with one al40 you are back in the same ballpark with minimal hassle.

    Both hold similar amounts of sorb, but unlike some vertical can tech units, I don't believe you can get a longer can for a JJ. Of course, the capacity on both is enough for all recreational diving and most tech diving.

    JJ has 3 cells with fancy connectors, Optima has 4 with molex. I'm ok with 3 but some people feel 4 is safer.

    JJ uses a SAFT lithium for HUD and Controller, and 2 9 volts, underneath a bolted on cover with a face seal. The Optima uses Lithium AA and 1 9 volt, housed in separate pods. I don't like the pods, but they don't really get in your way and this means you can change batteries without tools.

    I do like the JJ stainless handle on top, the Optima's black nylon handle blends in with the rest of the black stuff and isn't as sturdy as a stainless one. I also like their tubes for adding shot weight, but with the optima I don't need any more weight, even though it has slots to add pouches on the kydex cover.

    I think with either one you cannot go wrong. Don't worry if you change your mind and go with a higher set point later. Don't break the law by using CCR where you can't for spearfishing. Using the same unit as your buddy is a great start. Take the class in cave country but if you are doing it in the ocean, try to get atleast one dive with your instructor in the ocean as well.
  10. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    o2ptima pros are the ibov and face mav's, made in USA, no secondary loop hoses, standard O2 sensors, and travels better
    JJ pros are uses standard cylinders via "traditional" configuration *though O2ptima can use 2l's as well* and is scalable in cylinder size i.e the GUE JJ configuration which is similar to the Fathom and how I have my Meg set up. It feels like it's built like a tank, but the O2ptima is just as durable in practice.

    I'd personally choose O2ptima out of that short list, but it's not a CCR I own or intend on purchasing for various reasons that surround the cave diving that I do

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