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Making the leap: help choosing first rb

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

  1. sea_ledford

    sea_ledford Captain

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Galveston, TX
    I was going to post what rjack did.

    I'm also in the Houston area. There are a smattering of CCR divers around, but not a big consensus on brand. The primary shop that trains CCR is mostly megs, but they don't meet several of your criteria, which was the same criteria I had. I ended up with an SF2, primarily because of people I know on it (but not locally). I like the unit, but service has been less than stellar. I also know the guys at California Academy of Science that dive the holy living crap* out of their Prisms and they love them. They can also service inhouse though.

    *working scientific dives to 500+ feet in remote as you can get locations for multi week expeditions, multiple times per year.
  2. moose_grunt

    moose_grunt NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Saipan
    +1. When I started ccr diving in 2015, I *really* wanted a JJ or a revo. The nearby university used Inspirations across a couple of programs. I got a great deal on instruction and mentorship, found a good price on a used Evolution (same thing, basically), and joined the local AP community, rather than having the only XYZ unit within a few hours and having no local support.. Not what I wanted, but I figured I'd get a bunch of hours, sell the Inspo for what I paid for it, do a crossover, and still be ahead.

    5 years later, and I'm still diving that unit. Sure, there are things I wish were different, and a couple of things that I kinda hate about it, but it turns out that for everything I don't like about my unit, there's someone out there that hates something else about a JJ or a revo or sidewinder or whatever else I thought I would rather have. Turns out that for every rebreather that someone is saying is the perfect unit, there's (sometimes less vocal) a person that dislikes something about it.

    Jack Hammer and rjack321 like this.
  3. evandroairton

    evandroairton Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Ribeirão Preto - Brazil
    I've also bought a cheap used classic inspiration for give ccr a try. Changed electronics to an AV1 Head + HUD S (it became the inspirovsky) and being very happy since.
    By now i'm making most of my dives with a sidewinder, wich i think is fine
    But if i would start from scratch, today, probably would be a meg since is the unit most of my friends use, or the sidewinder itself because it's also popular at my close circle.
    Anyway, i wish to buy a meg/tiburon sometime, but both my inspirovsky and sidewinder have been served me well. A friend of mine is working through became an optima (there are some optimas around some regions here) instructor, and having a look on his unit seens to be great
  4. Zebra 1

    Zebra 1 Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Houston, Texas
    The local instructor I like would prefer we train on new units, if not he wants them shipped back to the factory for service. He said that all 10 of the used Prisms he sent back all 10 had expensive repair bills and they would have been better off buying new. I'm all for saving money but with life support equipment we don't want to "nickle and dime it"
    When it comes to buying used "I don't know what I don't know". With training (PADI Tech 40) the Prism units will run just shy of $11,000 ea. no tanks does include BOV if we buy 2 and train 2. I'm trying to do my homework and buy smart the first time. How does the O2ptima compare cost wise to the Prism 2?
  5. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    all in with ibov, tanks, and training at full MSRP is $11k. You can likely get it for $9k all in
  6. Zebra 1

    Zebra 1 Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Houston, Texas
    Prism 2 vs O2ptima my thoughts so far.
    Prism 2 Pros: local instructor I have high confidence in. Both shops I deal with recommend them. Lots of satisfied customers on SB.
    Prism 2 Cons: People on SB who's opinion I value do not recommend them. May be less travel friendly. More expensive?
    O2ptima Pros: People on SB who's opinion I value recommend them. Easier to travel with? Two scrubber options. 4th 02 sensor. Less WOB? iBOV? Better cost/value.
    Higher confidence in Dive Rite.
    O2ptima Cons: Local trainer is not listed (but they are a dealer for the O2ptima) Typing out and saying O2ptima is irritating:) Possible issues with the overhead scrubber placement: bumping head, trim, possible smaller tank restrictions.
    Would love feedback on what I've got wrong and what I've missed.
  7. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    You go to the panhandle, so local instructor is relative. Make the trip for training.
    The overhead scrubber is not an issue for bumping head if you don't intend to go into a cave, but it's certainly no worse than the top of the scrubber on the prism 2. You can use 2l or 4l on the O2ptima, so the 3l is out, but that's not really an issue either.
    4th o2 cell I wouldn't really consider a selling point, but it's a variable. iBov can go on any unit, but is standard on the O2ptima and not the Prism. I don't think the WoB difference is going to be noticeable.
  8. evandroairton

    evandroairton Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Ribeirão Preto - Brazil
    Betwen those two i would go with the optima
    Have two friends who are prism instructors and both disregards the unit, complaining about lack of a standing, dificulty of packing sorb, material quality, confort and general diveability, not feeling safe on "big dives". Both recomend other units they teach
  9. Heat Miser

    Heat Miser DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Perth
    The rEvo micro is a good size for travelling, the dual scrubbers with RMS do save on sorb waste-age and the dreams (can be annoying to some) provide manual redundancy. It's easy to build. However in the interests of full disclosure have not dived any other CCR. I wouldn't buy one without the support of a good instructor or local dive store to help.
  10. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl
    I'm assuming they have the 2 in the name first because of oxygen, and second because there are lots of products already named Optima and O2ptima avoids any copyright issues. I leave out the 2 most of the time unless I'm writing Dive Rite, as I was scolded once :)

    Bumping your head isn't really any issue at all, the stand and harness are adjustable. You bump your head on doubles manifold, but it's never been an issue on the optima for me.

    I've never seen a Prism 2 in the wild.

    Their can is "engineered thermoplastic" and it's clear. In theory that lets you see a flood. In practice, your buddy is usually far enough away that they don't see your can, positive and negative checks should avoid leaks, and if your loop got a tear you would hear and feel gurgling. Optima has a Delrin can.

    Prism head has 2 barrel orings and clamps on with 3 latches. Has a separate sorb canister that drops into the can. Radial scrubber. Optima has a face seal and a barrel type seal, and the can has an attachment on both sides. The can and sorb holder are one and the same, and the head goes on one side, water trap on the other, and it's a bayonet connection. Axial scrubber. In theory the dive rite looks like it could break down into smaller parts for traveling, but in practice I don't think it's a huge difference, and "traveling" means a lot of different things depending on if you mean driving, flying domestic, or flying international.

    Prism claims to have the lowest work of breathing.

    Prism DSV inside is stainless steel. DSV uses a threaded connection and it has one mushroom in the DSV and one in the hose. HUD mount clamps onto one of the threaded sides and it looks like it has a little more adjustment range and appears to be molded plastic. Dive Rite DSV is Delrin inside and out. Uses a bayonet clamp with both mushrooms in the DSV. Hud clamp is on the hose and it's 3d printed ABS. Never had an issue with the adjustment range.

    Prism head has 2 9v for the solenoid and 1 SAFT cell for HUD, built into top of head but held on with latches unlike the JJ screwed on cover.

    Prism uses 3 cells and has a one piece harness, large molex on one side splitting to 3 molex. Dive Rite uses 4 sensors and has 4 harnesses, molex on one end and banana plugs on the other end. In theory you could clean the banana jacks on the head more easily, and if a harness was damaged you could replace just one. The harness is not cheap, though, I think $100, and it's an annual service item. I imagine the Prism molex cables are cheaper to replace, plus if you only have 3 cells then you have saved another $75 or so per year.

    The Prism just looks to me like an open water rebreather. The thing I dislike most about the Prism from researching them is the mushroom valve in the hose, the hud clamp, and the 2 9v for the solenoid. I am always careful with mushroom valves and it's easier to just have one part to be careful with than 2; I don't want to have to remove the hud clamp to remove DSV, and I am fine with just one 9v, but I only use the lithium ones.
    But it does look like a decent rebreather and it's worth doing a pool dive on it to see if it feels right for you. If you have a good local community and local support options, that can get rid of the issue of less than ideal customer support.

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