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Would like a high level overview of CCR costs, weights, and packability for travel.

Discussion in 'Rebreather Diving' started by fuzzybabybunny, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. fuzzybabybunny

    fuzzybabybunny Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Australia
    320
    15
    18
    I've always liked the thought of CCR diving but before I go out and pay money for classes or equipment I'd like a general overview of the costs of everything.

    Right now I can travel easily with my OC equipment and just rent tanks and weights when I'm at my destination. Air fills are cheap as well, so the cost per dive is relatively small despite the inherent inefficiency of wasting a lot of gas in OC.

    So when doing non-deco dives up to 130ft, does a CCR still come out cheaper per dive compared to single-tank OC in relation to the consumables (soda lime, diluent, O2, etc)?

    And when traveling, I'm assuming that renting oxygen and diluent tanks is not often possible, so do you have to travel with both your O2 and diluent tanks, which would make the overall travel bulk and weight much greater than an OC setup without tanks and weights?
     
  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    15,721
    7,057
    113
    yes if you don't count the cost of the ccr, nowhere close if you do.
    Rough costs for 6 hours of diving
    6lbs of sorb- ~$25
    ~15cf of O2-~$8
    ~15cf of Dil-$2 *if paying for nitrox by the cubic ft
    so $5-$6/hour of diving in straight consumables.
    O2 sensors are $240 for the year, so add in a couple bucks for O2 sensors depending on how much you dive per year, plus maintenance, blah blah blah, roughly $10/hour

    an hour of diving, assuming 3ata and EAN32 is $0.10/cf, it's roughly $12 for that hour of diving. Your gas pricing may vary. If you're diving air, then it's usually half that for an air fill.

    For travel, if you can't get bottles at your destination, you likely can't get sorb at your destination which is bad. If you can get one, you can usually get the other and most rebreathers will fit under the 50lb limit.

    If you are doing deco dives, the savings add up since O2 isn't cheap, especially abroad, so that's where the cost starts to turn in favor of CCR.

    SCR diving may be worth looking at for you which doesn't have O2, doesn't have to have O2 sensors, and are comparably less expensive. Doesn't have all of the advantages of CCR, particular NDL benefits if you are diving NDL in shallow ish water, but does function as a wicked gas extender

    What are your motivations to want to go CCR?
     
    fuzzybabybunny likes this.
  3. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: United States
    3,316
    3,557
    113
    You're not going to break even for a looooooong time if you're doing recreational diving on CCR, if ever. If you're doing deep trimix dives you'll break even potentially quickly depending on the amount of diving you're doing.

    If you can find a cheap PSCR, something like an RB80 clone, it may be worthwhile. I think the KISS GEM's are too expensive for what they are. Either way you still need access to sorb, still need access to nitrox, etc. They don't travel particularly well, and aside from the strap-on units like the KISS, they're bulky, even more so than a set of doubles.
     
  4. fuzzybabybunny

    fuzzybabybunny Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Australia
    320
    15
    18
    Thanks so much for the breakdown of costs and weight!

    My motivations:

    - Diving in out of the way places, where a scuba shop to refill tanks is far away and time-consuming to get to. Two tanks on OC is on average a total bottom time of 1.5 hours, which isn't that long. And then you've got two large useless paperweights to ferry around until you can get back to a shop. A gas-powered compressor is too expensive and impractical to travel with.

    - Losing equipment weight. I have a bad back and even a single tank with weights can be difficult. Doubles is completely out of the question for me.

    - Hunting / Fishing / Photography. No bubbles to scare the fish.

    - I haven't been trained in deco yet, but the idea of being able to spend an hour+ at 60-100ft is attractive.

    - Beyond these points, I like the ideal of perfecting a technical craft.
     
    FreeFlyFreak likes this.
  5. RainPilot

    RainPilot CCR Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: UAE
    4,007
    3,551
    113
    You can pick up a used CCR for between 1500 and 3000 USD. Training will set you back around 1000 USD for your CCR equivalent of AOW (usually without dive costs). This is for so-called recreational CCR (Type-R units).

    My Poseidon weighs 18kg / 40 lbs ready to dive and for travel is around 9kg / 20 lbs. Thats the weight of an AL100. Other units are even lighter. There are several dive centres that have my unit so for travel with the Poseidon, all I need to do is take the battery module with (contains all my settings, restrictions etc). Some other units are equally easy to travel with.

    For gas fills, a transfill whip and 2 AL80 (air and O2) will sort you out with a LOT of diving. Bear in mind the safety issues of HP O2.

    I am building hours toward my CCR instructor course end September so I am almost exclusively diving CCR at the moment, even on dives where I normally wouldn't bother. Some observations:

    Unit build-up and pre-dive procedures are a PITA for short, shallow dives.
    Buoyancy in shallow water (in my unit anyway) is a PITA
    You get a lot of weird looks and snarky comments at shallow sites.
    Every dive site looks new. The critter interactions on CCR are waaaay removed from OC
    I don't suffer from dry mouth anymore.
    I go down a wetsuit thickness due to the warm gas.
    I do dives with OC buddies at 100' for their training deco dives, for them it's 10-15 min of deco on 32%, for me it's NDL.
    Diligence in monitoring parameters can conflict with photography etc unless you have high self-discipline.

    CCR is NOT for everyone, not safely anyway. It requires a certain mindset and attitude, if you have that then CCR is not massively more risky than OC but there are ways a CCR can bite you that OC can't.

    I would suggest doing a try-dive on a unit first because all of this becomes moot if you don't "get" CCR.

    As far as the back issues, I know it's a cliche but side mounting smaller tanks can be a lifesaver for people in your situation, like my wife. With her SAC, she can use 2x AL30 and still do the same dives I do on a single AL80.
     
  6. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    15,721
    7,057
    113
    A fully rigged CCR weighs more than a single tank, and you still need at least one bailout cylinder so the total equipment weight is comparable to a set of doubles.

    Beware of hunting, it is illegal to spearfish on rebreathers in most parts of the world.
     
  7. kensuf

    kensuf Cave Instructor

    2,004
    2,529
    113
    No.
     
    PfcAJ likes this.
  8. kensuf

    kensuf Cave Instructor

    2,004
    2,529
    113

    1. Even on a rebreather, you'll still have two tanks to fill after a dive day. They may be smaller tanks, but you still need to fill the oxygen and the diluent bottles.

    2. You'll have more weight with a CCR because you will need adequate bailout to get you to the surface. Typical CCR weighs probably 60# dry, now add an aluminum 40 (for your stated 130', no-deco diving) to get you to the surface.

    3. You can't hunt in the united states on a CCR. The only exception is lionfish. Photography, absolutely perfect though.

    4. You can spend an hour at 60' without going into deco. Use EAN 36 and you've got yourself all the time in the world.

    5. A CCR adds a lot of complexity that can kill you if you're not paying attention. There are some serious advantages to diving a CCR, saving money on fills is not one of them, neither is reducing weight. The primary advantage of diving a CCR is that it "stops the clock" and gives you time to solve problems. For certain types of diving, that makes incredible sense.

    Best of luck!
     
    Remy B., Solotor and victorzamora like this.
  9. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,622
    2,625
    113
    Yes it does, if you're not counting the initial investment.

    Last year, I posted the numbers both ways. At full retail, including sorb sensors oxygen and air it cost just under $9/hour assuming 300 hours per year.

    Retail cost of a nitrox fill in central Florida is $10-15. That's going to last most rec divers an hour.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  10. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,622
    2,625
    113
    Except that I can dive all week on a single fill.

    I've already done this math for another thread here, but simply put a 4liter bottle at 200 bar is 800 minutes of dive time for most good male divers. How many dives do you need to do to use 600 minutes? Lol. And I use even less diluent. That's just the oxygen side.
     

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