The O2ptima rebreather design lets the diver use a standard wing design, horseshoe or donut. The key issue for most CCr divers is the placement of the upper elbow on the inflator hose as well as regulator hose routing when using a standard wing. There is too much clutter behind the head and the inflator hose can interfere with the counterlungs. Our new CCR EXP wing addresses these issues.
The elbow is offset further out on the left shoulder of the wing so it is not squeezed behind the diver, making the hose routing more comfortable along the outer side of the counterlung. The wing has 50lbs of lift with a gusset control cord, if you want to limit lift and make the wing more compact. The donut shape means air won’t get trapped on the sides.
The best feature of the design is the open center that allows hoses to be routed up through the wing rather than come over the top of it, restricting air flow. I was amazed at the difference this made in comfort and trim with the revised hose routing.
After months of testing, we have the new O2ptima 5L (2.5L per CL) counter lung set. The 4L counterlungs were designed for experienced CCR divers and women, but weren’t enough volume for active divers. I could bottom them out on an easy swim. The 6L counterlungs worked fine, but the size of the lungs added clutter to the chest area and the retention strap down to the waist belt was a necessary annoyance.
The best design ended up being 5L counterlungs in a longer teardrop shape-version of the 4L set with enough volume for a working diver. The bottom of the lung is secured to the shoulder strap with a Velcro loop on continuous webbing harnesses or with a bungee loop thru the quick release buckles on a TransPac or TransPlate harness. Shoulder D-rings are now easier to get to and the Offset D-rings are even easier.
O2ptima divers wanting to upgrade, keep your current lungs, but send us the valves and we’ll put them on the new 5L counterlungs for $150. Or send us your CL set and we’ll change out the valves for you. If your O2ptima is ready for annual service, then we’ll reduce the CL upgrade to $125 (plus the $199 annual service fee).
There are pictures of Jared and I diving the new lungs the Dive Rite Facebook page.
It seems that handling bailout bottles and gear for rebreathers is going thru constant innovations. We have used Nomad Butt Plates and Tech Butt Plates for easy attachment and to place the bottles on the side for less drag. By sidemounting the bailout bottles it creates other issues like where to put reels and other equipment usually stored on the waist D-rings. While teaching O2ptima rebreather students I have seen some ingenious ways to add clip stations to the foot. We have taken one of the better ways and had it produced for the O2ptima. The new rails mount to the foot using the predrilled mounting holes on each side. These rails have a dividing bar in the middle so reels and cylinders won’t slide the length of the rail or allow the diver to clip one piece of gear thru the other. I find these to be the best solution yet.
Dive Rite O2ptima Rebreather Side Rails
An inline solenoid shut off valve should be installed on every rebreather. It gives control back to the diver for dealing with ascents and troubleshooting. We originally had an inline option but the location was less than optimal. The rear location made it an emergency shutoff rather than a tool.
The new EZ shutoff is a culmination of ideas from some O2ptima divers using various components to reposition the shutoff near the manual addition valve. The idea was sound, but available components added to many parts. Our manifold, which feeds the solenoid, puts everything together in a very streamlined package. It also allows for easy connection of an off board oxygen source. Only one hose leaves the oxygen cylinder and plugs into the manifold mounted to the oxygen addition.
I have been diving it for a couple of months now and find it for more convenient and useful than the original rear mounted inline shutoff valve. It can re retro fitted to any O2ptima.
Pics are forthcoming on our website. For now you can see it in the RBW video here: Rebreather World O2ptima Video
The O2ptima rebreather uses the ExtendAir cartridge for a number of reasons. Some like to argue that granular is cheaper and easier to get. I won’t argue with that because if that’s your belief then my arguments won’t matter. However, convenience is key for me and that’s what the ExtendAir rebreather cartridge provides. Duration sometimes comes into question. Let’s look at that.
The cartridge is designed to scrub 240 liters of CO2 and since you metabolize 1 liter of oxygen for every .92 liters of CO2 its basically liter for liter. So it’s easy to look at your oxygen gauge and calculate duration based on oxygen use. We did a rebreather dive two weeks ago at Peacock Springs, swimming from Orange Grove sink to Peacock Springs and back. The swim took 150 minutes and the team average was 30 bar of oxygen to do it. The quick math for usage is 240 liters (cartridge rating) divided by the bottle size ( in liters). I was using a steel 27 LP (4 liter), so 240 divided by 4 equals 60 bar. Using this math I only used half of the cartridge duration, so I actually had a 5 hour cartridge duration for that particular dive.
This is very important because canister duration is really about workload and the amount of oxygen you use (or CO2 you produce). Using the cartridge gives me peace of mind for scrubber packing and repeatability for doing the calculations for canister duration. My point is any canister time quoted by someone is based on a set rate of CO2 production and oxygen usage that may not be matched with how you dive. The cartridge testing is done based on 1.35 liters per minute, I know CE is 1.6 liters per minute, but I challenge anybody in reasonably good physical shape to maintain that rate. I know I can’t and people tell me I swim fast. More advantages later.
** tests based on MicroPore testing at 40m at a 1.35 liter CO2 production.
By request we introduced dust caps for the O2ptima rebreather head to seal the cartridge without removing it. Later, we introduced calibration caps so a diver doesn’t need to fill the loop multiple times to calibrate the unit. Now we use the calibration caps for both uses. Take the thread protectors from the harness mounting bolts (5/16”) and slide one over the inflator inlet nipple on the calibration cap to seal the head. I am pulling the Dust Caps off the market because I have received a second report of a damaged head. Both heads were pressurized when the caps were put on for storage, but the diver didn’t shut down the oxygen supply. If the Hammerhead wakes up it will inject O2. Do I need to say more?
Use the calibration caps to seal the head if need be. For those that have a set of dust caps, send them to us in Lake City and we can convert them to calibration caps with the inflator inlet for $25. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The latest O2ptima manual is out with more information about the features of the O2ptima. It’s available in our library or listed under downloads on the O2ptima product page. I have had a couple of instructors review it and found it to be more informative then the earlier one. We have a number of updates and accessories slated to come out this year on the O2ptima like the new stand we just released. I will keep you posted as these things are available.
On a side note the NiTek X can be quickly added to the O2ptima. We need to drill and tap the head to insert the cable. I have been flying my unit with both handsets stored away in pockets attached to the bottom of the CL, using the DIVA in PPO2 mode and 4th cell plugged into the X. If you want to try this just send me your CL and I can have the pockets sewn in place. I can’t give you the pockets but I can give you the time to sew them in place.
The new HID 1000 adjustable reflector assembly has some improvements over the old H10 reflector. The HID 1000 reflector is recessed into the shroud so there is less backscatter and a better pin-point focus. The new shroud protects the reflector from damage as well. They don’t survive sitting your cylinders on it.
The HID 1000 reflector comes standard with the metal Goodman handle on it with the big pad to rest on the back of your hand. If you have the H10 light the new reflector from the H1000 will fit and you will feel and notice the difference. I wrote this because I have been asked in the field about upgrading the reflector. You can do an upgrade directly with us at the factor and it will only be $59 if you reference my blog. Otherwise, the retail is $99.
Many will say that I am never happy because I am constantly trying to improve our products. Well, here I go again with the O2ptima. The O2ptima FX is easy to assemble, however I wanted a better stand that can withstand the abuse of boat diving. I have seen some hybrid material stands made from aluminum that are nice, however I wanted to stay away from aluminum because it will show corrosion after awhile. Plus, I wanted something light weight.
I went back to the original prototype stand, a rigid support stand. I used ¾ inch thick high impact plastic for both the upright and the stand. This along with a thicker shell does the job. It no longer uses the Remora mounting system. There are slots in the shell for the cam straps. You have to use the 1.5 inch cam straps. We’re making quick release buckles to add to the cam straps so you don’t have to unthread them each time you get your bottles filled. The buckles should be ready in 45-60 days. The stand is $199.00 for an upgrade. If your O2ptima isn’t an FX, you need to get a new cover as well so it will be $300 for the upgrade.
The new stand has outrigger D-rings on it for clipping off bailout bottles. You no longer have to have the Nomad buttplate, which means you can sit down on a boat without the rails underneath you. I take delivery on the first 50 units this week. The first 25 upgrades will get the outriggers for free if you tell us you read about it in my BLOG. That’s $40.00 for free. Call us at the factory to set up the upgrade.
Rebreather divers need to be sure to follow a pre-dive check list before every dive. There are a number of steps that rebreather divers must complete before getting in the water. Some say that multiple checklists are needed: one for initial setup of the unit, one pre dive and another list for checking the rebreather between dives. Dive Rite provides the initial set-up checklist and rebreather instructors use their experience to help new rebreather divers develop the pre dive/between dive checklist. We have posted one instructor’s checklist in our online library.
A checklist may depend on the dive environment. Someone diving from a boat might have a checklist different from someone walking into a spring or lake where there is more time at the surface before starting a dive.
Tom Mount and IANTD have years of experience in rebreather instruction and will soon release a pre dive/between dive check list for rebreather divers. IANTD’s lists will work for a multitude of rebreathers and they will work for the O2ptima.
Dive Rite will begin providing the IANTD checklists with all O2ptima rebreather units and we will send one to current O2ptima rebreather owners. Send us an email with the serial number of your O2ptima head and a physical address that we can mail the lists to.