Trimix vs rebreather

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Nwcid
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Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Nwcid » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:01 pm

Here is my dumb question of the day.

So I have been doing lots of figure on boosters and compressors and tanks and valves and gas, the availability of He (not looking good), and and and all this stuff adds up quick. One of the reasons we have not looked a rebreathers is cost.

The reason we are looking at trimix is a lot of the stuff, wrecks, either on the west side or in our local lakes seem to sit in the 130-180 foot depth. We are not just chasing after the world record of deep diving as new divers but looking at mud at 100' in the local lakes is not a lot of fun. We want to get to the things we want to see and as safe as possible.

With all that in mind what kind of long term cost difference is there between getting set up with 2 rebreathers vs 2 trimix set up's? Is there strong advantages to one over the other?

If I am understanding correct there are a couple different kind of rebreathers, where is a good spot to start researching some of this? Are these only good for deep or can you shallow dive with them? Do people do that or just go back to OC for times rebreathers are not needed?
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Joshua Smith » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:20 pm

I'll chime in. Rebreathers are awesome tools, but if you're not going to be diving deeper than 200' on a regular. ...as in more than 20 times a year....basis, I don't think the costs outweigh the benefit. The only exceptions to this rule, which I pulled out of my butt, are photographers and/or people with a lot of money to burn. I do have some pretty extensive experience with rebreathers, and would be happy to discuss this further if you wish. Feel free to pm me if you want to.
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by CaptnJack » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:31 pm

There's lots of stuff to see in 30ft of water. Maybe not on the east side of the state though, spend your money coming over here and on charters. OC, OC trimix or CCR trimix you still need to spend the time and gas money coming over here to really see stuff. There are probably 200+ dives <100ft you *haven't* done yet.
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Dusty2 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:36 pm

I think Captnjack has a pretty good point but the area you live in complicates things. Considering driving distance your not all that much further than the Portland/Salem guys and as you already know there ain't a whole lot to see in those lakes. I would say 80 to 90% of divers never push the rec limits and rebreathers are still ridiculously expensive not only to buy but to maintain. So question yourself. Is there really that pressing a need to go that deep? Or is it new toy syndrome? Considering you are talking 2X everything that is 20 grand or more to get you both into rebreathers not to mention sorb and oxy sensors and all the other things you would need to keep it going. Then if your talking deep dives your looking at stage bottles which still require a fill station and many more things to add in that I am not even aware of. Then there is the deco obligation matter. 10 to 20 minutes of bottom time and a couple of hours hanging on a line with nothing to do? Not on my list of fun things to do.

I would take my time and find out if you really want to sink that much into diving.

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Jeff Pack
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Jeff Pack » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:56 pm

There are two types of rebreathers, CCR, and SCR.

An SCR (for example Kiss GEM) is far more cost effective than CCR (both in training,unit cost, and maintenance), and can be dove most anywhere. (but carefully above 20ft)

In addition you get warmed air (not quite like CCR, but not bad), and you'll never be the one to call a dive on low air.

With the IANTD Mod 1 course, adv eanx and adv rec trimix, you are cert'd to 160ft which will get you diving most anywhere you want to dive. Beyond that I'd go CCR.

SCR has alot of advantages for rec diving. Its easy to dive, simplistic in design, and pretty darned solid with no electronics beyond a sensor and computer to monitor the sensor.
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by LCF » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:52 pm

I would highly recommend you get in touch with Rick Inman in Spokane. Rick went the whole way -- GUE training to TDI or IANTD technical OC to rebreather. I think he could give you a really good, balanced view of the diving available in your area, and what he has concluded is the best way to do it. (And I don't know what that is, but I trust Rick.)
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Biodiversity_Guy » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:56 am

Nwcid wrote: ...seem to sit in the 130-180 foot depth...


I do a fair amount of diving at the 130-165' range using a nitrox backgas in my doubles, at the dive-appropriate percentage (~25-26%). Deco bottles to shorten the wait afterwards.

Deco procedures and advanced oxygen (e.g., through a good TDI instructor) are my recommendations. You will need those as a prerequisite to Trimix anyway.

I was/am planning to get to Trimix eventually but it is a pretty significant $$ investment, for training and then for each dive. Same for a rebreather, which is definitely on my wishlist, but because of the initial investment, I expect it will stay there for a long time.

In the meantime, just safe deco diving meets my deeper diving needs in a relatively affordable manner.

I do feel the pull to explore deeper looking for strange critters, so trimix or a rebreather seem to be in the cards at some point...

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by pensacoladiver » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:48 pm

Trimix costs are not too bad if you mix your own (relatively speaking against paying retail).

I have a set of dedicated hp dubs for trimix and they usually come home with at least 1500 psi in them.

It costs me anywhere from 25 to 40 bucks to get them ready for the next dive, depending on mix.

Dusty, I am not sure how deep you are going, but 2 hours of deco for a 10 to 20 minute dive? That's way deeper than anything I have done.... Unless you are decoing off your backhand only.

I routinely dive to 200 on 18/45 for 20 minutes. My deco time is 40 minutes plus or minus a few minutes. I am on 50 and 100 for deco.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by pensacoladiver » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:49 pm

Oops. Replace backhand with backgas.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Nwcid » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:06 pm

Sorry for the delay in responding, it has been a busy few days. Thanks for all the replies.

I know there is lots of "stuff" to see in the shallower areas. We have dove some and plan on doing lots more every chance we get. One of the things we really want to dive is wrecks (non penetration) and it seems the great majority of the one I have found listed online all sit at 100'+. So one half of the problem is safely getting deep. The second half of that problem is getting some reasonable bottom time. For example we did the Lake Pend Oreille train wreck dive which bottoms out about 110' which leaves you with just over 10 min of bottom time.

All of this costs a fair amount of money in the long run so am trying to figure out our options so we can make the best choices.

Lynne we did some diving with Allen Worst who was one of Rick's primary dive buddies. It sounds like this last year personal commitments/family really slowed down his diving. Apparently it slowed it down enough that he has sold off the majority of his diving gear including his rebreather.
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Mortuus » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:09 pm

If you are looking for the "safest" method, I recommend sticking to OC. I am not anti-rebreather (not by any means), and I can't speak for everyone, but I think most (even RB divers? Feel free to chime in) divers will agree that OC is the safer option, generally speaking. Obviously, the access to He is a problem for you out there though. Based on my limited information, I do agree with Josh. Unless you are doing a bunch of really deep or really long trimix dives, the cost probably isn't going to balance out any time soon. I would keep trying to push for better availability of He. Easier said than done of course

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Jeff Pack » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:22 pm

With my Gem, and a 120, I can dive 3-3.5 hours. which maxes the scrubber anyways. With a gas switchblock, you can plumb in deco gas, but you have to calc in the loop loss into deco gas calc's. So with a 40 of deco gas, its like carrying 120cf of deco gas. An SCR is not constant PPO though.

A CCR gives you the advantage of constant PPO, and pure O2 for deco and no gas switches (depending on dive depth and duration, etc).

Personally, the GEM SCR is tough to beat for cost, if max divetime is desired. A CCR will cost you 2x more. Find a used GEM (and they show up often enough in the 2k range, and you save 4x just in unit cost.). Training is 1/3 the cost of CCR.

Plus your back will thank you for not strapping on doubles.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by kdupreez » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:06 am

to answer your original questions:

Fully self service rebreather setups x 2 = roughly $35,000 - $40,000 and that includes two full state of the art CCR systems with shearwaters, etc and some small form of booster + he/o2 owner tank setups plus a small compressor for continious blending diluent and all the training for 2 people getting through from zero to trimix hero..

Once you have that original rebreather infrastructure cost layout, your dives are about $20 per dive for scrubber material + about $20-$30 in trimix breathing and 50%/Oxygen deco gas for trimix dives down to 200ft... so you are looking at $40-60 per dive for an average technical dive down to 200ft..

Fully self service OC setups = $18,000 - $20,000 and that includes 2 x full OC setups for trimix including deco tanks and regs and booster of some sorts and some owner o2/he tanks and a small compressor for continuous blending back gas and training for zero to trimix OC hero..

Once you have the OC + infrastructure cost layout, your dives are about $80-$100 per dive for back gas trimix 18/45 and 2 deco bottles of 50% and Oxygen.. and ONLY if you breathe ALL your back gas.. typically on dives in the lake here locally at 200ft, i burn about 80-100cft of trimix ($30-$40 of total gas.. then i just top up again)

A couple of key thing with regards to diving Reabreathers on technical dives are that you will still carry all your deco bottles and bail out bottles with you, so you dont save exponentially on hardware cost wrt regs or tanks for technical dives versus OC.. in fact, you might need to sling a few more tanks with you on CCR than on OC..

It comes down to the biggest cost for rebreathers are the units themselves and biggest savings is the breathing gas.. and on OC the biggest cost is gas and the savings is less expensive up front equipment.

you still need the booster and small compressor for both setups if you want to be 100% self reliant.

My guestimate is that you save about $40-$60 per dive when using a rebreather to dive trimix dives around 200-250ft. But when you dive Nitrox dives <100ft, you are probably spending more on scrubber material than what Nitrox would have cost you on OC..

So amortize that over dives, you would need to do about 350 or more dives on trimix between 200-250ft before the cost benefit will start to make sense between OC vs. CC and provided you drain your tanks down entirely..

but, ALL of this goes out the window when you are relying on dive shops for fills.. then the amortization goes way down.. especially if you are going to do a couple of weeks of trimix diving while traveling in places like truk lagoon where trimix could cost you $4,000 on OC and a fraction of that on CC.

But like others have noted, there are many many other non-cost based benefits to diving rebreathers on deep dives.. i.e. less weight, warm moist air, no bubbles (photography), you look super awesome bad-ass with a breather..

long story short.. Rebreather is a personal choice in diving above 250ft.. they are not required by any means and in my opinion dont make sense cost wise unless you are planning to do hundreds of techincal deep dives over a few years..

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:25 am

You definitely don't need a ~$10,000 rebreather to do a no-deco 25 min dive at 110ft...
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by rjw » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:13 am

IMHO if you look at your long term goals you can make the best decision. If you think you will be content just doing the depths you mentioned, you really can't go wrong with either system. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Just different disciplines. Any kind of tech diving is real financial investment and not all cost are upfront and obvious.
As far as safety goes you will run into varying opinions & you just have to make your own decisions on whats best for you and your activities.
Having used both systems I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by John Rawlings » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:36 am

Wow....Koos, I'm not sure where you plucked those CCR costs from, but those units must be made of gold and platinum with diamond spangles! :angelblue:

Being slightly experienced in the CCR realm, I would like to point out that even if you are paying MSRP the costs are roughly half those that you cite, depending on the manufacturer and model. Training, gas costs and sorb are also well below what you imply.

To the OP - CCR is most certainly not for everyone. However, if you are really interested in finding out the reality of CCR diving in the PNW, contact Josh Smith and/or rjw, both of whom responded above and offerred to provide you with information. They can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Jeff Pack » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:31 am

He's not that far off.

10k x2 Units. New. 7k x 2 used.
3k x 2 to Mod 2 training
5k Booster New 3k used.
4k compressor used
and this doesnt include he nor O2 tanks, bail out bottles, CCR computers (Liquivision or Shearwater), nitrox mixing stick and oxychek, plus misc compressor goodies..

so not that far off.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by John Rawlings » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:50 am

Jeff Pack wrote:He's not that far off.

10k x2 Units. New. 7k x 2 used.
3k x 2 to Mod 2 training
5k Booster New 3k used.
4k compressor used
and this doesnt include he nor O2 tanks, bail out bottles, CCR computers (Liquivision or Shearwater), nitrox mixing stick and oxychek, plus misc compressor goodies..

so not that far off.


I continue to disagree - check the MSRP for a variety of new units WITH Shearwater packages included. For example, today you can get a brand new COPIS Meg with SW Predator for under $7K and a brand new APECS system w/SW Predator for a little over 10K. Plus, the assumption is being made that sorb is good for only one dive and that bail-out bottle gas is used for one dive. I somehow always managed to get 2 or 3 dives out of each change of sorb, and I was conservative. The same goes for the O2 and dil bottles on my CCR - 2 or 3 dives was typical. Also, since I never had to bail-out the gas in my bail-out bottles remained the same for literally months, if not years in some cases....therefore the cost was next to nothing.

My objection is that when listing costs, Koos, (who is a great guy that I respect and admire, BTW), seems to cite the absolute maximum imagineable cost of everything. I continue to be convinced that the reality of it is far different. If I had a friend that was interested in the overall cost of OC tech diving, I'd send him to talk to Koos. If I had a friend that was interested in the overall cost of CCR diving, I would send him to talk to Josh or Rob, (both of whom invited contact with the OP above).

The cost of OC tech diving and CCR diving has come a lot closer over the last few years. CCR diving remains more expensive, but it certainly isn't the outrageous sum cited above.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Joshua Smith » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:55 am

John Rawlings wrote:
Jeff Pack wrote:He's not that far off.

10k x2 Units. New. 7k x 2 used.
3k x 2 to Mod 2 training
5k Booster New 3k used.
4k compressor used
and this doesnt include he nor O2 tanks, bail out bottles, CCR computers (Liquivision or Shearwater), nitrox mixing stick and oxychek, plus misc compressor goodies..

so not that far off.


I continue to disagree - check the MSRP for a variety of new units WITH Shearwater packages included. For example, today you can get a brand new COPIS Meg with SW Predator for under $7K and a brand new APECS system w/SW Predator for a little over 10K. Plus, the assumption is being made that sorb is good for only one dive and that bail-out bottle gas is used for one dive. I somehow always managed to get 2 or 3 dives out of each change of sorb, and I was conservative. The same goes for the O2 and dil bottles on my CCR - 2 or 3 dives was typical. Also, since I never had to bail-out the gas in my bail-out bottles remained the same for literally months, if not years in some cases....therefore the cost was next to nothing.

My objection is that when listing costs, Koos, (who is a great guy that I respect and admire, BTW), seems to cite the absolute maximum imagineable cost of everything. I continue to be convinced that the reality of it is far different. If I had a friend that was interested in the overall cost of OC tech diving, I'd send him to talk to Koos. If I had a friend that was interested in the overall cost of CCR diving, I would send him to talk to Josh or Rob, (both of whom invited contact with the OP above).

The cost of OC tech diving and CCR diving has come a lot closer over the last few years. CCR diving remains more expensive, but it certainly isn't the outrageous sum cited above.

- John


To say nothing of all the good quality used units that have been sold over the last year. I have certainly seen lots of people pick up a good CCR for 5-7,000. Often with a computer included.
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by kdupreez » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:57 am

John Rawlings wrote:Wow....Koos, I'm not sure where you plucked those CCR costs from, but those units must be made of gold and platinum with diamond spangles! :angelblue:


Wutt.. You didnt dive with diamond spangles?? sacrilege!! What self respecting CCR diver dont like to bling it out?

I know Josh will love to have a gold plated BOV!

John, agreed, these are costs based on MSRP for new fully loaded units like rEvo hybrids or fully electonic Megs, etc.

I did the same with the OC equipment as well, top rated MSRP values.

and as you say, you are fairly experienced and an old hand at this, so you know how to buy stuff at good deals.

For example, when I was a brand new OW diver, my and my wifes drysuits, regs, bcd's, tanks were around of $15,000 at full MSRP costs for DUI suits/ungergarments + ScubaPro regs + bcds + wireless computers + 4 hp100 tanks + masks/fins, etc..

so im not trying to pull stuff out of thin air, its based on real MSRP pricing for an "new-at-this" diver without any connections..

if the OP was buying OC gear "used" I betcha it will be half (if not less) of the OC price too..

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by John Rawlings » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:17 am

kdupreez wrote:
John Rawlings wrote:Wow....Koos, I'm not sure where you plucked those CCR costs from, but those units must be made of gold and platinum with diamond spangles! :angelblue:


Wutt.. You didnt dive with diamond spangles?? sacrilege!! What self respecting CCR diver dont like to bling it out?

I know Josh will love to have a gold plated BOV!


See....now THAT is why we need input from CCR divers on this - Josh won't dive anything without pasties....
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by CaptnJack » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:21 am

If the OP had nitrox he could more than double his "10mins at 110ft" dive with no new bling and an $8 nitrox fill. Just sayin'
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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Jeff Pack » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:22 am

Yes, unit cost might be alittle lower depending what you get, but training is fixed, Compressor I low balled alittle, booster (used) can vary maybe 1800-2k on a really good deal.

Then you still need 1-250cf bottle of He, 1-250cf of ABO(better to have 2), 2 40's, 1-80, 1 O2 ready reg, compressor goodies, trimix analyzer(which i didnt even put above), nitrox mixing stick, sampling pump, Oxycheq el cheapo O2 box, etc.

So lets add it up.

lets use your numbers for unit, 7k x2 and includes computer for a Copis Meg (although I'd argue to go full Eccr)
Compressor 4k which I argue for a reasonable good one is low. Not even adding an auto drain, which I consider a requirement)
1 bottle He $200 for owner bottle, 350$ for fill (yes, and that was a few weeks ago)
1 ABO 200$ for owner bottle, I think was maybe 50$ for fill, I dont recall. Should have 2.
1-80 stage 150$(used)
2-40's stage (300$ if you can even find them used), otherwise around 180$ each not including stage kit)
1 O2 reg 200$
Trimix analyzer, 600$ (used)
Mixing stick 50$
Sampling pump 25$ I dont remember if you wanna CB trimix.
Booster without fittings and hoses 2500$ (and I'm not including a compressor to run the booster) (used)
O2 hoses, fittings, dwyer digital pressure gauge(400$)
Training to Mod 2 3000 x 2
Oxycheq El Cheapo 100$

so thats around 25k.

But Koos nailed it, for us "common folks" without the super duper connections, the above costs are pretty darned close, and what the average person should pretty much expect.
Last edited by Jeff Pack on Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by John Rawlings » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:37 am

Well, since Koos' original estimate was 35 - 40K, that's a big difference from your 25K.

Funny how I've somehow managed to dive CCR for years and years without half of the stuff that you apparently consider "necessary". I guess that it's all in the eye of the beholder.

And what's this "common folks" nonsense? The amounts I cited were MSRP available to anyone. I'm canceling the debate at my end.

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Re: Trimix vs rebreather

Post by Jaksonbrown » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:49 am

I heard someone just picked up a really nice KISS CCR for $6K recently too.
FWIW.. I will be going to a CCR this summer. I dont plan on doing 200+ foot dives every time either. Primarily staying in Rec ranges.

What I will gain by going CCR?
Bottom time. Safety time. (time to get out of a bad situation if things go wrong). A lighter pack than my double 100's. Ease of diving off of my boat for extended periods without having to go fill tanks. Ditto for diving in remote areas where no air fills are available. As Jeff stated....A CCR gives you the advantage of constant PPO, and pure O2 for deco and no gas switches. Which means Im breathing the exact P02 my body needs at the exact depth I am at with far greater ease than switching bottles. It also means less deco bottles I have to lug around. As far as extra expense goes to go from my current state of OC diver to CCR, I dont see it. As an OC diver, I already have a compressor, a trimix analyzer and blending station. I would only need to add a booster if I wanted to maximize my O2 fills. But thats about it.
And hey.. lets face it.... CCR is just freeking COOL! I for one, cannot wait to begin my CCR career!

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