Hi Jan Willem
I have to say that I constantly go to your incredible site, whenever I need a dose of rebreather information, even just for the fun of looking at the amazing stuff out there.
I have been diving rebreathers of various types for some time now and I still enjoy the simple pleasure of shallow water diving with a LAR while I look at the critters on the bottom.
I have looked enviously at many of the heavy duty closed circuit units while at DEMA or OZTEK but could not really justify the money being asked for them. Especially when as an industrial designer I noticed things on some units that I would have to change before I could dive them, after a couple of try dives, I even felt that some were released before being thoroughly de-bugged. Mind you I still lusted after them and would have happily played around until I got everything to my liking.
At the last OZTEK show over here in Australia I finally found a unit that did it for me, The neat little Eagle Rebreather by Colin and Kane Wilcox, I put down a deposit and ordered one. Sadly for me financial events transpired to stop me going ahead and reluctantly I had to get my money back.
I felt pretty depressed about things for a while and then decided that why not make my own unit from the bits that I had lying around my workshop. Sitting in their green and blue cases were a couple of new Drager Ray SCR rebreathers that I had been able to purchase very reasonably about five years ago when I was doing some SCR dive instruction.
I won't bore you with all of the details but suffice to say I threw away most of the gas supply plumbing and proceeded to put together one unit using off the shelf parts. I dived it, changed it, dived it, changed it, you know the story Jan, the I sat down and designed a whole lot of dedicated parts for it and refined them until the unit looks like the one in the photos.
I played with various oxygen sensors and locations, even coming up with one version that worked well, it looked like a bunch of tulips, but was a b***h to pull out through the 'p' connector opening when I had finished diving. Finally I ditched the K1D sensors which never lasted at all well and took the advice of Martin Tolksdorf and switched to PSR-11-39-TME sensors from Analytical Industries.
I have made up a small batch of parts thinking that I might sell the bits as a kit for users in Europe where most Rays seem to be and Martin has agreed to put some bits on his Tec Me web site.
It won't make me rich but the whole thing has been fun and the little CCRay is really good to dive, especially after fitting my units with crutch straps to stop the thing from trying to climb off me and swim away. I know the scrubber is supposed to only be good for 70 minutes but I have gradually pushed it to 2.5 hours, I feel comfortable telling you that I now get 2 hours diving with no problems at all.
Admittedly I am talking water temperatures of 18 - 20 C so cold water will almost certainly make a difference.
I have cleaned up and resized a bunch of images and would be very grateful if you are able to put them up for me on your site.
All the best from over in Oz
16 David Avenue
South Australia 5045
H 08 8376 0808
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