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The new GEM Recreational Rebreather


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#1 debersole

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:13 AM

Kim Smith and the whole team at Jetsam should be commended for bringing a great new recreational rebreather to the market!!!

You can see from the photos below that this looks very similar to open circuit scuba. It connects to a regular nitrox cylinder and uses your own open circuit regulator. However it has rebreather hoses and a scrubber like a conventional rebreather. This combination allows for the rebreather advantages of minimal bubbles, warm moist air, and gas extension (approximately three times longer than open circuit) but a much lower cost, easier training, and much lower weight for travel. The lower weight for travel and the minimal bubbles are especially attractive for underwater photographers like me.

After last week in Miami with IANTD's Tom Mount, there are now three new KISS GEM Instructors -- Doug Ebersole (Florida), Hayna Amnon (Israel), and Masayoshi Kondo (Japan). Here are a couple of photos of the three of us in Tom's pool last week.



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Congratulations also to Susan Dasher of Dive Tech, Grand Cayman who also just completed her instructor course with Steve Tippets, also of Dive Tech.



Doug
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#2 sdingeldein

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 11:37 AM

Kim Smith and the whole team at Jetsam should be commended for bringing a great new recreational rebreather to the market!!!

You can see from the photos below that this looks very similar to open circuit scuba. It connects to a regular nitrox cylinder and uses your own open circuit regulator. However it has rebreather hoses and a scrubber like a conventional rebreather. This combination allows for the rebreather advantages of minimal bubbles, warm moist air, and gas extension (approximately three times longer than open circuit) but a much lower cost, easier training, and much lower weight for travel. The lower weight for travel and the minimal bubbles are especially attractive for underwater photographers like me.

After last week in Miami with IANTD's Tom Mount, there are now three new KISS GEM Instructors -- Doug Ebersole (Florida), Hayna Amnon (Israel), and Masayoshi Kondo (Japan). Here are a couple of photos of the three of us in Tom's pool last week.

Congratulations also to Susan Dasher of Dive Tech, Grand Cayman who also just completed her instructor course with Steve Tippets, also of Dive Tech.



Doug


Yo, Doug! What's the cost on this puppy going to be or is that as yet to be determined?

Rough NCAA for us both!

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#3 debersole

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 12:08 PM

Steve:

Give me a call (863-602-3410) and I can give you details on the unit, but basically it lists at $3400 Canadian. However, they are running a deal of $2700 Canadian until the end of this month.

Agreed -- NCAA tournament was a bummer this year!

Doug
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#4 adamhanlon

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 01:12 PM

Hi guys,

We published a brief report and pictures of the unit and a special on it by Norbert Wu during the DEMA 2010 coverage.

I know it exhausts 30% of the gas from each breath via exhaust ports on the mouthpiece-do you think this is likely to be a problem in terms of (1) bubbles in the face whilst shooting or (2) negating the stealth effects of the rebreather by disturbing wildlife?

If this isn't the case, this must be the best unit for photography!

Adam

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#5 JKrumsick

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:20 PM

I have been reading about this unit on reabreatherworld forums and it does look very exciting! It has the potential to be a game changer!

@adamhanlon - Good point about the stealth. We won't be stealth until we're rebreathing all of the gas. However, exhaling only 30% of the gas one normally would would certainly help with the skittishness of a lot of animals. Those bubbles would be much smaller and make much less noise.

I also wonder if there is the ability to exhale even less (and not because I am skipping a breath)? I would assume that this system can be tuned in that way. If you use 40% O2 in your gas mix then I would think you could re-use the mix longer as opposed to 32% O2 (this may be completely wrong, just an intuitive response).

I think I read they were shooting for $2000 price point and $500 for training. Understandable how they couldn't sell it for $2000, I was wondering how they were going to do it! But what about training? Is the price of training based on what the instructor deems reasonable or is it based upon some standard? How long for training etc?

Details my friends, details!

#6 debersole

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:51 PM

Training will be around $500, give or take, depending on the instructor, etc. It is designed to be about three days in duration to include several hours of didactic slides, set-up, breakdown, maintenance etc. There is a required "confined water" session and then four dives. Total in-water time is 240 minutes.

From what I've seen and heard, you are pretty "stealth" on this unit. And, yes, if you breathe shallow for a short period of time there may be almost no bubbles at all during this time. However, if there are no bubbles there is no gas being added and you would want to carefully follow your PO2. The "bubbles" are really just a trickle and not what you get on open circuit. It is designed to have them in your field of view so you know the system is working. And they are not a problem with looking through the viewfinder.

As far as the mix goes, you are depth limited by the MOD of the mix, just like in open circuit nitrox. However, the lower the nitrox mix the lower the PO2 will be when you are shallow. The reason to use at least 32% is to avoid hypoxia when shallow. It will be recommended to use EAN40 during shallow confined water training and EAN 32-36 in the open water, though you could use EAN40 if you are making a relatively shallow dive and not exceeding the MOD (MOD at 1.4 for EAN 40 is 82.5 fsw)

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#7 adamhanlon

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 05:38 AM

I was told at DEMA that there are plans to release versions of this unit with a 5:1 ratio, that will further reduce bubbles. In fact, a 10:1 unit was mentioned although this will likely be a cave/deep specific model.

I can see the value of having bubbles exiting from the mouthpiece as a tell-tale of unit function, but there are plenty of SCR's that use other methods to achieve this (Drager, RB80 etc.) I guess I need to dive one to be sure whether they are a problem or not!

Closed circuit introduces another level of complexity, that for photography anyway, I don't need or want. SCR seems the way forward for me, and this unit is certainly very interesting.

Adam

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#8 debersole

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 10:16 AM

The issue with passive semi-closed rebreathers and "ratios" is balancing gas efficiency with the risk of shallow water hypoxia. The 5:1 or 10:1 ratios are great for gas extension but make hypoxia in shallow water a greater concern. As this was designed as a recreational unit, the ratio of 3:1 was felt to be a good compromise between the two issues.

And, yes, I guess diving it is the only way to make sure the minimal bubbles aren't going to bother you. They don't bother me, but that's just my point of view.

Doug
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#9 Undertow

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 04:39 PM

can't find any info on the kiss website. sounds like a potentially useful unit to us photogs who already have a big predive prep load.

so its 'on demand' from the tank vs the constant flow on a drager dolphin?(my frame of reference) Does that mean the counter lung is smaller and once you've inhaled the gas, negative pressure activates the regulator to inject the nitrox? like the dolphin had as a backup to the constant flow? Does it also mean the same huff sound you get when breathing in through an open circuit reg every breath? cause that's nearly as loud as teh bubbles.

i must admit i liked the way the dolphin released the additional gas behind your head in a small stream of bubbles. very quiet and unobtrusive. not sure if this one sounds as stealthy, but interesting nonetheless.

also, does it include, or can it be outfitted with PO2 sensors? cheers,

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#10 debersole

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 07:17 PM

It is very quiet and definitely NOT like open circuit. There is just a small stream of bubbles from the right side of the mouthpiece and this small amount is replaced through addition from the cylinder in a very quiet fashion. The counterlungs are two liters each, one at each clavicle. There is a single oxygen sensor on the left side of the hoses to measure PO2 right before you inhale the gas. The PO2 can be displayed through a standard Jetsam display like that seen on on Kiss Classic or Sport. It can also be displayed on a Shearwater computer which will also give you live no-deco limits based on exactly what you are breathing (it also does deco calculations but this is designed to be a recreational unit, and not for deco diving). Hope that helps.

Doug
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#11 Ryan

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 07:23 AM

I'm excited to try it, I know a lot of rebreather divers that are high on the system.

I found a video yesterday from Curt Bowen of the Gem in use, but I can't locate it now. It did seem awfully bubbly, but the divers were swimming like crazy.

Will the 5:1 ratios being mentioned be upgradable, or adjustable in some way? Or is it fixed 3:1 forever. Do you know of any diagrams of the system?

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#12 Lasse

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 01:09 PM

I'm excited to try it, I know a lot of rebreather divers that are high on the system.

I found a video yesterday from Curt Bowen of the Gem in use, but I can't locate it now. It did seem awfully bubbly, but the divers were swimming like crazy.

Will the 5:1 ratios being mentioned be upgradable, or adjustable in some way? Or is it fixed 3:1 forever. Do you know of any diagrams of the system?




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#13 betti154

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 07:42 PM

Having dived full CCR for a while now I think the concept of a cheap and simple mechanical gas extender is quite interesting, though this unit does have a few points that make me question it's value to the photographer. I'll state openly that I haven't dived one so feel free to correct me otherwise.

1. The loop hoses appear long and setups looks clumsy
2. The bubbles right in the face appear annoying (though from my experience CCR stealthiness is over stated, to me the calmness and extended bottom time is the real value)
3. Availability of ExtendAir cartridges is a big issue when travelling (at least in Oz, East pac, Asia)
4. Ability to get anything other than 32% whilst limited at many locations

That said, 3x gas extension is pretty cool (5-10 would be impressive). The question remains as to whether you can get value out of this with respect to charter operator rules. I've dived CCR in many recreation contexts and for the most part you hit issues with regard to solo diving and fixed dive times (e.g. 1 hour limit). Having 3 hours will do you no good in this scenario, unless of course you're an air pig and trying to come up to par.

Questions:

- Is there a solo diver cert for this?
- If using 32% as the gas, what is the recommended fO2 deco calc if you don't have integrated deco?
- Is there a BOV option?
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