Our rebreather of choice.

As we move through the years the industry of scuba diving is continuing to grow with vengeance and with equipment constantly becoming more innovative and versatile. The rise of the underwater rebreathers has not gone unnoticed and is equally undergoing dramatic evolutionary changes on a year by year basis. I think back to my very first days as a recreational diver where I noticed the the world of technical diving, and if memory serves me right I can personally only recall the number of rebreather units that I was hearing about on one hand, maybe even with just a few fingers. These were the Kiss Classic, the Drager Dolphin and the AP Inspiration. Probably there were many more but for sure they were not significant at that time in my area. Now, the list of CCR units is considerably larger. We at Tekstreme Diving specialise in the training of divers on the rebreather units produced by Ambient pressure diving (AP diving); Inspiration, Evolution and the Evolution+. Obviously, it would make sense that as rebreather instructors we do actually own and dive these units personally. I wanted to give you an insight into why as individuals we have found ourselves in this situation. Its important to note that each member of our team has had additional training on other types of CCR unit but as individuals and as a company we still chose to focus and specialise in the rebreathers by AP Diving.

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Lets firstly have a look in more details about the Ambient pressure Diving as a company. Everything AP make is conceived, tested and assembled in their factory and research centre in the heart of Cornwall, UK. They aim to be the be the best in everything they do, and to help educate, support and inform the worldwide diving community wherever they can. Right now they are pushing the boundaries of technical and sport diving through advanced product development. They are currently on their 6th generation Inspiration range of closed circuit rebreathers! Through extensive research and punishing test regimes they aim to make equipment for divers that is built properly, works well and tackles the snag-points and problems we all come across underwater. Their products are routinely inspected and verified by third party agents Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Ltd to achieve the essential ISO 9001 manufacturing standard. They manufacture 95% of all products – right down to the brass and plastic components – in-house. Experience has taught them that if ever there is a problem, it’s usually created by an external supplier. Keeping it in-house they retain that family-business ethos – pride in what they do and quality control over the whole process. Start to finish.

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For more than 45 years, AP has led the way in diving – innovating, designing and manufacturing equipment of the highest quality. Since its foundation in 1969, the company has grown at a phenomenal rate, from a small family-business to an internationally respected dive manufacturer with a global network of great dive instructors, distributors and support centres. Their customers range from individual sport and professional divers, to search & rescue services, the military, police, fire service, bomb disposal, ship’s divers and coastguards through to the commercial giants of the salvage, shipping and oil industries – in over 50 countries worldwide. There are currently 55 people working in the manufacturing and innovation centre in Cornwall, UK. Nearly all of them dive. They have product designers, engineers and test-divers working away at solving the problems divers face – constantly looking for ways to make your dive better, more comfortable, more exciting. They have attracted and retained some of the best people in the dive & manufacturing industries, who are not only proud of the products they make but are proud to offer an after-sales service that is second to none – clearly made so much easier by having continuous production and ready availability of spares.

Chris Armstrong – Inspiration & Evolution Advanced Trimix Instructor

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My interest in rebreathers started in 2005. At that time I learnt on an Inspiration Classic but at the same time used the Evolution for the vision electronics which at the time had only come out the year before.It wasnt until early 2009 that I used the unit seriously and became a trimix ccr diver. The Instructor trainer suggested I could teach on these units so a few months later I became a CCR air diluent instructor. I really enjoy teaching these units and over the years continued to become an Advanced Mixed gas instructor. I did a crossover to try something different in 2015 but always went back to the AP units. I like the fact they come in a complete package and have my own unit with the advent of back mounted lungs and rechargeable battery unit. The additional options from AP are varied to suit all and the service response is second to none. You can also find AP units around the world and parts are available in all continents. There is a good reason why AP units still have around 50% of the world market!

Duncan Spenceley – Inspiration Classic Advanced Trimix Diver & Air Diluent Deco Instructor

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I started ccr diving following an awesome open circuit technical dive on the Rosalie Moller. We were the only divers on the wreck and conditions were perfect. However I had to end the div e as I had reached my turn pressure. My buddy was diving an AP Inspiration and I was amazed how close he could get to the marine life. In fact I had to be extremely vigilant of where he was as he spent most of the dive enveloped in Glassfish. We then proceeded to complete our decompression. The swell was picking up and I spent an additional 20min of decompression over my CCR buddy! In my head I was already planning when I could fit in my CCR Course…I wanted one of those magic boxes….

The AP Inspiration was available to use on days off from work so it was a natural progression to qualify on the unit and build up some hours and save some money to purchase my own. I ended up buying a AP Inspiration Classic. The reason for this was I could afford it at that time and dive it now versus waiting to save up for a vision. AP were fantastic…they provided me with a full service history of the unit before I purchased it and I had it sent directly to them for checking before getting it sent out to Egypt.

The support and customer service from AP is second to none. A quick call or email and queries are answered almost immediately. You can’t fault that.

I love my little yellow box of magic…

Cat Braun – Evolution Advanced trimix diver & Air Diluent Decompression Instructor

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I personally choose to dive the Evolution+. I find that being slightly smaller in height, the length of the evolution unit is perfect for me. However, i found that the smaller scrubber unit was a time restriction on some of the deeper dives that i was wanting to make, hence i chose the Evolution+. One of the main features / attractions for me of the AP Units is the ability to dive them completely manually or completely automatically. This gives me great options when i am in the water depending on what i am doing. I love the fact that every part is user changeable (pretty much) and that as AP produce new technologies / advancements, that these are available to all existing AP divers with units. The support team at AP is second to none. I deal with them on a company and personal level and find that communication is prompt, precise and very customer friendly. I still have the yellow box attached, i like the fact that divers in the water can see me clearly and it does protect the whole back section of the unit. All in all no complaints from my side.

Shaun Fox – Inspiration Vision Advanced trimix Diver IMG_1454

As a recreational diver I was looking for something else to do in diving in Hurghada, Egypt where I currently live. I looked around and someone suggested trying a Rebreather course. This was in around 2008. After doing a 40m Air diluent rebreather course I purchased the KISS Sport from the training company. When I wanted to progress I found this was very difficult due to lack of instructors in my area and that spare parts were not readily available for the unit as they had to come from Canada. So once again I looked around for a different unit. I did research online, I read many articles, I went to the dive show in UK and looked at the units there. Some units to me looked messy and some looked home made. It then became clear that the only rebreather that meet all of my personal criteria was a unit from AP diving. It was CE approved, as AP Diving was based in the UK spare parts and replacement parts would be easy to get, servicing would be easy to get done, help was only a phone call away and last of all it was/is a neat unit and would fulfil all my diving needs both recreationally and technically. All in all it ticked all the boxes. So, as it been reliable? Yes it has. Have there been problems? Yes, but with all mechanical / electrical equipment things can happen. The good thing is that APD is only a phone call away and for me they have provided a first class service. Have I made any changes? Yes I have. I have taken of the “plastic box” that it is supplied with and have replaced it with a Stainless Steel frame. My reasons behind this were that the plastic box can crack at the base, a frame cannot. The unit stands up better with the frame in comparison to the plastic box. With the frame I have easier access to all the working parts of the unit more easily than having to open the box and finally its easier to see if there are any leaks in the water when I can see all working parts directly. One other big advantage with the frame is that I don’t need any additional weight with a 5mm wet suit and only a small amount with a dry suit in the type of water that I dive in. For the me the Inspiration has been very reliable and, If you follow the rules and do what it says in the book it can be for you too. Would I buy another one YES I would.

So, thats we we here at Tekstreme think, but what do other rebreather divers think…..

Richard Wait – Inspiration Vision Normoxic Diver richard wait

After considering many units on the market when I first looked at a rebreather back in 2011, the one that stood out the most was the AP units. From the proven history with the Classic to the renowned customer support, AP appeared a good choice. Now having dived many hours with mine, having dealt with the factory and dived with many others with other CCRs, I’m still very pleased with my decision. One of the aspects I really appreciate from AP, is they have been fully supportive of their existing clients – easily allowing new features / add-ons to be user installed to units even over 10yrs old!

Jason grey – Inspiration Vision Advanced trimix diver

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I chose the AP Inspiration Vision since it would suit my technical diving very well, but was also easily slimmed down for recreational use. I was lucky enough to make the jump to CC with some friends and it was a no brainer to go the AP route, not only for its technical diving capability, but also because the manufacturer is local, and very well respected as a market leader and innovator, with a well deserved reputation for customer service. My personal choice was to select the vision unit since it was 2nd generation, and the fully integrated single handset with Fibre Optic HUD offered the additional security I felt I needed from a CCR. The upgrade options produced since then have also added additional levels of personal comfort and security, future proofing my investment, and provide further confidence. Finally the support community for the AP products is awesome. Simply because they are so numerous you can almost guarantee to have someone on a boat or trip with either the knowledge or a spare part that can assist you should it come to that!  I’ve lost very few dives due to problems with the unit, and I’ve had some amazing experiences while diving with it that would not have happened if I was still on Open Circuit.  It’s good to be able to access the hard won experience of the AP community, and being one of the biggest and longest established/most dived units has to be a very good thing.

Peter Sullivan – Evolution + Vision Normoxic Diver

peter sullivan I chose and dive my Evolution+ after much deliberation. Firstly they are made in the UK, so parts and back up were not an issue. Secondly AP were the first mass produced units on the market and the problems they had originally had been worked out ( I shelved buying one for probably 10 Years ). Thirdly is there simplicity to dive. I like to be as independent as I can with as many options as I can . I use the FFM plumbed into gas switching block to off board bailout , with the option to plumb to onboard .All off board has O/C regs .

Steve Wilkinson – Evolution + Advanced trimix diver

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I dive an Evolution +.  The main reason I went for an AP unit was because they’re manufactured 20 mins from where I live and many of the local divers use AP. My little unit is compact so great for travelling and good for RHIB diving here in the UK. I get two long dives out of the 2 ltr cylinders. All AP kit is made to be tough enough for UK wreck divers so I’m happy with my unit. I’m  Advanced Trimix qualified with IART and TDI

Mattjin Buwalda – Inspiration Vision Normoxic Diver IMG_1463

All units are heavy, expensive and need a lot of training to be operated safely. But AP offers good reliable service and maintenance and that’s what you really need on the long run.

Ricky Ng – Evolution Vision Normoxic trimix diver

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Why I chose AP rebreather is because AP rebreather price is competitive with the others.  It is especially suitable for me because it’s size is compact, easy to travel, weight is less then others. The twin tanks weight is a bit heavy for me.  Rebreather can give me around 8kg less then the OC and AP have lot of instructors though the world.
The final is the outlook is attractive.  I can buy it online and configuration options is suitable from recreational to professional tec dive level.  It make the new CCR diver easy to afford to starts.
Chris Burrowswood – Inspiration Instructor
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The AP Units are simple to use. Over the years repairs have been thorough. In the picture I am about to dive a Vision with trimix on the u-869.

Peter McCamley – Inspiration Air Diluent Instructor703996_4849178477896_142984492_o

I have had my Inspo for 7 years now, I have mod 3 for 6 years now and am a MOD 1 instructor for 5 years now. I also dive a Sentinel, which I love to bits, however for the dozens of sub 100m dives, the chosen weapon of choice is my Inspo. I have it on a Dive Lite Wing and an Alibox with a AP BOV just plumbed into my 3 litre for a Sanity breath or two until I get onto the bailout. After 2500 hrs last year it had its head serviced with new software…..then it had a blank handset twice on a 85 and 90m dive in The North Channell in Donegal. AP had a software glitch but wouldn’t admit it to me, but did to an Instructor mate and he gave me the new software. In the meantime I plugged in a Nerd and all is class. Front mounded lungs coming under my arms only allows for 2 breaths in the loop, but they are well out of the way. (Shown to me by Al Wright) I use a cell checker and AP16’s and have never had a cell issue. Like a car or any machine, it needs to be started every week and preferably dived at least once a week. I have just fitted two new 1st stages at £130 each, as its two years since I stuck a service kit into it. Service kit in the first stages is a must every year as the piston gives no warning of disintegration and if it does you will end up with cylinder pressure instead of 8 bar. Very bad if its your O2 1st stage, as Solenoid will stick open. Love the AP as i have had it round the world from South China Seas to Bikini to Australia to Middle East and Europe + America with around 1800 hours in Donegal. Best thing about it is that you can get bits for it at the back of the ditch. In conclusion I love my inspo for 3 reasons. 1: 110% reliable….2: Parts availability 3: Ease of use and amazing versatility.

David Street – Inspiration Vision Diver

I bought my AP Inspiration Vision in 2008 and over the years the unit has been significantly modified. The yellow box, comfort harness, weight pockets, wing and front counterlungs are all gone.

The reason for this is because the yellow box filled with water created drag. The comfort harness added buoyancy which meant that I needed extra lead to sink. The front counterlungs created too much “clutter”. I never liked them (or all the straps hanging around. So I got rid of them and replaced them with a 3mm stainless steel backplate and harness, back mounted counterlungs, a dual bladder wing and a Kent Tooling travel frame.

The only remaining original parts are the breathing loop, the head unit and scrubber. This setup works for me.

Summary

So as you can read from all of the contributors to this blog that there is so much versatility to the AP units which makes it one of the leading rebreather units and companies in the world. Their continuing support to the owners of their products is unquestionable and they continue to strive to respond to the CCR community and develop new technological advances.

Most of my description about AP diving as a company has come directly from their webpage and you can read more by heading to

http://www.apdiving.com/en/rebreathers/resources/

We at Tekstreme Diving offer the full range of rebreather courses for the AP inspiration and Evolution in the resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, El Gouna and on board our technical safari trips.

Courses

30m Air Diluent No decompression diver

45m Air Diluent Decompression diver

60m Mixed Gas Diver

100m Advanced Mixed Gas diver

Please feel free to email at info@tekstremediving.com us for more specific details on the CCR courses available or head to

http://tekstremediving.com/tdi-courses.php

Enjoy the silent world.

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Manager / Owner

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