Ouroboros eCCR



Closed Circuit eCCR //
1 August

READ THIS FIRST!

Read this first!

Rebreather tests

People ask me many times which rebreather is the best one in the market. I usually reply that it depends on the application of the rebreather and the diving experience by the user. Does he/she travel a lot? Does he/she wants to make only recreational dives? Is he/she a cave diver? Or deep diver?

Rebreathers differ a lot. Very important are the “roots” of the manufacturer/inventor. Is he (yes: we have only male manufacturers…) a metalworker, a programmer, a marine, an engineer, …? It can have a big impact on the design of the rebreather.

There is also a difference in build quality, safety features and additional features. And of course: the price.

I have quite a lot of experience (in the field) with rebreathers. Some rebreathers are better than others (depending on the type of dive I make with them). So I tried, based on my personal experience, to rate the rebreathers. Five stars is the highest rate. One star is the lowest. The overall rating is the average of the ratings of the subcategories, which are:

1.  Ease of use (set-up, maintenance)
2.   Buoyancy/trim
3.  Work of breathing (WOB)/automatic Diluent Valve (ADV)/lungs 
4.  Travel (modularity) 
5.  Safety 
6.  Price 
7.  Service/after sales/availability of parts 
8.  Build quality 
9.  Cave diving 
10.   Deep and X-treme diving (deeper than 100 mtr)

All subcategories have the same weight for the total “verdict”.

Regarding safety: this is a difficult category. Does adding safety-items to a rebreather (such as CO2 monitors, auto-breathe-detection, etc.) really increase the safety? Those items can brake and might make rebreather-divers technology-dependent… It’s like cars: safety equipment (like ABS, airbags, brake assist, etc.) makes cars also accessible for bad drivers… Is a rebreather without electronics safer than a rebreather fully loaded with electronics? Check out the tests… I didn’t perform tests on the rebreathers in a lab. E.g. when I talk about the WOB, it is my personal experience and NOT the result of a lab test. I understand that some manufacturers will not be happy with my conclusions and that they want react on the rating. They can do so by sending an e-mail or replying on the forum on my website. Again: the verdict is based on my personal experience and I have personal preferences as well. Those preferences will have an effect on the way I view rebreathers. Another individual might have a completely different view on the rating. Furthermore I want to make absolutely clear that any rebreather manufacturer does not influence me in any way. I’m only interested in their product: rebreathers!

CCR Computer tests 

I have quite a lot of experience (in the field) with rebreathers and CCR computers. Some rebreathers and computers are better than others (depending on the type of dive I make with them). So I tried, based on my personal experience, to rate the CCR computers. Five stars is the highest rate. One star is the lowest. The overall rating is the average of the ratings of the subcategories, which are:

  1. Ease of use (set-up, maintenance)
  2. Functionality
  3. Operating depth
  4. Reliability and build quality
  5. Price
  6. Service/after sales/availability of parts

All subcategories have the same weight for the total “verdict”. 

I didn’t perform tests on the computers in a lab. E.g. when I talk about the batteries, it is my personal experience and NOT the result of a lab test. I understand that some manufacturers will not be happy with my conclusions and that they want react on the rating. They can do so by sending an e-mail or replying on the forum on my website. Again: the verdict is based on my personal experience and I have personal preferences as well. Those preferences will have an effect on the way I view computers. Another individual might have a completely different view on the rating. Furthermore I want to make absolutely clear that any computer manufacturer does not influence me in any way. I’m only interested in their product: ccr computers!

Pim van der Horst

Director Pim’s Tekdiving PTD


 

Name:

Ouroboros eCCR

Manufacturer:

VR Technology

Website:

http://www.ouroboros.technologyindepth.com/

Since:

2005

Type:

eCCR

CE:

Yes, since 2005

Lungs:

Backmounted

Weight:

30 - 35 kg (ready to dive)

Scrubber duration:

3 hours, radial canister (officially…)

Weight Scrubber:

2.5 kg

ADV (Automatic Diluent Valve):

Yes

HUD (Head Up Display):

Yes

BOV (Bail Out Valve):

No

(Deco-) computer:

Yes

Tanks:

2 ltr

My deepest dive with the unit:

236 mtr (in cold water: Lago Maggiore, Italy)

Price:

10.000 EUR (ex shipping, incl. taxes) Depending on exchange rate GBP/EUR (on order only)

 

General:

2 stars

I did my deepest dive (236 mtrs in cold water) on this legendary rebreather: the Ouroboros (I have no. 5). The build quality of this eCCR is amazing. It was the first eCCR with a wide range of electronic features intended to dramatically increase safety. Those electronics, however, make it a complicated unit: not suitable for every eCCR diver. Difficult to travel with. Hard to maintain. Nowadays maybe a bit outdated, the Ouroboros is still the choice of extreme (cave-)divers. The general rating has been downgraded to two starts because of the fact the the Ouroboros is not produced anymore and spare parts are only available on request.

1. Ease of use (set-up, maintenance)

1 star

Calibrating the unit requires the proper selection of a calibration gas. Divers who owned a VR3 diving computer, find manipulation of the handsets quite similar to the use of a VR3. Packing the scrubber is an art and requires some practice and time. Cleaning the unit is simple, but for removing the lungs one has to unscrew the canister base. Sometimes it can be difficult to unscrew the breathing hoses. The OPV in the exhale lung needs to be cleaned regularly, otherwise it can stuck open: water can enter the unit. In the beginning the big dome of the unit didn’t fit well, causing a lot of flooded units. A reinforcement band for the dome was supplied to the users. Later versions of the Ouroboros had a stronger dome. However when the unit is not properly closed, the risk of flooding still remains. An option is a hydrophobic membrane (quite expensive!) to keep the water away from the scrubber. Maintenance and preparation of the unit requires much attention of the diver.

2. Buoyancy/trim

3 stars

Trim is good, when the top weights are in place.

3. WOB

4 stars

The position of the lungs and the large breathing hoses make it very good breathing unit, except when the diver is swimming on his back. The WOB of the Ouroboros is still one of the lowest in the world.

4. Travel (modularity)

1 star

Only two liter tanks can be fitted. With some effort it is possible to fit three liter tanks. The placement of the tankvalves is important (cross flow). One could fit another BCD or backplate. One has to pack the whole (heavy) unit, which makes it a unit hard (and expensive) to take on a plane. The gastanks are only used for the CCR. Gas for your dry suit or BCD should come from off board tanks.

5. Safety

3 stars

It has all the necessary safety features like a HUD, independent back up display and ADV.

6. Price

1 stars

A lot of money is needed (in Europe). Transportation and the GBP/EUR exchange rate can make it even more expensive. More than 10.000 EUR.

7. Service/after sales/availability parts

1 stars

Spare parts are not available with the manufacturer. They are produced on request and special demand only.

8. Build quality

3 stars

Not indestructible, but the inner works (piping) look like a piece of art. The finest materials are used.

9. Cave diving

4 stars

The unit is CE rated until 100 mtr. The Ouroboros is and was the choice of many extreme cave- and wreck divers. The handsets easily survived 236 mtrs.

10. Deep and X-treme diving

5 stars

The unit is CE rated until 100 mtr. The Ouroboros is and was the choice of many extreme cave- and wreck divers. The handsets easily survived 236 mtrs.