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This Newsletter is dedicated to the wide range of Open Safety (OSEL) rebreathers and training possibilities at PIM'S TEKDIVING PTD. The Newsletter covers:
- Functional safety
- Extend Air Cartridges (EAC's): pros and cons
- Open Safety Technical Rebreathers (Apocalypse Series)
        - Apocalypse Type II CCR
        - Apocalypse Type IV CCR
        - Apocalypse Type VII CCR
        - OSEL PPO2 Monitoring options
        - OSEL SCR option
- OSEL's iCCR status
- Open Safety/Apollo Military Rebreathers (Incursion Series)
- Open Safety Commercial Rebreather (Umbilical Surface Rebreather - USR)
- Pim's Tekdiving PTD Eastern Attersee Event
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Pim's Tekdiving PTD

PIM'S TEKDIVING PTD is an organization which focuses 100% on technical diving, and in particular, rebreathers.  
 
We offer training from Nitrox diver to Trimix Instructor Trainer.  PTD is the only diving school based in The Netherlands, which only conducts technical diving training with a choice from different technical diving agencies. 
 
PTD has use of other facilities located throughout Europe.  We can come to you, or near you, or you can come to us!   PTD HQ is located in Abbenes, The Netherlands, next door to Schipol airport, easy and convenient access to all of Europe and the world. 
 
We teach air diluent diver to expedition trimix instructor , and instructs on rebreathers from many different manufactures.
 
We provide training throughout the year.  Running so many courses, we can fit in single divers as well as scheduled groups.

Mission of PTD
PTD introduces technical diving to a broader diving public and puts safety first! That's why PTD demands the most from its instructors and facilities.  PTD contributes actively to (technical) diving research and (training).

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During Eastern (18 - 21 April 2014, Pim's Tekdiving PTD is planning cross over courses for the APOC Type IV OEM in Austria (Attersee), diver and instructor level and CCR Trimix (instructor) (cross over) courses. It will also be possible to make deep training dives. Press the button below for more information.
INFO AUSTRIA ATTERSEE
Pim's Tekdving PTD is specialized in rebreather training

We are specialized in the Hollis Prism2 (pending CE certification), Apocalypse Type II, IV and VII, and Megalodon.  However we train also: Inspiration, Incursion, KISS, Sentinel, Ouroboros, FGT, Submatix, Dolphin, Ray, rEvo, LAR, Azimuth, etc.






 
Functional Safety

When a diver uses a piece of equipment that contains electronics and software, he hopes it was designed and produced professionally. 

At the moment there is nothing to prevent someone from designing, producing and selling dive equipment, even someone with no engineering training whatsoever. Needless to say, that situation can give rise to surprises when you least expect them!   It is up to the diver to look for the guarantee that the electronics is safe. That guarantee that comes in the form of a certificate of Functional Safety, to IEC EN 61508.
 
So what is Functional Safety (FS) and how does it differ from the CE certificate that the equipment also carries?
 
A CE certificate can be issued by any of six agencies in Europe. The Notified Bodies those agencies employ are specialists in the pneumatics and mechanics of dive equipment, so when a piece of equipment has a CE certificate you know the mechanics and gas systems meet a particular safety standard. 
 
None of the Notified Bodies have any professional experience in the safety of electronics or software. That gap is what FS certification covers. This means that two certificates are required before a rebreather or dive computer can be treated as safe: the CE certificate and the Functional Safety certificate.
 
Any claim of Functional Safety has to be independently certified to one of the recognized Functional Safety standards such as IEC EN 61508, as was required in EN14143:2003. There are just two bodies that can provide the Functional Safety certificate for SCUBA equipment: SIRA and TÜV. They may certify just one item of equipment, or cover the entire process from concept, through design, production and maintenance – a more stringent requirement.
 
While FS appears to be specific to electronics and software, it is “end-to-end” in scope, so where the electronics is closely integrated into the mechanics, such as in a rebreather, Functional Safety covers the mechanics as well. FS is considerably more rigorous than CE.
 
This leads us onto the reason why it is rare to see Functional Safety certification in SCUBA. So far only one company (Deep Life Group and therein OSEL) has achieved any Functional Safety certification for SCUBA equipment. Other rebreather manufacturers considered that the process would be too complicated and expensive. The response by other manufactures to OSEL getting certified has been to petition for the Functional Safety requirement to be removed from the rebreather CE standard, and replaced in EN 14143:2013 by a bland annex which the Notified Bodies have no experience to audit: the opposite of putting safety first, but it gives divers a choice.
 
All equipment manufactured by OSEL (including the BIO350 Dive Computer, PPO2 Pod and all its rebreathers) comply to the Functional Safety “Gold Standard” IEC EN 61508 and also to the relevant CE standard.  
 
The third party dive computers and monitors sold by OSEL are not FS certified but are CE certified. OSEL vetted the third party units, including performing basic safety checks.  It fed back changes which have then been incorporated into the third party products it offers. Customers can then choose between a true FS certified product, or a product that is widely used and has passed basic checks but is not to the FS standards.
 
So why would someone buy a non-FS product?  The answer is cost and availability.  The FS products are more expensive and there is a risk of delivery delays even when the product has been fully tested and certified.   Those delays that can run into years when a new safety issue is identified, even if that issue was identified on an unrelated third party system!   Just think of some of the delays in large aircraft projects, and then apply the same concept to rebreathers … one can understand why some manufacturers are opposed to FS being mandatory.
 
All aspects of all OSEL rebreather loops meet full functional safety standards, to IEC 61508:2004, at SIL 3 level – a level more rigorous than commercial passenger aircraft.   Adding a non-FS certified computer or monitor renders the rebreather non-FS, but still carries the benefits of the FS process as it has flowed over onto all the mechanics, concepts, service etc.  This is a big plus for divers: FS performance levels from the loop, without FS costs, and the option to go for full FS compliant products later or as budgets permit.
Apocalypse Type IV

The Apocalypse Type IV is a back mounted CCR that OSEL have been supplying to customers successfully since March 2011. 
 
It is packed with features, built on a breathing loop with the best performance of any rebreather.   It meets CE breathing requirements even at 350m, but is limited to 100m in mCCR/iCCR configuration with a single Make_Up_Gas for reasons of the gas supply.  
 
There are now 4 PO2 monitoring options which can be ordered from OSEL's webshop or direct from instructors, for it to be supplied ready-to-dive covering everything from O2 diving to trimix.  All now come with training free of charge.  OSEL are finally shipping these from stock, rather than always on back-order.



The two counterlungs are on the back in a case, along with the scrubber and a weight pocket. There is also space for a 2 ltr tank for Oxygen (or Argon). In the configuration in the picture, the Diluent and the Oxygen are mounted on the outside of the case.    A BailOut Valve (BOV) is fitted as standard, in the form of the ALVBOV: a Dive Surface Valve (DSV), Automatic Diluent Valve (ADV) and BOV all nicely integrated.  Pulling a small lever at the front of the ALVBOV sets the ALBOV in Open Circuit Bail-Out mode. The ALBOV is fitted with a mouth strap.

Regulators are top quality Apollo A320s.  As well as being light, compact and with a perfect hose layout, an advantage of the A320 is that the intermediary pressure (IP) can be set anywhere from 9 to 18 bars which makes it possible to dive the unit to 150 - 160 mtrs. That is quite deep for a mCCR!
 
The Oxygen injector  fits on the waist belt on the right side, and there is an order-option to fit it over the shoulder.  Nice feature: one can only inject Oxygen (push the injector button) when the tank valve is open and gas is in the tank!
Both lungs have dump valves (to get rid of the water, if any) and have anti-collapse springs.   The counterlungs have a water trap.
Narked@90 POD with AV1, Divesoft Freedom and OSTC Computers

OSEL now offer third party alternatives to their own electronics, and at a far lower price.  

These alternatives come with a POD supplied to OSEL by narked@90 which plugs into the rebreather the same way as OSEL's pod.  The POD for these computers is analog, without a display.   The POD takes three COAX narked@90 cells to a second external port to connect a HUD (from narked@90) or a second dive computer.
 
The pod is supplied with the Fischer connector for use with the AV1 as standard, or the wet-mate connector used by Divesoft.  Arrangements for it to be supplied wired into the Heinrichs-Weikamp hwHUD are being finalised.   This lineup gives the diver the choice of four excellent dive computers.
 
All the computers each have a rechargeable internal battery with downloads of dives through USB.  The log viewer is supplied with the computer on a USB stick.
 
I have dived this AV-1 PO2 Monitor configuration many times including down to past 100m.   While it is the cheapest mCCR option from OSEL, I liked it very much and continue to dive this.   I added a HUD from narked@90 and in the future at my request OSEL will make available a clip to fit it to the ALVBOV.   Despite being significantly cheaper than the other options, the AV1 menus are intuitive, display is bright and buttons work well: overall a really nice computer. 
 
The AV1 Dive Computer with its Fischer connection is interchangeable with most Shearwater products, again providing comparable functionality at a lower cost.
 
I have also dived the OSTC-2 and look forward to trying the OSTC-3 and Divesoft Freedom that OSEL are now supporting.



SCR Versions of the Apocalypse

OSEL have an SCR injector that can be fitted to to any of their rebreather loops for use to 100m. 

It functions on a similar principle as the Carleton Viper: a standard Make_Up_Gas (diluent: air or Heliox16) is mixed with oxygen  depending on the depth using pneumatics alone. The military version of this has an automatic checking system, and this will probably also be supplied to sports divers: it is in a Pelican type box, with LCD monitor, pressurizing the regulators then plots the flow rates and PO2 curves with depth to give a Green/Red Go/NoGo indication of being ready-to-dive.

 
 
INFO ABOUT APOC TRAINING
Micropore ExtendAir Cartridges (EACs)

These unique solid-state CO2 absorbent cartridges from Micropore have important and significant safety critical advantages over granules:
  • no dust
  • no channeling
  • fastest possible scrubber changes
  • extremely water tolerant
  • (almost) no caustic cocktail risk
  • lowest work of breathing (WOB)
  • easy storage
  • easy to resell by dive resorts/dive centers with long shelf life
  • single use packing
  • shock and vibration resistant (e.g. on RIBs...)
  • no risk of granules getting stuck in one-way valves, OPVs etc.
  • Longer duration per kg, in rebreathers designed around the EAC.
 
OSEL use EACs exclusively in their rebreathers because of these safety advantages.  Current potential disadvantages of that are:
  • EACs availability - one needs to verify with even rebreather supportive dive centers that they stock EACs.  Micropore, OSEL and others will ship to any suitable destination worldwide.   EACs are stocked in Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.  EACs can be hand carried on aircraft.
Price. When compared directly, 20kg of Sofnolime (24 hours of diving) is about 135 EUR (5.70 EUR/hour) in Europe, whereas  8 EACs (24 hours of diving) are 180 EUR (7.50 EUR/hour).  So about 2 EUR difference per hour as a worst case.  It's up to the diver to decide if that is too much or not.  Both the EAC and granules allow much longer dive times in warm water.

Here is a video from a guy who drinks water from a flooded EAC...

 
Apocalypse Type VII mCCR

This is the first rebreather designed as a rescue or bail-out rebreather, but is a perfect  as a travel rebreather on its own!  
 
It is front mounted and the sports version attaches to any BCD by clever magnetic clips intended to make it easy to support a diver in distress, allowing the rebreather to attach to any BCD in an instant – ideal for travel diving!
 
The Apocalypse Type VII is derived from OSEL's military Incursion rebreather: comparable with the LAR V/VII, but lighter and the WOB is much better.  Both rebreathers use of the same loop design as the Type IV. The oxygen cylinder inside the case. The Type VII comes standard with a normal DSV, an ADV is fitted as standard as it is intended for bail-out. OSEL's ALVBOV is optional. 

 
Apocalypse Type II expedition CCR

OSEL have made 200 Apocalypse Type II rebreather loops and are now selling these, in a gradual phased release as they used for the Apocalypse Type IV.
 
The Type II uses the same breathing loop as the Commercial Diver's Umbilical Supplied Rebreather (CDUSR): a commercial diver's rebreather for use up to 350 mtrs. The commercial CCR is an eCCR that was designed and fully certified, under CE, NORSOK and Functional Safety standards, as a primary breathing gas source in saturation diving.

The Apocalypse Type II CCR  provides a dual parallel scrubber configuration in a BMCL package.  It has two EAC's, is fully flood recoverable underwater and as a scrubber duration of 10 hours at 100m under the test conditions generally used by NEDU.   OSEL have reduced the size of it compared to the umbilical rebreather, and replaced the video and communications unit with support for a second diver: again as a rescue and bailout option for expedition diving – it supports two divers breathing the loop simultaneously.
 
The Apocalypse Type II  can be fitted with any OSEL PO2 Monitoring option, although the 350m rated BIO350 Monitor is recommended.  This can now be ordered from, with training, through PTD.

A serious tool for serious dives for serious divers...
Incursion Military Rebreathers

The OSEL military Incursion rebreathers are build/developed in co-operation with Apollo Military, in a partnership that commenced in 2005.

Apollo are the oldest independent dive equipment manufacturer in the world, starting 1964, and is currently the largest. Apollo produce top-end sports equipment, military diving and even space products. Apollo are known for their innovation, with the first scooters, the first split fins, the first single pane masks etc.
 
The Incursion rebreathers are not available on the civilian market though the Apocalypse family provides some of their capabilities in a form suitable for sports divers. The Incursion range are available as Oxygen rebreathers, SCRs or eCCRs for VSW MCM for missions from shallow water right down to 100m. You can find more info about them on the website of Apollo Military.
OSEL PO2 POD with Apollo BIO350 Divecomputer (hardwired)

This PO2 Monitor option offered by OSEL comes with an OSEL PO2 POD, which comes straight from their iCCR Monitor.

It has a POD PO2 display visible for buddy divers and dive supervisors (not for the diver himself when dived, because the display is on the shoulder but is very useful during pre-dive checks/setup). The PPO2 POD takes three OSEL rugged COAX oxygen cells which do digital temperature compensation offboard – these are specific to OSEL. 

The OSEL PO2 POD plugs directly onto the Apocalypse CCR port above the inhale CL. Replacing the cells is very easy as well with the same semi-automatic cell calibration as per the iCCR Monitor.
 
The BIO350 Dive Computer: it is an amazing dive computer with infinite possibilities (8 decompression models, OC/CC with lots of options, full color,  compass, tank transmitters as an option, icons in a smart-phone type user interface etc.). I have been diving one recently.
 

This monitor from OSEL provides the only mCCR option that is is Functionally Safety certified . It is also certified to EN14143:2003 for diving to 100m and is only available for use on Apocalypse CCRs.
iCCR Monitors

The iCCR Monitor comes with a two PODs, one shows the fusion of PO2 cell data and the second POD has a CO2 and He end-tidal monitoring: it communicate wirelessly with the Diver Display on the a special ALVBOV and with the optional BIComputer. Both POD's are mounted on the shoulder and the displays are visible to buddy divers, or surface supervisor and the diver whilst doing pre-dive setup.
 
The iCCR ALVBOV has small built-in speakers, which are used to warn the diver with speech. A video of how it works in a laboratory here and videos of it dived on OSEL's Facebook page and gallery.
 
The iCCR Monitor is a paradigm shift over that currently available from any rebreather manufacturer and is state of the art technology. The first iCCR achieved full CE certification to EN14143:2003 two years ago, and OSEL have back orders, some dating from well before the certification release date.   OSEL are still not yet supplying the iCCR Monitor to the public.
 
The iCCR is still very much in the pipeline as OSELs premium product offering the only (to date!) end-tidal CO2 Monitoring capability in a sports rebreather in addition to the other inbuilt diver safety features.
 
The hold on iCCR shipment is due to it being a fully FS and CE certified product. Functional Safety does not stop at design but requires continuous monitoring. OSEL reviewed the experience of another manufacturer who produces a rebreather intended for sports divers when divers frustrated on a boat as their expensive CCR unit does not let them dive (just as it is designed to do - with an identified fault),  see everyone else go diving, and rather than sit it out, they dive a rebreather they know is not functional with sad consequences. In OSEL's functional safety process, it is obliged to review these mishaps, and in response, is upgrading the iCCR bail-out actuator to handle regular deliberate misuse rather than occasional safety use that the original design covers. Upgrading the bailout actuator from occasional use status to routine use mechanically was straight forward and OSEL have proven this works, but the safety case updates, tests and reaudit to ensure in continues to meet the Functional Safety standard IEC 61508 in addition to EN 14143 is what is taking the time.
 
Immediately I am provided with a new iCCR, I will provide feedback, on this very different approach to diver safety.
 
All other OSEL products are shipping, most from stock. The Apocalypse Type IV is shipping from stock currently.

 
Training

OSEL regards appropriate and high-quality training, as one of the most important safety features available to a diver, complementing good design and production. That's why from February 2014 they are issuing a  “free-training” voucher, worth 450 Euro to cover the training costs of a two/three days course by a Apocalypse Instructor: this is a complete cross-over course for divers with  existing CCR experience or a credit for training of new rebreather divers.
 
OSEL are also putting funding into the training network, even though this remains completely independent of OSEL. 
 
OSEL set up training for release of its iCCR, with Gregg Stanton (US), Paul Haynes (UK) and Pim van der Horst (Europe/Asia) the only instructors recognized by OSEL to offer approved training on the Apocalypse family of rebreathers. With the ongoing delays on the iCCR, and the recent relaxation of the CE standards, OSEL are aggressively looking at expanding their instructional training base worldwide using the mCCR Apocalypse options as a lead-in to the iCCR.  They are doing that through its primary Instructor-Trainers, and providing funding for further instructors from the Apocalypse rebreather sales.
 
Diver and Instructor certifications are issued by recognized training agencies. Instructors have to be approved by OSEL prior to being accepted for training by an approved IT.  Approved Apocalypse Instructors will be listed on the OSEL website and offered the option of retailing the Apocalypse range of CCRs and spares.
 
There is an instructor approval and monitoring process, similar to that used by other leading rebreather companies. Apocalypse CCR Instructors must own at least one Apocalypse Type IV and will be expected to have further units available for training courses or try-dives. Agencies and instructors who want to become recognized by OSEL, can send an email: I can assist in the process. 
 
Uniquely (at this time) OSEL are not seeking or allowing training on their recreational range of Apocalypse rebreathers through PADI, despite being fully certified and the Apocalypse performance significantly exceeding the published PADI requirements for type R and T rebreathers. The reason is simply the OSEL rebreathers were designed for professional and technical diving: OSEL believe every dive should have a risk assessment, and in that process are not recommending the use of rebreathers on dives where Open Circuit is sufficient.  A range of specialist technical training agencies are being supported instead.
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