A LOT of people chose the Inspiration as the right rebreather for them. In fact, this unit has been in production for more than seven years and has, by far, the widest distribution of any rebreather available with somewhere between 4000 and 6000 units. It is also the only unit out there currently that carries a CE certification, making it a clear chose European divers. It was also the least expensive rebreather I evaluated, coming in at $5,200 for the basic package.
The unit, as far as I can tell, is top rate. It is rated to 300fsw, but I have personally seen divers exceed 400fsw using it, and those I know who dive them seem to like them. Among the features that people seem to enjoy most is the fully-automated calibration, whereby, at the touch of a button, the loop is flooded with oxygen and the unit is calibrated. Complaints tend to be few, but are generally centered around displays and harness system.
Currently, you can get the inspiration directly from ADV in one of two configurations. The Inspiration Classic, which is the standard configuration that we are all used to, or the Inspiration Vision, which is the standard unit, with some very cool electronics.
Here is what you get with the Inspiration Clasic. Thanks to Elite Divers for the breakdown.
- 2 x 3 litre cylinders, one for oxygen, one for diluent (air or Trimix) with contents gauges for both.
- Two over-the-shoulder counterlung breathing bags – inhalation and exhalation.
- Mouthpiece and breathing loop hoses with hose-weights and built-in water-traps.
- A carbon dioxide Scrubber unit.
- A computerised Oxygen Controller system consisting of two micro-processor control units with digital displays and separate power supplies, three oxygen cell sensors and a solenoid oxygen injection valve.
- A specially designed harness and 16kg wings style Buoyancy Control Device with an Auto Air – emergency demand valve / jacket breathing valve / inflator – fitted.
- Manual diluent and oxygen feeds to the left and right counterlungs (ADV is an addon).
- There are two sizes of counterlungs, M or L and three sizes of harness, S, M, and L.
The inspiration Vision includes all of the above, with the following additions:
- Language Options
- Mixed Gas Deco
- Automatic Setpoint Switch
- Battery Status Indicator
- Head-Up Displays
- Software Upgradeable
- Logviewer Software
- APD Communicator Software and PC Interface
- Dive Timer
- Jacket BC
So, as you can see, the Inspiration Clasic is pretty much your basic ECCR, while the Vision electronics package adds some really nice bells and whistles, along with dive computer functionality. The downside to all this zoomy electronics is that it bumps the price up to nearly $10,000, which in my opinion, is far to much to pay for what you get.
Another option that gets you almost all of what is included in the Vision electronics is to purchase the Inspiration Classic, and upgrade to the Hammerhead electronics package from Juergensen Marine.
This system does a really good job of cleaning up all the wires inside the unit’s head, and replaces the standard Inspiration displays with two fully-functional dive computers to wear on your wrists. One of the greatest things about the hammerhead is that the software can calculate open and closed circuit deco, giving you the option of disconnecting the primary computer and using it as a standard OC dive computer. Not only do you get real-time P02 deco calculations while diving the rebreather, you get a nice, regular ol’ dive computer to boot… All for the low low price of only $3,000.
Had I chosen the Inspiration, the I would have gotten the hammerhead electronics along with it. Having real-time P02 deco is really nice, and the price is not too bad at $8,200 for the Inspiration Classic and the Hammerhead electronics.
I did not decide on the Inspiration, however, for the following reasons:
- I have never liked the shell. I have repeatedly seen divers break them, struggle with them, and generally hate life when dealing with them.
- The harness does not adapt well to slings. Divers do it all the time, but the system was clearly just not designed with the idea in mind that divers are going to sling 80 cf of bailout underneath their arms.
- There is no option for a metal backplate.
- There is no option to carry different sized tanks.
- The plastic used to make the scrubber is very soft and easily damaged.
- There is no standard HUD.
Again, the Inspiration is a nice unit, but it is mass-produced, and it looks it. It is simply not, in my opinion, designed to be flexible enough to easily accommodate the requirements of serious technical dives. This is not to say that divers are not making incredible dives on them… Just that it always seems to be a struggle to get the unit to do what they want it to.