For a few years, the Divesoft rebreather unit has been on my radar.
Already having used the Divesoft Freedom Trimix dive computer for a number of years, it seems their technology and user interface is impressive throughout their range. Looking more in-depth, I wanted a unit that would satisfy my needs and any diving I would want to do in the future. With my mechanical and engineering background, I appreciate the beauty of construction and manufacturing processes and the logical nature of the design inside and out of the Liberty. That’s partly why I embraced the support of Divesoft and became an ambassador. To add to this, I thought it would be infinitely better having dived it pretty extensively since July 2020 to give the unit a decent review.
Divesoft Sidemount Liberty rebreather
Sidemount rebreathers have been around for quite a number of years with Rick Stanton MBE and Duncan Price (CDG) amongst a few others engineering their own mCCRs around 2004. Over the years rebreathers have been put through their paces, not just in practical terms but to function well and keep divers safe, but also more recently in comparative tests against alternative backmount rebreathers. For example for ease of convenience among other things and work of breathing. Since first using the Sidemount unit, it’s easy to understand how one can feel instantly relaxed when diving it. After a few of weeks progressively diving deeper and longer on the unit, I felt very comfortable diving to 105m using this rebreather.
Most of the diving I’ve done on the unit is around 5m, 50m and 75m. Floating around in shallow water on my long deco stops has never felt so good and brings back the enjoyment into it, not to mention the games definitely keep me occupied.
One of the most versatile attributes of the Divesoft Sidemount rebreather, is the fact it can be configured and built with a large, medium or small canister case. Enabling it to be neutrally buoyant depending on the preferred environment, salinity of water as well as scrubber duration. The titanium space-framed tray is perfectly designed to accommodate the component parts in a compact and precise way, as well as keep the weight to a minimum, therefore ideal for travelling. Also keeping the unit neutrally buoyant underwater is fantastic news for the travelling diver. The unit can be used in perfect balance, for example when diving with aluminium bailout cylinders in warm fresh waters like cenotes. On the other hand, if cold water diving is preferred and using heavier steel cylinders, then adding some additional weight to the unit will balance the unit perfectly as well.
The unit is very compact, building it up is almost childsplay. The parts of the rebreather will only fit together one way correctly and fit inside the titanium tray. Every component has its place or colour designation.
Diving the unit is understood far better after learning to dive Sidemount in advance. There are certain tweeks I’ve made to allow this superb unit to ride better with me. It is my go-to unit in preference of the other three rebreather units I owned over the last 10 years.
Having a good computer that’s easy to use, is a must for anyone but more importantly on a rebreather. The modular single or dual handset is carefully thought out and quite simply amazing. The buttons and logic used for menu navigation is intuitive. The font used is sharp, with clear menus and easy to navigate platform, while important screens are very accessible on the fly. There are multiple screens to access including simplified screens if preferred with just the press of one button. To save battery power the screen can be put in energy saving mode with the press of a button and returned back the same way, without affecting any of the dive profile information. Personally, I like the tilt function on the handset when adding gases, but if you don’t like it, you can opt to change it, but give it a chance. It’s much better when you calibrate it to your ideal looking position.
Everything that’s input onto one handset is exactly mirrored onto the other handset, thus removing a possible diver error. That leads me to mention the fact the unit is equipped with state of the art software, firmware and hardware in duplicate to make the unit so fault tolerant and an excellent bailout rebreather. Having said that, I do like to know where the unit’s limits are. In fact, unless you enter in the water with everything about to fail, it’s a struggle to validate bailing out.
Although the backmount unit is already CE certified, the Sidemount unit will soon also pass the harmonised standard EN 14143/2013 when things get back to normal.
Where’s your predive checklist? No worries, there’s two checklists: a pre-dive and dive checklist, with a 5 minute pre-breathe built into the computer’s software to help the diver go through their checklists easily and make their Liberty safe to dive.
Everyone’s talking about Sidemount trim and now even more on rebreathers!
Sidemount diving is NOT about being ‘spirit level flat’. It’s more about being in balance, or more commonly expressed as being ‘in trim’. Being totally comfortable in terms of position in the water and utilising less thought processes to keep a three dimensional position. This allows the diver to achieve more complex tasks and keep a level head.
My version of hovering is: The ability to hold any position in a column of water, using a buoyancy compensator and lungs, without using feet or hands.
This might sound difficult to achieve, but if the underwater dynamics of equipment/ diver as well as how the diver feels, is understood, then it’s a relatively easy concept. Divers often make inaccurate adjustments, thinking about the characteristics of equipment or how it functions as if they were on land. Or how to balance out equipment underwater but not including the response of how it feels to a diver. Once the method is understood it’s very easy to relate to wetsuit or drysuit diving or OC to CCR diving.
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Cleaning, what can I say… it’s as easy as it gets. Drying out the cells with Divesoft’s purpose made fan drive is excellent!
Divesoft Cell Checker
An accessory to have is the ‘Cell Checker’. Utilising the head itself and electronics of the handset, the internal system will be pressurised to 3 bar multiple times to check linearity and current limiting of the 4 oxygen cells. This is a true functional test of the cells and can be done after a dive whilst the may still be damp or before a dive.
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Analyzer SOLO is the result of Aleš’s work that has become known as “The Speed of Sound Principle”. A new technology at the time, which Divesoft has since patented. The Solo is a precise apparatus for measuring oxygen and helium concentrations in scuba diving breathing gases. It is a necessary tool for technical divers using nitrox and trimix mixtures.
The analyzer SOLO is characterized by its high accuracy and reliability, thanks to an innovative solution for measuring helium concentrations. This technology works on the principle of measuring the speed of sound, therefore never requiring to replace the helium sensor.
Another feature of this Analyzer is its light weight, due to durable ABS-PC material which makes the SOLO an ideal travel companion.
The SOLO has also in-built calculator for mixing gases.
In case of a hypoxic mixture without the presence of another inert gas other than nitrogen, it will warn and recommend to you not to breathe such mixture through the “FOUL AIR” warning. It can also identify argon and in special setting measure its purity.
A USB-C connector makes it easy to program and takes less than 4 hours to fully charge.
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Divesoft Freedom computers
A lightweight and compact handset with two adjacent push buttons, gives divers a very user friendly platform to browse clearly and easily through the menus and sub menus within very comprehensive and modern technical decompression software. The Freedom computer uses Bühlmann’s ZLH16 B algorithm with adjustable Gradient Factors to suit the divers needs. The computers are fitted with a Li-Ion rechargeable battery that displays an onscreen indicator of battery life.
One of the great points about this computer I really like, is the vibration and visual notifications which can be set in preferences.
The entry level ‘Basic Nitrox’ computer can be upgraded online to the ‘Advanced Nitrox’, ‘Full Trimix’ or ‘Closed Circuit’ software.
Referring to the extract above, having a good computer that’s easy to use, is a must for anyone but more importantly on a rebreather. The modular single or dual handset is carefully thought out and quite simply amazing. The buttons and logic used for menu navigation is intuitive. The font used is sharp, with clear menus and easy to navigate platform, while important screens are very accessible on the fly.
There are multiple screens to access including simplified screens if preferred with just the press of one button. To save battery power the screen can be put in energy saving mode with the press of a button and returned back the same way, without affecting any of the dive profile information.
Contact here for more details