KISS Orca Spirit mCCR
The KISS Orca Spirit is unlike any closed circuit rebreather on the market. For those familiar with the basic mechanics most CCR's follow, will immediately notice the absence of the usual twin - oxygen / diluent cylinder configuration flanking a centrally mounted scrubber, will notice something quite different.
Instead, the Spirit features a single onboard oxygen cylinder, mounted at the base of the unit. Diluent for the Spirit is provided by an off-board cylinder that can be mounted under either the left or right arm—the same way most CCR diver’s carry their bailout cylinder. Diluent gas is supplied to the Spirit via a high-flow hose with a quick-disconnect fitting. This off-board configuration allows the same cylinder to serve as both the rebreather’s diluent and bailout system, thus reducing the unit’s overall weight and profile.
Fully assembled and ready to dive, the Spirit measures 23 inches tall (approximately 5 inches shorter than an aluminum 80) and no more than 13.5 inches wide at its widest point. With harness and wing attached, the unit sits just six inches off the diver's back. In the world of back-mounted CCRs, that’s pretty skinny.
Bi-axil Scrubber Advantage – Two can be better than one
The most innovative features of the Spirit is that it employs a bi-axial scrubber system in place of the usual single-axial or radial scrubber common to most rebreather models. The parallel scrubbers are centered over the diver’s shoulder blades. This configuration also allows the counterlungs to be routed around the diver’s lower rib cage instead of over the shoulders or back mounted, creating a low-profile with extremely easy work of breathing (WOB).
The dual scrubber tubes are made with transparent PVC, which is extremely tough and crack resistant. The transparent scrubber wall's allow the diver to visually see what is going on inside, such as water intrusion in the absorbent. The capacity between the two canisters is approximately 6.2 lbs. with Molecular 797 Grade (812 Mesh) Sofnolime (which it was tested with), and 5.5 lbs. with larger granular 408 grade absorbents like Dreagersorb.
Another advantage to this bi-axial design is that it is highly resistant to channeling, allowing for not only a greater safety margin, but also allows the user to easily remove, fill and replace each canister independently with minimum fuss.
In additional to a greater safety margin, is also the more economical use of scrubber material between uses – the subject of which is explained during training on this rebreather.
This dual scrubber configuration gives the Spirit two independent heads - one on top of the inhale scrubber, the other on top of the exhale scrubber. This is similar to its predecessor the Sport, but with some very notable differences.
The exhalation side head is plumbed with both the oxygen input line and diluent gas line. Diluent is delivered to the head via an automated demand valve (ADV) made with an Aqualung Mikron 2nd stage regulator built into the top of the exhalation head with an adjustment knob so that the sensitivity to depth changes can be adjusted to fit the diver’s preference.
The inhalation side head is fitted with an adjustable over-pressure valve on top, and houses a trio of K-22D cells in a semi-circular array that can be wired to either a Fischer cable or the more direct route cabled straight into a Shearwater Petrel, or a basic model PPO2 reading display. For technical diving, or for those who like diving redundant PPO2 monitoring systems, a second computer, HUD, or display can be added through a second available port in the head.
At the base of each scrubber canister is a crossbar-type manifold to which the counterlung’s are fastened. Rather than sit entirely on the back, the lungs (available in 2 and 4-liter sizes) are routed through the wing to wrap around the diver’s lower rib cage, so that the loop volume is as close to the diver’s lungs as possible. The purpose of the manifold is to allow gas to pass from one side to the other so that both lungs work in tandem instead of independently.
As the diver exhales, the expired gas travels down through the right scrubber to both counterlung’s, picking up additional oxygen along the way to replace what the diver has metabolized. As the diver begins their inhalation cycle, the gas that was scrubbed of CO2 through the first scrubber and carried into the counterlung’s travels up through the second scrubber, getting cleaned a second time of any residual CO2 before reaching the diver’s lungs. While the dwell time in each scrubber would appear short, the CO2 scrubbing action is highly efficient.
Work of breathing and scrubber duration tests conducted at the Micropore testing facility showed that Spirit’s dual scrubber system performance levels during the high work load test more than adequately handled a full 2 hours in 45 F/7 C water, and 3.5 hours in a second test with warmer water temps of 75 F/ 24 C.
All highly impressive performance levels for a “recreational rebreather.”
Adding to the Spirit’s robustness, the two axial scrubbers and O2 cylinder are held in place by three stainless Fastex clamps to an all-stainless frame. The frame is designed to accept any back plate or soft pack technical dive harness, as well as provide a sturdy foundation for additional larger gas cylinders for advanced technical diving. This rebreather also comes with a choice of either a stainless steel half cover designed to protect the top of the head's and scrubber canister's or the stainless skeleton spine and ribcage cover for those who are looking to make a statement.
The Spirit is offered fully packaged with a custom size 14 cu.ft. aluminum cylinder made just for the Spirit with DIN valve. The accompanying 1st stage regulator primary oxygen supply is fitted with a blanking plug and OPV, along with two LP hoses and KISS MAV. Completing the unit is a Hollis BOV, loop hoses (available in 17 and 22-inch lengths), and a Dive Rite Trans Pac XT harness with matching Dive Rite XT CCR wing.
KISS Spirit mCCR Specs:
Depth rating: 300 fsw / 91 msw
Scrubber Type: bi-axial design
Scrubber Capacity: 6.2 lbs. with Molecular 797 Grade (812 Mesh) Sofnolime.
Max Counterlung Capacity: 8 Liters (2 x 4 liter lungs)
Dimensions: 23”H x 13.5”W x 6”D (58.4cm x 34.2cm 15.3cm)
Weight: (w/fully packed scrubbers and14 cu.ft. aluminum cylinder, harness and wing) 42 lbs. / 19 kg.