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Thread: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

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    RBW Member dshield55 is an unknown quantity at this point dshield55's Avatar
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    Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    Last year, I heard for the first time people were buying IDA-71s and converting them and using them. This piqued my interest and I thought sometime in the next few months I'd dig deeper. If I were to do an IDA-71 conversion, it would be my first forray into the world of rebreathers. I read several threads on IDA-71s on this forum and a couple on scuba world and some independent sites.

    Here's where I'm at:

    I'm confused and I'm just going to give up. I spent 5 hours last night trying to figure this out. I've done home-built firearms as a hobby (hi, I'm American and it's what I do) and usually if you look for an hour or two you can find a step by step build guide that tells you specific (keyword SPECIFIC) parts and equipment you need to buy as well as SPECIFIC step by step directions to build it and you just go get the parts and build your own AR15, AK47, MP5, Uzi etc. I can't find that with these IDA-71s. I can find theories and I can find examples and I even see people discussing better ways to do or alternatives, but there's no DIY guide for a newby.

    Or is there? Did I just not see it in my searching? Is there anybody out there willing to write one up?

    I solemnly swear that if I get my hands on a step by step guide and build one, I'm going to go out diving with it with a PADI rebreather expert or similar and get training before I start going off on my own (I know enough to know that I don't know what I don't know and it can kill me.) I'm looking for a step by step tutorial with specific lists of commercially available parts (or typically available used parts) and a step by step guide of how to connect the parts and maintain them.

    It doesn't even have to be an IDA-71 conversion, it could be a start from scratch home brew design.

    I want to get into rebreathers, there's just no way I'm going to spend $2500-$5000 on a used one, I don't want to get into it that bad. If I can spend $1200-$1400 or less, I am interested though. Anyway, the only reason that I posted this is that I already gave up on my rebreather dreams yesterday after spending 5 hours just to figure out where to start (including theory) and getting no where. This is my last ditch effort to see if this is worth it or could be made to be worth pursuing.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    I really like the fact that you are a DIY type of person, but at the same time I am concerned about your safety in this course of action. It is not all that terribly complicated to build or modify a rebreather, but the most important (let me say that again, the most important) thing is to fully understand how it works.

    I have built my own but have never done a conversion on the Russian unit like you speak of. Perhaps you can learn how they work first and go from there? it is not wise to just blindly follow a tutorial without a full understanding of what is going on. These things are life support or death machines depending on you
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    RBW Member dshield55 is an unknown quantity at this point dshield55's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    Thanks for your concern.

    Figuring out how the rebreathers work and what the different parts do is part of the frustration for me. Thats where a lot of the time I felt I wasted went and I got nowhere. I'd rather take the opposite approach where I have a list of parts and then figure out what each part does. Either way, Im not gonna go out on my own without somebody experienced that can teach me.

    There seems to be so many different ways to setup rebreather apparatuses that its just confusing and overwhelming. I feel like if I could just make one and figure out how the parts on the one work that Would bith be good enough for the casual diving I plan on doing with it and serve as a stepping stone to figure out alternative ways of setting things up.
    Last edited by dshield55; 16th April 2016 at 22:18.

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    Let me tell you a bit of my story. I also wanted to do exactly what you are talking about. i quickly became frustrated and gave up. a couple of years later i got a one-in-a-lifetime deal on a used Drager dolphin and a crap load of other goodies (including 3 dive computers for it). i took the training and dove it for a while until i began DIYing to make it go deeper. needless to say, I did not have a full grasp of ccr functionality and scared the shet out of myself a couple of times. i am really lucky to be here after the last one that almost made me stop diving completely. i never dove the Dolphin again. I went ccr and trained all like I was supposed to. It still took me several years to build my own and the design and thinking part took 2 years before I ever made the first bit.

    There is just so much to know about the intricate details of placements and breathing workload that you do not know or understand with having actually dived a rebreather first.

    I have torn apart many things in my life to figure out what made them work, so i do understand your thought process. At least talk to some rebreather divers before proceeding to make sure it is really what you want to do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    I could just be blowing smoke out my butt.
    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    And note the wisdom from DSix36
    MY ADVICE AND POSTS ARE WORTH EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAID FOR THEM!!!!!!
    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS SO YESTERDAY AND I AM DONE WITH IT!!!!!

  5. #5
    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    I would recommend the book "Rebreathers simplified" by Mel Clark to get started. It is a great starting point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    I could just be blowing smoke out my butt.
    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    And note the wisdom from DSix36
    MY ADVICE AND POSTS ARE WORTH EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAID FOR THEM!!!!!!
    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS SO YESTERDAY AND I AM DONE WITH IT!!!!!

  6. #6
    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    or get a dolphin to start:

    DOLPHIN FOR SALE
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    I could just be blowing smoke out my butt.
    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    And note the wisdom from DSix36
    MY ADVICE AND POSTS ARE WORTH EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAID FOR THEM!!!!!!
    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS SO YESTERDAY AND I AM DONE WITH IT!!!!!

  7. #7
    RBW Member tkfx2000 is an unknown quantity at this point tkfx2000's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    I to have been exactly where you.
    My advice don't do it to save money.

    This is life support equipment you are talking about. And not simple, unidirectional life support like scuba.
    With Scuba every breath you take is independent.
    With a rebreather, every breath you take is dependent on the breadths you have already taken.

    That makes a radical world of difference in complexity and cost. It is also what makes the rebreather better when dives get deeper and longer.

    It is not a casual undertaking.

    The run on cost, annually, of a rebreather are going to a minimum of $500 a year for cells and a little sorb. Plus maintenance. Realistically put the figure at $1500-$2000 a year, if you are getting factory service. Are you planning on doing the annual maintenance yourself? Do you know how to read Russian? Where are you going to source replacement parts?
    On Scuba, if something is wrong, you know generally right away. On a rebreather, when things go wrong, you often don't know until you are in a critical situation.

    Buying a used Dolphin is a much better option. There are manuals and parts and experienced users around that can help you.

    Better yet, save you money and buy a post 2009 rebreather that has evolved to be a safer machine. Or just rent a rebreather and take a few classes....

    Much like the early days of flight, many people have died to evolve rebreathers into the technology they are today. The IDA 71 is 40 year old technolgy. Why do you want to be a test diver on such a potentially lethal machine? Especially if you are at all the type that cuts corners...and by your questions, I suspect you are trying to cut corners on cost.

    Rebreathers are expensive, and this is an area the industry could definitely improve on.

    There is nothing so great in a rebreather that is worth unnecessarily risking your life for. If you want one that bad I would suggest a second job to save up the money over trying to modify life support technology so that you can learn as you go.

    While I enjoy diving my rebreather it is an expensive pain in the ass for most dives. But I do it because there are small number of dives, in which it is the best tool for the job. All the other dives the rebreather is used for, it is used just to stay sharp enought to do the deeper stuff.

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    RBW Member dshield55 is an unknown quantity at this point dshield55's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dsix36  View Original Post
    I would recommend the book "Rebreathers simplified" by Mel Clark to get started. It is a great starting point.
    Thanks!

  9. #9
    RBW Member dshield55 is an unknown quantity at this point dshield55's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?

    lol, why didn't anybody ever tell me that you could just buy a Dolphin for $500-$700? Problem solved. Thanks guys!

    I'm still interested in a step by step build tutorial though. If no one ever gets around to it, maybe I'll just write one in a couple years after I figure all this stuff out.

  10. #10
    RBW Member Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse is a glorious beacon of light Packhorse's Avatar
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    Re: Is there an IDA-71 conversion tutorial? Can somebody make one?


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