Åkes' AGA Dual Oxymatic teardown Pictures
The AGA Dual Oxymatic is a closed circuit oxygen rebreather, O2 CCR. The Oxymatic was developed in the late 1950's by the Swedish company AGA, nowadays known as Interspiro, well known for full face masks and the rebreathers DCSC and Oxydive. The rebreather was designed as a competitor to the Draeger Norge II as a possible successor to the Draeger Lt Lund II used by the combat swimmer teams in the Swedish Navy. A total number of about 50 units were manufactured in 1960 and all but three were destroyed in the mid 1960's.
The design of the Oxymatic was partly based on the work on a counter weight balanced breathing bellows developed by Dr's Måns Arborelius and Claes Lundgren in the mid 1950's, see their patents listed far below after the pictures. Their idea was to use a weight acting upon a back mounted hinged bellows, thus compensating for the negative hydrostatic imbalance, see figure below.
The combat swimmers at that time, i.e. mid 1950 - mid 1960, used the UK designed midget submarine Spiggen as a transport vehicle for their operations and the size of the rebreather was critical for the successful lock-out and lock-in from and into the submarine. The Oxymatic is rumoured to have been beaten by the Draeger Norge II during the field trials primarily due to the smaller size of the Norge II and thus easier exit from the small cramped wet/dry lockout chamber of the Spiggen.
The Spiggen, "the Stickleback", was an XE class midget (XE-51) that nowadays can be found on display on Duxford Airforce base outside Oxford, UK. The XE class was the successor of the very successful X class of Tirpitz and operation Source fame. The nasty saying among the old divers is that the combat swimmer teams operating from the Spiggen were so successful in embarrassing the officers of the large surface ships that the Spiggen was sold back to the UK to get a stop of that. It is also sometimes said that their success is the reason why the surface fleet "forgot" the midget submarine threat and that is explains the lack of technology and expertise to hunt midget submarines obvious in the early 1980's.
The AGA dual oxymatic can be seen as the unknown ancestor of both the later Interspiro designs DCSC and the Oxydive and several features can be seen in an early development version, for example
the weight compensated bellows (ACSC/DCSC)
the bellows volume controlled dump valve ACSC/(DCSC)
the (volume) adjustable demand valve (Oxydive)
the low positioning of the scrubber canister (Oxydive)
In the pictures below two units are shown, one prototype (the one with the cut bellows and orange harness) and one 0-series product. Both units are owned by the Swedish Historical Diving Society (see www.sdhf.se) and the author hereby expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to photograph the units. I am also in dept to Mr Imre Botos at Interspiro and Mr Rolf Craftman (involved in the field trials) for information and anecdotes about the units.
The number plate of the 0-series AGA Dual Oxymatic, serial no 132.
|The Oxymatic is a back mounted O2 CCR. The
hinged bellows is compensated for the negative hydrostatic imbalance
resulting from the positioning on the back by the addition of a counter
weigh, the the round bar below the number plate. The canister is an axial
flow design, made of brass and is mounted in flexible rubber.
The inspiratory side is to the left.
|The Oxymatic seen from the front and side, the O2 tanks are
The unit is said to have been equipped with two tanks and the pressure reducer was connected to the tube between the tanks.
|The underside with harness including crotch strap and quick release buckle. The holder for the O2 tanks goes over the head of the diver in a way very similar to the Dräger lt Lund and Norge II.|
|The breathing bellows with counter weight on
top and scrubber canister below.
The yellow fins the left and right of the bellows are glass fibre reinforced epoxy used to protect the bellows.
|Inside the breathing bellow of the broken
prototype unit the demand valve is visible. When the breathing bellows collapse
the demand valve is activated, the flat plate above the spring is
pressed down and thus activating the valve which opens with the
The brownish tube with a chain inside seen to the right of the demand valve belongs to the dump valve, see below.
|The dump valve is activated (i.e. pulled on)
when the bellows expand so the chain (inside the brownish tube) is stretched. In the
later design DCSC the volume controlled dump design
was changed to include also over pressure functionality, see the DCSC
detailed tear down.
Behind the dump valve the threaded bolt that presses on the demand valve is seen. By rotating the screw, the volume at which oxygen is added can be adjusted, a feature kept (and improved) in the Interspiro Oxydive.
|The high pressure regulator with the bypass knob seen close to the white sealing washers. The tank connection (DIN O2) is located on the back side. The regulator is not ambient referenced and the adjustment is hidden under the cover to the right. Two low pressure hoses exit the regulator, one feeds the demand valve and the other one feed bypass gas into the breathing circuit.|
|Another shot of the O2 tank holder and pressure regulator with pressure gauge.|
|The top of the bellows with the hinge. The
threaded breathing hose connectors are shown.
The blue hose to the left supply the demand valve and the one to the right feeds bypass gas from the pressure regulator into the inspiratory limb (the hose over the left shoulder) of the breathing circuit.
|The scrubber canister is an axial flow design
with a fixed bottom plate / sieve. An upper pressure plate is placed on
top of the soda-lime and a soft spring and a nut is used to keep the
spring and pressure plate in place. The scrubber is mounted in the
rebreather by inserting it into the flexible rubber boots and a large
diameter hose clamp is used to keep it in place.
Note that the rubber boot seen to the left is broken, the connection tube to the rebreather is cut...
The inside of the scrubber canister.
"Broken, the bag was cut 25th of sept 1963"
The prototype was destroyed but fortunately saved by the guy who cut it. (Yes, dear you with the knife, I recognize your hand writing...)
Dr's Arborelius and Lungrens' filed the following patents on the rebreather:
search for the full patents on http://ep.espacenet.com/, search for the patent numbers or the inventors "Arborelius" and "Lundgren"..
The AGA patent US3820537 might also be of interest.
Last updated 2003-03-23
Return to Main Page
All material on this website is copyright 2003 by Åke Larsson. All rights reserved.