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CPAP machine choice for sailor
#1
Hi everyone,
I have just completed my sleep study. The tech, artfully, told me that I would be a candidate for CPAP and frankly the 3-4 hours I was on the machine was a great sleep. When he came in to wake me at 6 AM, I couldn't hardly be awaken, which never happens to me.

I have talked to my friends and so forth and it appears the S9 Autoset is the hands down favorite. The difference is we live on our sailboat. Therefore, my situation is a little different in the following ways:

1. Almost all usage will be on 12V supply.
2. Usually around high 70's-80 degrees and 95% humidity.
3. Actual power usage is important to us. Our boat runs basically off 500 watts of solar panels.
4. I will be doing most of this myself, without any interaction with Dr. ie, we fly back to Tahiti from Florida on the 26th of this month and probably won't be back in the states until Christmas time again.

I will have to pay for the machine out of pocket. My insurance covers the Dr visits, sleep study, but the machine is subject to our deductible, so out of pocket. Also, any thoughts on what extra supplies I'd need to purchase for a year of usage.

I have my followup, post sleep study, visit with my Dr. day after tomorrow and then only till the 26th to get it all bought, checked out and hopefully a little usage before going back to Tahiti.

Thanks in advance and this appears to be great resource that I'm sure I'll be visiting frequently over the next year.

Thanks
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#2
If you might need to operate a machine on battery power the Philips Respironics System One Auto CPAP is much easier to adapt. It easily separates from the humidifier, and operates on plain old 12-volt power. The Resmed S9 uses 24 volt power and is not very thrifty with it. Other than power, the machines have fairly comparable features. Each has a different implementation of exhale relief, and both are fully data capable.

I think your comment on 12 volt supply has to carry the day on your decision. You do not need an inverter with the PR System One, just run direct 12 V power.
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#3
Ok, I thought someone told me that there was a DC power supply for the S9. I'll look at the Respironics machine you suggest. Do you know if any of the various CPAP sites out there publish the actual current/power draw of the units. Saying it comes with a 90 watt power supply doesn't mean that's what it actually draws.

Another question I have, is what is the likelihood that I would need a humidifier under the conditions I described above? High humidity and warm temps. It seems that the bulk of the power goes to the humidifier.

Thanks for the suggestion and info.

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#4
You probably won't need the humidifier or the heated tube if the ambient RH is 95% with 70 -80 temp on your boat. There is enough moisture in the air. YMMV.

I run my Philips Respironics 60 series Auto machine with heated tube and humidifier at 70% RH with a temp of ~75 F. The max it can go to is 90% RH in auto mode anyways.

You should look into buying a machine without the humidifier for now but to have the option to add it later when you may find yourself in a low RH environment.
Started APAP 4-20, Closed range to 7.5-14, then straight 8.0 w/ Aflex 3
RDI always below 1. But sleep much much better at straight pressure.
Started on F10, Tried Quattro Air successfully. Finally settled on P10.
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#5
so the PR machines have either a 60W or an 80W power supply. But, as you say, that does not mean you'll actually use that amount. The 80W model in necessary if you have heated hose.

QAL
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#6
you may want to double check with your insurance company because sometimes (like with mine) they have a deductible for certain things but not a deductible for DME. I am not saying that is the way it is with your insurance company but it is that way with some of them. You can't lose anything by asking.
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#7
Hi SailingAway,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Hang in there for more responses to your post and much success to you as you start your CPAP journey.
trish6hundred
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#8
Since you will be nowhere near any supplies for a long time, I think the key is getting a mask that really works for you. In my experience, most people seem to go through 3-4 (types) masks until they find the one that works well for them. In your case, you may need to buy one of each type so you have options at sea. If you are going to use a nasal mask, consider the times you MAY have a head cold and then would need a full-face mask to get by.

Cleaning supplies for masks and hoses. If you don’t use a humidifier (I don’t think you need it), there is no concern about types/quality of water.

Check if the unit you select has a fuse. Make sure you have extras.

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#9
Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions. Very rarely do we have humidity below 80% onboard and then very briefly. Something about floating in the ocean seems to see to that. I used the ResMed Airfit nasal pillows during the test and they seemed to work well. I realize those 3+ hours are not a very good test for day to day use. I thought maybe I'd get 2 or 3 of those and a full face mask. The tech did say I opened my mouth 2 times during the test. He didn't elaborate but was just responding to my question about a dry mouth once during the test period. He did mention a chin strap.

I didn't think I'd need the humidifier either, but should have the option. I routine, at least till out of the South Pacific will be returning to FL probably for Dec and Jan, which is typhoon season there. So, good to be here.

Me50... I did talk to my insurance company today and they said to buy away and it would be covered as long as I purchased from the 3 firms they gave me numbers for and then turned in the paperwork to them. It would be subject to my deductible so it will be an out of pocket cost for me. The rental/compliance route doesn't work for us obviously. So, I intend to purchase from whoever has the best price once I get the script and decide on machine.

Still looking to know if anyone has the actual current draw of the various apap machines out there.

Thanks for all the great info so far.

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#10
The S9 is currently being replaced by the AirSense 10 (A10) series of machines. The A10 is probably as good as or better than the S9.

If you want the ResMed, you have to buy the ridiculously overpriced ResMed DC-DC converter. Look at the supplier list websites for pictures and prices.

Other than the $100 or so cost, it's not that big a deal because it's similar to the power brick you have to use to power the machine on AC power. It does, in theory, protect your machine from over/under voltage and running your battery down.

The A10 DC-DC converter may be a little harder to find than the S9. I'm not sure whether the suppliers have them yet.

The PRS1 machines are easier to use because all you need is the DC cables.

Use caution with the power calculations. You need enough battery capacity to last you through however many days of cloudy weather you will experience. You also have to watch your power calculations. The solar panel may not be properly oriented to the sun while you're sailing. You also have to worry about whether the solar panel is shaded by the sail or other equipment.

Without the humidifier, you probably will only use 10 watts or so. My S9 uses only 30 watts average even with the humidifier.

Have you done calculations of sun hours, amp hours, etc. on your DC system? A "500 watt" solar system is only 500 watts for a few hours a day, and then only when it's sunny, and the panels are pointed to the right direction tilted to the south.

Get the humidifier. You may find you need it some times, and you might spend some nights not on the boat eventually. You might also get some cost advantage buying it up front because of insurance "discounts."

Be sure to properly calculate your costs with the deductible. If you do meet your deductible for the year, you "get back" your extra deductible later in the year because you meet your deductible sooner in the year. Also, "insurance prices" are often much cheaper than "non-insurance" ripoff prices.

Supplies:

ResMed says 6 months for the filters, but you might want more. Damp sea air might mess them up sooner. PRS1 6 months for the grey filter, 1 month for the white fine filters if you use them.

Masks are trickier. Plan on 6 months per mask, but some people find they have to replace their cushions on the mask more often. Spend as much time as you can while you're in port figuring out what mask works for you. You can buy replacement cushions online or from eBay or (maybe) Amazon and save money.

6 months per hose. In the wet environment, they may be a little more prone to needing replacement. Don't get the extra expensive heated hose if you're not using the humidifier. Heated hoses don't heat without a humidifier, and may not even fit. I buy authentic Respironics unheated hoses for $5 each delivered off of eBay. Pretty much all hoses interchange with each other.

Will you have some opportunity to order things to be shipped to you to pick up somewhere en route?

You might check craigslist while you're in Florida to see if you can find a cheap CPAP machine as a backup. You would hate to end up without CPAP out in the middle of the ocean.

What do you do for fresh water supply? The standard cleaning process can use a lot of water. With the humidity, you might want to get a bottle of Control III disinfectant in case germs starts growing on your mask and hoses. You don't need to use it often, but it might be good to know you can do a really good cleaning if you need it.

Read the useful links in my signature line below for hints on how to not get screwed with a bad CPAP machine by the DME (CPAP salesman).
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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