Posted by Andrew Senske on 2/20/2013 to
If you're in the market for a new CPAP machine then you've probably wondered how long CPAP machines are supposed to last. We get the question all the time, and our typical response based on our years of experience is that most machines last an average of 5 to 7 years. Some people get lucky and get a machine that cooperates for much longer. We've had many customers call us over the years who have owned machines that have lasted for 8 or 10 years. Mike here at CPAP-Supply.com has been using a REMstar Plus for the last 11 years, and it just gave out at 33,280 hours. It still turns on and blows air, but the motor grinds. This is a telltale sign of a motor bearing that has gone bad. I guess it's true that all good things must come to an end.
Since 33,280 hours is a whole bunch of hours, we thought it would be appropriate to send off the old, reliable REMstar Plus with a proper tribute - in the form of an article with pictures and everything! We'll also show you the newer REMstar models and how they differ from the legacy REMstar.
Mike's REMstar Plus model #1005960 was manufactured by Respironics between 2001 and 2006. Mike's model with serial number 1546888 has a warranty start date of July 3, 2001. That warranty start date is the date we ordered the machine from Respironics, which was just a few months after we started our business. Since that time Mike has had at his disposal every CPAP machine we sell, but he never had the need or desire to change machines. This REMstar Plus has been with Mike on several trips inside and outside of the United States. While the machine has been around the block a few times, it has spent most of its time sitting on a nightstand next to Mike's bed. It has been replaced by a DeVilbiss IntelliPAP Standard. The IntelliPAP has some big shoes to fill, so over the next few years we'll see if it's up to the task.
REMstar Plus showing 33,280 hours at the time the motor went bad.
The REMstar Plus model 1005960 has always been considered a super quiet machine. In fact, when Respironics developed the REMstar M Series devices in 2006 as a replacement for the previous REMstar series (which we often call the "legacy" REMstar series) the intial feedback on the REMstar M Series wasn't positive at all. For months we had REMstar M Series users asking if there was a way they could exchange their M Series machines for older, quieter legacy machines. I remember not too fondly all the phone calls from less-than-satisfied customers who wanted nothing more than to be able to buy a legacy REMstar machine.
The night Mike switched over to the DeVilbiss IntelliPAP Standard machine, he asked his wife (my mom) to let him know how the DeVilbiss unit sounded compared to the REMstar unit. She reportedly said, "tell me when you turn it on." Turns out the machine was already turned on, so Mike was pleased to know that noise wouldn't be an issue with the new DeVilbiss machine, just like it wasn't an issue with the REMstar. You know what they say. Happy wife, happy life. Right?
Bottom of the machine showing Respironics, Inc. as manufacturer, before acquisition by Philips.
In 2008, two years after the legacy REMstar machine was discontinued and replaced by the REMstar M Series, Royal Philips Electronics (generally referred to simply as Philips) acquired Respironics. The acquisition didn't change too much in terms of the product line up. A new model - the PR System One REMstar - wasn't released for another 2 years.
There have been a lot of REMstar models over the course of the last 13 years: REMstar LX, REMstar Lite, REMstar, REMstar Plus, REMstar Pro, REMstar Auto (some of these with or without C-Flex/A-Flex) and then the REMstar M Series and PR System One REMstar 50 Series and PR System One REMstar 60 Series Plus, Pro and Auto models.
The M Series was much smaller and lighter than the previous series, which was the most notable benefit, and distracted some users from the sound issue. The M Series also introduced an external power supply and a more integrated humidifier. The M Series humidifier was so integrated, in fact, that many M Series users didn't (and still to this day don't) know that the flow generator can be removed from the humidifier. The external power supply was no doubt the result of an effort to reduce machine size (those tricky engineers!) and all REMstar models since have had external power supplies.
REMstar M Series CPAP machine got smaller and louder.
The PR System One REMstar machines actually grew in size by about 40% compared to the M Series. A notable change with the System One units was a simpler user interface (only two buttons) and a redesigned and bigger humidifier. After about two years, a new PR System One model line was developed to accommodate a heated tube. The new System One REMstars were called 60 series machines, while the older System One REMstars became known as the 50 series machines. We're not sure why there was such a significant size increase for the System One machines, especially considering the power supply remained external.
PR System One REMstar machine grew by 40%.
So, has one REMstar machine been significantly better than the others? It's hard to say because each model has flaws and notable benefits. I think it could be argued, though, that the legacy REMstar has been the best of them all considering performance and reliability. Sure, the legacy REMstar is pretty big at 4 pounds, and it's probably not fun to haul it through an airport in a carry-on bag, but the thing was built to blow air, and to just keep on blowing.
Most of the legacy REMstar machines are going out of commission now since it has been nearly 7 years since they were discontinued. The factory no longer services these machines, so if you have one that's starting to act up, your only option would be to try to fix it yourself or to buy a new CPAP machine.
And you never know. The next CPAP machine you buy just might someday end up being that old, reliable machine you've had sitting next to your bed for the last 11 years.
The REMstar Plus will be remembered as a workhorse machine.
CPAP-Supply.com is a leading online retailer of CPAP equipment. Located in Spokane, WA CPAP-Supply.com has been serving thousands of customers around the world since 2001. Founded on a belief that patients are their own best primary care providers, CPAP-Supply.com understands the importance of educating patients and customers on both the effects of and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. For more information visit CPAP-Supply.com or call toll free 1-888-955-2727.