Mission Accomplished!

Two weeks ago, we were evaluating whether we should make the purchase of matching dive computers or postpone this decision. Before I reveal my decision, some of you connected with us through Facebook, WordPress and Twitter to ask some questions and provide your input. To those of you who offered some insight, thank you. I look forward to addressing your feedback in future posts.

First, my non-scuba diver audience is feeling a little confused about the usage and application of dive computers. I must note that this blog will quickly lose its merit if we use excessive industry jargon and confuse those of you exploring the idea of taking up this sport. Our non-diving audience is just as important to us as our diving audience.

The computers, just like the tables, exist to tell us how long we can safely be under water at specified depths. Aside from the obvious limitation of how much air is in your tank, we are also limited by the length at which we can remain underwater the deeper we go. Why is this? Our bodies absorb nitrogen during a dive, and can tolerate a certain amount at specified depths before the risk of developing decompression sickness sets in. The algorithm (think of it as computerized dive table) used in a dive computer is based on decades of information and is used to safeguard divers from decompression sickness, keeping us diving smart. Despite the fact that it sounds complicated, this is easy to do and certified scuba diving centers will help you understand this.

Others have asked, why matching computers? It is not necessary to do this, but It is recommended to maintain parity with your buddy if you will be diving with the same person all the time. For example, a Suunto computer and a Sherwood computer behave differently with slightly different algorithms at varying depths throughout the dive. By owning matching computers, it will:

  • Help you understand the workings of that equipment and help your buddy.
  • It is now easier to default to the most conservative measure of the two computers.
  • Finally, it really helps justify your nifty purchase.

So now that we have addressed some of your questions, I’m certain you are curious to know what we bought? After sifting through the abundant choices, we selected a lesser known, Hollis DG3 wrist computer, and we made this purchase through our friends at The Dive Shop. So, what are the features that led us to this purchase?

  • Multiple Gas options (Nitrox and Air)
  • Air integrated, meaning we can look at the computer to see our remaining air quantity without a hose connected to it. This means less drag in the water and less chance of unintentionally dragging a hose on the reef.
  • Audible alarm as we approach numerous limits. The alarms can be set to your diving needs so it becomes “your computer.”
  • Price point was fantastic and equally matched any online offer close to our budget.
  • Ability to change our own battery (really important when you do most of your dives away from home). Some computers can cost up to $200 for a battery change.
  • Brilliant LED backlight for deep and night dives.
  • Larger and easy to use buttons for when we start dry-suit diving.
  • Easy to read interface which was similar to our Aeris XR-1 computers.
  • Additional service is easy through The Dive Shop.
  • And, we can easily download our dives to our home computer.

Basically, this computer meets our immediate needs, addresses some of the wants we are looking to gain and it will also allow us to “grow” into some of the features this dive computer offers as we advance our certification levels and demand more from our computers. Truly, the price was really competitive for all of the features it came with.

So now that we have our new dive computers, what do we do with our old ones? Colin from the Dive Shop echoed something I have heard many times before, “Keep your old computer and attach it to your BCD as a backup.”

“Why would I do that?”

“What if your computer floods? Battery dies? Or some other malfunction? This allows you the ability to finish your dive safely and continue to dive (within the limitations of that computer) until you get your computer serviced. This is especially good if you are traveling away from your home base.”

What a great idea to have a backup! So we are now studying the manuals, programming the dates and times and familiarizing ourselves with the computers. They are very similar in feel and navigation to our Aeris XR-1 computers. These new Hollis DG-03 dive computers may not be the sleekest looking computers, but they certainly are impressive and we are excited to use them.

So what have you decided for your next dive computer purchase? What are you currently using? Whatever you decide, we hope you find someone like Colin at the Dive Shop in Calgary to help detangle all of the issues and give you confidence in your purchase like he did for us.

Happy diving! Tim (and Lana)


18 thoughts on “Mission Accomplished!

  1. great choice- Hollis and Shearwater were on my short list of oled Air/Nitrox – with the thought process that i was going to buy once for the next several years. and hanging your old computer on you bc is a smart move. but if you are diving together- you probably only need to keep one and sell the other to keep some of your out of pocket down on the new hollis. DG03 i a great computer. dive well and deep.


    1. Thanks for the added tip of keeping only one computer…makes sense since it is highly unlikely that both computers would fail. We are excited to try out our Hollis computers and will keep you posted. When are you thinking about making your purchase?

      1. well, since I wrote that reply- my list grew to include the Beuchat computer- and becaust i am getting a new reg and safe second, I have decided to wait until after Beyond the Seas in March so I can talk to a bunch of the the manufacturers directly. My Zeagle Reg just does not have the breathing flow control that I would like- not as smooth as I would appreciate. and the Atomic is probably out ouf my price range. as I am probably not doing any more diving until April, and that will start will quarry dives in PA, I imagine, I will be making decision and buying sometime towards the end of March. the research will be subject of some of my posts on my blog over the coming weeks.

        ed- divingagain.com

      2. actually, I meant Beneath the Seas. BTS is the largest consumer focused Scuba Diving trade show in the world. forturnately, it is at the NJ Meadowlands which is 60 minutes from my house. I am planning a trip for 20 to Nassau to Dive the Hole for the summer so I get to talk to the Dive Company and talk to almost every manufacturer i want to about equipment. I am also probably ordering a shorty to go with my custom Wetsuit from WetWear at the show. Like being at Diving Flea Market on Steriods. – The Show runs from March 23rd to March 25th

  2. Great timing and love the Blog. Started having a look at a wrist mount computer recently and thought I had narrowed the field. But will have at the Hollis in more detail now 🙂

    Thanks and happy diving Mick

    1. Hey Mick… I thought I had made up my mind but then I was introduced to the Hollis computer and was pleased with the features. Definitely,,, Try to get your hands on the Hollis and play around with one at your local dive shop. Which computer had you narrowed your search down to?

      Thanks for your comments about our blog. We’ll try our best to post something for everyone every week on Thursdays!

    1. Hi Abigail,

      Tough choice! Both have their obvious pros and cons!

      Funny, but we had the same discussion in our household. Even though our wrist mounts will be able to calculate our air, it will be difficult for Lana to refrain from constantly checking her SPG. In fact, I expect it could take a long while (and a lot of trust) before she believes in the power of the transmitter.

      I did learn that many makes have a matching computer (with the same algorithm) available in either a wrist mount or detachable hose integrated.

      When are you thinking about buying? Any thoughts on which brand(s) you are leaning to?

      Good luck and happy diving!

      1. Diving with rental gear has it’s own pros and cons:

        Try something new, you become adaptable, reinforces good scuba diving practices.

        Too many unknowns and this will speak to the dive operator and how often they clean, maintain, repair and/or replace their equipment. A lot of time spent trying to figure out basic functions of unfamiliar equipment.

        Something of note about the Hollis… together with the Aeris and Oceanic, it is part of the “Pelagic Group”.

        Good luck to Josh in his upcoming purchase!

  3. Suunto is my dive computer of choice, I keep it set to a conservative 1.4 and have the deep stops turned on for both air and nitrox dives. As a safety though, I always have my tables with me. Should it fail (or if I forget it), my tables are in my logbook bag. I use DCIEM or NOAA tables when I’m in those sorts of situations though, they’re easy to do a multilevel dive plan with!

    I’m thinking about getting an Oceanic BUD though, to have for work since it just clips nicely onto the harness.

  4. Thanks for a great site!
    I have a Suunto D4 with just a few dives on it – works well for me as Im an infrequent diver (not by choice!) Ive just purchased a BUD and am wondering which algorithm to use to match the Suunto RGBM – DSAT or Z+ – cant find any info and am not a maths person – need a simple set of directions. Dont use nitrox yet, dont do more that 3 dives per day.

    1. Hi Anne,

      Thank you for your comments.

      1. Suunto is the preferred choice for our co-founders, Dan and Esther. They thoroughly enjoy their D9 (RGBM) while we love our Hollis DG-03 (Bühlmann – Z+). On this last trip to Sipadan, we did deep dives and even some 5 dive days. At no point did any of us ever go into deco and we pretty much averaged the same depths. This may make us think that for recreational purposes, the algorithms are not too far apart, but we always dived the plan. Lana and I set our alarms to be a little more conservative than Dan and Esther, but we did this to force us to learn our own computers.

      2. I don’t really have a definitive answer for you here. Have you asked this question to the dive shop where you purchased your BUD? They should be able to guide you here. If not, I’ll ask my “dive guy”, Colin, when he returns from vacation in a few weeks. Good question.

      3. I may recommend that you try a couple of test dives in a controlled environment. One with the Z+ algorithm and then the other with the Haldean/DSAT algorithm. Take a slate with you and note the depths, changes and which algorithm closest aligns to your Suunto. Compare this to your buddy/divemaster, too.

      4. Keep in mind that your BUD is not replacing your Suunto. Just like we kept our Aeris XR-1, they are simply back ups in case our primary computer fails.

      Let me know if this helps. Happy Diving!

      Tim (and the SDA team)

      PS: If you have any Suunto specific questions, let us know and Dan or Esther will be able to offer assistance.

      1. Thanks Tim – will do on all fronts. Bud is just a back up but I do want to know how to drive it! Would appreciate your asking around!
        regards, Anne

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