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.