So previously we talked about choosing the right regulator to suit you, and we briefly mentioned dive computers. In this blog, we are going to look a little more in-depth into how to pick the right dive computer for you.
Everyone knows how to plan a dive – right? Remember those funny little blue and white cards, with lots of numbers in lots of squares from your Open Water course? The Dive tables are brilliant for us to understand the concept of maximum bottom times and nitrogen absorption over a certain period of time, but unless you are taking them on each and every dive and combining that with using some sort of bottom timing device, are you really USING them, or simply know what they do? Well dive computers are essentially dive tables, but ones that do most of the hard work for you. An added benefit of the computer being it stays with you on the dive, every meter of it, so you have a personalised multilevel image of you dive, rather than the more linear one of the table.
It is important to remember however, that dive computers should never replace your tables. They should be used in conjunction with each other; the tables as a backup in case of computer failure.
Most divers, when thinking about making a first investment in to their own dive gear think about mask and snorkel, and computer. These are all lightweight, easy to pack and the things that are most personal to us (an ill-fitting mask is a nightmare – we will be making a video blog about how to get this right – watch this space!).
So, what should we look out for?
There are 2 basic computer types: Wrist mounted and gauge mounted.
The gauge mounted type connects to the console on your regulator high pressure hose. The wrist mounted goes (surprise surprise) on your wrist!
The type that will be best for you will depend on personal preference, but also if you have already have a regulator which could take an integrated computer or not.
Wrist mounted computers come in a couple of styles – ones that look more like the classic watch, or ones that are slightly larger, often these larger wrist mounted ones can also be console mounted too. When you are looking at these options, think about how easy they are to read, and that you will be able to see in lower visibility.
Watch style computers tend to be very popular as they can be worn away from diving as well, whereas the more clunky ones are not exactly the next big fashion statement! However the larger the computer, obviously the easier it is to see!
Another thing which may help you make your decision, is how you want to use the computer. Are you an Enriched Air Nitrox Diver? If so, you will be looking to have nitrox compatibility on your computer. If you are planning to do some Freediving, or Technical Diving, will your computer allow for these things too?
Another feature which some people love is air-integration, this means that your tank air pressure information is sent wirelessly to your computer via a transmitter on your tank. This eliminates the need for an SPG on your console, making it more streamlined, however, as a backup in case of failure, many people still chose to keep their SPG too.
Take the time to do your research and think about the future when you are choosing your dive computer. You may not be a technical diver, or freediver now, but may well be in the future. You want a computer that can grow with you, and that gives you the most for your money.