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Article: Shearwater Announces Nitrox Recreational Mode for Petrel

Discussion in 'ScubaBoard Articles' started by SB News Feed, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. gekodivebali

    gekodivebali Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Padang Bai
    Do you guys even know what Shearwater is spending its r&d money on?
    Have you looked at the products they sell for the ccr market?
    DiveCAN? NERD? PPO2 HUD's? Scrubber duration screening (revo)?
    Shearwater is first and foremost a rebreather electronics company. They happen to sell a lot of computers to oc tec divers and that must equate to a comfy cash pillow that can then be re-used towards rebreather technology. Transforming that cash pillow into a cash mattress by tapping into the recreational market only makes sense whether it's done through AI or not.
    At a personal level, I hope this company gets a real cash cow in the process. My motives are purely selfish: I love their products both from a hardware and especially software point of view and I hope they bring more innovation to a boring market with a few leaders who have fallen asleep. Heck, other manufacturers keep on rebranding the same products over and over again!
    This stands whether I start diving ccr again or not. It would even stand if I stopped doing deco, multigas dives as I would continue diving the same computer.
    Dr. Lecter, Agility, kelemvor and 2 others like this.
  2. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    I think that strikes to the heart of the matter. For a Shearwater computer to be an excellent rebreather accessory does not preclude it from being an excellent OC technical diving accessory does not preclude it from being an excellent recreational diving accessory.

    No company labors to add a feature they expect will cost them money rather than make them money. If Shearwater decides to introduce an A.I. option for the Petrel, rest assured it will be because they expect this will bring in more money, not less. While such a move might in the short term divert focus and R&D from other areas, in the long-term it should enhance the funding considerably.

    On the issue of concern that developing A.I. might divert focus from the quest for the perfect tech. diving computer, I'm curious as to whether this is 'real' or a red herring. So a question:

    1.) What specifically do you guys believe is lacking in the current generation Petrel, for technical diving, that needs a strong R&D focus to overcome? Is there a defect, inadequacy, some other new feature you want, what?

    And on the issue of Shearwater putting resources into developing a feature some of you may not use (A.I.) & thus don't want to 'pay for,' how many of you actually use every last feature on it now, as is? In my experience as a recreational diver, most any dive computer has some features I don't use. While I get that tech. divers use a lot of features I wouldn't (e.g.: gauge mode, multi-gas planning), are you not already 'paying for' some other features you don't use even now?

    The Petrel has a number of features/capabilities the overwhelming majority of recreational divers won't use, and few go into tech., yet I've seen it recommended on threads by rec. divers asking what dive computer to buy, and I've yet to see a post telling them not to buy a Petrel because they'll be paying for features they won't use & don't need.

    Omisson and patpating like this.
  3. gekodivebali

    gekodivebali Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Padang Bai
    Compass please! Although I rarely use one this would be great for the occasional times when I do...
    Then I also think it could get even slimmer. A jump in size like the one from Predator to Petrel was huge. Losing one cm of depth would be great!
  4. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver

    That's not a bad point.

    I don't think anything is lacking, but there are improvements that can be made. Smaller, longer battery life, better dive planning programs, compass, etc. There are lots of little things they can improve upon without having to add something like AI capabilities.

    I use the majority of the OC features....or will be shortly.

    Actually, I see it VERY often. Rec diver wants a 400-pound, console-mounted, $1000+ recreational dive computer. Then they start thinking they want a $1000+ AI rec computer. Then a whole bunch of people recommend the Petrel. I agree with that as I believe it to be the best computer out there in terms of clarity, ease of use, and reliability. However, it does so much more than most rec divers would ever need I question if they really need something that expensive. It's often pointed out that the computer is so drastically capable that the rec diver looking for it (typically doing 5 dives a year) wouldn't be better off with a cheaper, simpler computer.....simply due to cost.
  5. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    When asked by someone who states money is no object then, yes I recommend Shearwater. I don't want to see it smaller. My eyes love the display the way it is. Compass? I have two SK7's to choose from. A wrist mount and one on a retractor that I bought from Jill Heinerth. It doesn't see much use unless I allow a student to use it for a class. Mainly I like the compass and can say I got it from Jill:cool2:. I've seen the Petrel but have not pulled the trigger on one yet. My Predator with the new firmware is just fine. SO much so that I'd likely buy another used one of those and save a few bucks.

    But for new recreational divers? Who like most are on a budget? No. And I sure as hell will tell them to run away from any computer over $300.00 as they simply don't need it. A better choice is a used OMS, Uwatec, or other bottom timer or simple nitrox computer like a Veo 180 and a set of tables.

    Once they get their skills nailed down, are coming back with tons of air, and decide to start going below 60 feet regularly while using proper gas planning and actually diving those plans they can buy a computer. Until then. Not needed.

    But if they are going to spend a grand on a computer the only choice IMO is a Shearwater.
    Knackas and 57Writer like this.
  6. gekodivebali

    gekodivebali Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Padang Bai
    Agreed with that last sentence. Bear in mind most new enthusiastic divers with some cash to spare will not settle for the most basic models costing 2 or 3 hundred pounds.
    Last week, when I ordered a new Petrel, I looked for prices of mid-range computers. D6i from Suunto cost 620£. Petrel was 670£. Heck I know which one is better value for money, especially for what I do...
    Now this is also true of most equipment in scuba today. I see bcd s that cost 700£. What for?
    Fins that cost 300£. What for?
    Masks that cost 200£. What for?
    These products surely have no reason to cost this much. Neither the r&d, nor the materials used justify the expense.
    The reason why such products are priced that way is that people buy them... So I don't feel bad in recommending a product that costs a price that I find fair, if that's what people want to pay.
    I do teach my ow students that they are responsible for their own dives including ndl. I tell them they can't monitor this without a computer or timer. I also tell them a computer can cost as little as 200£ and that it makes little sense not to get one if they enjoy diving.
    I'm sure most of them settle for much more expensive models... Maybe some of them settle for a Shearwater after seeing me dive two on the course!
  7. corvettejoe

    corvettejoe Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Orlando, FL
    Very cool Shearwater! Just downloaded it to my Petrel (been diving it over a year now) and am pretty happy with how it looks.
    I use mine for cave diving, but also all my open water diving, so this will be a fun new way to simplify the info for the more simple dives.

    Although I bought mine for extreme technical diving, I am excited about the option to be able to switch it over to this new rec mode on my next OW dive :D

    I am curious to find out if it still logs all the info that it's not displaying (for my dive logs).

    Thanks Shearwater! This is a great way to keep adding value to your product!
    gekodivebali likes this.
  8. Dr. Lecter

    Dr. Lecter Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC/Honolulu
    NERD has a compass built in, and I wouldn't mind seeing the Petrel come with whatever hardware is necessary for it to gain that functionality. If SW wanted to go AI and treat the extra cost/hardware in the base unit the same way they've treated the Fisher connector hardware -- by creating a separate version with a different form and pricepoint -- I couldn't care less. I'd be grouchy if they made the basic Petrel bigger, more prone to hardware failure, and/or more expensive by including AI receiver capability.
    Omisson likes this.
  9. themagni

    themagni Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada's Pacific Southwest, BC
    I really enjoyed the new display for rec diving. The only thing it's missing is "Canadian" units -- depth in feet and temperature in Celsius.

    My SPG is on a Miflex hose, so it's on my wrist.
  10. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    Redundancy is not the only concern in te technical world. Simplicity is a major component also. The thought is that the simpler something is the less that can go wrong with something. Refered to as reducing failue points. It is an anal process that has served tech divers well as proved by low casuality numbers. To be honest the idea of computers in hte tech world is they are not necessary at all. This is true so long as you control a small list of parameters during the dive. Things like use of standard gases allows for the use of ratio deco. Because all teh gasses act the same and thus can use the same deco calculations no matter what the gasses you are using so lng as they are one of he chosen few. The same goes for air integration for computers. It is an unnecessary nicety that has been passed over for mental calculations using a timer and depth gage. So from your perspectie is a computer better, probably but what if the computer breaks or fails or the battery goes dead. 2 answers ,,, redundant computers or use brain power. The tech standard has chosen brain power for reasons too many to go into here. A lost signal from the transmitter is a system failure. use of the SPG is more reliable and more forgiving when it comes to a 300 ft dive than a computer with a software hang. Another anal aspect of technical is validation of proper equipment operation. If ou had a tank with 3k in it and your spg said 3200 you would not think anything of it. A tech guy will demand to know why before putting full trust in the gage on a 200 ft dive. So yes a backup tank psi source is good however the type of backup is subject to too many types of failure to be trusted. A failed peice of gear is the same as no gear. If you want it for neet downloads data then take one and put it in your pocket and use it as a dive recorder. Here is another thing to think about. If you need a backup for the spg then why not 2 spg's. 100$ and not 800$. I would probably bet that you dont check your tank pressure with a gage at the end of a dive and compare to the AI pressure to verify the transmitter sensor is still acurate. All my AI's have over time been 200-400 psi off at the low end and i have to send them in for a 100$ REPAIR. The repair cost is a new hose and gage. Same thing goes for the depth sensor in the computers. They drift also and that effects the NDL computation. The general belief is that unless you know the intimate details of how your computer works you probably wil not notice errors when displayed. Follow the incorrect information from the computer and you make miss guided decisions. Which leads to the last aspect of this. tech guys plan a dive from know paramteters and do not stray from the plan. Most rec divers do not have reliable parameters to plan a dive with, so they let the computer do it all dymanically and eliminates much of the planning process. Rec and tec are 2 different sets of environments and philosophies. As such they are conducted accordingly to their differences. Rec divng is much more forgiving to equipment failures than tec is.

    ---------- Post added April 27th, 2014 at 09:51 PM ----------

    Have you ever been in an overhead environment. If so then you have probasbly experienced a tank valve roll off and went OOA. The same thing that bump rolls your valves, will also hit your xmitter. Crack it and it leaks (failure) Depending no how it mounts on your reg teh xmiter is a hook just waiting to snag something. I know what youare saying and i have done these things and more including running a small hp hose to the belt d ring where the smitter is attached to prevent snags. It is all workable, but every workaround is another piece of stuff involved and is one more hose, oring, drifting sensor ect. that could go bad at the wrong time.

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