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BuddyWatcher ultrasonic pinger

Discussion in 'Computers, Gauges, Watches and Analyzers' started by dmaziuk, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Great White

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    A couple of people asked, so here goes: have you ever seen that cool thing that you really wanted to show your buddy, and they were 10 feet away looking elsewhere? And by the time you got their attention and got them to look, you lost sight of that cool thing? Or maybe your rattling and waving scared it away? Well, that's what those pingers are for. They are not body locators, safety devices, PLBs, or any of the YOUR GONNA DIE!! things. They're tank bangers that only your buddy can hear.

    They buzz and vibrate and flash LEDs, it's mostly the vibration that you feel. It's good enough through 3 mm of neoprene (but I would be a bit skeptical about double-7-mil).

    As of spring 2019 these are listed by DiveAlert: DiveAlert by Ideations -- look for Buddy Watcher -- but seem to be unobtainable. We we bought the last set available on Amazon for Xmas 2019, it was $250 at the time.

    Some of the actual uses from real dives:
    • my wife buzzing me when the DM signaled the turn-around: she was looking at the DM, I was looking elsewhere,
    • us buzzing each other when we saw stuff: turtles, rays, groupers, etc. Got a few pictures out of that.
    • me buzzing her when I lost sight of her bubbles for a moment.
    According to The Fine Manual it is also "master-capable", i.e. a bunch of them can be paired to one "master" unit.

    The range: we tested it from opposite corners of a approx. 20x20 yard pool, it worked even though the manual warns about it getting confused by sound reflections form the sides and edges. In open water we almost never get quite that far away from each other. Well, maybe that one time in 30 dives when we lost visual contact, and even then we were maybe 20 metres apart (the vis wasn't perfect).

    In the air it's only good for a couple of inches which is good enough to pair them.

    The battery: non-replaceable, charged from a USB port. From full charge it will last for a day without turning them off. At one point I didn't hook the charging clip properly and one of the units didn't charge; it still lasted through 2 morning dives the next day just fine. (Topped it up during lunch and have not tried to run it down all the way.)

    Nitpicks:
    • velcro strap with a watch-type pin on one end: I'd much rather it had a NATO strap or a bungee mount. That one they could actually do very easily.
    • Non-replaceable battery: it would be hard to fit a replaceable one in that form factor and it'd add to the costs and so on but still...
    • Price tag: $250/pair is a bit steep for a tank banger. It is a much much better tank banger though.
    • Stated 40 m depth limit: presumably they're good for some 15-20% over that at least, but things like that always make me wonder: what if I go to 40.5 m and then get my arm with that thing on it down?
    Overall: well worth it. For us -- YMMV and so on. Hopefully DiveAlert restarts the production and these things become available again.
     
    Bubblesong likes this.
  2. Manjula Ellepola

    Manjula Ellepola Nassau Grouper

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    Good info DMZ. As can be seen underwater wireless communications is useful
     
  3. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Great White

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    :rofl3: We actually used my "white balance" slate for that, the first time it was ever used for its original purpose. Also got to use my BFK (a $1.99 folder, actually) for the first time ever: the pencil needed sharpening.

    (The current was a bit stronger than we expected on the way back and we couldn't decide whether that one concrete block was marking our pier or the next one South. -- It was the latter.)
     
  4. JackD342

    JackD342 Dive Shop

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    Location: Highland Park, IL
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    I have one (maybe two) sets new in box. PM me if interested.
     
  5. Manjula Ellepola

    Manjula Ellepola Nassau Grouper

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    So you needed comms and navigation in that situation DMZ. Pinging each other is communication in a basic form
     
  6. JackD342

    JackD342 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Highland Park, IL
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    I checked into the Buddy Watcher availability - Dive Alert was importing them from a German company that has gone out of business. No word on a replacement or a resurrection under a new owner. That is kind of what I was expecting to hear back.
     
  7. Jiminy

    Jiminy Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: East Coast
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  8. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Great White

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    When I did my computer communications major we had this:
    laser.png
     

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