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Deep 6 Triton's Abacus / divecomputer.eu Review

Discussion in 'Deep 6 Outfitters' started by VE7DAC, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. VE7DAC

    VE7DAC Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria BC Canada
    60
    43
    18
    I bought a Triton's Abacus from Deep6 (Abacus from this point on) within a day of it going on sale. It's my first dive computer, and I bought it before even taking my open water course. I had a hunch I was going to really enjoy diving, and that seems to be the case.

    My primary reasons for picking it over the other computers on the market were Deep 6's reputation (especially here on SB), the use of the Buhlmann ZHL-16C decompression algorithm with adjustable gradient factors, the ability to have multiple custom gases on one dive, and the price. With its functionality, its place in the market is as a slightly cheaper Perdix. I'm a sucker for a cool new gadget, and this one made me curious. With the currency conversion and import fees, I didn't honestly save much over a non-AI Perdix, but if I'd gone that route I wouldn't be able to try out Deep 6's latest offering.

    I've used it for a pool session and 14 open water dives, down to a max depth of 28M. I have some complaints, but no product is perfect. Most of my issues with it have to do with software, so there's hope that they may be corrected at some point in the future.

    Right off the bat, yeah, it looks like a Shearwater clone. To be fair, there are only so many ways you can arrange a screen and a tubular battery in a pressure resistant shell and have it still fit on the wrist. Which it does, quite nicely. I wear an Aqualung Fusion Tech drysuit, and the Abacus is very comfortable to wear. The primary form difference is that the buttons are positioned on the bottom, which makes it easy to avoid accidentally pushing both buttons at once. Unfortunately, it also makes it difficult to deliberately push both buttons at once, such as when turning the Abacus on and off. If I forget to turn it on before putting it on my wrist, it's a bit of a stretch to push both buttons at once with the other hand.

    The buttons also aren't particularly easy to press. They have an adjustable sensitivity, but even the lowest one still leaves them quite tough to activate, which I suppose prevents accidental presses, but I wish the adjustment could go a little farther.

    The screen is a backlit LCD rather than the OLED as found in Shearwater computers, which increases power consumption dramatically. Between the processor and the backlight, you can expect to change batteries a lot more frequently in the Abacus. I've been getting about two weekends of four dives each before changing the battery. I'm using high capacity NiCad AA batteries, changes this frequent would be expensive if using a SAFT.

    Changing the battery is straightforward enough, rather than needing a coin to open the hatch it's a solid metal cover on the right side of the Abacus that's pretty easy to grip. When you put in a new battery the system prompts you to check that the date and time are accurate (for tissue calculations), and to confirm the type of battery inserted for the battery meter. I found NiCads to drop off very quickly, in one dive I had one drop from 53% to 22% in a single dive, though that may be partially because of battery chemistry and cold water.

    Speaking of temperature, the temperature sensor logs in integer degrees celsius. I know this is nitpicking, but I'd have preferred a little bit more resolution. Water temperatures don't fluctuate too much mid-dive here, so only being able to see changes in 1 degree increments makes the association with depth useless.

    The pressure and temperature sensors are under a metal cover on the left side of the unit, and together with the battery cover they also function as the dive mode activation. When there's electrical contact between the left and right metal portions of the computer, it turns on if it was off, and enters dive mode. Unfortunately this feature has the fault of not being able to distinguish between a wet exposure suit (the neoprene outer layer of my drysuit), a wet hand (when picking it up), and the water. They all conduct, so they all trigger dive mode. I turned my dive mode timeout down to 1 minute so I could just put it down when I activate dive mode accidentally, because it happens during every surface interval. Fortunately it doesn't make log entries when it stays above 1M.

    Log uploading is done via Bluetooth to Subsurface or Subsurface-mobile, and is not documented in any of the materials I've found on divecomputer.eu. I've been using my phone to upload to the Subsurface cloud, then filling in my logs on the computer. From the logbook you go to a single log entry, then select the "Upload" button. You have to pair and connect with bluetooth, then go to subsurface-mobile and select the computer. It's listed as "divecomputer.eu" under manufacturer "Tecdiving". At this point you can select the logs to be uploaded, and that process is pretty quick. I haven't had any issues with it so far. When importing logs to Subsurface, the very first temperature reading always comes in as 0 degrees celsius, but I honestly don't know if that's a problem with the data logging or with Subsurface's interpretation of the data.

    The Abacus has a compass, but I have found it to be utterly unusable. It's possible there was a manufacturing fault with mine, or perhaps a bad magnetometer, but it just doesn't work. At all. At rest it erratically fluctuates up to 50 degrees, and when tilted it throws off the reading by at least as much. The direction of the needle does not seem to be correlated at all with its actual rotation, and calibration doesn't help with that.

    There's also a bug with adding gases. I've had this happen a few times, it seems to be a stable bug. When adding a new gas, if gas switches are made immediately (before changing to a different screen), the Abacus will usually reboot and delete the most recently added gas. I've never had this or any other bugs happen while in dive mode, but it's quite disconcerting to have a bug with something so critical to the function of a Rec/Tec dive computer.

    Overall this is a solid computer. I haven't had any major issues with it, and am happy with my purchase. I will probably get a Shearwater computer at some point, but I'm happy with its performance so far and am glad to see competition in this area of the marketplace.
     
  2. guruboy

    guruboy Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    4,732
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    Hard to press buttons, poor battery life, over-sensitive "water-turn-on" feature, unusable compass, and bug in software but... "overall a solid computer"?

    You didn't even save much over a Perdix...
     
    abnfrog, noj3333 and scubadada like this.
  3. noj3333

    noj3333 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Albany, New York
    862
    393
    63
    In order for me to pick anything over a SW (specifically my Perdix) it'd have to be an AMAZING computer.

    I get that Deep6 wants to have a full offering of products... but to give SW a run, that's a tough objective.
     
    jgttrey likes this.
  4. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    10,809
    6,251
    113
    "I will probably get a Shearwater computer at some point, but I'm happy with its performance so far and am glad to see competition in this area of the marketplace."

    Enough said
     
    noj3333 likes this.
  5. VE7DAC

    VE7DAC Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria BC Canada
    60
    43
    18
    It shows me my depth, logs it over time, calculates NDLs, and runs decompression calculations, even allowing for multiple gases. For recreational purposes it's a fully functional computer, and I don't regret the purchase.
     
  6. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    10,809
    6,251
    113
    Nearly every dive computer sold today would do that, you can't do any better?
     
  7. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    771
    314
    63
    It's $600 versus the Perdix $850. That's $250. Can the Perdix be had for less?
     
  8. jgttrey

    jgttrey ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    617
    760
    93
    I love Deep 6 and commend them for offering more options, but that review - unless you just got a complete lemon - describes a wholly unacceptable dive computer IMHO.
     
  9. noj3333

    noj3333 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Albany, New York
    862
    393
    63
    $550, just put on sale...
     
  10. guruboy

    guruboy Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    4,732
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    He personally did not save much money over a Perdix.
     
    abnfrog likes this.

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