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Dive Computer Alarms: should we even have them?

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba' started by Smit, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. doctormike

    doctormike Medical Moderator Staff Member

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    I know, I was making a joke.

    dive_forum_question.jpg
     
  2. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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  3. Hoag

    Hoag Contributor

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    Just a thought for those who infer that alarms are a crutch for those who lack confidence or ability, I'd like to offer this (and yes it is slightly off topic).

    You will be hard pressed to find a more highly trained group of folks or a group that is more confident in their ability than Fighter Pilots. Modern fighters all come with verbal warnings to alert the pilot to when they are too low ("Altitude. Altitude ..."), really too low ("Pull up. Pull up ..."), low on fuel ("Bingo Bingo ...") or a multitude of other problems. In the CF18 (and other F/A18 variants) those alerts are affectionately known as "Bitchin' Betty". If a community as highly skilled and highly trained as Hornet Drivers use alerts, then who are we to criticize a diver who wants a Beep, a Buzz, or in this case a vibration to alert him to look at his computer? There is at least one RCAF CF18 pilot who is alive today because "Bitchin' Betty" told him to "Pull up!". He pulled the stick back with everything he had and immediately declared an In Flight Emergency for both a Physiological Incident and "Over G'ing" the airframe. He pulled 11.1Gs and bent the jet (that airframe never flew again), but that alarm saved his life.

     
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  4. doctormike

    doctormike Medical Moderator Staff Member

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    So why aren't audible and tactile alarms a CE requirement for all dive computers?

    Analogies are great, but I think that you should be careful about stretching them too far. Pilot alerts are more like to CCR HUD alerts, which I agree are absolutely necessary. You need something annoying and in your face for a situation where you can unknowingly and rapidly head for instant death, like a hypoxic loop or a jet flying too low at a steep angle. Other than the readout, you have no way of knowing if your PO2 is dropping.

    But we aren't really talking about that. We are talking about alerts for data that changes slowly, at anticipated rates during the dive. I mean, I guess you could say that the depth alarm is different, but if your buoyancy control is such that you are unable to keep from rapidly sinking past your MOD, then the dive computer isn't the problem. And unlike PO2, your ears should tell you if you are sinking rapidly.
     
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  5. Hoag

    Hoag Contributor

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    I also gave an example in which a LOB had a hard deck of 100 feet. Your ears might not tell you if you are at 90 feet and drop gradually to 101 feet over a several minute timeframe, but on that trip, one means you keep diving and the other means that you sit out for 24 hours. A Max depth alarm set at 95ft would alert you and keep you on the right side of that hard deck.
     
  6. grantctobin

    grantctobin ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Which LOB? That’s an avoid-at-all-cost turn off.
     
  7. lowwall

    lowwall Contributor

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    Anybody else keep hearing the intro to The Great Dive Podcast going through their head as they read this?

    "Sure, your computer is going to beep at you."

    [Just to be clear, they are being sarcastic.]

    BTW, audible alerts in aviation are only meant for immediately critical warnings. In fact, there has been an effort to figure out how to cut back on them because conflicting alerts and continuous sounding have been found to contribute to pilot distraction when they are trying to deal with emergencies.
     
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  8. Smit

    Smit Contributor

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    MOD EDIT: comments relating to the thread prior to the split have been deleted.

    Since we're into a completely new subject now I've a question for the divers who consider themselves to be infallible.

    Would you suggest to a new diver they turn off their alarms? If so, what is the justification for that?

    If you make a mistake and don't die you'll learn from it?
     
  9. grantctobin

    grantctobin ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Admittedly, if one makes a mistake and dies from it, one wouldn’t have the opportunity to make the mistake again.
     
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  10. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I know a number of new divers who’ve bought a Perdix. No audible or vibrating alarms, so nothing to shut off. They’re still alive and diving. They bought the computers for the large, colorful display and AI.

    One strike against the alarms is do you know what it’s going off for? Do you even know if it’s your computer? I’ve been diving with multiple people whose computers were beeping all at once and after the dive they said they didn’t know if it was their computer or someone else’s.
     

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