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Early Dive computers. What did they cost?

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by Karl_T, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Karl_T

    Karl_T Guest

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    Location: Wiltshire, UK
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    Just been doing a bit of research prompted by the purchase of a new computer and was suprised (and then not suprised when I sat down and thought about it) that these things are a relativley new bit of kit. I've been reading up on the history and one thing I'd love to know (but can't find out) is back in '72 when the Scubapro bend-O-meter came out and then in '83 when the electronic 'Orca Edge' appeared what did they cost? I'm guessing that though they existed these things were prohibitively expensive for a good few years.

    Karl_T
     
  2. DCBC

    DCBC Banned

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    I can't recall the cost of the Orca when it came out. I was however involved in the testing of an early prototype in 1978. I was stationed at DCIEM when it was hired to undergo testing on a new digital decompression computer. After chamber testing (which it performed flawlessly), I was elected to take the unit on some deep dives (Jamaica). I was told that the replacement cost was around $20,000 and to be careful with it. Unfortunately at 210', the computer experienced an electronic malfunction and I had to listen to alarms sound for the rest of the dive. I returned the unit and heard no more until the early 80's when the first models came out for sale.

    The unit I tested was attached to the high pressure hose, was approx. 10 inchs long, 4 inchs wide with rounded corners and covered with a neoprene cover. To this day, I still carry back-up tables; even though at times I carry two computers. Old habits are hard to break. :)
     
  3. captain

    captain Captain

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    I bought an Edge in 1985 and I paid dealer cost which was a bit above $400 but it was probably a bit higher than normal as I had them mill my name on it. I also had a Scuba Pro Bend O Matic that I think was about $170 retail.
     
  4. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    I don't remember the price. I do remember it being a LOT more than I was willing to spent. I bought my 1st dive computer in 2010, it's probably the one and only I'll ever buy. They make a nice depth gauge and themometer!
     
  5. Tom Smedley

    Tom Smedley Tommy ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I believe that the Edge was released at the DEMA show in 1986 or 1987 (I think it was 87 because shows were in January then.) The same show that the PADI Wheel made its debut. My instructor cost was about $500 and the retail was about $750 in 1987 dollars.
     
  6. Marek K

    Marek K Loggerhead Turtle

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    By the time the "mainstream" Orca Marathon Skinny Dipper II (and its clones) came out in the early 1990s, the price had fallen to about $150-$200 as I recall. So about the same absolute price as a (much more capable) "basic" air computer costs now, but that was quite a lot of money in those days.
     
  7. domas

    domas Angel Fish

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    I think it is a fer price now.
     
  8. Marek K

    Marek K Loggerhead Turtle

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    Ne razumiem. :D
     
  9. Karl_T

    Karl_T Guest

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Wiltshire, UK
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    Cheers for al the replies everyone. It confirms what I thought, they may have appeared in '86 '87 but the first off weren't exactly widespread in use. I'll have to look up those 90's ones, I'm curious to see how it's all evolved now, when all the features we almost take for granted now first appeared.
    It's an odd generational thing, me and my better half often meet people now who've never known computers (PC's) without Windows, and similarly we're now divers who don't know a diving without dive computers. We know the theory and the methods to do it witout, but I have to say I wouldn't consider doing it.

    Karl_T
     
  10. Akimbo

    Akimbo Just a diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    The analog Automatic Decompression Meter made in Italy has been in the US well before 1972. I have a 1963 ScubaPro catalog showing the plastic case version for $50 — $356.23 inflation adjusted. I am pretty sure it was around before then. I remember that was an awful lot of money compared to some Navy tables!

    It is interesting how people don’t think spending more for a decompression computer than a regulator is a big deal now. I suppose a more fair comparison would be to add in the price of a depth gauge and watch though. Not many people used SPGs then. I would guess about a third of the people I saw used a compass.

    As a reference, the top of the line regulator was probably the US Divers Royal AquaMaster double hose which sold for $90 ($641.21 inflation adjusted) and single hoses were 40-$75. A set of US Divers doubles with reserve manifold was $150.
     

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