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What is the the best (affordable) Dive Computer

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by jw2013, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. muteki

    muteki Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: who knows?
    Honestly the first piece of gear I bought was a mask. Reason being that masks fit differently on different people, and I also have bad eyesight and need a prescription mask. The next piece of gear I'll buy are fins, because I have small feet and I hate renting full foot fins. I wouldn't have figured that out if I hadn't done dives with both kinds before.

    That being said, I've used a few different dives computers - I just rented wherever I was. I've used the Oceanic v.2 or something like that, and it was basic, easy to use and learn, and worked out great. The single-button ones would be better to start with, I think. I just bought my first dive computer the other day, which was a good deal because it's slightly used, but I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner (Tusa Zen).. not very user-friendly, and it does way more than I need for the moment! I can't imagine not diving with a computer… I use it for more than just logging dives.. I can tweak my buoyancy by checking my depth if I don't have a good visual indicator, keep an eye on my ascent rate, and of course know my no-deco time. It's just more safe to not rely on your buddy's computer.

    Most places you dive, you can rent pretty much everything, and I'm glad I waited because now I know what I like and don't like.
    jw2013 likes this.
  2. iamjblevine

    iamjblevine Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Michigan
    The computer is not a necessity, but one feature of a computer that should not be discounted is the ability to look at your profile and learn from it for future dives. Indeed are you ascending at the proper rate. Did you indeed dive your plan. While in theory you should never be surprised by what you see looking at your profile. I'd wager that several new divers don't look at the gauges for depth and time enough. At least if they look at them on the screen after the dive they can try to modify future behavior. A good example of this is the ascent from the 15' safety stop. I was diving with a guy who insisted he was ascending just fine. He was mad at me because I didn't ascend from the stop with him. He wondered why I took so long. He was ascending in about 5 seconds I was taking a little over 40. He knew I was taking longer than him, but thought his ascent from 15' was about 30 seconds. After showing him my profile on the computer he started slowing down his ascent.
    ComputerX, chillyinCanada and jw2013 like this.
  3. James Robertson

    James Robertson Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
    I like the zoop. its a great first computer. And i think when your first starting to dive all computers are pretty close to the same. I would suggest your own mask/ fin / snorkel first. then a wetsuit that fits for the diving you do. Followed up by a BC that fits well and then regs.
  4. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    I am a big fan of dive computers. I don't have the average depth, or even max. depth or duration, of my OW checkout dives, as I had no computer to log it for me, and I had other things on my mind at the time and didn't get it all down.

    These days, an air-integrated computer with logging capability records all that, calculates my SAC rate, records my start & end pressures, and downloads all this to my computer, where I use MacDive to log my dives, recording equipment used & typing in notes of interest. Nice.

    As for taking the money you'd spend on a computer & 'going diving' with it instead, I'd ask you this:

    1.) Since you will be getting a computer eventually anyway (at least if I reckon rightly that the large majority of divers do), you might enjoy starting out with it fairly early, yes?

    2.) If you don't buy the computer right off, are you really likely to do more dives? Granted, great wealth and loads of free time would lead to more diving for many of us, but is the cost of the dive computer actually keeping you from diving?

    3.) While air consumption will be limiting your dives at first, as your gas use drops with experience and you start doing more repetitive and deeper diving, NDLs will become an issue. Even if you're willing to sacrifice bottom time by using tables, I imagine most of your buddies won't be. In fact, how many buddies are you likely to get who are also using tables for rec. diving?

    4.) Do be mindful you'll need to decide whether you want a console or wrist unit, and that features like air-integration cost more, and PC download capability is often a $100 extra kit or else included with an expensive computer. Whether this is worth it to you is up to you.

    jw2013 and Keith.M like this.
  5. Got2Go

    Got2Go Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
    If I was starting all over from scratch today, knowing what I know now...
    My initial purchases would be:
    Dive computer (like Suunto Zoop)

    Then buy more as I progress.

    Having a dive computer does not preclude being able to learn what you would without it (ex: tables).
    But, it will include learning additional real-world skills and experience.
  6. dbulmer

    dbulmer DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK,Windsor
    To the OP,

    UWATEC Bottom Timer - Digital 330m

    Use a simple d timer to start with and use your tables. As you progress you might want something more expensive but this will get you started.

    Focus on correctly fitting exposure equipment ie hood, gloves, undersuit and drysuit as these are items which require a good fit and cannot be easily borrowed in a club environment.

    If you want some recommendations drop me a pm.
  7. gcarter

    gcarter Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    Awesome for dive logging, but I don't disagree with Jim about there being better things to spend your money on at the beginning. I had one for my 5th dive - but only because my wife liked me that Christmas, not because it was my intention.

    If you do get one, Zoop (son has one) is at a good price point but has no backlight and does not have a free dive mode if that matters to you/

    My Veo 2.0 has both. But unlike the Zoop the display does not give average depth, so SAC calculations rely on data download and the cable is an extra cost for ALL of these creatures. My son can calc his SAC at the dive site.
  8. DiverRtNY

    DiverRtNY Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: McKinney, Texas
    Being new to diving, I did like others have mentioned. Purchased a nice set of fins mask snorkle. Then a comfortable wetsuit (upstate NY cold water lakes), a nice BC w/ good lift, and my regs (Sherwood Blizzard and Brut Octo), among the other miscellaneous but equally as important accessories. Talking just yesterday in my LDS I mentioned i wanted to focus on my tables and get my skills down with dive planning for a least my first full season prior to a computer and he made a good point. Although the computer is a luxury, it is also a necessity in many instances. His example was when you are on a charter dive and looking to buddy up, no one is gonna be eager to buddy up when they realize you are working off of tables because that entails greatly reducing bottom time compared to a computer and who wants to cut their dive short because of my tables. Made a good point.
    drrich2 likes this.
  9. Vegan Shark

    Vegan Shark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Okinawa
    Mares Puck is a nice wrist computer for $180 on Leisurepro.

    Computers being luxury items I think is really a thing of the past. PADI doesn't even teach tables any more, and a basic wrist comp is either less expensive than or the same price as a wetsuit/bc/reg. Going with tables over a computer feels like going with a typewriter when you could use a laptop.
  10. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    If I were you I would rent one or use one that they provide to be able to take the class (if that is a requirement).
    If they teach tables then go with that.
    Computers are not necessary. Fins, wetsuit, mask, regulator, weightbelt, those are all necessary to start diving, but people used tables for years way before computers came out and did all the dives successfully and had fun doing it.

    I finally did relace a computer I lost several years ago with a little cheapo Mares Puck, only $169 from Leisure Pro. It does air, nitrox, gauge mode, and has a user replaceable battery. Perfect for my simple needs. This is replacing a Uwatec bottom timer which replaced the lost Suunto Vyper.
    I've been diving tables for years and still do. I put the computer in gauge mode and compute my dive based on tables as I'm doing it.
    But if I want to or need to use the full computer function I can do that now too. The only thing you have to be aware of is some or most computers will lock you out of full computer function for 24 hours if you've been using it on gauge mode - the computer has no record of what you did.

    The reason I bought the Puck was because it was a cheap replacement for the Uwatec.
    I have personal reasons for still wanting to stay sharp at tables. I am not comfortable depending 100% on a computer to dictate my dive. It's a security in my mind to think about and know what I'm doing in regards to dive times and depths.

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