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What is the the best (affordable) Dive Computer

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

  1. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Computers were provided during my OW training. We did not learn tables in the class (though I figured them out- they really aren't that difficult.)

    I have Suunto Zoop and was very happy with it on my recent dive trip. Except on the last two days of the trip, air time was an issue well before NDLs. I also had an Aeris that was provided on my rental gear and noted it gave much longer NDL times, but I'm not much of a risk taker, so I'm still happy with the Suunto purchase.

    ---------- Post added December 19th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ----------

    If you're an open water diver- the safety precaution is easy. Computer fails? Don't have a backup? End the dive.

    I wouldn't buy any gear besides mask/fin/snorkel before taking the training though. But my personal training was a bit of a disaster, so I'd hate to be really invested if it doesn't work out. Thankfully, for me it worked out, but we decided for most gear it will cost more to maintain than we can use it...
  2. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    Dive computers did not exist when I started and I am sure this is true for many others on SB.

    I used US Navy tables to start with, then PADI and when the Wheel came along this was revolutionary.

    I have used several Suuntos starting with the "Companion" during which I still calculated every dive with the wheel. It is good to mentally know your NDLs and although I now wear two computers (Vytec and Vyper) I still calculate and plan each dive as a back up ….. just in case. In fact the battery packed in on my Vytec on my first day at Anilao this year, so having the Vyper made my life easier, I could easily have done my week's diving using tables or V Planner and my watch.

    It shocks me to see other divers either diving without any form of bottom timer (including a watch) and relying on their buddy, and I have seen dive buddies with nothing between them to time their dive using the excuse that they would run out of air before they would reach their NDL. I have also been asked by other divers how their rental computer works after they have done their first dive!

    There are a lot of accidents waiting to happen!
  3. nimoh

    nimoh Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Rochester, MN
    a simpler solution is just to find a class that teaches tables...there are still some out there.
  4. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Wouldn't be simple at all- dive classes are few and far between around here. Why waste all that time in class when there really isn't much to be 'taught'? We just got the tables and figured out how to use them. But I don't dive square profiles, so it's kind of moot. Guess I could figure out what this wheel thing is, but I like my computer :)

    I haven't seen many divers carrying tables with them, so if their computer fails mid-dive they are still going to have to surface, even if they know how to use the tables. I haven't seen any divers with a seperate bottom timer than their computer (my diving is limited though) so again, computer fails, they have to surface regardless of their table knowledge.

    It does seem some table divers should take some time to learn the computers too- on the boat this week I heard a few people say they had no idea the provided computer did anything other than tell the depth and count the safety stop for them. They had never used a computer and didn't know it showed an NDL. (And since they didn't use a table either, I guess they were just going for 'trust me' with the DM...)
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  5. FinnMom

    FinnMom ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Finland
    Wanting to dive according to tables or practise doing so is not incompatable with diving with a computer. You can always put it in gauge mode if you want to be a purist.

    These days a basic and pretty darn good computer doesn't cost much more than a bottom timer, so I always figured why not buy the computer? I also think the depth gauge in most consoles is very basic and not possibly not terribly accurate, so I want a timer that tells me my depth too (unlike a dive watch - at least any dive watch I've ever seen). Remember too that nowadays even basic computer models will have some sort of illumination, nitrox capabilities, gauge mode, temperature and a dive history (including avg. depth which is nice for checking your SAC) going back at least the last 30 dives or so. That's a darn nice package for not much more cash than a bottom timer. Oh, and if you are doing a series of dives even a basic computer will monitor your O2 exposure. You need to do it too but it's an important matter and having a device keeping an eye on the same issue is a good thing, if only to remind you of the issue.

    If you only want a bottom timer you can use for example a Zoop in gauge mode and still have all sorts of other capabilities available for the money you spent. I also suspect there is a much better market for used computers, so a computer retains its value better.
  6. Peter Guy

    Peter Guy Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Olympia, WA
    OP -- As with everything you buy, you should have an idea of what you want to do with the object and then search to see what objects fit your needs -- including financial ones.

    So, why would you want a dive computer? What is it you wish it to do for you?

    At its simplest, a dive computer does three things: gives you information as to your depth; gives you information as to your dive time; gives you information as to your "no stop status" (aka your decompression status). ALL dive computers will do this.

    So what else might you want (in many cases, SHOULD you want in a dive computer):

    a. One you can actually read while underwater. This is often age (i.e. how good is your eyesight) related. Look at the display -- can you easily read it? Will you be able to read it if it is dark?

    b. One that is, at the very least, Nitrox compatible. There may be a few computers out there which are "single gas" computers -- don't get them unless they are VERY cheap (and if they have "gauge" mode).

    c. Wrist mount vs. console -- unless "air integrated" get a wrist mount, even if it comes in a console, make sure you can convert it to wrist mount.

    d. Air integrated -- IF money is a significant object, forget-about-it. This is a "nice-to-have" (maybe) but definitely not a "need-to-have."

    e. Downloadable -- Pretty much all are and this is really a must have. You should download your dives on a very regular basis so that you can start to have an accurate log of your diving history.

    f. What is displayed -- in addition to the mandatory three (depth/time/deco) a "nice-to-have" is your average depth. At the very least, the computer should be computing your average depth for reference in the log.

    g. Gauge Mode -- a very nice to have (and it appears the Suunto Zoop does NOT have it which is stupid) -- as you progress in your diving career, you may decide to use alternative no-stop systems and being able to use your computer in gauge mode saves you having to buy more gear.

    Those are a few of the things to consider when deciding to buy a dive computer.

    Oh, and not all of us buy the notion that not learning tables is terrible. I learned tables many years ago, I even have dived tables but I don't now and you'll find the vast majority of people don't -- and for very good reasons. MOST recreational diving doesn't match the type of diving for which tables were designed. Dive computers, on the other hand, ARE designed for, and match, the type of recreational diving the vast majority of people do.

    Tables -- BLAH!
    Bentley Hamm and drrich2 like this.
  7. Aguablanco1

    Aguablanco1 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Mesa, Arizona
    We all usually buy mask fins and snorkel for our OW class. I think most dive ops require them. Having said that my next purchase was a computer. The reason being that BC's, wetsuits hoods and other rental gear is virtually identical from op to op. However, there must be dozens, or more, computers out there, and they all function differently. I did not want to rely on the dive op to set my computer any more than I wanted to learn how to set multiple computers that I had rented. Besides, how many people go on vacation without taking the BC for weight and bulk reasons. I can pack mask, fins and computer, I generally use a collapsible snorkel, in my regular suitcase and still have plenty of room for clothing. As of this writing I have 2 Mares Pucks, 1 AI and 1 wrist, so the redundancy thing is covered.
    My 2 psi
    Skittl1321 likes this.
  8. navi_jen

    navi_jen Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Boston
    I think Peter's comments are spot on. I have a Zoop (I have about 40 dives under my belt) and love, love, love it. I also like that it's conservative and can handle Nitrox. I've heard a few stories about AI not working....so I will keep my most important measurement simple and less reliant on technology, thankyouverymuch :D
  9. DanMont

    DanMont Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United Kingdom
    I have a Zoop as well and so far it has been very good. Got it as I was going to Australia for 2 months and would be diving a lot over multiple days throughout the tripa and keeping track with tables would be more hassle than it was worth. There was only one occasion when NDL was the deciding factor on dive time during a drift dive below 25 metres for around 25mins (haven't got my logbook on me so not sure on max depth or time!) - before all the other divers (who were also on computers). The only other thing to take into account is the zoop doesn't have a light for night dives, instead it has a phosphorescent screen that charges when you shine your torch on it, not ideal but it works
  10. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    I thought this was kind of funny when I was doing my night dive. I mean, I'm shining my flashlight at the screen- I don't need it to glow in the dark then, I've got a light. I was jealous of my husband's Vyper with it's lighted screen, but not $350 jealous.

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