Diving, in recent years, has become much more popular, especially among the youth. With competitions such as the world championship and the Olympics, it attracts hundreds of people who aspire to become water sport athletes.
Among several categories of diving sports, what fascinates people the most is Scuba Diving. It is an underwater sport that requires the diver to wear equipment called a scuba set that helps him/her in breathing.
No one wants to face decompression issues while they are underwater. Safety is the most vital concern for the diver. So, to have an enjoyable and safer experience, divers use scuba diving computers. You can read about them below in brief.
What are Scuba Diving Computers?
A scuba diving computers calculates the deepness and time of your dive. It informs you how much time you have before decompression, tracks nitrogen level, bottom time, and the depth of your dive.
Almost every professional uses this device to ensure a safer and easier dive. They are better than a gauge, watch, and even a table. Basically, it is all features in one device that eliminates the need for carrying individual items and even save your money.
Types of Dive Computers
There are two types of dive computers. What kind of computer you need depends upon the style of diving you prefer.
Dive Console Computer
A console computer has a much larger display, which ensures better reading. You can easily attach it to your scuba gear with a hose and remove it whenever you want. It includes a pressure gauge and compass and collects all the live data.
Dive Wrist Computer
You get the idea by the name itself. Divers prefer this type due to its versatility. You can wear it on your hand like a watch, and there is no need to attach it to the gear. A wrist dive computer has a smaller display but enough for you to clearly see the data.
You can buy the one that comes in your budget and has your preferable features.
Features of Scuba Diving Computers
Scuba dive computers have features that make them better than other devices. A majority of divers prefer them for a reason (or reasons) that are as below.
A dive table tells you how long you can stay underwater; a depth gauge determines the depth; a compass shows you the directions. Now imagine all three functions in one. That is a dive computer. Some computers come with an air integration feature that shows you how much oxygen you have in your tank.
After the batteries drain out, you can recharge or replace them with new ones. The replaceable feature makes it more convenient for the divers, and they can use the computer for further dives.
On a scuba dive computers, you can easily access the data. Simple buttons with labels make the device easy to use and read data with no difficulties. You will be able to check your air supply, battery level, depth, and other data with ease.
A scuba dive computers saves your data so that you can download it later and compare it with your other diving data. You can also share that data with other divers.
Some devices require cables as a medium for transferring data. Others have a wireless feature, which is more convenient than carrying a wire around.
Other features include a stopwatch, air integration system, electronic compass, heart rate monitor, etc. It depends on the diver’s preferences and what attributes he wants in his dive computer. Also, you get more elements if you spend a few more bucks. Isn’t this a thing with everything, though?
Factors you need to consider before buying Scuba Diving Computers
Every diver wants the best equipment that is comfortable and promises non-disruptive functioning. But what makes one dive computer better than the other? The price, of course, but what else? Here are some factors you should look for before buying a scuba diving computers.
The device must have an easy-to-read display. Even after months of usage, the data should be ready. An LED display is an advantage over backlight displays as the former is much brighter.
If there is any problem, you should be able to see it clearly. The screen must have a label so that you can effortlessly identify the problem.
A computer with a large display might be an ideal choice if you are not a regular diver. However, the smaller ones are easy to carry or wear with your gear, and you can use them as an ordinary watch.
Older versions of the dive computer took a lot of time to recharge, and that too by taking it to the shop. So, keep in mind that you buy the one that can get recharged or replaced conveniently.
Rechargeable computers would require a plug-in switch, which may not be available everywhere. All you need for the latter are extra batteries that fit your device.
A good dive computer can last for a few days; the better ones can go up to 50 or more dives. And the best ones run for more than a hundred dives.
The battery life depends on the display. The brighter it is, the lesser time it runs for. The dive computers that use batteries last longer than rechargeable devices. Remember to check how much longer does it last when fully charged or with new batteries.
Every computer has an alarm system that alerts the diver when he is in danger. They warn you in case of excessive ascent rate, oxygen limit reaches, maximum depth, low battery, etc.
What makes them better is the sound, which should be louder enough for you to hear clearly. It is an essential element, which can put you in a tight spot if it’s not a good one. New systems have a vibration feature so you can feel the alarm buzzing.
Material and Size
These computers usually have polycarbonate or a steel body, which look better with your gear. Most divers prefer dive watch computers that can be customized.
With most devices, straps are of rubber, metal, and even fabric. You can try and check which one suits your hand. Also, you can choose different colors for your watch computer. It could either be the same color as your gear or contrasting, or even entirely different from one another.
The consoles have a larger size and can take the place of an extra item in your bag. Whereas others are wrist-sized and more convenient as you can wear them on your hand.
New computers have a planning model that allows the diver to plan beforehand. It tells you about the bottom time at different depths that gives you an idea of how long you can stay underwater.
Old computers only gave a single bottom time for a particular depth. The new ones, on the other hand, allow you to add stop times and evaluates the bottom-oriented time.
It is an advantage as you will know how many intervals you need to reach a specific depth. The planning feature is more beneficial for professionals as they need to practice regularly.
This feature makes the air consumption rate visible to the diver. You can even adjust the breathing rate if you are breathing heavily.
With modern computers, you can add more than one transmitter, allowing you to see the air rate of your partner. It helps a lot in the case of buddy diving. It is not an essential feature, but a recommended one.
Following the guide is okay for the first few times but gets boring gradually. So, a digital compass can help you practice your navigation skills.
If you occasionally plan diving trips with your friends, the compass can be an excellent feature of the dive computer. It also helps if you get separated from your partners.
Some devices have an in-built compass, but others require an external compass. The in-built feature might be the better option here as you don’t have to carry unnecessary items in your pockets.
Keep in mind the above factors before making any decisions. You would not want to waste your money on a cheap and low-quality dive computer.
A low-priced device can provide similar qualities as an expensive one but not the same features. They won’t last long and can even break if fallen on the ground.
Research is an essential part before you buy anything. So, look on the internet for the best scuba diving computers. Read reviews and articles about dive computers available on hundreds of websites on the internet. Maintain a budget and list out your preferences, including brands, features, components, etc.
Picking up a scuba dive computer can be challenging than it looks. With so many features and styles available, you cannot select randomly. In some cases, the prices may vary for the same product, creating more confusion.
It is better to ask your friend or relative who knows about this stuff. Their suggestions might help you better.