Maximize Dive Time. Today’s electronic personal assistants are always ready to supply the important information you need underwater. This selection ranges from the most high-tech computer brain displaying an array of useful data to a classic dive watch that not only tracks bottom time but lets everyone know you’re a diver.
What You Need To Know: Dive Computers
Dive computers have been available to the public for almost 30 years.
They don’t actually read tables such as the RDP but use preprogrammed mathematical formulas — algorithms — to continuously evaluate decompression needs based on time and depth information.
Independent computers are worn on the wrist or attached in an instrument console, often with an analog compass or pressure gauge.
Integrated computers combine with the standard pressure gauge to give a continuous reading of cylinder air pressure and can estimate how much air remains, based on your depth and breathing rate.
Many of the newer dive computers — both integrated and nonintegrated models — are wristwatch size and double as dive watches. Several even include an electronic compass.
Hoseless air-integrated computers read air pressure from a battery-powered transmitter in the high-pressure port of the first stage.
Tired of logging your dives by hand? Many computers interface with your PC, so you can download your dive data and store it electronically.
Get the Perfect Fit: Dive Computers
Algorithms differ in terms of “conservative” and “liberal” decompression models. Your instructor is a great source of information as to which you should
consider before buying.
Wrist-mounted computers are more compact and convenient but also are most costly when air integrated. Console-mounted computers typically offer better value for air intergration.
If you’re planning to advance your tec-diving skills, consider a computer that can be preset for two or more different types of nitrox or even trimix,
allowing it to grow with your skills.