Dive Computers – What to look for when buying a Dive Computer
A few years ago most scuba divers thought that at some point in their scuba diving experiences, if they were lucky, they would scuba dive enough to justify the purchase of a dive computer. Now it is not a question of if, but more a question of when to buy that dive computer. Dive computers are a very popular piece of Dive Equipment.
Why Dive With A Dive Computer?
Scuba divers need to know how deep they are diving and how long they can stay at that depth to avoid problems with decompression sickness. Historically Dive Tables have been used to supply that information. As scuba diving has progressed Scuba Diving computers simplify that chore and does it much more accurately and definitely faster. Now most recreational scuba divers have already either purchased a dive computer or are planning to do so. A dive computer makes diving simpler and due to the accuracy of computers it also makes scuba diving safer. Aquatic Adventures, a Dive Center in Northern Virginia, offers Scuba Travel and Trips throughout the year. Almost every diver on these Dive Trips uses a dive computer.
What to Look For in a Dive Computer?
Scuba Diving Computers come in many different configurations. They can be in a console and can include other items like an underwater compass and air gauge. They can be a wrist model or even built into a wrist watch. We will look at these options in a later article. Today we will just look at routine dive computer functions.
Computer Display Size
Your dive computer will double as a timing device, depth gauge and dive planner. You will use it both on land and underwater. It is important that you be able to read the display in all of these environments. I have a prescription mask but many scuba divers do not. Make sure that you can see the display and can easily read it. Various dive computers have smaller or larger displays.
Compatible with Enriched Air Nitrox
Enriched air is becoming more and more popular among scuba divers. Enriched air allows you to dive longer at given depths. It does, however, require more calculations then diving with air does. Today most dive computers are Nitrox Compatible. This feature is well worth the extra few dollars that it costs.
Scuba Divers routinely log or record their dives in a Diver’s Log Book. This is a way of keeping track of the number of dives that you do. It also helps you track what weight you used and what thickness wet suit you used in different water temperatures. A nice dive computer feature is to be able to download this information to your laptop computer. This allows you to maintain a digital log book and is a very popular feature today.
Many dive computers allow you to adjust the computer to determine what degree of conservatism it has. A more conservative computer gives a greater degree of safety but offers somewhat shorter dive times. Some computers allow you to adjust the PO2 or oxygen build up in your body. A higher PO2 allows for longer dive times but then they offer a lower degree of safety.