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ANU Scuba Club Dive Computer Survey

When it comes to dive-kit, the ANU Scuba Club has a lot of inherent knowledge, mostly built up the hard and expensive way. To try and tap into this wealth of knowledge, a survey of members' dive computer experience was commissioned. The results may be useful to people looking at buying a new computer. Thanks to all who were able to provide their insights!

Naturally, the more survey responses the better, so if you would like to add your experiences, please copy the template, add your own comments and then email it to:

adamson underscore charles at hotmail dot com


Survey Results


Name:Corinna
Brand:Cressi-Sub
Model:Archimedes II
Price:Paid EUR250 at Scubastore.com in September '06. Now US$260 at Leisure Pro
Wrist or Console:Wrist (but also available as console)
Battery details:3V CR 2032 battery, easy to change
Air/Nitrox?:Both
Dives used:~80
Pros: Love it! Good price, switch between two gas mixes on dive (not that I have used that feature yet, but who knows one day I might...), easy to use/read, self-change battery
Cons: No attachment point for a back-up lanyard
Would you buy another one: Yes, definitively
Weblink:http://www.cressi-sub.it/easyStore/SchedeVedi.asp?ProdottiID=45
Other comment:

Name:Chris
Brand: Suunto
Model: Vytec
Price: Paid around $650 Second hand.
Wrist or Console: Wrist
Battery details: 3.6V lithium button cell. Common battery type used for car and garage remotes. Can be bought from a pharmacy or service station for under $5. Easy to change (takes about 20 seconds with a 20 cent piece). Of course, if you want to keep the warranty, you should pay a shop to do this. I've been getting about 1.5 years and about 150 dives from a battery.
Air/Nitrox?: Nitrox, 21-99% O2, 3 programmable mixes, switchable during the dive.
Dives used: ~200
Pros: Has been good as a gas switching computer. Gas switching means much faster deco on multi-gas dives. Easy to read.
Cons: I'm always worried about losing it (as it is a wrist mounted computer). If throwing the computer into a damp dive tub, it can remain in dive mode, resulting in a prematurely flat battery.
Would you buy another one: Yes, but only if I actually intended to use the gas switching capacity. If I were getting into decompression mixes, I'd also consider if I intend to dive trimix in future. If Trimix is likely, I'd consider a helium capable computer for preference.
Weblink: http://www.suunto.com/suunto/main/index.jsp
Other comment:

Name:Paul
Brand:Uwatec
Model: Aladin Pro
Price: I paid a couple of hundred second-hand
Wrist or console:Wrist
Battery details:Has to be sent away to get the battery changed
Air/Nitrox?:Air
Dives used: ~150
Pros: Solid, reliable, easy to read, easy to use, just does the job with no stuffing around. Wiring diagrams are available online for a PC interface, if you like that sort of thing. All the cool kids have one.
Cons: The straps tend to wear out after a while, but are easy to replace. Can act oddly when the battery is low. It's not small.
Would you buy another one: For sure; not the same model, probably, but certainly another in the same line.
Weblink: http://www.uwatec.com
Other comment: Probably a good choice for divers without fancy demands and who aren't swayed by blinking lights and shiny chrome.

Name:Kim
Brand:Uwatec
Model: Aladin Pro (the newer kind with the larger screen)
Price: ~$450 new in 2004. No longer made.
Wrist or Console: Wrist, but can also be console mounted
Battery details: not user-replaceable, ~$100 to change, but battery lasts 500-1000 dives
Air/Nitrox?: Air only
Dives used: ~310
Pros: simple - does everything you need but no more (you cannot play tetris on it). Very reliable, uncluttered, large, easy-to-read display, even when narked. Computer interface for downloading profiles. Dive plan mode for... err ... dive planning. Automatically switches on and off. Very long battery life. Fairly quiet - doesn't beep at you all the time. Non-adjustable deco model, cannot be set to be more conservative.
Cons: strap tends to wear out after 300-400 dives. A little bulky on the wrist. Only stores 3 hours of dive profiles. Cannot change the battery yourself (it's filled with goopy oil). Air only, no nitrox. Non-adjustable deco model, cannot be set to be more conservative.
Would you buy another one: Yes.
Weblink: http://www.uwatec.com
Other comment: If anyone has a lonely unwanted Aladin pro, I'll gladly provide it with a good home.

Name: Jen
Brand: Uwatec
Model: Aladin Pro (the newer kind with the larger screen)
Price: ~$450 new. No longer made.
Wrist or Console: Wrist, but can also be console mounted
Battery details: not user-replaceable, ~$100 to change, but battery lasts 500-1000 dives.
Air/Nitrox?: Air only
Dives used: ~390
Pros: simple - does everything you need but no more. You cannot play pacman on it. Very reliable. Uncluttered, large, easy-to-read display, even when narked or on a night dive. Computer interface for downloading profiles. Dive plan mode for... err ... dive planning. Automatically switches on and off. Very long battery life. Fairly quiet - doesn't beep at you all the time. Non-adjustable deco model, cannot be set to be more conservative (but then some of us like an extra 6 mins under the water :)
Cons: strap tends to wear out after 300-400 dives (but you can get replacements). A little bulky on the wrist (not a fashion item to be worn in town). Only stores 3 hours of dive profiles (a pain on two week tropical dive trips). Cannot change the battery yourself (its filled with goopy oil). I have had the battery changed once (but had to wait 5 days for it to stop 'ticking' like a bomb before the courier would ship it to Sydney for battery replacement....well worth it though.... I might stop diving when it eventually dies- unless I can find another one). Air only, no nitrox. Non-adjustable deco model, cannot be set to be more conservative.
Would you buy another one: Yes.
Weblink: http://www.uwatec.com
Other comment: If anyone has a lonely unwanted Aladin pro, I'll gladly provide it with a good home (a better home than Kim's).

Name:Bill
Brand: Suunto
Model: Favor S
Price: Paid around $250 brand new but was given a huge discount because our house had burnt down.
Wrist or Console: Wrist
Battery details: John did it for me - charged me even less because I am his mate and we love to drink beers together and talk about weird things
Air/Nitrox?: Air only
Dives used: ~100
Pros: In the water it is absolutely fine and just as good as an Aladin Pro which is what I used to have. Reliable. I think it is much cheaper than the pro. I would much rather have a pro (any day) but I would buy the Favor over the pro based on price (I'm assuming here that the pro costs twice as much) - don't even know if the pro is still called the pro.
Cons: I really don't like this computer out of the water. I hate electronic gear that has buttons that change their function based on how long you hold them down. I always forget how to operate the thing and then have to read the manual. Hard to use the functions compared to the Aladin. Pro and display is not as clear underwater. Not as easy to read as an Aladin Pro - definitely not - especially if you are really narked.
Would you buy another one: Yeah, but I would rather have a Pro underwater in terms of telling you what you need to be doing - there is no difference to the Pro underwater. All works well as you guzzle those luscious globules of air.
Weblink: http://www.suunto.com/suunto/main/index.jsp

Name:Charlie
Brand: Suunto
Model: Favor
Price: Paid around $500 brand new. They sell for around $150-$200 on Ebay second hand.
Wrist or Console: Console (though can be wrist mounted)
Battery details: Can be self changed, but I elected to get John to do it for $35 (another shop quoted over $100!).
Air/Nitrox?: Air only
Dives used: ~100
Pros: I really liked this computer and regret selling it. Simple, basic and reliable. Easy to read.
Cons: Can't be used for nitrox, so computer can't grow with you as/if your diving develops. Stupid name, really.
Would you buy another one: Yes, but only 2nd hand as a back-up. But perfect for recreational diving.
Weblink: http://www.suunto.com/suunto/main/index.jsp
Other comment: I hope to get it back one day he says wistfully....

Name:Dave
Brand:Tusa
Model: IQ-700
Price: Around $500 new, ($389 from leisure pro) second hand.
Wrist or Console: Wrist, but you can get it for console
Battery details: User changeable
Air/Nitrox?: 2 nitrox mixes, swappable during dive
Dives used: around 100
Pros: Not too bulky, comes with screen protector, does nitrox and can be used in gauge mode
Cons: I have had the buttons get stuck twice now.
Would you buy another one: Yes, but only once this one dies.
Weblink:http://www.tusa.com.au/ProductDetails.asp?ProductID=59
Other comment: Generally fairly good, however I have had a button stick twice now. Both times it was replaced very promptly, plus another 12 months warrantee! Has nice big numbers for blind/narked people.

Name:Charlie
Brand:Uwatec
Model: Aladin Pro Ultra
Price: Paid around $500 second hand. They sell for around $1,000 brand new in the shops and for around $300 on Ebay second hand. Hint hint? Leisurepro?.!
Wrist or Console: Wrist
Battery details: Can't be self changed, I think you have to send back to the factory. But battery life is v good - 6 years, 200+ dives and still has 69% battery life left.
Air/Nitrox?: Air or nitrox - but can't switch between the two.
Dives used: 200+
Pros: I really liked this computer; it is simple, basic and reliable. Easy to read and operate as well. Having nitrox is useful, and helps maintain the re-sell price.
Cons: Can only be used for one mix, so not very good for deco dives with a separate mix. Does not display temperature (grrrr?) and does not give an average depth reading (grrr?). Contacts can be a bit hard to operate. Wrist strap is pretty cheap, but has worked. Face plate is easy to scratch, but a replacement can be purchased for around $10 off the net. Locks you out of the computer if you break its deco recommendations - that's shockingly hopeless really.
Would you buy another one: Probably not, but would recommend for those interested in recreational nitrox diving.
Weblink: http://www.uwatec.com
Other comment:

Name:Chris
Brand: Suunto
Model: Favor
Price: Paid $200 Second hand. Bargain!
Wrist or Console: Console (though can be wrist mounted)
Battery details: 3.0 V 1/2AA lithium cell, available from specialist electronics stores (Dick Smith, Jaycar etc). Can be changed by shops for anything between $35 and $100. Can be changed yourself for $10 with a Phillips head screwdriver. Battery life for me has been about 2 years and 200-300 dives.
Air/Nitrox?: Air only
Dives used: ~700
Pros: First computer and still using it on most dives. For an air computer, I haven't been able to fault it, except for the mark-up on battery changes done at stores. Simple, basic and reliable. Easy to read. If used on a nitrox dive beyond air limits doesn't completely lock you out.
Cons: Can't be used for nitrox, so computer can't grow with you as/if your diving develops.
Would you buy another one: Yes, but probably second hand. Perfect for air recreational diving.
Weblink: http://www.suunto.com/suunto/main/index.jsp
Other comment: I'll be using this one till it the end of its diving life. :o)

Name:DIR Dude*
Brand: Don't believe in dive computers.
Model: n.a.
Price: Nil. Although an alternative bottom timer costs around $100 brand new
Wrist or Console: Neither - just use your brain!
Battery details: Powered by healthy eating, lots of sleep, regular exercise and cordial.
Air/Nitrox?: Does both - any/all combinations. And trimix as well if you want - any/all combinations. Any depth/time/gas mix.
Dives used: nil
Pros: None.
Cons: Why rely on some mechanical device that will likely fail you at some critical moment. Better to use your brain, a bottom timer, tables and plan a (conservative) square profile. Such a system is also much cheaper and safer.
Would you buy another one: Nup.
Weblink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain
Other comment: Do it Right! Anonymity requested to prevent being fed to the Bank's GNS for holding such Cassandra-ish views?

Name:Steve
Brand: Uwatec
Model: Smart Com
Price: Paid around A$800 brand new from USA, delivered.
Wrist or Console: Console, integrated pressure gauge
Battery details: Battery change has to be done by qualified technician
Air/Nitrox?: Nitrox capable
Dives used: ~250
Pros: Easy to read. Integrated pressure gauge - remaining bottom time reading. Dives can be downloaded - it is useful reviewing dive profiles, particularly air consumption in different conditions. Plenty of warning before battery needs changing.
Cons: Sometimes cycles through the functions when out of the water and still wet. The computer has to go to Sydney for battery changes/ service -impressive turn-around but still not DIY. Would I buy one again: Definitely, but next time I would pay the extra and buy the wrist mounted version with remote sensor and ditch the HP hose.
Weblink: http://www.uwatec.com
Other comment: I had a fault with the battery at about 200 dives - it was replaced free of charge and the service was excellent.

Name:Lucy
Brand: Suunto
Model: Solution Alpha
Price: Can't remember - I bought it about 12 years ago in South Africa maybe ~$500
Wrist or Console: Wrist - I attached a lanyard to it.
Battery details: 3V 1/2AA battery, easy to change see http://www.devilgas.com/diving/suunto_bat_change/suunto_bat_change.asp
Air/Nitrox?: Air
Dives used: 200+
Pros: It's great - easy to use and read, self-change battery - I bought a replacement at Battery World $6
Cons: Broke the plastic cover several years ago and is expensive to replace
Would you buy another one: Yes - I guess the replacement would be the Vyper
Weblink: http://www.suunto.com/suunto/main/index.jsp
Other comment:

Name:Arwen
Brand: Citizen
Model: Aqualand
Price: Paid around $250 on Ebay for a second hand one.  The newer model is called the Citizen Hyper Aqualand. New they are around $500.
Wrist or Console: Wrist
Battery details: Self charge - via a console that also facilitates downloading your dive info to your PC.
Air/Nitrox?: Air only
Dives used: ~130
Pros: This is a great computer. Much smaller than most - it's like a large watch.  It downloads to your PC (with lots of different fields you can complete if you choose to), you charge it yourself, it's easy to use, gives you a profile of your dive, has a 100 dive memory and a 100 skin dive memory
Cons: Can't be used for nitrox.  Every 5 or 6 years you need to have the watch battery replaced.
Would you buy another one: Absolutely! Perfect for air recreational diving.
Weblink: http://www.citizenwatch.com/COA/English/detail.asp?Country=COA&Language=English&ModelNumber=MA9024-24E&page=1
Other comment: I love my dive computer!

Name:Peter
Brand: Uwatec
Model: Smart Tec
Price: Very expensive if you get it in Australia ($2,000+), good to have relatives in Switzerland (or Europe) who can help ;-)
Wrist or Console: Wrist (with wireless transmitter)
Battery Details: Cannot be changed by user, but lasts several years. Mine is currently (Nov 2007) at Uwatec/Scubapro in Sydney after two years and ~130 dives, not sure yet if under warranty or not.
Air/Nitrox?: Nitrox, possible to have up to 3 transmitters, with 3 different gas mixes (I've so far only every dive with one)
Dives used: ~130
Pros: As UW photographer I love that I get all information needed on my wrist without having to grab a console (I have both my camera and computer on my left arm). It has a large display, well structured and readable. It also calculates your remaining air time according to tank pressure (i.e. how much longer you can stay at current depth and come up with ~40 bars, and this calculation includes all deco stops and ascent time). Can also download dives onto a computer via infrared - so no special hardware required (most laptops have a infrared interface).
Cons: I guess that the battery is not user changeable.
Would you buy another one:Yes, definitely.
Weblink:http://www.uwatec.com.au

Name: Adam
Brand: Mares
Model: Nemo
Price: Paid AU$620 delivered from the US. (mid 2005)
Wrist or Console: Wrist
Battery details: CR 2430 lithium 3V battery which will last for approximately 170 dives
Air/Nitrox?: Air / Nitrox / Bottom Timer / Free-Dive
Dives used: ~50
Pros: * 4 Dive modes - Air / Nitrox / Bottom Timer / Free-Dive. Uses Mares-Wienke RGBM algorithm, which includes deep stops if required. Allows setting of Nitrox to 50% and selection of max PPO2. Stores the last 50 dives (approx 38hrs). Menu is very intuitive and easy to use, especially given the features. Very slim and sleek.
Cons: No attachment point for a back-up lanyard. Battery must be replaced at service centre. Must have good vision as entire watch is very small including numbers on screen (one of the smallest on the market). Easy to lose underwater (hard to find) if watch detaches from your arm. Lack of external frame/shield to help prevent scratches.
Would you buy another one: highly likely
Weblink: www.mares.com
Other comment: More information + review details at diveoz.

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