Everything You Need to Know About Dive Computers

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A dive computer is an indispensable piece of diving equipment which has truly revolutionised the scuba diving world, allowing divers to maintain full awareness during their time underwater and safely enjoy their dive to the fullest. Our guide will help you decide which dive computer is best for you, and you can also browse our online range.

What Is a Dive Computer and What Does It Do?

Dive computers were introduced to simplify the calculation of an ascent profile, informing divers of the depth and length of stops to make when surfacing. Accurate calculations significantly lower the risk of decompression sickness (known colloquially as ‘the bends’) once a diver has surfaced from their time underwater.

Most commonly, dive computers are used to indicate the time remaining for a no-stop or no-decompression limit; this is when divers can safely surface without the requirement to perform decompression stops. In short, dive computers allow you to maximise your bottom time whilst remaining safe both below and above water. 

How Do Dive Computers Work?

To provide divers with this information, a dive computer registers the depth and elapsed time of the dive being undertaken, applying this data to a decompression model to determine the dissolved nitrogen in the wearer’s body. As the dive depth increases, so does nitrogen loading; as such, depending on the depth of the dive, nitrogen in the body must be given sufficient time to safely leave the tissues. If a diver exceeds the no-decompression limit, they must follow a series of planned stops in order to surface safely.

Do You Need a Dive Computer?

A fully-functioning dive computer is considered one of the most important pieces of equipment for any scuba diver, whether you’re a beginner embarking on your first dive or a professional with multiple dives under your belt. This is because a dive computer reduces doubt when underwater; whereas divers would historically calculate their own ascent based on decompression tables, a dive computer can provide this information automatically, helping to lower the possibility of injury or even fatality.

What’s more, beyond their primary function, scuba diving computers have been developed to provide additional helpful information, allowing divers to truly make the most of their diving experience.

About Dive Computer Displays

Dive computers have easy-to-read displays (also available in colour) that provide divers with the following essential information:

  • No-stop limits
  • Dive depth
  • Time
  • Ascent rate
  • No-stop time remaining
  • Emergency decompression
  • Previous dive information
  • Low battery warning
  • Enriched air compatible

How to Choose the Best Dive Computer

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Choosing the right dive computer can be the difference between a good dive and a great one. After all, dive computers are one of the most essential pieces of dive equipment you can buy – they do keep you alive and that is pretty important.

Let’s take some time breaking down the different aspects of dive computers, what they do, and why you need one.

Provide Decompression Times

Dive computers provide you with decompression times which basically means they tell you how long you can stay at a particular depth without increasing your chance of decompression sickness (where nitrogen bubbles appear in your body after a dive). If you go into decompression accidentally, having a dive computer will tell you which steps you need to take to ascend to a particular depth and how long you need to stay there to adjust.

Record Diving Depth

Dive computers are also fantastic at telling you how deep you’re diving so that you don’t exceed the maximum depths or dive to unsafe depths that put you at risk. Having a dive computer also helps you avoid any payouts to insurance companies as they provide evidence that you haven’t dived below the recommended safe depth.

You Can Upload All the Information

Another beneficial aspect of dive computers is that you can upload all of the information you gather on a dive onto your computer. This allows you to keep a comprehensive online log of all your dive activities. Additionally, you can also upload photos and maps alongside each dive for your records, as well as leave notes. This is not only useful if you return to the dive site again, but it also means you’re able to share your trip with other divers on social media.

Air Transmitter

An extra feature of dive computers is the air transmitter. This feature allows you to easily monitor your current air pressure through pressure data sent through a wireless transmitter. It also tells you how long the air in your tank will last, taking into account your average breathing rate and tank pressure, at your current depth.

Monitors Multiple Gases

As you become a more experienced diver, you may move to more technical diving trips that require more than one cylinder of oxygen. Dive computers can have an additional feature that is able to monitor each separate cylinder and the different levels of oxygen, keeping you informed throughout your dive.

Rechargeable Batteries

As we all take steps to be more environmentally friendly in our daily lives and activities, it is now possible to enjoy dive computers that come with rechargeable batteries. All you have to do is plug your dive computer into a USB port and it will recharge for you. Once charged, dive computers tend to last for around 20 dives.

The Three Types of Dive Computer

Once you’ve made the decision to buy a dive computer and figured out the functions that are most important to you, there are three main styles you can choose from:

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  • Wrist style: Perhaps the most popular choice, wrist dive computers are lightweight, convenient, and easy to read as they sit right on a wrist mount.
  • Watch style: Great for diving holidays, the watch style dive computer can be used just like a watch when you’re not in the water and then specifically for diving when you’re under the water. It has most of the functions of other dive computers, but does tend to be a bit more expensive.
  • Console computer: The console computer replaces your current pressure and depth gauge that is attached via a hose to your regulators. Very popular in America, the console computer is less convenient to take with you on a dive but does a great job at monitoring your oxygen levels, depth and safety.

What Is the Best Dive Computer for You?

As with many things in life, choosing the right dive computer really does come down to personal preference. You can find all the dive equipment we sell in our online dive shop, where you will find everything you need for the ultimate diving adventure!

In addition to choosing between the three main dive computer styles, it is important to consider your budget, the material you’d prefer, and whether you’d like a lightweight strap, as well as the functionality of your device.

For beginners, a fantastic option is the Aqua Lung i100. The simplified interface provides all the essential information for divers, and includes vital functions such as audible alarms and warning LEDs, all for an affordable price.

For more technical divers or an advanced level dive, the Descent™ Mk2i combines a dive computer, dive watch and day-to-day watch in one. This model boasts bluetooth connectivity to integrate with smartphones, and includes additional features such as an underwater compass and dive log to store previous dive data.

Explore Our Excellent Dive Computer Range Today

Our comprehensive range of dive computers has been selected by our expert team, who truly understand a diver’s needs. With so many options available, we’re sure to have the best scuba diving computer to suit your individual requirements.

If you would like to find out more about dive computers and how to find the best one for your dive, you can get in touch with our team at Oyster Diving and we’ll be happy to advise you on the best dive computer for your next diving trip.

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