How to Choose the Best Dive Computer

best dive computer

Diving is a great recreational activity to practice if you are interested in observing the mesmerizing beauty of the deep sea. However, due to its inherent risks, scuba diving must be practiced wearing the right safety gear. The dive computer is one such device that helps divers enjoy a safe dive. Whether they are novices or experts, every diver must carry a dive computer when they leave for a dive. The dive computer gives you real-time calculations and other information that you need to dive safely, and it is an all-in-one gadget that covers the purposes of a dive watch, dive tables, and a depth gauge. 

Many dive shops in Malaysia offer dive computers for sale and rent. Read on to find out everything you need to know about dive computers and how to choose the best.

What is a Dive Computer?

Scuba diving computers are made to help you stay inside the safety parameters of your dive. A dive computer’s main function is to monitor your critical dive data, such as depth, bottom time, and ascent rates, while also calculating and displaying your No Decompression Limits (NDL) so you won’t find yourself in a decompression situation. If you ever find yourself in a decompression situation, your scuba computer will also provide you with a plan to get out of it through a series of timed deco pauses, preventing decompression sickness (DCS). To suit every diver’s requirements, dive computers are designed  in different types and models. They are,

  • The Dive Console Computer
  • The Dive Wrist Computer
  • The Dive Computer Watch
  • The Hands-Free Dive Computer 

1. The Dive Console Computer

Since a console diving computer is intended to replace the classic gauge console that once housed an analog pressure gauge, depth gauge, and possibly a compass, it is considered to be the most traditional of all designs. All dive data, tank pressure, and a digital compass are included in the new fully digitalized console dive computer’s single, user-friendly computing package. Better console computers, such as the Galileo G2C and Aladin H Matrix, have a handy quick-release fitting that makes it possible to detach the console from the high-pressure hose for simple data downloading, secure transit, and storage.

2. The Dive Wrist Computer

The dive wrist computer is a small and unobtrusive device that offers a huge screen with readable alphanumerics. It comes with a contoured casing design that molds into the diver’s forearm. All diving information can be read on this device at a glance and it can be easily unbuckled and stored after each dive. With wireless air integration, some wrist-mount dive computers can track tank pressure, provide true remaining bottom time (RBT), and allow air consumption to be taken into account when calculating decompression. The high-pressure hose is replaced in these systems by a small transmitter that screws into your first stage and transmits psi/bar data via radio signals to the computer that is attached to your wrist.

3. The Dive Computer Watch

This type of dive computers are highly fashionable and can be worn not only underwater, but also throughout your week as a regular accessory. They combine a topside wristwatch design with an underwater computer. Despite being small, these computers pack a powerful computational punch, and many divers find it to be a great convenience as they can be used both above and below the surface.

4. The Hands-Free Dive Computer

The Galileo HUD Dive Computer is a cutting-edge, hands-free, mask-mounted dive computer made to keep you totally immersed in your dive and provide you greater freedom while you’re below. It keeps all of your crucial dive information right in front of you thanks to a virtual, floating heads-up display that makes use of near-eye precision optics. The screen neatly tilts up and out of the way before or after a dive, as well as whenever you don’t need it. You can explore the configurable menu quickly and easily without having to take your eyes off of your way by using the straightforward push-wheel knob.

What to Consider When Choosing a Dive Computer?

A dive computer is a long-term investment for every diver, therefore, it is important to know how to select the right one. If you are purchasing a dive computer for yourself, make sure to follow these tips:

1. Set your budget.

A fairly good dive computer can generally cost RM1,500.00 upwards. At times it can even reach up to RM5,000.00 depending on the brand and the features. However, unless you are a professional diver, a middle-range computer would be more than enough to meet your requirements. The most advanced computers are typically required by professional divers and more experienced individuals who want air integration. If you’re a serious beginner with a sizable budget and you want to begin with air integration right away, that might be an exception. More costly computers offer a wider range of gas mixtures, algorithms, and navigational settings. Your computer will be generally more customized the more money you spend on it.

2. Check on air system integration.

Some computers can function alone because they are “independent.” They will swap out a few dive equipment components for you (depth gauge, compass, etc.), but they won’t actually attach to your air supply. They are all that is actually required for the vast majority of recreational divers. The majority of sophisticated dive computers, which are more expensive, are “integrated,” which means that they are linked to your regulator and oxygen supply. An air system integrated computer can accurately track the air in your tank and provide you with calculations.

3. Follow up on the algorithms

By entering information such as depth, time, and pressure into an algorithm, your computer calculates dive times and no decompression schedules. Some models even have numerous algorithms on them! Each of these algorithms has a bias. They will either make more frequent, longer stops, or fewer, shorter stops because generally they all are conservative. The same is true of their suggestions against flying and time limits for all dives. Get a feel of the relative conservatism of each model when contrasting dive computer alternatives. If you are less experienced, what suits you the most is a more conservative dive computer. Even seasoned divers frequently employ more cautious algorithms to be on the safe side.

4. Select between models.

Selecting which model of dive computer to buy always depends on the personal requirement of the diver. First, consider your dive experience and the current dive routine. Then look forward to where you see yourself in a year or so. Always remember that a dive computer is a device that you are going to use in the long run. The most reliable technique to ensure you’ll be delighted with the computer you buy is to be aware of your personal preferences. You can try as many models as you can while renting dive computers and make the right choice before purchasing one. You may visit top-notch dive shops in Malaysia like Scuba Warehouse and do your experiments with display models. If you are still finding it difficult to make a choice, you may seek assistance from your dive shop staff and they will be more than happy to help you.

How to Use a Dive Computer?

The dive computers are simple to use. It all comes down to paying attention to what your computer is telling you and acting accordingly. For instance, when diving with a computer, you can monitor your air consumption, follow your descent, check the water temperature, and perhaps take a bearing on the direction of your dive using the digital compass as you begin. You just need to keep an eye on your dive time, air consumption, and NDL status while you’re underwater. The No Decompression Limit (NDL) is what tells you the amount of remaining time you have on the bottom at your present depth before you zero out. 

Your NDLs in particular will help you determine when it is appropriate to begin moving towards the surface based on all of these data points. Your computer’s ascent rate indicator will keep track on your ascent speed as you ascend and will sound an alarm if you start ascending too quickly. Your computer will also give you your depth range and a countdown to complete your safety stop.

How to Maintain Your Dive Computer Properly?

Proper maintenance is a must when it comes to dive computers. Every two years or so, a dive computer’s depth accuracy should be checked to ensure your safety. In order to help assure accuracy, the tank pressure gauge should also undergo routine maintenance if it is air-integrated. Additionally, batteries need to be replaced or charged periodically. 

After every dive, properly rinse your dive computer with fresh water and dry it well. Avoid dropping, and store away from direct sunlight in a well-ventilated environment. As a responsible diver, never forget to check the battery’s capacity before each dive.

Where to Buy High-Quality Dive Computers?

If you are looking for a high-quality dive computer that carries innovative technology and cutting-edge features, Scuba Warehouse is your go-to destination. At Scuba Warehouse Malaysia you can choose from a wide range of dive computers that come with various features at reasonable prices. No matter whether you are a novice, an expert, a recreational diver, or a professional diver, Scuba Warehouse Malaysia offers all kinds of dive computers and other diving gear that will meet your requirements. Visit Scuba Warehouse Malaysia to get high-end diving equipment from top brands at affordable rates for a safe dive.