Have you recently got into scuba diving? It’s likely that even if you haven’t already, you’ll at some point invest in one of the best dive computers available on the market. Dive computers are essential pieces of kit that help you to stay safe when under the water, as they can be used to alert you to everything from the amount of air or gas you have left in your cylinder, whether you’ve been underwater too long if you are descending or ascending too quickly.
Basically, they are one of your lifelines when you’re deep under the surface of the water. They also can help you get more out of the whole diving experience because you can log different metrics and information about each dive you participate in. This is handy for monitoring your progress in scuba diving.
As they are designed to accompany you on your exploration under the water and improve the overall experience, they are built to be robust enough to handle extreme conditions and environments. As well as being waterproof during those low depths you love to dive and explore at, they are also meant to handle all manner of accidental bumps and knocks, whether it’s in your dive bag or against coral reefs, wrecks and any other hard and rough surfaces it may hit against.
As well designed as they are to last a long time, you have to do your bit too in establishing a habit of properly taking care of your dive computer to ensure it works as well as it should, for as long as possible.
In the following post, we will take a look then at some things you to do to ensure your dive computer is all ready for action when you are.
Taking Care of Your Dive Computer
Similarly, to the things you need to check before hitting the road in your car, such as checking the gas gauge, the rear-view mirror and adjusting your seat, there are a number of basic, but essential things you need to do before diving with your computer. This includes:
- Checking the battery to make sure it is fully charged and operational. You don’t want to get on the dive boat, ready to plunge into the water only to realize your dive computer battery needs replacing, do you? If it’s one that can be easily replaced, make sure you install your new battery correctly and check the O-rings in the battery housing ensuring that they’re clean and free from damage.
- Does your dive computer have a transmitter? Check the battery powering that too.
- As the majority of dive computer manufacturers advise carrying out service check-ups routinely every couple of years, you should make sure you check its functionality, seals, and calibration. This will prevent avoidable problems ruining a perfectly good diving trip or vacation.
- Check any hose connections, buckles and wristbands for signs of wear and tear, corrosion or other damage. Replace as and when necessary.
- Check that the screen protector is fixed securely in place and free from damage.
- Ensure all onboard buttons work properly.
If your dive computer passes the tests outlined above, you are now ready to set the basics. This includes:
- Setting the date, time, whether you want to use Celsius or Fahrenheit and meters or feet.
- Setting it for use with nitrox or air.
- If your device has a default mode that automatically switches it to nitrox after 24 hours, you will need to make sure the settings are right again if you are planning on filling your cylinder with 32% nitrox.
- Make sure all the appropriate alarms are set, like the no-decompression limits, bottom time, depth and air.
- Making sure you fully understand how the safety-stop function works on your particular dive computer model. While some have automatic settings, others allow you to program them yourself.
After the Dive
Once you return to the surface and dry land after an exciting time exploring the watery deeps, there are things you should always make sure you do to keep your dive computer in good working condition. Including:
- Rinsing your dive computer thoroughly with clean and fresh water after every single dive. Make sure you swirl it around in the water to dislodge any debris or sand that may be trapped inside it. Then carefully dry it off with a soft towel to remove any silt, salt or other organic matter from it.
- Pay especially close attention to the metal contacts, using mild detergent and a soft bristle toothbrush to remove any sunscreen, perspiration, salt or other matter that may have built up.
- Protect your dive computer from solvents or harsh chemicals, direct sunlight, and heat. All of these can weaken and ruin the waterproof seals.
- Always store it away in a well-ventilated, dry and cool area. Avoid leaving your dive computer in damp conditions for prolonged periods of time.
- When you’re traveling with your dive computer in tow, pack it in a bag with lots of additional padding (wetsuits are particularly good for this) and always keep it in your carry-on luggage and bags if possible.
Dive computers are incredibly hardy and will put up with a lot of abuse, particularly if you’re a more experienced diver and can afford to splash out on one of the pricier models. However, they are not completely damage-free. You need to look after them properly if you want them to provide a reliable service for you.
Hopefully, we have shown just how easy it is to take care of that nice new dive computer you have. All that is involved in some simple and quick tasks, many of which take no more than a few minutes to complete, that give you the peace of mind that you can enjoy your diving experience without having to worry about whether or not your dive computer is going to break down when you are 50ft below the surface and can’t replace the battery or fiddle too much with the settings.