Basic Knowledge about Dive Computers

dive-computer Dangers of Diving

Diving has allowed the public to discover the many underwater wonders of the world. However, visiting these majestic sites underwater hides a risk that is often a trade-off between the wonders and the risks of diving. It isn't sharks or boats or anything else that may exist on or in the water. The real danger to divers is decompression sickness sometimes referred to as Caissons disease or the bends.

Anyone who goes from a high pressure to low pressure environment can be afflicted by the disease which is also known as the bends. The disease is a result of Henrys law, which in summary states that gas will form bubbles in a fluid when the pressure goes down. In terms of the bends, nitrogen is typically the gas and the blood is the fluid.

When the process occurs slowly, such as in an airplane cabin, the lungs can remove the gas before bubbles form. When it occurs quickly, such as a diver coming up too fast, it can result in itching skin and rashes, pain in the joints, paralysis and potentially death.

Prevention of Bends

Preventing the bends requires the diver to come up slowly, giving the gas a chance to naturally de-gas. The number of variables to consider can make most calculations of the time required to come up very difficult to determine. That is why the dive computer was invented. It uses timers and sensors in order to determine how deep the diver is and how long the diver was at that depth. Diving computers perform calculations in real time and determines how the diver needs to come up in order to prevent the bends.

Just about every brand and model of dive computer possesses the capability to sense the time that a diver has been at the varied depths. From this, the diving computer can estimate the divers blood-gas level and figure out: the time interval within which the diver can surface without worry about the bends; when and how long a diver should stay at each depth in order to safely surface; how deep the diver can go; and so on.

The Diver Interface

Visual displays which should be read clearly and visible while diving, are present on many forms of divers computer. To ensure that the diver does not experience information overload, the dive computer display should be uncluttered. Better models of diving computers, in addition to the information provided above, will display information such as the speed at which the diver is rising, the temperature of the water and the time of decompression at each depth. For analysis afterwards, many high end models can transmit the entire dive onto a computer.

Certain defining features can really set a dive computer ahead of the pack. By the time a diver has surfaced, high end dive watches will display the time before a diver can board an airplane. One of the quickest ways to get the bends is to board an airplane too soon. High end models are also able to keep track of the air supply in the scuba tanks.

When it comes to buying a dive computer for yourself, you should check to see how much information is provided on the display and whether or not the display is clear and visible, for practicality underwater. You should also check for other features and see what underwater variables are being kept track of in terms of dive quantities. A recommended choice of an excellent diving computer would have to be the Suunto D9.

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