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SurfLung
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Computer Diving

Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:19 pm

Thoughts on Computer Diving...
- I have a Suunto ZOOP Dive Computer and I love it. But, I've learned a few things about it in the past couple of years and thought it might be valuable to share what I've learned:

-1. Change the battery regularly or keep a spare. A couple of years ago the ZOOP seemed to be running but wouldn't work while diving... It gave the flashing ER for error mode. I actually had to use my watch and Rich's PADI decompression tables on one of our trips to Fortune Pond when the ZOOP was acting up like this. BUT, a simple battery change fixed it. And in fact, pulling the battery and re-inserting solves other error modes... See below.

-2. After setting personal settings, pay attention to where you are and re-set if necessary. In my ignorance when I first got the ZOOP, I set the personal setting for 2 + signs... Meaning it should calculate extra conservatively because I'm old and sickly. Then, for some reason I also set it for High Altitude... Thinking that would protect me even more. As it turns out, I live at 1600 feet above sea level and the ZOOP has a higher-than-sea-level setting for diving altitudes above 1500. That's the medium high altitude setting. I had set it for even higher than that... The 3rd level, highest altitude setting. This has served me fine for diving in Minnesota and even Fortune Pond. Wazee is lower altitude... about halfway between sea level and 1500 feet. So that worked fine, too.
- But in Cozumel last year, I dove with a group at about 80 feet deep thru the Palancar Gardens. My ZOOP approached and passed the "No DECO" time as I observed everyone on the group continuing to dive. I made a judgment call based on my having lots of air left to do the resulting 9 minutes of decompression that the ZOOP indicated. But everybody else just did a 3 minute safety stop.
- On the way over to the 2nd dive location, everybody was saying how it was only going to be 30 feet deep with unlimited no-deco bottom time. My ZOOP dive planner was telling me I had only 9 minutes at 30 feet. By the time we got there, it was reading 24 minutes of no deco time at 30 feet... But again, everybody else was talking unlimited time at that depth.
- Long story short, we had a dive master with the boat and a dive instructor traveling with us and bother were doing no-deco dive plans. I made another judgment call to reference the ZOOP but do the same thing as those guys. And sure enough, halfway thru the dive, my ZOOP had run up a decompression debt. And by the end of the dive, it said I needed a 24 minute decompression stop... All while everyone else was doing a simple 3 minute safety stop. I concluded that there was something wrong with my computer and followed the dive master with no deco problems of any kind. But the ZOOP didn't like that...
- Since the ZOOP called for decompression and I didn't do it, it went into error mode and could not be re-set with the external buttons. I had to physically remove the battery, count to 10, and re-insert the battery. And somewhere in all of this, I realized the problem was my altitude setting. Anyway, I set it for Sea Level, and it worked perfectly (and consistent with other divers computers) for all of my subsequent diving at Cozumel.

- 3. Downloading Dives to Desktop Computers - ZOOP has an expensive cable and online software for downloading dives to your desktop computer. The cable has a head on it with some circuitry that I think must coordinate with the most recent update of the software. Last year I logged onto the software and it automatically updated itself. And from then on, it would not download dives from the computer reliably. I even sent the ZOOP to a repair center in Chicago but they said it downloaded dives perfectly for them... and, maybe I need a new $100 cable.
- I found a public domain (free) desktop dive computer software online called "Subsurface". It downloads dives from lots of dive computers including SUUNTO. It uploads the previous dive files I had downloaded to the ZOOP software. And it downloads directly from my ZOOP just fine using the original cable. So, that solved the ZOOP desktop computer issue.

- Anybody else have some good Dive Computer stories?
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SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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rhwestfall
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Re: Computer Diving

Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:37 pm

My alter-ego spends time on tri-mix and multiple gasses for deco out on deep-ish wrecks in the Lake all kitted out in modern technical equipment. I'm sure I look quite odd (okay, it might have nothing to do with diving or gear) when I am diving my DH on a quick outing for a River drift or a local shallow quarry trip with friends and I am wearing the same DC.....
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

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BigMike
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Re: Computer Diving

Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:50 pm

Eben, thanks for the detailed instructions on the Zoop. It's my primary computer and good to know when I start seeing problems. It figured that it needed to go into error mode because based on its data, you weren't diving anymore. Great info buddy. Thanks, Mike
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Nemrod
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Re: Computer Diving

Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:49 am

Not any good dive computer stories but I do like my Aeris Atomos II. It was a closeout for like $150. It has a liberal algorithm, big display numbers and big green buttons that I can see and a great graphic bar display which is all I use it for. I surf the bar. I need another computer, maybe for next year, that can handle trimix for a dive I am planning. James

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Bryan
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Re: Computer Diving

Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:22 am

Best $55.00 I've ever spent. Ron convinced me to buy it on E-bay and I hated it at 1st but after doing some reading and talking with some of the Canadian divers up at Portage about all the variations possible with the software I learned to love it. No buttons to leak, battery is easy to replace and the display is easy to read. The software engineers at Cochran respond directly to you if you have questions.
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rhwestfall
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Re: Computer Diving

Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:52 pm

Just don't ever let the battery go full dead. I had the Air version of that in the early 90's. Awesome and ahead if it's time. One of the only PDC's that would not lock out if you hit deco, and skipped something. Always calculates a solution. In my 8-year SI, the battery was removed so it didn't leak, and the thing "bricked". The company was really helpful, and gave me a really great deal on turning it in for a new model (EMC 20h). I use it now as a back-up/lost deco on my dives as gas switching is not so great with them. Tactile light is a bummer with heavy neoprene gloves. Software is a little "clunky", but all in all, you have the best damn $55 computer ever!
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

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Ron
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Re: Computer Diving

Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:57 pm

Supposedly, according to Cochran, all later generation computers have non-volatile memory for their programming, so having a battery go dead is not a deal breaker like it once was. Really, most computers made after the middle 90s do now. A few of the old rectangular Oceanics and some of the old Uwatecs will absolutely poop their code if you allow the battery to go all the way dead, so be careful if you score one used with a dead battery.

I will say that, with later model dive computers, watch the crappy overseas depth sensors. I've had 2 Suuntos (both Gekkos), and 1 Zeagle N2ition (which is a Seiko computer made for several OEM vendors) go bad, and they were all depth sensors. I'm not particularly hard on computers either.

I like Shearwaters and Cochrans. Their depth sensors are not the crappy kind that come on most new dive computers. Also, I had a Shearwater Pursuit (their first computer to my knowledge) and it is still running. I had it serviced once in 8 years. I've always done the battery change myself on that one. I now own a Perdix, which is in my opinion the finest and most unobtrusive computer ever build. Unlike many computers, it's made in Canada so you can actually get ahold of someone when you have a question. They also develop their own firmware in house, as well as all other aspects of their production.

Being a former military guy, I obviously have a soft spot in my heart for Cochran as well. They are responsive, and they stand behind every computer they build, including ones that were made when I was learning to drive a car back in 1996.

I love dive computers man. I probably have ten of them, all the way back to the Orca Edge. Half the fun of diving is trying different stuff. For actual vintage events, I only use tables though. I like the computer between my ears as well. All dive computers will fail eventually, so having backup tables for anything technical is never a bad idea either.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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Creed
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Re: Computer Diving

Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:27 pm

I wish I hadn't sold my Orca Edge. One of these days I'll luck out and grab another on the cheap.
I like my Xr-1. Passed it on to my son now. I use an older air integrated computer. Not a huge fan of air integrated, so I think I'll end up going back to a wrist mount for my next one.
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Hear the bells ring as the tide rigging sings.
It's a son of a gun of a chorus" - Jimmy Buffet

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rhwestfall
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Re: Computer Diving

Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:41 pm

Does using this count?
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Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

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SurfLung
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Re: Computer Diving

Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:25 pm

- I just bought another Suunto ZOOP... This one is for my wife. I got her the same thing as me so that I don't have to re-learn a different computer. One thing I highly recommend is printing out the online ZOOP Operating Manual. I printed mine in color and took it to an office supply store to have it spiral bound. There are a lot of features and functions represented in the digital text and graphics. I have found the manual beneficial to refresh my knowledge of the workings from time to time. For example, that whole deal about the ceiling depth and the up and down arrows... If you miss the no deco limit and have that stuff displaying unexpectedly, it's probably good to know what it means... :oops:
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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Ron
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Re: Computer Diving

Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:17 pm

I don't know if they still do, but Suunto used to give dealers these little laminated cards that you could stick in your logbook for their dive computers, similar to a quick start sheet that came with a SLR camera. If you can find one, they are super handy for keeping in your logbook on the dive boat. I have one for my Suuntos.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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Drado
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Re: Computer Diving

Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:46 pm

Ah... Suunto...

My computer story is still one that is in progress. I have both a Suunto D6 and D9 - both of which have bitten the dust due to sensor problems.

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When I called my local service centre to inquire about repairs, apparently what that involves is replacement of basically all the internals and not just the sensor - with all the attendant costs. Since I had other computers to use as well, I decided to see what I could do.

Taking the computers completely apart was rather straightforward. And its surprising how similar the internals of each computer are:

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The sensor is that little thing with a ribbon cable on the bottom. I identified it as an MS7912 chip:

Image

Unable to locate a similar chip, I tried a slightly different analog SMD chip based on the MS 767 pressure die. But unfortunately, due to the differences, the default pressure on switching to dive mode was around 20m.

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Image

Will try again with a MS5412 sensor, but if I can find an original MS7912 sensor, I'd be much happier!

At any rate, they'll be relegated to just an exercise, and maybe just in the role of backup pending testing in my pressure pot. Currently using a Deepblu Cosmiq, which is great since it has a large, easily readable display.

Image

-------——

Update: 11/21. Found a sensor based on the 7912 chip. Managed to transfer it onto the original ribbon cable. Computer is now back functioning great!
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