Dive computers are sophisticated precision instruments. They are designed to withstand pressure, currents, salt water and a range of temperatures but they still require proper care by the user to have a long life. Dive computers keep you safe underwater by monitoring your bottom time, depth, no deco status, ascent rate and more. However, water and electronics are an unnatural pairing which needs an element of caution. Our care guide below will help you get the most out of your diving computer - which is a major investment - for years of diving into the future.
- Correct washing
Wash and dry the dive computer after use. Rinse very carefully after any salt-water dive. Pay special attention to the pushers which can trap salt and other deposits like silt. Push the buttons while rinsing or submerged to clear the pins of any debris. The pressure sensor area, water contacts and USB cable port are external contacts. These are susceptible to salt build up and corrosion so gently scrub them with a soft brush and mild detergent. They can also get into contact with sunscreen and sweat. Repeated sunscreen exposure can cause distortion of clear plastic faceplates, making the display blurry.
If you use the USB cable before washing the dive computer, the cable (device end) should be rinsed as well. Carefully clean the housing with a moist soft cloth or chamois. Do not leave your diving computer in a bucket of water (for rinsing). The display stays on under water and consumes battery life. Do not use compressed air or high pressure water hoses to clean your dive computer. These can permanently damage the pressure sensors.
- Straps and Buckles
Check your strap for wear and tear prior to use. Elastomer and rubber straps can perish if not looked after properly and buckles can rust or snap. Many divers are now opting for elasticated bungee mounts as they have a longer life and don’t require an extender strap over drysuits. See our Dive Computer Accessories section for replacement straps and bungee mounts.
- Screen Protectors
Display shields and screen protectors are designed to protect your display from scratches, scuffs and even UV rays. They can be made from anything like rigid plastic to thin peel and stick films. See our Dive Computer Accessories page for screen protectors to fit your brand of computer.
Battery life depends on how much you use your computer, including advanced functions like digital compass, wireless transmitter and Bluetooth. Connecting to your PC or smart device regularly will run extra hardware to transfer data; settings such as screen brightness will also use more power. Extreme water temperatures and chemical make-up of the battery itself will also affect it. Most manufacturers state a two year life based on the batteries meeting certain requirements and specifications. Be aware of unbranded and cheaper variants which can use a different (cheaper) chemical process to generate the electricity. These will always burn themselves out quicker so opt for a genuine battery kit.
A sudden change in temperature can cause computer failure upon entry, particularly after a long period of inactivity. Cool batteries perform well but a sudden increase or decrease in temperature will affect the chemical reaction. This results in a loss of power, lowering the voltage output which causes the computer to switch off. By the time you have got out of the water the battery has warmed up and your computer happily fires up again!
Contact an authorized service centre for battery replacement. We offer full battery change services at Mike's Dive Store with quick turnaround times. It is imperative that the change is made properly to avoid water ingress into the battery compartment or computer. This can happen if the face plate is not replaced properly, or screws are mis threaded. Defects caused by improper battery installation are not covered by the warranty.
Rechargeable batteries will slowly lose their charge over time. Always charge before you go diving to avoid disappointment and check the battery status before storing.
When travelling with your dive computer put it in a bag or other container where it cannot move around or get bumped. When flying, turn your dive computer to airplane mode and keep in your hand luggage if possible.
Protect the unit from shock, extreme heat, direct sunlight (see batteries above) and chemicals. Store somewhere dry in a padded case when not in use. The sensitive internal electronic components may be damaged if the device is dropped or otherwise mishandled.
- Software Updates
Software updates enhance the functionality of your dive computer through new features and improvements. They can also be used to fix bugs. Updates can usually be done via desktop software available for OS and Windows. It is strongly encouraged that you install updates as soon as they are available.
Do not try to open or repair a diving computer by yourself. If you are experiencing problems with the device, please contact your nearest authorized service centre. A computer service is recommended every two years or after 200 dives (whichever comes first). Remember to register your computer with the manufacturer to get personalized support. This service includes a general operational check, replacement of the battery, and water resistance check using a proper pressure pot. This service requires special tools and training. Do not attempt to do any servicing yourself.
Should moisture appear inside the case or battery compartment, immediately have the instrument checked by your local service centre.