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A Dive Computer is an essential piece of dive equipment these days and as technology advances, we are finding they are becoming more and more integrated with our everyday lives.
The dive computer performs complex calculations every second of your dive to constantly advise you of your dive time limits, helps to keep you safer with various alerts for dive time, nitrogen loading, ascent rate and cylinder pressure on compatible computers. There is a massive choice of dive computer manufacturers that each offer something a little different but the leading brands which include Suunto, Oceanic, Mares, Scubapro, Aqua Lung and Shearwater provide some of the best dive computer models, reliability and after-sales customer support in the world.
Whilst the functions and features on dive computers can vary widely there are only three basic formats; a wrist-mounted version that will have a large easy to read the screen, a console-mounted version that often features air integration via the hose and a small watch size version that offers many of the features of the larger computers but in a compact, low profile housing that allows it to be worn for everyday use as well.
Wireless air integration via a sender unit that fits into a high-pressure port of the regulator first stage sends cylinder pressure data to compatible dive computers to display your cylinder pressure on screen as well as in your dive logs. The computer can also use this information to calculate air time remaining values which makes it a very useful optional upgrade.
A recent technological advancement to be brought to dive computers is Bluetooth connectivity which supersedes the need to physically connect the dive computer to a PC using an interface cable. Bluetooth allows smart devices to wirelessly connect to compatible dive computers to download dive data, share dive profiles to social media, change settings and update the computer firmware. Many dive computers still support a physical transfer cable though.