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Wireless Air Integration-Have they Gotten Better


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#1 cmm1970

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 05:07 AM

I checked in with the U/W photo community on this one about a year ago, and I wanted to get an update. If you have been using some sort of wireless interface with your dive computer, please share your experiences. Is the interface blinking out when you use your camera? Are you having to fuss with it a lot on your trips or is it a seamless addition to your kit? What brand/model are you using? Are there models that still don't work well? Give me your opinions. I had a second set of gear stolen going to Cayman last October so I am getting to reequip once again.

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#2 The Octopus

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 05:13 AM

I use a suunto D9 and have had no problems. It does require pairing when you turn the tank on. Have not lost the signal underwater as yet (knock on wood). It is somewhat compact. I expect next generation will get thiner. No interference seen from my camera (D200)
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#3 Scuba_SI

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 05:25 AM

I use an Scubapro Air Z nitrox, it has never cut out with my DS-125's.

However my Air X Nitrox used to cut out all the time, i think the problem is non-existent these days

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#4 docrobina

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 05:39 AM

Got a hoseless air-integrated Suunto Vytec. Love it. It has never lost reception while diving underwater. I had some difficulties syncing when I first got it, but it was me, and I have had no problems with that for the last >250 dives since learning how to sync properly. Not hard, just me being dumb.

The best feature, IMO, is the "air remaining time". Basically it takes the tank pressure, and current air consumption rate to estimate how much "time" is remaining in the tank. Basically how many minutes you have left at that depth. And it only requires one place to look for all your data. Really easy to manage your air with your photography. You can program in the annoying beeps at certain tank pressures, depths, etc to remind you to look at the computer too.

Since my "conversion" to digital, I like it even more than when I was a "film" person.

Ohhh, never a problem with the readouts from the hoseless connection with the Ikelite DS 125 strobes! :)

Edited by docrobina, 01 April 2007 - 05:40 AM.


#5 imasleeper

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 06:56 AM

I also use a wireless Vytec which has worked flawlessly except for a few special situations.

1. I would not recommend using a strobe beacon attached to the tank yoke for night dives. The close proximity with the transmitter can(does) interfere with signal transmission see...... http://www.scuba.com...y.asp_id_026707

2. Every time I have dived the salt pier in Bonaire I have had intermittent failures in transmission.

3. I recommend you use a backup SPG or computer with a direct hose attachment to the tank just in case there is a problem especially if you dive solo like me.

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#6 Detonate

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 08:56 AM

Me and my wife both use an Atmos Elite, and love love it!

I heard you can now get them where your computer can recieve info from 2 transmitters. i.e., not only can you check your own air, but you can see your buddies air supply on your computer. SLICK!

#7 ulcs

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 03:09 PM

My husband uses Atmos AI from Aeris. He loves it, it did blink out when the flash went off; but you had to be looking at it at the same time you flashed to notice. He now does video so that is solved if it was a problem.
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#8 LChan

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 04:18 PM

i have had my Uwatec Air Nitrox Z cut out, i now make sure the transmitter is on the same side of my body as the wrist unit. Seems to work ok.
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#9 Nunomix

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 10:19 PM

I use a Suunto D9 with wireless transmitter and never had any problem, with or without camera.

Cheers,

Nuno
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#10 betti154

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 05:18 AM

I used a SmartTec for a while and on the most part it was fine (apart from being replaced twice due to faults). It would drop out if the DS-125's battery pack came too close to my wrist. In normal shooting operation this was never really any issue.

The beeps it caused as it dropped in and out did however annoy the hell out of me. If you run your tank pressure down too low it also beeps madly, which gets very annoying!

Having you gas pressure on you wrist though is a great function, particularly with two hands glued to your camera.
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#11 John Bantin

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 07:36 AM

What about the Galileo Sol? Not only gas integration but heart-=rate integration too!
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#12 frogfish

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 07:03 PM

Gee, John, why stop with heart rate readings. For another few thousand EURO on the price tag, I'm sure someone can figure out a way to throw in real-time Doppler arterial microbubble count, real-time blood pressure and EKG, and (while we're at it) why not run a catheter to pick up blood sugar and anything else we don't want to see in the urine. And why not mate the whole thing with an underwater blackberry, an underwater ipod, and an XBox, so we can surf the net, check stock prices and email, download YouTube videos and listen to crap music, and play great games too. What about GPS? Come to think of it, though, with all those great toys on my wrist, why would I want to bother diving?

What's with the gadgetry? OK, I have an exercise watch and chest band that I use (not enough), but when I'm underwater, I really don't l want to let my heartrate get up into the optimum zone for cardio aerobic conditioning. I don't know about you, but when I've beenpushing my housing up-current for four or five minutes, I don't really need a computer read-out to tell me that my heart rate is starting to get up there.

I have a wrist compass too, the kind with a magnetised needle floating in Karo syrup (glycerine? mineral oil?). It points north 24/7, and the batteries never run out. How much would the quality of my life improve if I junked it and bought a D9 with selectable electronic compass function?

Do people really find it that difficult to read their breathing gas pressure on an (analog) gauge? On my last liveaboard trip, there were two or three people with wireless computers. Every dive it was the same thing as they went through the ritual of opening tank valves and synching their wrist computers to the tank transmitters, making sure they weren't locking on to the same channel or something. One of the two divers is a wetpixel guru (no names, of course), so naturally he had a hose analog backup gauge on his rig, so it was no problem when his tank transmitter/computer link tanked, as they always seem to do. The other guy (a Brand-X diver) didn't think he needed a backup analog gauge. Naturally, he ended up missing a dive when his transmitter wouldn't synch one morning, and had to borrow one of my spare SPGs to finish the trip.

As Stephen Colbert might put it, today's word is (or should be) "simplify". That doesn't mean consolidating as many life support functions as possible into one overly complex, vulnerable piece of electronic equipment. Computers are very good at tracking depth, time and calculating nitrogen and O2 exposure. Compasses are good at pointing north, and SPGs are good at reading tank pressure. Compasses and SPGs tend to be more reliable than any computer I've ever owned.

Me, I carry two computers on every dive. Neither is a D9.

Edited by frogfish, 06 May 2007 - 07:43 PM.

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#13 scorpio_fish

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 10:25 PM

My old Oceanic had some problems in its old age. It was replaced by a Vytec. The Vytec was a big problem. About 1 in 10 dives it wouldn't sync. No reading just an error message. It happened during a dive, too. Then there was the time it read 497 psi on the safety stop. I noticed it still read 497 when I was done. I kept breathing until the tank went dry. It still read 497. God forbid you should forget to reboot and sync before a dive.

We now both dive Aeris and have never had a problem.

We also wear analog SPG's. We have hoseless AI in order to glance at our wrist for all info while carrying a camera, not to get rid of hose. It cracks me up when people go AI and integrated octo/inflator in oder to streamline while they push their housed camera with two strobes on long arms in front of them.
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#14 Drew

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 11:47 PM

I use a Suunto Vytec hooked up to my video housing and have a backup Suunto cobra hanging on the side. This way when I shoot, I can just glance over to the computer to see the info I want without taking my eyes too far away from the camera or subject. The Vytec has to be matched to the xmitter which can be a pain if you are readying to dive and heavens forbid forget to do so(which I still do on many occasions)! But that's why having a backup is so simple and vital.
Another criticism I have of the xmitters is there are no real easy ways to tell how the battery is doing. I've had my Suunto xmitter battery die during a dive. And those 1/2 AA 3.6v batteries aren't available at your local drug store either.
While Mr Antennarius' disdain for the D9 is shared by me (particularly the associated socio-economic stigma aka bling factor), I do appreciate the design goals of the D9. Mainly to, streamline and reduce clutter. After years of dealing with a big clump of instrumentation (gauge, compass, computer), when the Suunto Cobra came out with its streamlined and integrated computer system, it was a revolutionary design achievement.

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#15 John Bantin

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 02:59 AM

Robert, I'm surprised you are not simply breath-hold diving, you old Luddite! The heart-rate monitor is not there to tell you you are having a heart attack. It's there to take your heart-rate/body function into consideration when calculating your deco - or did Dr Buhlmann base his model on your supreme example of human fitness? ...and Drew, a real eco-tourist would never get on an aeroplane let alone use a computer.

As for pairing with a transmitter the D9 is far superior to the older Vytec in this and the latest Galileo has no problem at all.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#16 craig

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 05:39 AM

Gee, John, why stop with heart rate readings...

I agree. I'm holding out for the model with an anal probe.

What's with the gadgetry? OK, I have an exercise watch and chest band that I use (not enough), but when I'm underwater, I really don't l want to let my heartrate get up into the optimum zone for cardio aerobic conditioning.

The aerobic threshold is not a problem, it's the definition of what's sustainable over time. The purpose of the sensor is to model what is going on in your body, not to tell you that you've reached your aerobic limit.

On my last liveaboard trip, there were two or three people with wireless computers. Every dive it was the same thing as they went through the ritual of opening tank valves and synching their wrist computers to the tank transmitters, making sure they weren't locking on to the same channel or something.

I would never use one of those. I did a trip with one and the boat operators invariably opened the valves causing my computer to fail its sync. Rather than wait the reset period and hold up the boat, I did essentially every dive without. Since it was shallow diving it was no big deal. You do realize that there are models without this design flaw? I would use a comventional SPG before one of these.

That doesn't mean consolidating as many life support functions as possible into one overly complex, vulnerable piece of electronic equipment. Computers are very good at tracking depth, time and calculating nitrogen and O2 exposure. Compasses are good at pointing north, and SPGs are good at reading tank pressure. Compasses and SPGs tend to be more reliable than any computer I've ever owned.

Neither compasses nor SPGs are life support equipment as you do not die if they fail. Your air supply is your life support equipment. I don't need fully redundant computers to make good decisions on a 30' max dive.

I've never had a wireless pressure sensor fail on me nor has anyone in my regular dive group. Simplifying is good and, to me, that means knowing what is needed to dive safely and not carrying more---say redundant computers and gauges for diving nowhere near decompression limits. It all depends on the challenges of the particular dive at hand.

Wireless air integration is very convenient for underwater photographers. No equipment is appropriate, suitable and necessary to all forms of diving. Optimize your rig for the type of diving you do.
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#17 Drew

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 06:38 AM

Robert, I'm surprised you are not simply breath-hold diving, you old Luddite! The heart-rate monitor is not there to tell you you are having a heart attack. It's there to take your heart-rate/body function into consideration when calculating your deco - or did Dr Buhlmann base his model on your supreme example of human fitness? ...and Drew, a real eco-tourist would never get on an aeroplane let alone use a computer.

As for pairing with a transmitter the D9 is far superior to the older Vytec in this and the latest Galileo has no problem at all.


John, eco and tourist don't really go hand in hand. Any carbon offsetting card member will tell you it's not the carbon emissions that the tourist should avoid... it's not using toilet paper (save the trees!) that'll make the real difference. :)
As for Mr Antennarius, you have to remember Robert is neo-DIR and has started DILR(Doing It Like Robert).
I've never had an issue with the Vytec that wasn't my own doing (like forgetting to do it). Once synced, I've never had a problem with the readings (I've owned the Vytec since it first came out, Suunto replaced one for me). While I probably dive a lot less than I use to, it's trudged on through some of the roughest conditions (Antarctica, South Africa etc).

I agree. I'm holding out for the model with an anal probe.


Errr ok Craig... but you do know that body temperature readings are quite accurate from the armpits and mouth?

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#18 John Bantin

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 07:05 AM

John, eco and tourist don't really go hand in hand. Any carbon offsetting card member will tell you it's not the carbon emissions that the tourist should avoid... it's not using toilet paper (save the trees!) that'll make the real difference. :)


An interesting point here that I often raise when on Egyptian live-aboards. Passengers are expected to put used toilet paper in the bin and not to flush it. This can lead to an appallingly smelly bin (that is emptied by the man who helps make your lunch) unless you understand the whole concept:
You are meant to use the hose douche and to only use the toilet paper to dry yourself afterwards.
I have four women in my house. The installation of hose douches to every toilet has led to a massive reduction in the use of toilet paper. Now don't tell me that we are wasting water. A more vast amount of water is used in the production of toilet paper. Ecology lesson over. (I am trying to go green. I have ordered a water catchment that will also serve as a sheltered verandah and I bought a diesel Golf on Friday.)

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#19 craig

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 07:09 AM

Errr ok Craig... but you do know that body temperature readings are quite accurate from the armpits and mouth?

Yes I do. I was thinking maybe it could vibrate... :)

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#20 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 07:28 AM

We also wear analog SPG's. We have hoseless AI in order to glance at our wrist for all info while carrying a camera, not to get rid of hose. It cracks me up when people go AI and integrated octo/inflator in oder to streamline while they push their housed camera with two strobes on long arms in front of them.


It's not about streamlining, it's about not having your SPG drag over the bottom if you want to make a shot close to the substrate. When you only have your SPG as a backup for your AI computer then I guess you can stow it out of the way but, like Craig, I don't consider a pressure gage as life support equipment. Moreover, based on past performance of our Oceanic VT Pro's I consider them to be pretty much full proof and fool proof, so I'm willing to take the small risk that I may have to abort a future dive due to computer failure. It is still a good idea to put an SPG (and spare computer/xmitter batteries) in your dive bag so you don't loose more than a single dive.

Bart

Ohh, and I must admid that the integrated octo/inflators do look snazzy, although the real gadget geek now of course wants the new auto inflate/deflate BCD without any inflator hose that just came out. Everything else is so yesterday :)
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