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Dive computer goes bonkers.

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On Saturday about 15 minutes into a dive I'm chilling out at 20' (or at least I thought I was at 20') and I notice that my computer is flashing a warning.

 

I looked closer and it was saying that I was in Deco mode. And that I was in 120 ft of water....

 

I knew that I was not 120' deep (well at least I hope I wasnt as I was with a bunch of Open water students) and that I was no where near decompression limits so I just ignored my comptuer and went on with the dive.

 

I dont know how long it had been going off since I dont normally look at my computer on such dives. But After that I checked back every so often to see what it was saying just out of curiosity. As the dive progressed I earned more deco time. I found it very funny when I would have had to dig a hole to get under the ceiling. And then when I ascended, the computer registered me as decending. By the time I got to the surface my computer registered me at 160' and on the surface I continued to decend. After 10 minutes on the it had me at 200'

 

When I got back on the boat I proudly announced to the captain that I was the first person ever to put their computer into deco mode in 20' of water. He agreed.

 

It was all fun and games since the malfunction happened in 20' of water. But had it happened on a deeper dive it would have been scary.

 

For thouse wondering the computer was Oceanic Atom. I believe the malfuction was due to a dead battery as the low battery warning had been flasing for a few weeks. But I wont know for sure untill I get a fresh battery and see if it goes back to normal.

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It was all fun and games since the malfunction happened in 20' of water.  But had it happened on a deeper dive it would have been scary.

 

Hi William, this is very serious, and I am relieved that it happened to you in the shallow water and not to one of the inexperienced divers in deeper water. I personnally know of a few cases of bends, and the most recent one was precisely related to a similar malfunction.

 

It happened not long ago, an inexperienced diver was doing a 100' dive (not too deep I reckon), but some time into the dive the computer gone crazy and wouldn't stop asking the diver to go up. Well, unfortunately the diver followed the computer's instructions and ended up in a decompression chamber a few hours later.

 

The diver was fine after a few days of treatment, but I think instructors are not stressing the fact that you should disregard your computer when it goes insane. Common sense!

 

Safe diving!

 

Luiz

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It's quite likely to be the battery. I personally had problems twice with dive computers of a different brand (Uwatec). Once, the display went blank and it started ringing non-stop during the dive. On another occasion, it registered a dive even after I'd gone back to the surface (similar to your incident).

 

In both cases, the battery needed to be replaced. The interesting thing to note is that on these computers, the battery capacity is expressed in %, and when you get close to 50%, which is when these problems occurred, you should get your battery changed, not wait until it gets well below 50%.

 

Dive safe,

Mat

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Hi William,

 

I've had similar problems with one of my Atoms (version 1) and a battery change seamed to fix the problem with the exception that my dive screen now says LEU instead of SEA to indicate I'm in dive mode. I'll see how it works in Indosnesia in 2 weeks before sending it back to Oceanic. Good thing I have backup.

 

Doug

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It's quite likely to be the battery.  I personally had problems twice with dive computers of a different brand (Uwatec).  Once, the display went blank and it started ringing non-stop during the dive.  On another occasion, it registered a dive even after I'd gone back to the surface (similar to your incident).

 

In both cases, the battery needed to be replaced.  The interesting thing to note is that on these computers, the battery capacity is expressed in %, and when you get close to 50%, which is when these problems occurred,  you should get your battery changed, not wait until it gets well below 50%.

Uwatec these days will not replace a battery until it is under something like 10%. I tried, and it was rejected.

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He he. They do in Asia. Try sending yours to Hong Kong... This being said, the models I was referring to are the older Aladins. Maybe they've changed their battery metering system in newer models, as battery capacities seem to decrease much faster than on older models...

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We've had the same thing happen with a Suunto Mosquito. At about 100ft, Julie's computer started to say she was at 200+ feet, and bouncing up and down between 100 and something rediculously deep. Needless to say it told her to immediately go up..and up..and up. Luckily we always dive with 2 computers each, so it was easy to double check the numbers on the other computer and just ascend very slowly.

 

When we came home we discussed the matter with a local suunto dealer, who got our profiles and sent them to Suunto. Dive computers should not give erroneous data, even if starved for power, or if they flood (in Julie's case it looks like a tiny bit of water got inside due to a faulty o-ring after a battery replacement). Funny thing is, not that long after Suunto started to sell their batteries for the Mosquito with a replacement back cap :)

 

Cor

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I had the same thing happen with a Sunnto Vytec - on a dive i'd done dozens of times, it started beeping at me, flashing a pO2 alarm. I was on 36%, and the dive is 85ft - no way i could have violated. Further inspection showed that it though i was at 185ft. Cleaned the interior(minor water intrusion), replaced the battery and o-ring, and it's as good as new.

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Some time ago my Cochran started flashing nonsense messages. A review of the manual (what a concept) revealed that this message meant the computer had a sensor failure. Cochran replaced the computer.

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Hey guys,

 

we have regularly divecomputers diving by them self here...

Mostly older series of Suunto Vyper and a lot of Mosquitos have a problem...

Right from the box... We were diving in the shop 200ft+... ;-)

 

That is one of the reasons I usually dive with 2 computers on a trip.

If one malfuntions I still have one to go ahead...

 

Cheers

Torben

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My edge never does that. Just eats through batteries. Oh an edge is the mother of all your dive computers. Have 2 still work great. I do have one of those modern hocky puks also. Mark

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Given how complex their innards must be, I'm impressed at how tough and reliable most dive computers are. But if you use a computer, inevitably one day it will start blinking and and throwing zeros, perhaps at the worst possible time. I've had exactly the same thing happen, at 15 meters my computer thought I was at 30, and after surfacing the computer was still registering 12 meters. It was probably just a piece of crap caught in the orifice for the pressure sensor. And that wasn't the first time I've had a computer fail during a dive.

 

Like T-Bohn, I dive with two computers, and always on a trip. If the spare computer doesn't do all the dives, I'd have to take 24 hours off diving if my primary computer went on the blink, and who wants to do that?

 

Both the computers I use now are Dive-Rites, one is a Duo and the other a watch-style Nitek Plus. I used to have an Uwatek Aladin as one of the two computers. It was education to see how much more conservative the Dive-Rite computers are than the Uwatec Aladdin, even though both theoretically rely on the same Buhlman-12 algorithm. When the Duo or the Nitek plus was running out of no-stop time, the Uwatec Aladdin would usually still have at least two or three minutes left.

 

Frogfish

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My edge never does that. Just eats through batteries. Oh  an edge is the mother of all your dive computers. Have 2 still work great. I do have one of those modern hocky puks also. Mark

 

We used to call the edge the brick :D

 

I've had a USD Matrix go bonkers. It said deco very shortly into the first dive of the day on the descent. A battery change didn't help this one. I retired it. Luckily I had a back up computer in my pocket that was working fine. I always dive with 2 computers on major trips. I've seen too much of this stuff happen too many times.

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Eric,

 

I just purchased a Uwatec TEC Pro. I was wondering about the battery exchange myself. If I am at 20 percent and going on a month long trip, could I pay for a new battery as opposed to using the battery for life warranty? That seems strange that they'd not change the battery, especially if you were willing to pay for it. I'd talk to someone above the lousy tech that told you no.

 

Joe

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Amigos,

 

Had a few divers on my Australia trip using hoseless models. One of my customer's with a Uwatec despite it saying he had 40% battery power left couldn't get the air reading reliably and ended up with a SPG for the week. Another guy using a Suunto, Vytec I think had air initialization problems, but they always starting working before he was ready to enter. I think he was always in a hurry to get in.....

 

From a former part time life in the dive computer market I can tell you I've never been convinced a $600.00 additional wireless solution is better than a $75.00 hose and gauge. I've seen many, many wireless computers have problems adding more stress to an UW photographer's trip.

 

I dive two older Benemec who made Orca Pilots (AIR and EAN), Dacor Equanox (AIR and EAN, Dacor Transcend and I think a NITROX model still in the DiveRite line. These have been bulletproof for me. They are / were competitors of Suunto, and even though the Suunto's are pretty conservative on back to back repet dives, I think they're the best made dive computer out there these days....

 

Just my humble opinion....

 

dhaas

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David,

 

I always had that worry. When I bought my hoseless, I still kept the spg attached. It's not a big deal for me to continue using that left side hose. I am more interested in a solid, reliable computer that won't lock me out. :D

 

Joe

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I love air integrated computers for giving you air consumption time. As I started diving in the J valve days I think this is the greatest innovation since submersible pressure gauges.

 

I think that the hoseless models are the only way to go. Reason is that I agree that you must have a manual pressure gauge as a back up. If you have an air integrated computer on a high pressure hose you will lose them both when your computer goes. With the hoseless air integrated and a separate mechanical pressure gauge you will still have a backup. I like a dive watch or second small computer as another backup on deeper dives. Then I still have an idea how much time I have if my computer bonks. I still have my princeton bottom timer. You wind it up and it works. It once sat in my dive kit for 12 years. When I needed it (2 dive computers and 2 dive watches with dive log functions along with the spare batteries for the 2 dive computers ALL went out on the second day of a 4 day trip) ; I wound it up and it work flawlessly.

 

I have been keeping my eye out for a solar powered dive computer. It could still dump on you but at least you don't have to worry about the battery.

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End of a recent the dive I did a safety stop at 5m on the anchor line, then swam to our shot line ... only to find I was actually around 9m ;) . Luckily my buddy was there on the line doing his safety stop and I could cross check my depths and times from his computer. The Vyper had me shallower than I was the whole dive. It was more than a little concerning to have a computer showing 0.0m when you are still in the murky depths ;) ... let alone wondering if you would have been into deco :D:D

 

Suunto replaced it immediately, no problem ... even though it was out of warranty by a few weeks.

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Dave,

 

Matt Segal and I are considering the May 19-21 Truth limited load on the Vision. You interested? Hey, I still own a J-valve and bought it brand new.....many moons ago. I just lost the pole that goes with it :angry:

 

Let me know about Truth. There are 19 spots as of Feb 2.

 

Joe Belanger

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Hmmnn....

 

I guess that air-integration, especially hoseless, uses more power, so perhaps it's not the best solution to the problem of the computer that goes "belly-up" on a dive. I don't see the benefit of air consumption calculation in the water, because that should have been done at the planning stage, and using the "rule of thirds" in the water makes it unnecessary. Do divers with air-integration tend to push the limits of air consumption too far?

 

I had a Cochran Commander that I binned after a peculiar failure: power was good, but on one dive it just kept piling on deco. up to a 4-hour stop! When I downloaded the data it showed that every tissue compartment had been FULL of nitrogen at the START of the dive, despite a no-stop dive 12 hours before.

 

I suspect that some models of computer have glitches in the way that power fluctuation affects the sensor readings or the data registration.

 

The dive operators at Bikini atoll have experience with a range of computers that have been pushed towards their limits. they recommend DiveRite computers (so I have a VR3, now; I don't follow advice!).

 

Tim

 

B)

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Wonderful discussion. All divers should have redundant instrumentation. Sailors love GPS, but the smart ones keep a compass and map handy and know hot to use them. Pilots love moving-mapa displays and GPS navigation, but are still equipped with compass, altimiter and radio direction finders. Two radios are standard equipment. If the failure of single instrument -- no matter how reliable -- can be fatal, isn't it wise to have redundant instruments? In addition to an air-integrated dive computer, I also wear a wristwatch dive computer. And, after reading this thread, I am going to add a small mechanical SPG to my gear on every dive.

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I am going to add a small mechanical SPG to my gear on every dive.

 

I still had my SPG, but after my incident have reinstated the analog depth guage too :blink:

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I’ve got an Oceanic Pro Plus Nitrox air integrated computer. Had it for years. On a recent trip, I started getting battery error messages on startup. During the last few dives the LCD display was getting very dim. Opened the battery compartment and checked the battery with a meter and found out it was O.K., then cleaned the battery contacts with some electrical contact cleaner even though the contacts looked fine. The contact cleaner must have done the trick as the computer seems to work just like new.

 

I just wish I could download the dive data from it, as Windows XP no longer supports the printer port data download functions. I used to keep my gauge console as a manual backup to the computer but it was lifted from my dive bag some time ago.

 

I’m thinking of upgrading or adding a second dive computer. I would like to upgrade to a dive computer that would be suitable for use with a rebreather, as well as being Nitrox compatible. My local dive store is pushing the VR3 right now. Anyone got any suggestions?

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I sent both our malfunctioning Atom 1's ( see earlier post) back to Oceanic, they replaced the wrist units with new computers. Thank you Oceanic for great service. I'm off to Galapagos in 2 days to give them a good break in.

 

Allways carry a back up.

 

Doug

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