Are computers Really Safe?

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Posted by Captain Tim on October 01, 2002 at 10:34:50:

I have a question for everyone. But first the story.
When computers first came out I argued with many people that they did not add time to a square profile dive. IE, you go down to 100', and according to the Navy Tables you get 25 minutes with no deco. A computer does not change that. For multi level diving, with is what 99% of all diving is, they will extent the dive time.
Since I have had the GE I have noticed a definite difference in the way divers stay down. In the old days we used to go to 60' for 30 minutes, and after an hour or so, don't remember, we would end up an E diver so we could go back to 60' for 30' or there about. (This is just an example and I am not trying to be exact). Now divers dive until their computers tell them to come up, around 45 minutes to an hour, if their air lasts that long. And I see a lot more divers getting bent than it seems there used to be.
I see at least ONE computer failure per trip. I think that is way to many. Most of the failures are due to batteries, but the end result is the same, No Computer.
This last weekend we had two potential very serious problems, due to computers.
The first story. A diver came to me after just a couple of dives of the 3 day trip and asked if I knew very much about computers and I told him no (there are just too many different ones to keep up with), but that Terry knew them pretty well. Terry went over and they talked for a while. The diver stayed out of the water for the next several dives. I asked Terry later what happened and he told me the divers computer locked up and would not work. This was due to the fact that the diver came up fast the last 10'. The diver did not have any idea as to why the computer was not working. Terry probable, kept him from getting bent.
Second story. A diver who has many dives and experience came to Terry and I and said that he was not going back into the water for the rest of the day. I asked why, and he said that while on deco, he ran out of air, but still lacked 6 minutes of deco. I asked him if his other tank had air, and he said yes. I told to get back in the water and continue the deco. I also asked him to make sure he was light, so if something happened, he would not sink. Terry and I took turns on the bow watching him to make sure he was ok.
Both divers were ok.
Here is the question. Just how safe are computers, and are some worst than others?
Captain Tim

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