Talking to many new divers I find more often that not the one piece of equipment considered for purchase causing more consternation than anything else is a dive computer. They are expensive (some over $1,300), feature filled almost to the point of confusion, and sometimes it is hard to find a particular model in stock. While I am not a novice diver, I went looking for a new computer with that frame of mind, if for no other reason that I very much enjoy simplicity of operation and yet still having enough features to satisfy my more advanced side of diving. The two features I was looking for above all else were air integration and BIG numbers in the display. Finding a computer with air integration was not hard, although it is still unusual. But those with really big compartmentalized numbers narrow it down to one: the Wisdom 2 dive computer from Sherwood Scuba. This computer’s data readout is not only easy to read, it is easy understand as well with each piece of data its proper place.
When diving, your most important consideration should always be your breathing gas supply — a.k.a. the pressure left in your tanks. The numbers on the Wisdom 2 for pressure are ½” tall! In fact the smallest data displayed (maximum depth and dive time) is ¼”. (I have seen some displays with numbers as small as 1/8″.) I had no trouble at all reading and understanding the data displayed.
But this computer is so much more than just big numbers — or should I say less. The simplicity of the operation is excellent. Two buttons control the functions. The large center button takes you to the various functions while the smaller side button lets you scroll through many of the options. On the surface with the big button you cycle through Time, Data, Plan, Last, Log, History, Simulation, and Set. Set the Wisdom 2 to your settings and you are off and diving! In addition to the usual settings of date, time, etc., you can set for alarms at maximum depth, turn around gas pressure, end of dive gas pressure and more.
Or you can just turn the alarm off. But why? I love the alarm feature. Not only does it warn my of the items mentioned above, but also, when my ascent rate becomes too rapid (something I have to watch) and, heaven forbid, I accidentally enter the decompression mode. In addition to the audible alarm there is a bright red flashing LED that appears on the computer; a nice feature when you are wearing a thick hood (although the audible alarm is sufficiently loud).
This computer is also fully nitrox compatible with the ability to be programmed to up to a 50 percent O2 mix. (Another one of the alarm features that can be set is a warning that your PO2 is greater than your custom setting, maximum 1.60 ATA.) An O2 bar graph also keeps you appraised of your oxygen absorption.
Another one of my favorite features of this computer is the Dive Time Remaining. This is a function of the lesser of no-decompression time or maximum PO2 (a customized setting) or estimated gas consumption at the depth (again, customized by your setting on how much breathing gas you wish remaining at the end of your dive).
And finally, on my favorite list is the automatic safety stop feature that tells you when you are there and how much time you’ve got left.
While the computer cannot be set to a conservative setting, I found the bar graph on nitrogen saturation sufficient for me to keep me in the conservative zone.
In preparing for the next dive, the Plan mode is easy to scroll through. Also the Log function has a high memory capacity logging in a whopping 110 dives. A few other exceptional features of note include a user replaceable battery (although I always take my computers in for a pro to replace the battery, but this is a nice feature should your computer start to die on a dive trip; I always carry a spare battery), quick disconnect (optional), a deep-stop reminder for dives deeper than 80 feet, PC downloadable (PC only, not Mac as it with virtually all dive computers on the market), altitude adjustable, “time to fly” reminder and an optional compass (mechanical but of an exceptionally good quality).
This computer is very user friendly with an excellent manual to match. Learning the basic systems of the computer takes just minutes and you should be down diving safely in no time.
For more information on the Wisdom 2 dive computer, visit Sherwood Scuba’s website at www.sherwoodscuba.com.