Is Your Dive Computer Your Submersible Pressure Gauge?

SPG or Dive Computer

SPG or Dive Computer

With the proliferation of dive computers and the recent release of a recreational option from Shearwater (Shearwater just contact me for an address to send the demo ;) ) dive computers are moving from luxury to must-have dive gear.

This shift is for good reason. There are many benefits to diving a computer and the counter arguments are quickly losing ground to experience and dive data.

As ‘air integration’ or what might be more easily said… dive computers that ‘monitor your tank pressure’… becomes more popular as well, it begs the question:

Does an air integrated computer replace your submersible pressure gauge (SPG)?

As you might imagine or already know there are pros and cons to replacing your analog SPG console with a dive computer.

Pros to Computer Only

  • All of your data is in one location – on your dive computer screen.
  • Fewer penetrations in your first stage regulator.
  • Less expensive than multiple pieces of equipment.
  • The hose for the SPG can get snagged and many air integrated models are wireless (that debate is for a different post), minimizing the likelihood of catching or dragging.

Cons to Computer Only

  • If your dive computer fails you have no choice but to call the dive.
  • While dive computer reliability is excellent… the mechanical design of the SPG is tried and true. The original US Patent was issued in 1933 and the bourdon tube itself was invented in France by Eugene Bourdon in 1849 (Wikipedia). All I’m saying is the technology has a longer track record than modern dive computers. They just work… kinda like a Mac.

What do I dive?

As a veteran of the US Submarine force, points of failure and pressure were every day realities for us – I promise!

Knowing that, I love my air integrated computer (yes for those of you keeping track – mine is wireless) but I dive an SPG too. Every dive. Yep, that’s an extra point of failure and an extra hose to drag around. I like having the analog backup. You might argue a backup dive computer would provide a wireless redundant solution and it would. However, I appreciate having a backup that uses completely different technology and truth be told, analog gauges are not nearly as expensive as an air integrated dive computer.

Plus… in the unlikely event of an underwater EMP… I’m covered.

What are your thoughts on diving an SPG vs. an air integrated dive computer? Do you dive one, the other or both?

Vote in the poll!

Feel strongly? – rig the outcome by sharing the poll with your like-minded divebuddies!

SKuba Steve

The surface interval’s over… get out there and dive!

© 2014 Stephen Krausse. All rights reserved.