COMPUTERScubapro Aladin Tec
I RECENTLY REVIEWED THE ALADIN PRIME, a new entry-level computer, and pointed out that in sharing the same manual with its more impressive brother, it looked a bit of a poor relation.
     Almost immediately after publication, an Aladin Tec turned up on my desk. It appears to do everything the Aladin Prime does not, and so in this case the whole of the instruction manual it shares with the Prime applies.
     This makes it much easier to follow than when getting to grips with the Prime, even though setting the Tec up does require you to understand the difference between a short push and a long push!
     The Tec is a single-gas nitrox (up to 100% O2) computer that can be set for varying levels of micro-bubble suppression. Micro-bubbles are thought to form during traditional safe ascents, and these get added to and become significant during repeat diving.
     The Aladin Tec allows you to pre-select five different micro-bubble levels (L1 to L5) or to turn that feature off altogether (L0). I bet a lot of divers will use it straight out of the box on L0 and never realise that they are simply using a straight Buhlmann algorithm with no micro-bubble protection whatsoever.
     As I get older, I want things to be safer. I think its a pity that Scubapro/Uwatec has still allowed for this possibility of excluding micro-bubble suppression. It doesnt realise that we divers are not that clever. Most of us just strap a computer onto our arm and do what it tells us, unquestioningly.
     Then, of course, there is the problem of increased micro-bubble prevention increasing stop times. I was often put under pressure to turn off this feature by divers who preferred not to hang around in the shallows after a dive. Its a philosophical difference. Do you want more safety or more convenience
     I started using the computer set at L2, but was soon forced to change to L1. I refused to abandon the micro-bubble suppression altogether, but we had to balance the safety of long hangs with the risk of getting lost at the surface because of the strong currents in which we found ourselves.
     The Aladin Tec defaults to 1.4 bar ppO2 but can be variously set from 1.2 to a 1.6 bar limit, and provides both a visual and audible warning. It can also be used in Gauge mode as a straight depth-gauge and dive-timer.
     Other useful features available with the Tec are the depth and dive-time alarm (up to 195 minutes). Sea or fresh water can be pre-selected and you can vary the illumination of the screen from two to 12 seconds.
     As with the Prime, after diving the data can be downloaded, with the aid of software included, to any PC with a built-in infra-red interface.
The Aladin Tec costs£299 including PC software.
  • Scubapro UK 01256 812636,

  • Divernet
    + Extra levels of caution over basic Prime

    - Will most divers ignore the micro-bubble feature