• Amazon: Suunto HelO2
• Pros: The Suunto HelO2 is a simple and easy to use tri-mix computer with an optional wireless tank pressure transmitter. It uses the latest Suunto Technical RGBM decompression model, with a personal adjustment setting, a user-friendly dive planner and user-changeable batteries for both dive computer and wireless tank pressure transmitter.
• Cons: It is not compatible with closed-circuit rebreathers. Its maximum depth of 120m/393 ft. may be restrictive for some technical divers.
• Recommended Uses: The Suunto HelO2 is ideal for divers who use multiple gases like nitrox and tri-mix.
From the makers of some of the easiest-to-use dive computers comes a three-gas computer, the Suunto HelO2. You will either love it or hate it. Love it if you’re a sports or nitrox diver migrating to technical diving, for its simplicity and ease of use. It will give you the freedom to focus more on diving rather than sticking rigidly to decompression tables – making tech diving less complicated and a lot more fun! But you may not like how easy it makes things if you’re an old-school tech diver who earned your badge using a depth gauge, timer and dive tables.
The introduction of this tri-mix computer opens the flood gates for sports scuba divers to plunge the realm of technical diving with relative ease. And it comes with a price that is almost half the cost of a regular tri-mix computer available in the market today.
Useability and Features
The Suunto HelO2 has the following main features to its advantage:
Suunto Technical RGBM Algorithm
Suunto RGBM (Reduce Gradient Bubble Model) is a decompression model designed by Suunto and Dr. Bruce Wienke, a top decompression algorithm consultant in the dive industry and the developer of the model. The RGBM is a modification of the classical Haldane model currently in use but it not only accounts for the dissolved nitrogen gas but also considers the free-gas or “micro bubbles”. This gives a more accurate representation of what is happening in a diver’s body. Micro bubbles are what we are trying to prevent in the first place by taking into account the dissolved gas in our tissues. But because of continuous multi-day diving, rapid ascents, deeper dives than previous ones and closely spaced repetitive dives, our bodies are susceptible to these bubbles. And with the Haldanean model, these bubbles were not accounted for. But with the Suunto RGBM, adjustments were made by the dive computer by reducing no-decompression stop times, increasing decompression stop times, adding mandatory safety stops and/or extending surface interval time. The new Suunto Technical RGBM on the other hand is a modification of the existing RGBM algorithm by introducing helium tissue groups in the decompression model.
What this means to you as a technical diver is that you can have peace of mind and focus more on enjoying your dive, since this reduces the need to constantly monitor your slate and timer. Also with the algorithm, you have continuous decompression on your way up as opposed to starting your decompression stop time only when you hit the required depth. This lessens the duration of the boring stops when decompressing. Overall, this feature maximizes your dive.
Personal Adjustment Settings
The Suunto HelO2 has a setting that will allow it to suit your dive. You can either make your dive more conservative or more aggressive. This is based on a diver’s susceptibility to DCI such as exposure to cold, physical fitness level, fatigue and stress — factors which may vary from diver to diver. The Suunto HelO2 has a five-step personal adjustment setting which you can configure. You can set it for a more conservative dive plan (+1 or +2), a more aggressive plan (-1 or -2), or a factory default setting (0) which is set for the average diver. The dive computer will then adjust its mathematical model based on your setting, giving you either a shorter or longer no-decompression times.
Suunto Dive Planner and Suunto Dive Manager
These are personal computer programs that complement the Suunto HelO2. The Dive Manager is used for uploading the dive data from the Suunto HelO2 to your PC and the Dive Planner is used for planning subsequent dives using the actual uploaded data. To initiate a dive plan, input the maximum depth, desired bottom time and the gas mixtures of your travel, bottom and decompression gases. The Dive Planner will then calculate the decompression schedule, gas change and decompression depths of your planned dive. The settings, alarms and gases can then be downloaded back to the Suunto HelO2. With the data uploaded from your Dive Manager, the gas volume required for this dive is calculated using your actual air consumption data. A recipe for gas mixes can then be printed out for ordering or mixing. This process takes away the complexity involved in planning a dive.
Eight (8) Gas Mixes
The Suunto HelO2 is a true multi-gas computer that allows you to program up to 8 various gas mixes as “Primary” or “Secondary” gases. The oxygen content can be varied from 8-99% and the helium component from 0-92%. On a technical dive you may have a travel gas, a bottom gas, a decompression gas and possibly a stage gas as reserve. These gas mixes can be programmed individually and set as your “Primary”. This information will be used by the computer in the dive plan to calculate your decompression schedule, gas change and decompression depths. The remaining slots can be set for the mixture of the drop tank or your buddy’s cylinder and set as “Secondary”. These will be stored in the computer but will not be used in the calculation until they are manually selected. In an emergency, should you use and select the “Secondary” gas mix, your dive computer will still be able to give you the correct dive data.
Wireless Tank Pressure Transmitter
This is an optional accessory that can monitor tank pressure and air consumption data directly from your wrist. It can also estimate the remaining air time for your dive. Real-time air consumption data is stored in its memory so you can track your consumption for each dive. This information can be uploaded back to your PC using the Dive Manager.
These are just some of the most significant features of the Suunto HelO2. Price-wise, it costs almost a third less than its closest competitor, the VR Technology VR3. So Overall you get great value for your money with all the innovation it packs with it, taking away a lot of the complexity involved in technical diving.
• Amazon: Suunto HelO2