Cochran Captain

Does the job
Oct 05 '00 (Updated Oct 07 '00)

Author's Product Rating
Product Rating: 3.0

Inexpensive yet workable

Too generous an algorithm
Full Review
I have learned to live with the idiosyncrasies of the Captain. At least I haven't felt the need to fork over more cash to replace it. But in an ideal world, dive computers, including the Captain, could be a whole world more usable.

The Captain's most concerning issue is a too generous algorithm. I often find that after several deepish dives, I have considerably more NDC time than others. The times where I did get close to the limits, I ended up feeling a tad "fizzy." Some time with the on-board oxygen cleared that up; but now I know my limits are just a hair less than the computers. It's like having a gas gauge that says you've still got a 1/4 tank as you run out.

Another, albeit minor, issue is that one has to remember to turn it on at surface level. Once the computer drops below 3 or so feet while turned off, it will not turn on. This seems somewhat endemic to dive computers. I don't understand why the computers cannot go into a 48 hour standby mode where they sample atmospheric pressure every 5 minutes or so. This should not have to be something the diver has to remember.

And then there's the log. With no user controls for the log display, the user has to sit through heaps of useless information, just to see a fleeting flash of the previous dives. Miss a bit of information and it's several more minutes before you get a glimpse of it again. This is typical of most dive computers that don't have a PC interface. The Captain displays the most recent dive first, then the oldest dive logged, then the second oldest dive, etc. until you work your way back to the most recent dive. Weird.

However, even with all this bashing, I'd have to say the underwater display was the best of the lot when I bought it. I can easily read it in low-visibility conditions. It has worked utterly reliably all the way to depths I'd rather not mention. It doesn't toot, beep or play 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' at any point in the dive. The battery is still going strong after 100+ hours bottom time. And finally, you can't beat the price.