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Thread: Shearwater or VR3?

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    RBW Member kiam will become famous soon enough kiam will become famous soon enough kiam will become famous soon enough kiam's Avatar
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    Shearwater or VR3?

    Looking for opinions - pro's/cons on which CCR computer between these two is the one of choice and why? Don't want to plumb them in to the loop or to a 4th sensor.

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    RBW Member lbihler is on a distinguished road lbihler is on a distinguished road lbihler's Avatar
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    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    I never used the shearwater (I did not even know they were doing a wrist computer ?!?)

    IMHO

    VR3 Pro s:
    - You can switch CCR / OC and OC / CCR underwater, so it goes on tracking your deco if you bail out, whether temporary or for the rest of the dive
    - 10 gases that can be modified under water, so if in an emergency you have to use an unplaned gas, you can enter it in the computer
    - Choice in between 2 deco models
    - Battery is easy to find and change even in remote areas
    - good support from Delta P
    - colour screen option
    - 4th cell option
    - Big graphics option

    VR3 Con s:
    - Price of the options
    - Weight
    - Original Strap

    Laurent

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    Meg

    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    The best thing you can do is read the manuals for both units.
    I would also recommend reading up on the deco software used by each if you can.

    The primary reasons I went with the Shearwater is because the battery life is 500 hours (and still has an extremely long battery life even with the backlight on permanently), it can do everything I will need it to but is very user friendly, and excellent customer service reputation.
    Last edited by quickean; 23rd February 2007 at 07:20.

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    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    Quote Originally Posted by lbihler  View Original Post
    I never used the shearwater (I did not even know they were doing a wrist computer ?!?)
    All info is on- Shearwater Research Inc. - Computers for Diving

    Shearwater can be standalone, 1 cell monitor, 3 cell monitor or for certain RB as a controller as well.

    I won't add any more for now, my bigging up the Shearwater is well publisized in other threads ;) only con I can ever think of is its alittle larger than a VR3.

    BEN

  5. #5
    So many CCR So little etc Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase's Avatar
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    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiam  View Original Post
    Looking for opinions - pro's/cons on which CCR computer between these two is the one of choice and why? Don't want to plumb them in to the loop or to a 4th sensor.

    I used two VR3's since 2003, and i just switched to a Shearwater.

    I did this because the Shearwater offered Gradient Factor deco, where as the VR3 is modified Buhlman or the allegedly rubbish new VPM model. My Hammer Head CCR is based on GF deco and i wanted to have something offering at least similar back up profiles to my primary deco system.

    This will also be the case for the Vision CCR deco.


    I was perfectly happy with the VR3 which i ran on zero safety and manually padded out during the dive to suit my preference for deep stops and staggered ascents. It worked fine, it never broke down despite serious abuse and as a 42year old fat smoker who drinks too much, it never bent me despite my preference for two hour+ long 50m-80+m dives.

    As a computer its neat and once the menus are mastered, its actually easy to use for everything except bailout to OC and cell calibration for in line deco.

    Cost wise for the full Trimix CCR spec its similar to the Sherewater but with the down load and PP02 monitoring its a damed site more expensive.

    Down sides (off the top of my head)
    • Screen is a bit small and takes getting used to but I was happy with the B/W
    • Bailout to OC from CCR is a monumental task loaded pain in the arse and I am totally gob smacked this hasn't been dealt with with recent variants. I seriously wonder if i could do it under extreme stress. (aparently adressed in 2007 units)
    • The deco even on zero safety is very conservative and as a result i had a non VR3 short of gas oh sh#t bailout profile which didn't involve the VR3.
    • The dive planning software is a crap menu driven DOS based on the old Q&A database. Its not the worst I have ever used but its close
    • The down load package is a PITA and I gave up with it after a couple of months and went back to using my Suunto to log dives.

    Apart from these points, I would say i was perfectly happy with the VR3's and would have carried on using them.


    The new Shearwater does 80% of what the VR3 does and the other 20% isn't important to me or frankly to the dive. (games, on screen graphs of the dive, stuff like that)


    The screen is slightly better than the VR3 and the higher resolution makes the contrast work better and its much easier to read even thow its only available in B&White

    The deco is great. No modification required and I can decide to increase deco or decrease deco during the dive. I can plan bailout on Decoplanner but obviously there isn't a pure GF deco software system out there for CCR (that I am aware of) so I have to fudge that on the PC at home. I have to say I rarely plan CCR dives I just plan the bailout and the dive is governed by that.

    The range of safety/aggression in the deco options is enough for me to not worry about separate deco plans for emergency bailout. I just switch to 100Gf and go home.

    The OC bailout option is very simple and activates all programmed gases (up to 5) immediately. It will put you on the best mix for your depth at time of bailout which is another excellent feature.

    Gas programing, deco programing and general usage is easier then the VR3 but still takes getting used to. It has some odd bits you have to remember but nothing insurmountable. Stuff like it will plan deco on all diluent you have programed in at any one time (a separate 5 gasses). So you must remember to delete the gas not in use.

    To program a new gas you need to put it in switch to it as primary diluent and then delete the old gas.

    The upside for this is divers who dill flush on deco and switch gases are catered for.

    The unit has auto set point switch which is nice but you need to know that down is up and up is down :D Unlike me who thought down was going down to depth and up was coming up from depth.

    I find myself using the Sherewater to run the dive over the HH. This is basically because the Sherewater is easy to read with the permanent back light in dark UK conditions. I tend to use the slave of the HH to check PP02 so I don't burn up the battery on the primary by using the back light. The battery in the Sherewater is aparently good for a year+ run like this.

    Bruce is a pleasure to do business with and he is N01 in suppliers who actually respond to my Emails asking some times stupid (should have read the manual properly) questions.

    The down load software is easy to use and gives good data. I cant wait to get the on line PP02 sorted out.




    So what are the down sides to the Shearwater?

    • Its big so it keeps flopping around
    • The straps are useless (I swapped my ones for HH ones)
    • Its big
    • You must remember to switch off gases not in use
    • Its big
    • Its very big and in comparison the screen is small which is annoying
    • Its ugly and big
    • You can not rotate the screen on the Sherewater. On the VR3 you can rotate the screen to 12.00 3.00 6.00 9.00 so you can use the computer on any arm and still have the 7pin cable pointing the right way.

    As you can see on the pics the cable connector is on the wrong side for me My HH controller is dedicate to the left arm so it HAS to go on the right arm.

    I have however found a 90 degree multi position Fischer connector which will allow me to still use the connector.

    A rotating screen would have solved a lot of hassle.






    Thats about all i have found so far

    Did I mention its big?








    ATB

    Mark Chase
    Last edited by Mark Chase; 23rd February 2007 at 10:58.

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    RBW Member quickean has a spectacular aura about quickean has a spectacular aura about quickean has a spectacular aura about quickean has a spectacular aura about quickean has a spectacular aura about quickean's Avatar
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    Meg

    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    Indeed why is the screen so small compared to the face of the computer? I'm sure there's some design reason for it.
    Bruce?

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    New Member onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain's Avatar
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    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Chase  View Original Post
    As a computer its neat and once the menus are mastered, its actually easy to use for everything except bailout to OC and cell calibration for in line deco.

    Bailout to OC from CCR is a monumental task loaded pain in the arse and I am totally gob smacked this hasn't been dealt with with recent variants. I seriously wonder if i could do it under extreme stress.

    Mark Chase

    Mark,
    This has been addressed on the 2007 variant software.

    You can set your bailout gases in 'Profile B' and bailout with a couple of
    button presses.

    Alan

  8. #8
    So many CCR So little etc Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase's Avatar
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    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    Quote Originally Posted by onthetrain  View Original Post
    Mark,
    This has been addressed on the 2007 variant software.

    You can set your bailout gases in 'Profile B' and bailout with a couple of
    button presses.

    Alan


    About bloody time.

    But at least they got there in the end.

    I had Profile B as an option on my VR3 but i never got it to do that successfully which I couldn't figure out it seemed an obvious way of sorting out the issue.

    ATB

    Mark Chase

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    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    Good post, Mark, but I think you should have mentioned that the Shearwater is rather big.

    Edited: Just realized you mentioned it. Is it that big? Or are you just small? :p

  10. #10

    Re: Shearwater or VR3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Chase  View Original Post
    I can plan bailout on Decoplanner but obviously there isn't a pure GF deco software system out there for CCR (that I am aware of) so I have to fudge that on the PC at home. I have to say I rarely plan CCR dives I just plan the bailout and the dive is governed by that.
    GAP-Software

    Been using it for 7 years as a OC diver and now as CCR, the freeware versions had some bugs. But the new GF / RGBM version works really well.
    In fact, GAP is why I never bothered getting a VR3. I had an 2002 model VR3 to test for a magazine, and I absolutly hated the conservatism on it. Compared it to the GF 20-90 that I was very comftable running. Properly planned GF tables where getting me out of the water 25-30 minutes faster on a standard 60m for 50 min dives. And with less subclinical DCS than following the VR3. (btw, I did set the conservatism on the VR3 to zero in the tests)

    Have to admit that I only did 25 deco dives with the VR3 on the test, then my patience ran out and I sent it back to the magazine.
    The review was never printed, as strong opinions are not welcome from those who have to sell advertising space.

    IMO, GF style deco is the way to go. If the computer does not offer that, don't use it.

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