Slightly aged Suunto D6

Long term test of the Suunto D6

I’ve had my Suunto D6 dive computer for three years, and while wearing it I’ve done 150 dives for a total of 90 hours underwater.  I’ve also been a remarkably good girl, diving within my qualifications (PADI Deep Specialty) for a maximum depth of 38.6 metres.

Slightly aged Suunto D6
Slightly aged Suunto D6

I discovered that my Suunto D6 needed a new battery while waiting at the airport to board a flight to Durban, on the way to Sodwana for three days of warm water diving. Tony had suggested more than once that I check it prior to our departure, but NO, I was too busy and important to do THAT! Fortunately a spare dive computer was on hand, so I dived with one of Tony’s Suunto Zoops on the trip.

(As an aside, the D6 won’t download dives from the computer into the MacDive software when it has low battery. It goes into data transfer mode when you plug it in, but refuses to download – I got error code -7. Once the battery is changed, downloading is again possible.)

Changing the battery on a dive computer can be a fearsome experience – at least in South Africa. Unless you can change it yourself (like the Mares Nemo Wide), it often entails sending the computer to Johannesburg to the agent who imports that particular brand. Then, in a kind of awful lottery, you wait for one of three possible outcomes, all seemingly equally likely:

  • after the agent acknowledges the safe arrival of your dive computer, a few weeks pass and the agent swears blind he hasn’t seen one of that make for the last five years (this happened to Tony in January)
  • the battery is changed, the computer comes back, the first time you use it it floods, and you have no recourse to anyone
  • the battery is changed and the computer works just fine (phew!)

The odds are never in your favour.

Fortunately Duncan at Orca Industries in Claremont is able to change Suunto D6 (and other) batteries. I think he’s the only person in Cape Town who can do the Suunto D series. (It’s a ten minute process, but mine took five days because the computer ended up under a shelf somewhere for four and a half days before Duncan was told about it!)

Overall I am extremely pleased with my D6. I have minor quibbles. These are chiefly related to the intricacies of doing an air dive after a Nitrox dive, and the fact that it weighs as much as a fully grown labrador retriever, so isn’t suitable for most ladies to wear as a watch. I also don’t trust the compass very much, for no particular reason other than it’s digital. It’s great to dive with, though, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.