Yesterday, my buddy and I went for a dive with our Choptimas but had to abort due to a NERD death. The situation left us wondering about how to best prepare a backup solution, and I'd like y'all's input.
Here's the story... My buddy and I each pre-built our Choptimas the night before, and everything checked out normally. However, when we arrived at the dive site and I powered up my NERD, the unit crapped the bed. The readout gave me a "No Connection" notice and reported "0.0" for all sensors.
We did a bit of troubleshooting: I disassembled my rebreather and examined the head, but the connections were all good. I powered up the HUD, and it read out correctly for atmospheric air. We then swapped NERDs; my NERD reported 0.0/No Connection on my buddy's Choptima head, and his NERD reported 0.21 all the way across on my Choptima head. Thus, we figured that my NERD was the problem. (If it's not, then please tell me why we're both idiots so we can learn from this situation.)
What with my controller going tits-up, my buddy and I figured that the diving day was a bust, so we packed our crap and went home. But we were left wondering how, if such a situation ever occurred again, we could salvage a dive-day. Short of buying another NERD, could we
- get a used Fischer Petrel controller for cheap and get it converted to DiveCan?
- get a Petrel monitor or double up on HUDs and fly the Choptima in full-manual mode?
- do something else we'd not considered?