First Look: New Shearwater Perdix AI
For 2017, Shearwater Research has updated their Perdix dive computer line with the addition of a wireless/hoseless gas integrated model called the Perdix AI
When Shearwater first introduced their new Perdix dive computer in December 2015, I was pretty excited.
For several years I had used both of Shearwater’s Petrel (Petrel and Petrel 2) model computers with my KISS Rebreather. Both proved to be highly reliable and durable technical diving computers, and the feature I enjoyed most was the sheer simplicity of rolling through the two-button interface, which allowed for easy and intuitive navigation of the various modes in the menu system. The ability to reprogram a gas percentage or making a gas switch while underwater was a snap, be it Closed-Circuit or Open Circuit. My one criticism was that the somewhat blocky case of the Petrel made it less suited for basic open-circuit diving use.
Shearwater’s Perdix was different. In place of the rectangle-shaped Delrin block of the Petrel, the Perdix case was lower profile design fabricated from an injection molding process that used a special nylon resin reinforced with glass fiber.
Many friends and fellow divers admired the Perdix’s smaller size and flatter profile on the wearer’s wrist (30 percent lower) than the Petrel, and of course the large color LCD screen. In addition, the highly intuitive programing system made it child’s play to program. But at the same time, many of these same divers stated that they would have liked to see the Perdix come with hoseless gas integration. Well, now it does in the form of the Perdix AI.
On the outside, there is no difference in size or shape between the Perdix and Perdix AI. Where they differ is on the inside, as the AI includes a receiver module programed to interface with up to two individual pressure-reading transmitters.
The Perdix AI provides the option of gas integration in all modes, from recreational and technical open circuit to closed circuit/open circuit modes. Tank pressure can be reported in PSI or BAR, along with Gas Time Remaining and Surface Air Consumption calculation information, which can be displayed to the customizable slots on the computer’s large, color LCD screen. In addition to these new features, the Perdix AI performs all the functions of the original Perdix and Petrel 2, displaying Current Depth and Max Depth, Time, TTS (time to surface) NDL information, Stop Ceilings, Gas PO2 and so forth.
And did I mention it also has a highly accurate and easy to use digital compass feature?
When working the “System Setup” functions in the Perdix AI’s menu, the diver can not only select from a number of Diving Modes – OC recreational, OC Technical, Closed-Circuit Internal or Gauge mode, they can also configure where and how several key pieces of information are displayed. For example, when two transmitters are in use, the diver can program the first transmitter (T1) as the primary, and the other transmitter (T2) set as the secondary. In this arrangement, T1’s information on the AI's large color display will show the diver tank pressure information both numerically in PSI or Bar with a tank volume icon above it. The diver can also choose it to display Gas PO2, GTR and/or SAC rate calculations together, Clock, CNS, Ceil, GF and so on in large fonts, or switch to a small font that leaves room to display information for the second transmitter, T2 in a slot below T1. I don’t know of many recreational hoseless air-integrated dive computers that offer that feature.
Shearwater currently has the Perdix AI’s retail price listed at $1199 CAD ($935 USD) as a stand-alone model, as well as the option of purchasing it with one transmitter for $1525 CAD ($1,175 USD). The transmitter by itself runs $450 CAD ($350 USD), which is also readily available through most Shearwater dealers.
It's no coincidence that the AI’s pressure reading transmitters bear a strong resemblance to ones used by Oceanic, Hollis, and more recent models of Aqualung hoseless air/nitrox integrated computers. When Shearwater decided to add this feature to the Perdix, their chose not to enter the transmitter manufacturing business, and instead designed this computer to work with a number of brands already in place. I make this point because if you already have a hoseless air integrated transmitter from a Oceanic or Hollis computer, you can simply pair it up with the Perdix AI. Shearwater has a video on YouTube - Perdix AI that explains how this can be done. Or, to save your self a few bucks (should you feel daring) pick one up second hand on ebay.
For additional information and technical specifications on the new Perdix AI and original Perdix, as well as other products offered from Shearwater Research, go to Shearwater.com.