My life with the OSTC 4

Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 4 - Neptunes.world

OSTC 4 broken – the 1st time

I was ascending from a 50 meters dive to my first decompression stop @ 21 meters. I switched to my decompression gas and tried to change my gas setting also on the OSTC 4
All of a sudden I wasn’t able, because the right button stopped working. Unfortunately this is the confirmation button.
To make a long story short:  this is the reason why we always have a 2nd diving computer as a backup with us. This backup computer (OSTC 2) was already set to the needed gases and I was able to switch to my decompression gas to continue my dive.

When I reached my final decompression stop @ 6 meters my OSTC 4 started acting weird and changed menus and settings on its own. I realised that it froze and then just continued executing the commands I gave by pushing the buttons trying to change to my deco-gas.
After I came back home I checked the forum of heinrichs weikamp, who is the german manufacturer of the OSTC diving computer and noticed that some others had the same issue a few days before and that a new firmware was announced which should solve other issues, but this one too.

What happened?

The button sensitivity is adjustable. In Germany we dive in cold lakes and we are used to wear thick gloves. It was not easy to handle the buttons with those gloves. So I set the sensitivity from 90 to 105% which caused the command execution to overflow. Every movement of my arm caused a command to the buttons. This lead to the overflow and weird behaviour.

So far so good. I changed the settings back to 90% and made the update when suddenly  the OSTC 4 completely broke during the update. One of the settings didn’t update (RTE-Settings) and so the computer became a useless silly shell. I had to send the computer back and heinrichs weikamp reset the OSTC 4 and sent it back to me after a few weeks. During this time my older but very reliable OSTC 2 was my main computer.

OSTC 4 broken – the 2nd time

I’ve been to Egypt recently and during my first dive the same malfunction happened. The right button stopped working and I had no chance to switch my gases or change my gas settings. This time it felt really like a hardware issue, because the function didn’t come back and during the entire vacation I wasn’t able to use the computer. 

I wrote to heinrichs weikamp and immediately received an answer. They were very sorry about this issue and told me that there’s nothing I can do. They also asked me to send it back to them. After I returned home, the first thing was to send the OSTC back to the manufacturer. I had some conversation with their support and also told them what kind of settings I had changed (Salinity and Nitrox) and when and how the error appeared. After a few days they replied that I am going to receive a completely new computer. This computer arrived today and I am happy to have it back.

Why I still stay with heinrichs weikamp?

There are several reasons. First, I really like the computer. The way it’s set up and the design. Second, I like their support. They are very active in their forums and if you post a question it’s 24 hrs and you receive an answer at the latest. And the 3rd reason is, it is a German company. In diving industry there are not many German players and I still like the idea there’s a company which can play a role within this industry. I like to support this. To be honest, it took a while to make them understand that I’m a Senior person from the IT industry and know about development, technology, processes and stuff. But after they realised that I just want to be of help, wrote bug-protocols for them, the communication went premium class – very open. very honest. 

Of course you can expect this when you own a diving computer for 1,200 €. But I also had the same communication back then when I worked with OSTC MK2, OSTC 2n, OSTC 2c and my backup OSTC 2.

I really hope that the issues now have been fixed, software and hardware-wise and with that I have the same great experience with the OSTC 4 I had with the older models.

If you are visiting the trade show “Boot” in January in Düsseldorf (Germany), hop by their booth and check their computers. They offer insane hot chips at their boot – which I like.

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