To start the application select Dive Assistant from the Start Menu. This will start the application. The first thing you will see is a splash screen and the main screen. The splash screen will disappear after 5 seconds, or as soon as you click on it. On the main screen you have six options: "Dive Log", "Dive Kit", "Dive Tables", "Divers", "Settings" and sync. In the main window you will also see basic statistics. The staticstics are for reference only, and contains data on dive time, depth and total dives. Clicking on any of the buttons or menu items will start the corresponding part of the application. To return to the main screen all you need to do is click on the OK button in the top right corner of screen you are in until you return the main screen. If you have alerts enabled your alerts will also appear in the Main Screen.
Clicking on the "Dive Log" button opens the dive log. The first screen you will see is the dive log screen. The dive log screen consists of a list of the dives you have entered into the application. The dives are ordered by dive number, but you can change the ordering by clicking on a column. To create a new dive log entry click on the "new" button on the menu bar (located in the lower left of your screen). This will create a new, blank dive entry screen. To edit an existing dive entry either click on the item or hold the pointer down for a few seconds and select edit from the popup window. Deleting an entry is done from the same popup window. You can reduce the number of dives displayed in the list by clicking "Settings" and specifying a range.
When you create a new dive log entry, or edit an existing one you will see
screens that looks like diagrams 3 and 4. In these screens you can enter any of
the details you would like to record or modify in that dive. The Main tab
displays the main dive details, including depths, times and location. One of
the new features added to Dive Assistant 2008 is the support for weather
information. You can access the weather options from te menu in the Main tab.
From the menu you can also access Deco Stops as well as the Dive Plan, GPS and
Profile screens. The latter three are available in all the tabs.
The Extra tab contains things like dive conditions and kit details. From the menu you can also access the Weights screen where you can specify which weights you are using in different condtitions. The menu also allows you to access the Gas Mixes section, if you have enabled it in the settings screen.
The Buddy and Notes tabs contains dive buddy and dive note details. In the Buddy tab you have the ability to add a signature to the dive and lock the dive, if you enable locking. Once a dive is locked the only data you can change are the notes. Unlocking a dive will subsequently clear the verification signature.
Diagram 3 and 4
The Dive Planner has been vastly improved in the 2008 version of the Dive Assistant. It can only be accessed from dive logs and appears when you click plan on the menu in a dive log entry screen. Dive Plan contains 4 tabs, Plan, Calculator, Nitrox and Wizard. The Plan tab loads up the dive details from your last dive. By entering details for your next dive the planner can calculate the surface interval and pressure group for the next dive. When you set a depth for your dive the planner will calculate the maximum dive time for that depth given the pressure group. Entering a dive time calculates the out pressure group. The dive planner uses the default dive table set in the diver's settings. Clicking on the OK button closes the Dive Planner. Before returning to the dive log you are asked if you want to save the plan data to your current dive log entry.
Calculator is a basic calculator that calculates Max O2 and EAD given various details.
Nitrox allows you to specify a minimum and maximum depth as well as PPO2 and will calculate the maximum dive time and optimal O2 mix for each depth. You can also specify the Max FO2 and weather you want to do deco stops. Nitrox and Wizard are only available if you have IANTD air tables installed. The Nitrox Wizard guides you through the nitrox process. It starts off by requesting PPO2 details and then depth details. Based on this it will give you the optimal FO2. You then specify the actual FO2 and it will give you the MOD and dive times.
Diagram 5 and 6
The Dive Profile can only be accessed from dive logs and appears when you click Profile in a dive log entry screen. The profile window gives a graphical representation a dive's depth versus time. It also shows the times and depths in the list view. To add, modify or delete entries click and hold anywhere in the list control. A menu will appeare giving you the option to do any of these functions. Changes are automtically saved when you make them, so clicking the OK button will bring you automatically back to the dive log window. Dive profiles has improved vastly now that the Desktop Edition supports the import of Dive Computer data from different dive computers, including Suunto, Mares and Uwatec.
Clicking on the "Dive Tables" button on the main screen loads a small popup window, which displays a list of the currently available dive tables. Clicking on one of the sets will load that dive table into the dive tables screen. The dive tables screen has between 3 and 4 tabs at the bottom. SSI dive set has 3 tabs while the IANTD and NAUI and NOAA dive tables have 4 tabs. Each tab represents one dive table in that table. There is one "no decompression" table, one "surface interval" table and one "repetitive dive" table. The tables are displayed in a similar way to how the respective dive organizations display them, so they should be easy to understand. If you are using the IANTD, NAUI or NOAA tables the 4th tab is the decompression table. On this tab you get a drop down list at the top of the screen. The drop down list allows you to select the depth you are diving to. When you select a depth, the corresponding decompression table appears. When you are finished with the dive table click on the OK button to return to the menu screen.
Clicking on the "Dive Kit" button on the menu screen loads the dive kit screen. The screen consists of a list, similar to the dive log screen. You can add, edit and remove kit items just like you can manipulates dive log entries. Each Dive Kit entry has a number of data entry fields. By clicking on the "New" menu item from the Dive Kit Entry screen you will see a popup screen from which you can add a new Service History record. Like the Dive Entry list you can modify and delete History Entries by clicking and holding down the cursor on the entry you want to modify, until a popup menu appears.
The best feature of the Dive Kit Entry is the alerting mechanism which warns you in advance of your dive kit needing servicing. The Alert uses the Service date and compares it to today's date. Alerting is only activated if you set it to be active in the "Settings" window which can be accessed from the Main window.
Diagram 8 and 9
Clicking on the "Divers" menu item on the main screen opens the divers window. The divers screen list all the divers stored in the application. Clicking on any diver will load the diver's personal details. In ther personal detail window you can set medical and insurance details, as well as access the diver's settings and record the diver's qualifications. Click OK to save the details. To add, edit or delete divers, click and hold in the list menu and select the appropriate option from the popup menu.
Diagram 10 and 11
The settings screen allows you to modify the settings which control the various parts of the Dive Assistant. The first section you see is Units. You can use metric or imperial units in the Dive Assistant. Changing the unit will reset the "Default Dive Table" list dive tables for that unit. The default dive table is the table used when you automatically calculate pressure groups in the dive log. The default table is also used in the Dive Planner.
Alert contains the various alert options. You can select not to be alerted, to be alerted on the day or to be alerted in advance. If you select the "in advance" option you can set the number of days in advance to be alerted, as well as if you want daily alerts up to the service date. Alerts appear on the main application window and inform you when dive kit requires servicing and when dive qualifications need renewing.
Dive Log allows to set options related to the dive logs. Autocalc PGs will automatically calculate end pressure group, based on the dive table, depth, times and in pressure group. The "show deco stops" and "show gas mixes" allows you to have multiple deco stops in your log and multiple gas mixes. If these options are not selected then they will not be visible in the dive log entry screens. Two new features in Dive Assistant - Pocket PC Edition are Allow Locking and Confirm OK. Allow locking allows you to lock individual dive log entries once you completed them. A locked dive log is not editable until it is unlocked. More details can be found in the dive log section. If Confirm on OK is selected you will be prompted to confirm if you want to save the dive log, dive kit etc when you click OK. If it is not selected Dive Assistant will automatically save all the dive data.
In the main menu there is a new item "Dives and Dive Time". Clicking on this brings up a dialog box where you can specify the initial number of dives and the total dive time prior to the dives in the Dive Assistant. This allows you to include dives that you have not or will not enter into the Dive Assistant in different calculations.
Buddies allows you to add buddies to your personal buddy list. The buddy list can be opened from the Settings screen as well as the Dive Log Entry screen. You can select the buddy you want to use from the drop down list on the log entry screen.
Locations and Dive Sites work in the same way as the buddy list, except that they have dive sites.
Dive Assistant - Pocket PC Edition synchronizes with Dive Assistant - Desktop Edition at the click of a button. Click Sync! in the main window and the Desktop and Pocke PC versions will sychronize automatically as a long as both devices and on and connected. Syncrhonization works by selecting all data that has changed since the last synchronization, and new data and send it to the Desktop Edition. The Desktop Edition compares the data with it's data, updates itself and sends changes back the Pocket PC which updates itself. In the settings window on the Pocket PC and the Main Menu in the Deskop Edition you will find a Reset Sync option. This forces the application to resync all data from that device. To do a complete resync you need to click the Reset Sync in both versions before running the sync.