Polar CS600 Power - First on the Block...



J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
Pelotonium said:
It actually happens quite often on long rides. I ride on a F1 track with relatively no altitude change ( < 15m ), and yet I often see a gradual creep corresponding to 150m or more during a 3hr ride.

I know 150m isn't much, but barometric pressure is not a great way to measure altitude.

Thinking more about this, either:

1) Your altimeter isn't temperature-compensated and the temperature is changing during your relatively 'static' rides, or

2) You always ride during major frontal passages (your numbers equate to a 0.5" Hg change in three hours; the weather would be impressive), or lastly

3) Your altimeter is faulty, needs a new battery, etc.

I say #1 or #3. ;)
 

jstock

New Member
Apr 24, 2006
69
0
0
vadiver said:
What is the issue witht the PT/Fortius?
I really don't know much about it. It seems that most, but not all, PT users experience massive drop outs. Tacx acknowledged that there was a problem and that they were working on a fix. Haven't heard anything after that.
/J .
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
jmocallaghan said:
Has anyone out there used a commercial IRDA dongle to download the data or does it need to be a Polar specific IR dongle? I dont have an irda port on my PC.

I just spoke with Polar Tech Support (term used loosely), and they indicate that (as 'jstock' reported above) the CS600 is no longer compatible with the previous Polar Serial>Serial-USB adapter hack. Only the silver v2.0 USB Adapter is supported, however he did unequivocally state that any third-party IRDa USB adapter should work just as well. Thankfully!

Off to OfficeMax to find out...

[Also, a quick FYI for other CS600 users, the 'timeout period' before the ride will cancel itself is apparently 30 minutes. Drink that Starbuck's quickly, or merge the data files later...]
 

Thom_y

New Member
Aug 16, 2006
125
0
0
warnerjh said:
[Also, a quick FYI for other CS600 users, the 'timeout period' before the ride will cancel itself is apparently 30 minutes. Drink that Starbuck's quickly, or merge the data files later...]

Sorry, what do you mean timeout period ???

I agree altitude is great, but a map is even better for visualizing why your speed or power dropped in certain spots (e.g. terrain, headwind, distraction etc.). Personally, I just bought a Garmin 305 Forerunner to wear on my wrist to follow GPS coordinates and elevation. I will probably go with the CS600 for HR/speed/cadence/power/ and additional barometric elevation. The Garmin watch is a bit bulky but light enough and not a bother to ride with. BUt, after my first ride with a good satellite pickup I'm real impressed with the distance and elevation accuracy and its fun to upload to Virtual Earth or Google Earth with motionbased.com, Garmin training centre or Ascent (for Macs). I did my typical short 60k loop and the distance was spot on (compared with my Polar CS200 on bike), as was the climbing(compared to my Suunto watch which I have used to use for elevation on this loop many times). NOW IF I ONLY could find a way to merge the the Garmin GPS file with the Polar (or PT or SRM if I went with those) file on a program like cyclingpeaks. I emailed my request to CP for the ability to integrate the two files and they have heard similar requests from others. All they can recommend now is to set up two users (one Mr. Garmin and the other Ms. Polar). I know some have got fancy to try to merge the two database files, but it seems like a lot of work cutting and pasting. Others have promised on this site that they will eventually work out a solution. Hopefully in the future this will be solved.

PS: For those with Garmin device and a Mac, check out Ascent ... a 35$ shareware that blows Garmin Training Centre out of the water. I have suggested to the maker of Ascent to add Power files
 

Tom Anhalt

New Member
Dec 9, 2003
239
0
0
Thom_y said:
Sorry, what do you mean timeout period ???

I agree altitude is great, but a map is even better. Personally, I just bought a Garmin 305 Forerunner to wear on my wrist to follow GPS coordinates and elevation. I will probably go with the CS600 for HR/speed/cadence/power/ and additional barometric elevation. The Garmin watch is a bit bulky but light and not a bother to ride with. BUt, after my first ride with a good satellite pickup I'm real impressed with the distance and elevation accuracy. I did my typical short 60k loop and the distance was spot on, as was the climbing relative to my Suunto watch which I used to use for elevation. NOW IF I ONLY could find a way to merge the the GPS file with the Polar (or PT or SRM if I went with those) file on a program like cyclingpeaks. I emailed my request to CP for the ability to integrate the two files and they have heard similar requests from others. All they can recommend now is to set up two users (one Mr. Garmin and the other Ms. Polar). I know some have got fancy to try to merge the two database files, but it seems like a lot of work cutting and pasting. Hopefully in the future this will be solved.

PS: For those with Garmin device and a Mac, check out Ascent ... a 35$ shareware that blows Garmin Training Centre out of the water.

I have heard rumblings in the past that Garmin and Saris may be working on a "joint project"...nothing firm though. One can only hope that one of the major PM makers is smart enough to add in GPS functionality
;)
 

Darrill

New Member
May 17, 2003
5
0
0
I have just installed the CS600 (the gap to the chain is a little outside the 25mm range when on the front 50 and rear 27, it closer to 35mm) but it seems to be recording data that appears correct.

But as this is my first experience with a power meter how does one know if the data is close to correct?

As well there seems to be little info provided on concepts like pedaling index (mine appears pathetic) and cycling efficiency (still looking for this data). It sounds great to have the numbers but what to do with them.

Does anyone have experience with these issues that they could share?

Thx.
 

Tom Anhalt

New Member
Dec 9, 2003
239
0
0
Darrill said:
I have just installed the CS600 (the gap to the chain is a little outside the 25mm range when on the front 50 and rear 27, it closer to 35mm) but it seems to be recording data that appears correct.

Do you ever use that gear combo on the road? If not, don't worry about it. What's the distance in your 50-24 gear?...and if you don't use that gear combo, don't worry about that.

In other words, only worry about the vertical spacing in your largest USEABLE gear combo. Make sense?


Darrill said:
But as this is my first experience with a power meter how does one know if the data is close to correct?

Well...as long as your installation is good (vertical spacing, chain always passing over the sensor), and you've entered ACCURATE values for your chainstay length AND chain weight (DON'T TRUST "TABLE" VALUES FOR THE CHAIN...WEIGH IT YOURSELF!), my experience over the last 3+ years is that you can trust the (on the road) power readings to be reliable and accurate. This experience includes running the Polar on the same bike as a PT.

Another way to give yourself a good "warm tummy feel" about the power numbers is to find a reasonable length (5-10 minutes minimum) steady climb and then compare your power numbers to what would be predicted by the power calculator at www.analyticcycling.com. When I do that, the numbers typically are within 5W of each other.



Darrill said:
As well there seems to be little info provided on concepts like pedaling index (mine appears pathetic) and cycling efficiency (still looking for this data). It sounds great to have the numbers but what to do with them.

Pedaling index isn't really worth a whole lot since like the Computrainer "spinscan" function, it can't really decouple the output of the left and right legs. There's more than one way to get a "round" pedal stroke, and not all of them are beneficial to making your bike go forward faster. Besides, it's not entirely clear that having a "round" pedal stroke is better anyway. I NEVER look at the pedaling index numbers.

I'm not exactly familiar with how the Polar is calculating this "efficiency", but if it's based on HR vs. power output, I'm not sure if it's going to have much utility either....

Just my 2 pesos ;)
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
Tom Anhalt said:
I'm not exactly familiar with how the Polar is calculating this "efficiency", but if it's based on HR vs. power output, I'm not sure if it's going to have much utility either....

The User Manual states (paraphrased):

"Cycling Efficiency is your energy expenditure converted into the power that propels the bike forward. It is measured as soon as HR is >100bpm and exercise has lasted >1min.... Improvement in cycling efficiency indicates improved performance economy."


So I guess it's how many calories you expend for a given power output (given weight). The problem is that the computation to estimate calories expended must be based upon both HR and upon your subjective appraisal of your own fitness level (as entered in your user settings), so it's only an approximation. I guess what could be marginally useful is to see how you trend over time, assuming you don't change your self-assigned level in your user settings.

To the poster asking about how to tell if your PM is accurate, Tom explained a few pages back how to run through the gears on a fluid trainer and check for consistency. Read backwards, you'll find it. :)
 

Tom Anhalt

New Member
Dec 9, 2003
239
0
0
warnerjh said:
To the poster asking about how to tell if your PM is accurate, Tom explained a few pages back how to run through the gears on a fluid trainer and check for consistency. Read backwards, you'll find it. :)

However, if Polar hasn't changed anything with their power calculation (which it doesn't sound like they have) then that test isn't going to show you much besides the power number can be either "on" or "way off" on a trainer...which we know already (i.e. the Polar's "Achille's heel").

I assumed the poster was more interested in "on road" performance, which in multiple instance has been shown to be very reliable and accurate when properly set up.
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
Tom Anhalt said:
However, if Polar hasn't changed anything with their power
calculation (which it doesn't sound like they have) then that test isn't
going to show you much besides the power number can be either "on" or "way
off" on a trainer...which we know already (i.e. the Polar's "Achille's
heel").

I assumed the poster was more interested in "on road" performance, which in
multiple instance has been shown to be very reliable and accurate when
properly set up.

A ha, I see.

On an unrelated note, I have a third-party IrDa USB adapter on the way (none
were to be found locally), and it should be here tomorrow if this
approaching storm doesn't prevent FedEx from delivering. Also, I got this
reply from Polar Technical Support in regard to IrDa hardware issues,
Virtual PC on the Mac, etc.:

Dear Mr. J\V,

Thank you for your email.

So far we have concentrated on the Windows PC environment. Based on
received customer feedback, we are aware of the need for Polar-compatible
Mac software. As product development is always a long-term process,
unfortunately we are unable to give you a short-term solution in this
matter.

One of the latest development in the Mac world has introduced a beta version
called Bootcamp. We cannot recommend that you download it or install it, but
as you express your interest in making the software and data transfer work
on your Mac, you may want to read about it:
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2006/apr/05bootcamp.html
http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/

With regards to bootcamp, we have had a few customer contact us with their
success stories: "I have installed Boot Camp on my MacBook Pro running OS X
10.4.6 and it works fine. I installed the Iwave windows drivers and the
Polar software and it all works and I can download from my 710i to the Mac;
I just have to boot up into WinXP rather than OS X."

Here are also the details of a successful case of sending data from an IrDA
compatible Polar heart rate monitor to the Polar Precision Performance/Polar
ProTrainer 5 software running on Windows emulator software on Mac 10.3.9.
The IR device used was an Polar IrDA USB 2.0 Adapter.


Specifications of the system: MacOS 10.3.9 Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac 7.0
- emulator

The Polar IrDA USB 2.0 Adapter package states that the adapter is compatible
with MacOS versions 10.2 and 10.3. As the Mac does not accept a small size
CD ROM on which the Polar IrDA USB 2.0 Adapter drivers are delivered on, you
can find driver installation files at:
http://www.etronix.com.tw/download.asp and by clicking the link
‘New version driver V1.0.1638 for IR721 ----- 2006/02/06’. Alternatively,
you need temporary access to a PC to copy the driver installation files off
the CD ROM (come in the Polar IrDA USB 2.0 Adapter package) to a USB memory
stick, for instance, and install the drivers to your Mac from there.

The installation worked. The IrDA device was recognized by the MacOS and
became visible with the emulator for Windows applications as well.

There have also been some successes with MAC OS 10.4/Virtual PC 7
combination. What needs to be remembered is that in the PPP software
settings (Options - Preferences - Hardware), you select the correct IR port
(=> IrDA).

Please note that the above are just examples by a few customers who have
managed to get the data transferring working on Mac either using bootcamp or
Virtual PC. Please also note that we do not encourage you to purchase
anything or change your system in any way to test data transfer from a Polar
product. We do not support these types of solutions. As Polar does not
support Mac as an operating system, there are no solutions currently
available for Mac directly.

I hope you find some use for the information above. We would be grateful for
any feedback you have on data transfer on Mac.

Your message has been forwarded to the appropriate departments here at
Polar. I hope we will have something to offer you in the future.

To keep updated on Polar software releases, please subscribe to the Polar
newsletter at:
http://support.polar.fi/PKBSupport.nsf/Library?OpenForm.

If you need further assistance please feel free to contact Customer Service
at 800-227-1314 or 516-364-0400.

Thank you for choosing Polar.

Customer Service POLAR ELECTRO INC.

Some of it contradicts some statements made by posters earlier in the
thread, but it doesn't necessarily mean I believe it... :confused:
 

jmocallaghan

New Member
Dec 27, 2003
137
0
16
50
warnerjh said:
A ha, I see.

On an unrelated note, I have a third-party IrDa USB adapter on the way (none
were to be found locally), and it should be here tomorrow if this
approaching storm doesn't prevent FedEx from delivering. Also, I got this
reply from Polar Technical Support in regard to IrDa hardware issues,
Virtual PC on the Mac, etc.:



Some of it contradicts some statements made by posters earlier in the
thread, but it doesn't necessarily mean I believe it... :confused:


I know we're talking about the Mac here but as a side note to all, you can go to www.tigerdirect.com and key in "IRDA" and there is an adapter there for $11.95 vs. the Polar $59.95 adapter. I ordered one today and if it works in the same manner as my Dell Laptop's buiult in adapter, we should be in business. Overall, playing with it I am enjoying it. There are a lot of improvements over the 625 and 725, it does take a little time to get used to it. We'll see how it works this week on the road. I did do a little different mounting though then most people, I put the battery pack underneath the chainstay and it seems to clean it up a bit.
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
jmocallaghan said:
I know we're talking about the Mac here but as a side note to all, you can go to www.tigerdirect.com and key in "IRDA" and there is an adapter there for $11.95 vs. the Polar $59.95 adapter. I ordered one today and if it works in the same manner as my Dell Laptop's buiult in adapter, we should be in business. Overall, playing with it I am enjoying it. There are a lot of improvements over the 625 and 725, it does take a little time to get used to it. We'll see how it works this week on the road. I did do a little different mounting though then most people, I put the battery pack underneath the chainstay and it seems to clean it up a bit.

That's the one I ordered, and hopefully I'll be able to report back on it tomorrow, assuming it gets delivered on time.

As I read elsewhere on the forums, the one thing I don't like about the computer display is that you cannot scroll through all the different types of data available that are being tracked. If your display isn't configured to display a metric (for example, 'average speed'), there's no way to see it without reviewing the end data after the ride. The display is configurable in that the 4 different display 'pages' can show three different pieces of data, which essentially gives you 12+1 available, in addition to the 'dedicated' cadence box in the lower right. This is kind of a bummer, as the S720i at least allowed you to scroll through all the data being tracked if you wish.

Another oddity that I've discovered: If you mark a 'lap' by hitting the 'OK' button (same as on the 720), doing so resets both 'Distance' and 'Trip Distance' (per the User Manual). It seems like it should leave the 'Distance' alone (there is also an 'odometer' that cannot be reset). That makes no sense to me, but I guess I wasn't made in Finland... :rolleyes:

Cheers!
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
FYI, the 'Cables Unlimited IrDa Wireless Bridge (USB v1.1)' from TigerDirect ($11.99) works perfectly, once the drivers are adequately installed. Y'all save yourself $50 and bypass Polar's overpriced product (though it is USB 2.0). Hardware now needs to be set to 'IrDa' instead of COM1 or COM2.

I finally got all the data off the CS600 (via Mac OS 9.2.2 pushing VirtualPC and W98), so I'll try to do the trainer test in the next day or two.

Tom, does the speed sensor need to be on the rear wheel for this test, or will cadence alone do? Please let me know.

-J\V
 

jmocallaghan

New Member
Dec 27, 2003
137
0
16
50
warnerjh said:
FYI, the 'Cables Unlimited IrDa Wireless Bridge (USB v1.1)' from TigerDirect ($11.99) works perfectly, once the drivers are adequately installed. Y'all save yourself $50 and bypass Polar's overpriced product (though it is USB 2.0). Hardware now needs to be set to 'IrDa' instead of COM1 or COM2.

I finally got all the data off the CS600 (via Mac OS 9.2.2 pushing VirtualPC and W98), so I'll try to do the trainer test in the next day or two.

Tom, does the speed sensor need to be on the rear wheel for this test, or will cadence alone do? Please let me know.

-J\V

Thanks for the info, that is good news!! No overprice polar items!!!


You need both cadence and speed to get it to work. You can run speed off both the front wheel and the rear.
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
CS600 is working great, here's a couple of quick things of note:

1) The 'Distance' is not reset when setting a 'Lap', only 'Trip Distance' is reset. This reality contradicts the User Manual, thankfully.

2) Yesterday I did a 3-hour ride set to 1-sec recording. It did revert to 5-sec recording in the middle of the ride (a bit early, I might add), but here's the good part: After downloading the data and deleting it, when I rode today, it was STILL set to 1-sec recording. That's a good deal, and also contradicts either the User Manual or something Polar support told someone. What I'm not yet sure of is whether or not I somehow caused this inadvertently by transferring PT5 settings into the unit. More on this when I figure it out.

3) The IrDa interface is working, but occasionally flakes out and cannot re-connect, after it has connected. This is clearly a ProTrainer 5 issues, as the PC continues to be connected, etc.

4) Some cool things in ProTrainer 5, including giving an Average Climb Rate per Hour for each 'lap'. I think it's call 'VMAH' or something, whatever that stands for. Also, it's now easier to add Lap Marker if you forget to take a split while riding.

More later...
 

Tom Anhalt

New Member
Dec 9, 2003
239
0
0
warnerjh said:
Tom, does the speed sensor need to be on the rear wheel for this test, or will cadence alone do? Please let me know.

-J\V

Well...the idea is to use a constant wheel speed so that the trainer power is assumed to be constant. If using cadence, you'll need to determine the correct cadence for each gear ratio so that wheel speed will be equivalent.

It's your call...just yesterday I watched the Polar rep at the Sea Otter Classic install a CS600 on a MTB and he mounted the speed sensor to the chainstay. Apparently the range of the digital sensor is pretty large, so it's a non-issue...the large range also apparently can sometimes make it difficult for the unit to "learn" the sensors in a shop setting...especially if the mechanic is trying to set up the unit next to the stock of computers and sensors ;)

I talked to him for over an hour while I was thankfully being sheltered during a passing rainstorm. He didn't have any power units on display or for sale. I thought that was kind of odd what with Sea Otter being such a big venue and all. He said that they were in VERY short supply right now.

Tom
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
Tom Anhalt said:
Well...the idea is to use a constant wheel speed so that the trainer power is assumed to be constant. If using cadence, you'll need to determine the correct cadence for each gear ratio so that wheel speed will be equivalent.

Ah, I'm on the same page now... I've got a garage project going on for the next few days, but I will try to re-mount the speed sensor and do the trainer test this week for those of you interested in its performance in that regard. I've still got my '****' skewer mounted on the rear wheel for this purpose, so honest, I'm still intending to do it! :)


Tom Anhalt said:
He didn't have any power units on display or for sale. I thought that was kind of odd what with Sea Otter being such a big venue and all. He said that they were in VERY short supply right now.

I'm glad I got mine when I did, I think it's going to work out quite well.
Other than one bout of odd heart rates, I've had no signal dropout issues or problems with any of the sensors. I'm guessing the new 2.4 Ghz transmission was the ticket (not that I had any issues with my 720).
 

jstock

New Member
Apr 24, 2006
69
0
0
warnerjh said:
2) Yesterday I did a 3-hour ride set to 1-sec recording. It did revert to 5-sec recording in the middle of the ride (a bit early, I might add),
That's strange. My longest ride to date is 2.08 but that was still using 1 sec. recording. This week I'll try to fit in a longer ride.
warnerjh said:
Other than one bout of odd heart rates, I've had no signal dropout issues or problems with any of the sensors. I'm guessing the new 2.4 Ghz transmission was the ticket (not that I had any issues with my 720).
My experience is this: With the 720 heart rate would go crazy or to zero when passing power lines or riding close to railway tracks but speed, power, and cadence would work. Sometimes you wold get a power reading of +2kW though.

With the CS600 heart rate and speed seem rock solid but power and cadence sometimes drop to zero at the same places where heart rate on the 720 was acting up. Also the battery compartment seems to be a bit problematic. On one of my rides I have some "pavé style" speed bumps that may be the culprit. Before I did that ride I did not have any problems. But now it seems to be a good idea to, before heading off, make sure that the batteries are really connected.

All in all it works pretty well though and the above does not cause any major problems. It takes like 30 seconds to check the batteries and I don't pass that many power lines. On the positive side I have only had one high reading this far. And it's really nice to not have to worry about the connecters between the 720 and the mount.
 

J-V

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
201
0
0
Oh yeah, ProTrainer5 does have some sort of issue with reading the CS600's temperature values, although they read correctly on the cycle computer. PT5 is reporting values in the -200 degree range, even though the lap times read correctly on the cycle computer.

One quick usage note, I did a time trial up my local hill yesterday, and then ran numbers through Kreuzotter.de to see what it came up with. The CS600 averaged 284.5 watts for the 25 minute climb, and Kreuzotter gave 284 watts. Not too bad, maybe on both their counts. :)

J\V