Power Sensor ANT+ Head Unit

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Felt_Rider, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    With a few other companies in the news as adding to the power meter market like Rotor, StageOne, Brim Bothers along with the current mix it is surprising that there are not more options also coming out for a solid head unit. The following is pure personal opinion and experiences are no doubt going to be different per individual. The past couple of weeks just looking around at the options I was just surprised there are not more on the market and no rumors of anything coming as far as I could find.

    I have been using the Garmin Edge series since the 305 came out and then started using the 705. At the time I had the 705 my power meter was a wired Powertap so I used the LYC. Last year I upgraded the wheel to ANT+ and then soon after upgraded to the Garmin 800. Within a year I have returned two 800's for exchange under warranty and I am really hoping the replacement arrives today so that I can have it for my long Saturday training ride. At this point I really wished I had not sold my 705 and not bought the 800.

    While this exchange has been in process I have been using my backup plan with the iPhone/Wahoo ANT+ case/Wahoo app and have come to the decision that using the iPhone is not a great option for me personally. I have used it before with the other exchange, but forgot some of the frustrations of using the iPhone. Last Saturday on a 4:30:00 hour ride the fully charged iPhone only made it to 3:50:00 or 66 miles of a 74 mile route. Because the battery died before I could hit save there were some download frustrations, but it did save the data. On Sunday I had to use my phone and did not have time to fully recharge before a 2 x 60 and I just barely finished the ride and saved the data before the battery died. Both times the battery went dead with my putting the phone to sleep (turning off the display) to extend the battery life. I had to do both rides using RPE, which was not a real big deal, but still no comparison to the battery life of some of the dedicated bike computers. I know there is an external battery from Wahoo that will extend the battery life, but I'm not really keen on strapping more crap to my bars.

    Another drawback has data upload. From the phone app I have to email the data file to myself and then open it in WKO+ then save it. For the most part the data seems okay with a few metrics missing like speed and distance. When I upload to Strava just about all the metrics that are normal for Strava are present. When I upload to Garmin Connect quite a few metrics are missing or seem irregular and there are no power metrics at all. When I upload to RidewithGPS many of the typical metrics show up except power. Uploading to TrainingPeaks all the metrics seem to be valid. Having wireless upload from the iphone using wifi or phone signal is nice especially since my latest issue with the Garmin 800 is the USB port was rusting and my computer would not recognize the unit (seems to be a common issue with the 800 and the 500 searching the web. If you cannot connect, the unit is pretty much worthless for data tracking).

    With all this going on and searching the web I started doing some comparisons. The table below was something I created to help me look at some of the options. In summary it just seems to me that Garmin still prevails as a general ANT+ power sensor head unit compared to what is out on the market right now. The Cycleops Joule GPS seems like a worthy option and is very similar to the Garmin 500, but from what I could tell with the research it lacks two things that are important to me. One is no power smoothing while in motion (it looked as if this was overlooked when it was released and may be added as a firmware update later). One of the bigger issues, if I read things correctly, is there is no start/stop button that is valuable to those of us doing intervals and it auto pauses everytime you stop motion and there is no option to control this. You can do an interval start / stop, but you have to navigate through the menu to do it. I should have checked, but one user mentioned that the Joule is not an option on the WKO+ Device Manager and stated difficulty importing to WKO. I am not sure if that is true. Maybe a user here can verify.

    The O-synce Navi2Coach really looks like a nice unit or comparable to the Garmin 705 that I am currently wishing I still had. It is not a company that is well known in the states and doing a search I could not find it for sell or much about it. In one of the online manuals it mentions having TSS/IF/NP available as one of the unit displays, but the power metrics were not listed in the function bullet items. It looks promising though and I hope they can broaden their distribution market.

    The Wahoo RFLKT is not really a dedicated unit. It is merely a unit to display and control the iPhone app. It allows the user to put the phone to sleep in their jersey pocket (I do most of my long rides solo so I always carry mine anyway). The phone sends a signal to the small display unit on the bars. The unit has a very long battery life, but again all of that is useless if your iPhone cannot hold the charge for the duration of a long ride or if you did not have time to recharge fully before your ride. The receiver unit will also control the phone with a start/stop interval buttons, display change and music control if you do that sort of thing. By having this unit it will help extend the phone battery and it puts your phone in less crash damage or weather related risk. Plus it has a much small footprint than the iPhone on the bars.

    I could have put a whole lot more comparison data in the table, but I put some of the primary things that are important to me while looking at some of these things. Maybe this post will be helpful to someone just getting into training with power and considering the different head unit options.

    By the way I just ordered a Garmin 500 that I will use as my primary unit on familiar training routes and keep the 800 for routes that are less familiar (lots of twists and turns) where the map will be useful. At least the 500 is less expensive and has a good reputation for display control, extended power metrics available and uploads to just about any website or power tracking software like the 800. I hope that Garmin will make the next units as durable as the 705.

    Sorry for the table display, but it is not as easy to control here as it is on the PC.






    ANT+ Power Meter GPS Head Units Media Transfer Battery Run Time GPS Map Display Flex Display Setup Additional Power Metrics Add Bike Profiles Lap Time 1 Second Recording Power Smoothing Control Auto Pause Start/Stop Button Mount Options Mount Types GARMIN 705 USB Estimated 12 hours Street Map Yes (8) No Yes Yes Yes 3s/10s/30s Yes Yes Large Variety Stem / Bar /Out Front/Aerobar GARMIN 800 USB Estimated 12 hours Street Map Yes (8) TSS/NP/IF Yes Yes Yes 3s/10s/30s Yes Yes Large Variety Stem / Bar /Out Front/Aerobar GARMIN 500 USB Estimated 12 hours Bread Crumb Line Yes (8) TSS/NP/IF Yes Yes Yes 3s/10s/30s Yes Yes Large Variety Stem / Bar /Out Front/Aerobar iPhone ANT+ dongle / app wireless Approx 3.5 hours Street Map APP Dependent TSS/NP/IF Yes Yes Yes APP Dependent Yes Yes Limited Options Stem / Bar/Aerobar iPhone ANT+ dongle RFLKT / app wireless Based on the iPhone None Yes TSS/NP/IF Yes Yes Yes unknown Yes Yes Limited Options Stem / Bar/Aerobar O-snynce Navi2Coach USB Estimated 14 hours Bread Crumb Line Yes (8) TSS/NP/IF (listed in manual) Unknown Yes Yes unknown unkown Yes Limited Options Stem / Bar /Out Front/Aerobar Cycleops Joule GPS USB Estimated 17 hours Bread Crumb Line Yes (6) TSS/NP/IF Yes Yes Yes Not At This Time No Navigate Menu Limited Options Stem / Bar /Out Front
     
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  2. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    One small soapbox and facepalm moment if I may.........

    Why is it that I sent the unit to Garmin for a warranty replacement using FedEx ground from Atlanta to Kansas and it arrived in 3 days with it insured and full tracking available for $10 and they return the unit to me using DHL who then turned it over to USPS in south Atlanta. The package shows as being dropped off by DHL to USPS 3 days ago. It has been in my town at USPS for 3 days and of course their tracking is worthless.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. BrianMacDonald

    BrianMacDonald New Member

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    Great post. Does anyone have any experience with the Cyclops Joule products? They are cheaper and have a smaller form factor that the Garmin units. I have been considering upgrading my head unit from the Cyclops Cervo unit I currently have.

    You might be able to extend the battery life of the iPhone by turning off e-mail and data roaming but that is a drag I admit.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    As for you advice about stuff to turn off on the iPhone to extend battery life, +1. Additionally there are bunch of other things that can be turned off that run in the background. Quite a few electronics blogs (like MacWorld) have discussions of such things. As for the CycleOps Joule, DCRainmaker has an in-depth review of the Joule GPS. If you search his blog, you'll find a review of the plain Jane Joule.
     
  5. BrianMacDonald

    BrianMacDonald New Member

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    That was helpful. Thank you.

    So I am not sure I get the whole thing about breadcrumb line vs. street map. I guess my question is how easy or hard is it to follow a route that has been uploaded to the Garmin 500 or similar device with breadcrumb functionality?
     
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