PowerTap Computer Problems.

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by joule, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. joule

    joule New Member

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    Have the SL unit (purchased a year ago) and started having problems with the computer this past May. Unit would typically show an intermittened display while pressing the two buttons to clear the data. Also, after the first 6 months of trouble free use, even the slightest movement while mounted would cause the display to flash like a loose filament in a light bulb. Complained to Saris and received a new unit shortly there after.

    Now, in October (5 months later) the same thing is happening. Often when it does, it loses all data including date and time. Luckily some of the other setting (distance per rev) remains. Was talking to someone today on a ride that was thinking of getting a PowerTap but has held off because of the numerous (his words) problems associated with the computer. I've rarely (twice in the past year) ridden in the rain and covered the unit with a baggie / rubber band. Have cleaned the contacts, but the problem remains. Weather (temp, humidy) does not seem to matter once this problem starts. One time, the unit completly flaked out (showed random power even when disconnected from the harness) which required a hard reset once I got back from the ride. And at least once while pressing the two buttons to clear the data while NOT in the harness, the same problem occurred.

    I've e-mail Saris yet again. I've not noted others complaining about this problem here however. Is certainly NOT a short due to dampness as yesterday in clear, 70 degree, sunny weather it happened again. Deterioation is constant and expect the unit to be useless in another couple of weeks. I guess I should also mention it's most likely NOT a problem related to the harness as I have two bikes with two different harnesses but the problem is experienced on both bikes.

    Comments? Experiences? I'll let you know what I hear from Saris. I love the PT otherwise.... a great training tool. Just wish I had a reliable computer. Heck, I'd be willing to pay their cost for another computer if I had some guarentee that the computer problems have been resolved. But I'm NOT interested in purchasing a new computer every 6 months after blowing over $1200 on something that clearly has a design issue.
     
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  2. jbvcoaching

    jbvcoaching New Member

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    Here are the steps I would follow:

    1) Replace the CPU battery

    2) If that doesn't help, call Saris (they're way better on phone than email).

    It sounds also like you possibly have a receiver going bad. Do you have multiple receivers to test that?
     
  3. Steelhead

    Steelhead New Member

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    I've had all these problems, and in all cases they were caused by merely a poor battery contact. Try removing your battary and gently pulling the contact tab up a bit, then put the battary back in, but before you close it, take a pencil eraser and use it to spin the battary around on the contact surface to ensure the best possible contact. Then close and reenter your settings. I'll bet this will work for you. . . you'll find that the contact will occasionally degrade in the future. You can remedy this without losing your data by taking a key or cone wrench and repeatedly twisting the cover (without removing it). I find this often renews good contact.

    This should not happen in a $1000 device, but the PowerTap computer is a quirky and imperfect thing, unfortunately. It's probably underpowered for all the functions it performs. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep the heart rate receiver from cutting out, if anyone has any suggestions.

     
  4. workingguy

    workingguy Member

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    Mine (PT Pro) did have the same problem, after about a year of use. I did replace both hub and CPU batteries but that did not fix the problem. The display would fade out when trying to reset for a new workout. Occasionally, pushing the buttons would cause it to spontaneously reset. Even during a workout, if I do intervals (without using the buttons to mark the interval - so not touching the controls at all), and I suddenly ramp up power, the display fades out, as if it's thinking hard to recalculate the average power. Called Saris support and sent it in. They sent back a new CPU the same day.
     
  5. Steelhead

    Steelhead New Member

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    Again, I'm nearly sure your problems are not electronics, but your battery connection. There are two tabs in the battery compartment: one on the bottom and one on the side. Gently pull them out a bit and clean them off with a small eraser or cloth. Also, be sure you use a good quality battery, such as Duracell. I was having endless problems similar to yours until I discovered that it was the crummy Radio Shack batteries I had been using. Another thing: The CPU is a power hog. Saris claims approx 100 hours between battery changes, but my experience has been more like 40-50 (at which time the heart rate reception begins to disappear). The new CPU you were sent will eventually start doing the same thing as the battery contacts degrade. This is because the battery hatch is not 100% air tight.

     
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