recently tried the Timex body link, but I returned it

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Steve Waco, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Steve Waco

    Steve Waco Guest

    I recently tried the Timex body link, but I returned it at the store. I thought that if you go out
    and your only picking up the signal part of the time that means that if you are trying to measure a
    certain route, this device won't even work and give you the total distance elapsed. What are your
    thoughts on this? I would have to surmise probably nobody is getting a 100% feedback, which means
    that nobody is getting a complete measurement from beginning to end that would be accurate. I
    appreciate any input that you might have.
     
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  2. Globaldisc

    Globaldisc Guest

    when you buy a first generation product, that's called being on the "bleeding edge". you spend the
    money out your pocket, you're the real world beta site for manufacturer and suffer discovering all
    the shortcomings, bugs, and flaws. basically you get the priviledge of getting a half-baked product.

    with new technology....you gotta let them work out the bugs on someone else's
    dime. be patient...sit on the sidelines until it's tweaked.
     
  3. In article <[email protected]>, steve waco wrote:
    > I recently tried the Timex body link, but I returned it at the store. I thought that if you go out
    > and your only picking up the signal part of the time that means that if you are trying to measure
    > a certain route, this device won't even work and give you the total distance elapsed. What are
    > your thoughts on this? I would have to surmise probably nobody is getting a 100% feedback, which
    > means that nobody is getting a complete measurement from beginning to end that would be accurate.
    > I appreciate any input that you might have.

    This is one of the reasons I prefer a real GPS unit over the Timex thing. You can view a plot of
    your route offline afterwards, and even if there are dropouts, you can deal with it (and you will
    know if there are dropouts).

    There's also the Fitsense watch that uses an accelerometer.

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  4. Dot

    Dot Guest

    steve waco wrote:

    > I recently tried the Timex body link, but I returned it at the store. I thought that if you go out
    > and your only picking up the signal part of the time that means that if you are trying to measure
    > a certain route, this device won't even work and give you the total distance elapsed. What are
    > your thoughts on this?

    Not sure about the body link system, but with many GPS's they have an algorithm to fill in the
    blanks - which may or may not be accurate. Or as Donovan indicated, you can fill in the holes
    yourself on a regular GPS. As mentioned in many previous threads here, GPS reception depends on good
    satellite alignment and minimizing sky obstructions - clouds, precip, trees, buildings, etc. Some
    places get better reception than others. Where I am in Alaska, our coverage is substantially less
    than in other places - as confirmed by GPS/GIS person on faculty for about 1 yr now, not just my
    personal experience with consumer-grade gear.

    The fit sense (accelerometer) folks indicated that their system works very well on "normal" terrain,
    but are less accurate on trails and mountains. There's just too many variables. (summarized a
    response from Fit Sense posted on another list, July 2002 - maybe things have changed in mean time)
    Many people here seem to be getting decent results with that since many people run on road. But
    iirc, it does require calibration with different shoes (which I do tend to change).

    FWIW, I've got most of my normal trails mapped now using a GPS (mostly in winter when skies are
    clearer and leaves are gone), and I just use an electronic topo map (All Topo Maps: Alaska, NFI) to
    estimate distance for the route I just ran or plan my next run(s). This works for me since precise
    distances aren't a big deal. And I've timed many of the larger or steeper hills (or some relatively
    flat, straight areas with good footing) so I know which ones I can use for, say 2-min or 4-min
    repeats (or 1 hr straight up), etc - at least for now. Most workouts I use are based on time since
    that's the way a lot of physiological processes work. Race distances are usually approximate also. I
    just enjoy the run.

    Just my $.02.

    Dot

    --
    "Success is different things to different people" -Bernd Heinrich in Racing the Antelope
     
  5. On 2003-10-24, Donovan Rebbechi <[email protected]> wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>, steve waco wrote:
    >> I recently tried the Timex body link, but I returned it at the store. I thought that if you go
    >> out and your only picking up the signal part of the time that means that if you are trying to
    >> measure a certain route, this device won't even work and give you the total distance elapsed.
    >> What are your thoughts on this? I would have to surmise probably nobody is getting a 100%
    >> feedback, which means that nobody is getting a complete measurement from beginning to end that
    >> would be accurate. I appreciate any input that you might have.
    >
    > This is one of the reasons I prefer a real GPS unit over the Timex thing. You can view a plot of
    > your route offline afterwards, and even if there are dropouts, you can deal with it (and you will
    > know if there are dropouts).

    I also use the GPS. I have the Garmin eTrex Vista (Got one of the first 300 first European units).
    It is great, huge tracklog, maps, barometric altimeter (for altitude profiles).

    Most of my routes I just measure on the electronic maps the county has put on the net (together with
    aerial photos). The software they use allows you to measure in the browser. But yet, I find it to
    give slightly short measuring.
     
  6. Steve Common

    Steve Common Guest

    "steve waco" <[email protected](nospam).com> wrote:

    >I recently tried the Timex body link, but I returned it at the store.
    ...snip
    >I would have to surmise probably nobody is getting ...a 100% feedback, which means that nobody is
    >getting a complete measurement from beginning to end that would be accurate. I appreciate any input
    >that you might have.
    >

    I have only very rare dropout of the signal. This occurs when under relatively heavy foliage or in
    tunnels, narrow streets with high buildings. I can be extremely annoying when it happens
    unexpectedly but usually you can work out when it will happen.

    Even when the signal drops out for a few (10s of) seconds, the box will still interpolate and,
    unless you were zig-zagging or varying speed significantly at the time, the approximate value
    provided by the unit will still be better than that of a mechanical podometer or a "guess" based on
    perceived pace and time.

    I imagine the system is next to useless however if you're in woods most of your time.

    On one of my home circuit runs, I go under two tunnels. As I run straight along the tunnel, the
    systems gets a near zero error by interpolating (it knows the time taken, it knows the linear
    distance between the point where it lost signal and the point where it regained signal. So..

    Any help?
     
  7. R. Rogers

    R. Rogers Guest

    My intuition would tell me that signal quality/drop-out frequency is not only dependent on local
    geography (tunnels, heavy tree cover), but perhaps also the continent, country, and province/state.
    Do any of GPS units actually tell you how many satellites are in the area, or how far away they are?

    The more satellites there are, and the closer they are to the GPS, the less the drop-outs, no?

    I'm interested in this too - I'm thinking of getting the Timex speed/distance.

    Richard Rogers
     
  8. Dot

    Dot Guest

    R. Rogers wrote:
    > My intuition would tell me that signal quality/drop-out frequency is not only dependent on local
    > geography (tunnels, heavy tree cover), but perhaps also the continent, country, and
    > province/state.

    The location as well as time do make a difference. Trimble, I think, has (had?) a webpage or pgm
    that would give you an idea on satellite reception in your area for a given time, but I'm not sure
    that that took satellite outages into consideration, esp. if it's an offline pgm. Some people I was
    working with had to wait 1/2 hr to train me on a different GPS since they couldn't get a signal
    under a clear, open sky - it was a known black spot around noon for a week or two time period until
    things got more Alaska-friendly. They had just forgotten about it when scheduling. But my
    understanding is that coverage in Alaska is suboptimal.

    It also depends on equipment. I was with some people that couldn't get any reception at all on their
    GPS for most of the day, whereas I could at least get an approximate location on mine - it gives
    estimated error. Some antennas work better than others; some are fussier about their orientation
    (horizontal, vertical) than others.

    I've gotten really good tracking on mine (Garmin 12XL, Etrex Vista) some days (within 15-20ft,
    iirc), and really bad on other days (couldn't maintain a lock) for same location. The quad helix
    antennas are suppposed to be better than the patch antennas on 12XL, Etrex, and the timex units.

    Do any of GPS units
    > actually tell you how many satellites are in the area, or how far away they are?

    Most GPS units show you the number of satellites, a bar with the strength of signal, and spatial
    position in sky. Having them spread at various angles so they can do a better job of triangulation
    is more important than distance, I'm guessing. Units generally won't give you any navigation
    information unless you have a lock on at least 3 satellites. The more the merrier, obviously.

    You might want to visit the following ng sci.geo.satellite-nav or these web pages for detailed info.
    http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/ http://edu-observatory.org/gps/gps.html

    I'm just a user that hasn't tried to work out details.

    Dot

    --
    "Success is different things to different people" -Bernd Heinrich in Racing the Antelope
     
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