Satan is working through my PowerTap SL.

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by kmavm, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, after about 5000 miles on my set of powerTap batteries, I start getting the blinking transmission icon around 10 days ago. Proactive guy that I am, I decide to change the batteries before I start having problems. Sounds like a smart thing to do, right?

    So, I change them last week. The first time I put the wheel back on, the hub refuses to transmit no matter how many times I give it a spin. Weird. So, I crack open the hub and reseat the batteries. That works! Weird, but whatever! I'm off and running. So far so good.

    Yesterday morning (naturally, day before race day) I start getting the blinking transmission icon again! Inexplicable. I've only ridden, like, 150 miles on the new set of batteries. By the time I get on the bike in the PM, it has crapped out completely: the hub is dead, no amount of spinning will wake it up.

    I got to my race this AM with enough time to spare to try recovering the hub. I had an extra pair of new batteries, so I cracked her open, popped in the new batteries, closed it up, and, for a while, things appeared to work. I got weirdly low readings for about a half hour of my warm-up; strangely enough, zeroing the torque about 5 times fixed it. I kept zeroing it, and then the torque mode display (blinking "watts") would creep back up to 3, 4, or 5.

    So, the last 10 minutes of my warm-up I was working fine. Same for the first 7 minutes of my race. Then, the hub "died": I get "---" for watts and speed, with no transmission icon, with only very occasional exceptions. Looking at the raw .csv data, it looks as though I suddenly started getting samples with a speed of "zero". These bad samples seemed to get more and more frequent, until the "good" samples were dominated by bad ones. The race started out like this:

    86.071, 25.6, 3.8, 81, 13.381, , 127, 0
    86.092, 21.4, 13.4, 238, 13.385, , 129, 0
    86.113, 32.2, 15.7, 422, 13.391, , 129, 0
    86.134, 29.3, 19.7, 479, 13.398, , 136, 0
    86.155, 24.9, 22.8, 471, 13.406, , 140, 0
    86.176, 21.2, 24.8, 439, 13.414, , 144, 0
    86.197, 17.6, 26.6, 390, 13.425, , 146, 0
    86.218, 15.6, 26.6, 345, 13.433, , 146, 0
    86.239, 14.8, 26.8, 331, 13.442, , 154, 0
    86.260, 13.4, 27.2, 305, 13.452, 69, 156, 0
    86.281, 13.4, 27.1, 303, 13.462, 69, 161, 0
    86.302, 14.2, 26.9, 319, 13.471, 68, 155, 0
    86.323, 15.4, 26.7, 342, 13.481, 68, 160, 0
    86.344, 14.7, 26.9, 329, 13.490, 68, 158, 0

    Then, right before the drops occur, there are some isolated samples with speed of zero:

    92.014, 18.2, 18.2, 276, 16.145, 75, 180, 0
    92.035, 18.2, 18.2, 276, 16.152, 75, 181, 0
    92.056, , 0.0, , 16.152, 75, 182, 0
    92.077, , 0.0, , 16.152, 75, 182, 0
    92.098, 18.1, 17.4, 261, 16.158, 75, 180, 0
    92.119, 20.5, 17.0, 289, 16.162, 72, 180, 0

    As these became more common, the CPU decided not to record data. Only a few samples creep in here and there throughout the rest of the race:

    98.088, , 0.0, , 16.479, 46, 186, 0
    98.109, , 0.0, , 16.479, 46, 189, 0
    98.130, , 0.0, , 16.479, 46, 186, 0
    98.321, 27.7, 13.3, 307, 16.483, 59, 190, 0
    98.342, 27.7, 13.3, 307, 16.487, 63, 183, 0
    98.363, 27.7, 13.3, 307, 16.491, 64, 183, 0
    98.384, 27.7, 13.3, 307, 16.495, 63, 190, 0
    98.405, , 0.0, , 16.495, 62, 183, 0
    98.426, , 0.0, , 16.495, 61, 183, 0
    98.447, , 0.0, , 16.495, 63, 185, 0
    99.221, 25.2, 12.2, 256, 16.502, 57, 183, 0
    99.242, 25.2, 12.2, 256, 16.508, 57, 185, 0
    99.263, 25.2, 12.2, 256, 16.514, 58, 185, 0
    99.284, 25.2, 12.2, 256, 16.521, 58, 184, 0
    99.305, , 0.0, , 16.521, 58, 182, 0
    99.326, , 0.0, , 16.521, 58, 191, 0
    99.347, , 0.0, , 16.521, 60, 184, 0

    It's always exactly four samples, with identical speed and power.

    So, any ideas what's going on? Is my hub just flaky? Did I damage its precious bodily fluids trying to change my battery? I was hoping it was maybe all keyed off of the speedometer, but the lack of a transmission icon is discouraging.

     
    Tags:


  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Sorry to hear of your (continuing) battery problems. Didn't you have to change them in the dead of night around about last New Year's Eve before a big ride? It sounds as though the hub is getting power from the batteries inconsistently. Is there any evidence of corrosion inside the hub? Have you ridden in the rain recently? And, which batteries (brand, model, etc.) are you using? I use the Energizer 357 Silver Oxide and have experienced strong hub signal and long life. But, lots of people make these batteries and I don't know that they all meet the same specs. I also have a backup receiver and computer to diagnose (on the trainer) such issues. It's a wise investment.
     
  3. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it can sense hill-climbs. San Bruno on January 1st, and Mt. Diablo today...

    I'm also using energizer 357 silver's, and the previous set of batteries, once they "settled in", gave me a good six months of reliable, trouble-free operation. The weather's been beautiful lately. I did wash the bike the day before the first new set of batteries went blinky on me, but that seems an unlikely cause of moisture getting in there; I rode all through an unusually moist winter without real problems.

    I peaked around looking for anything "obviously wrong" (corruption, visible moisture, anything else) when I replaced the batteries in the parking lot this AM, but didn't notice much. Of course, now I have much more reason to be suspicious. Maybe I'll try gently wiping off the little contact tab for the battery pack?
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    That's interesting, because a friend has an SL and he had problems after he washed his bike. I never wash my bike, but rather clean it without using water. I don't know what the issue is, but on another thread somebody said that they were advised to remove the hub cover and leave the cover off for 24+ hours. I can't recall exactly how long he was advised (by Saris Customer Support) to leave the cover off, but it was at least a day. I have no idea if washing the bike caused the problem, but it is an interesting coincidence. Maybe it isn't the hub at all but rather the receiver.
     
  5. flapsupcleanup

    flapsupcleanup New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had a weird thing with mine also, which I originally thought was the batteries. I had intermittant data, blinking transmission icon, and other strange things, I cant remember all the symptoms. But as it turned out, it was not the hub at all but the wiring. Those tie-wraps can chafe the wires inside the wire bundle and cause them to short to each other creating havoc. I called cycleops and they quickly sent me a new harness (the whole shootin match) and I am back and running. This time however, I didnt use the tie-wraps but used vinyl tape.
     
  6. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmmm. I have an extra harness on my "bad weather" bike. That's an easy thing to check. Thanks for the tip.

    RDO, the "wash" I'm talking about was with a soapy sponge; the only water is about 1 liter total squirted from a water bottle to rinse. We're not talking garden-hose, here. If flapsup's tip about the harness doesn't check out, I'll definitely try drying out the hub overnight.
     
  7. peterpen

    peterpen New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    0
    sorry to hear about your battery probs, sounds like it might be a moisture issue. Apparently they've entirely re-done how the guts are sealed in the hub, might be worth looking into - but be warned their turn-around time has been abyssmal of late.

    More importantly, how'd you'd do at Mt Diablo? If I remember correctly, your build is pretty well suited for that type of event. I have a teammate who did it - at 170lbs and only 5'8" you'd think he wouldn't be a good climber but I bet he made the podium, the freak.
     
  8. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    I, on the other hand, make up for my low body weight by producing freakishly low power :). Seriously, if there's a fat guy with hairy legs within 100 miles of me climbing, he seems to find me and hammer the crap out of me. That's why I race against myself.

    To answer your question, I don't really know! I'm sort of grasping at straws as to my actual time, since I planned to use the interval timer on the powertap for that. After the powertap crapped out, I noted the time and looked at my wristwatch. But, I don't really know how much time elapsed between me noticing the powertap was flaky and me paying attention, etc. Somewhere between 30 minutes and 33 minutes.
     
  9. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    The "bad harness" theory is a non-starter. I'm leaving the hub to dry. I noticed a strong smell on opening the hub; it was reminiscent to me of the smell of burnt circuit board. I'm trying not to panic, though. The moisture theory seems like it (heh) holds water...
     
  10. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Results have been posted. 30:59 for me, which I am reasonably cool with. Did you race today? If so, how did it go?
     
  11. peterpen

    peterpen New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good job!

    I didn't do this one - couldn't justify the $, travel time, and missed training for a 30 minute event. Taking a break from racing for a few (other than Cougar Mtn which is in my backyard) and trying to get some form together for CalCup in August.

    Looks like my heavyweight teammate could only manage 28:12 for 8th in the 3's. Maybe he needs to take a break from racing, too - he shouldn't be 3 minutes off Hizzie's pace. Of course, Hizzie only weighs 130lbs, but still... :p
     
  12. Sprint2Win

    Sprint2Win New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mine died too.
    I just sent it back. How long am I going to have to wait?
     
  13. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    I usually put my bike in the trunk of the car, drive to the course, then assemble the wheels and start riding.

    One day, I got that -- signal for both power and speed. So exactly the same symptoms as the OP

    It was just the antena, the one that's near the hub, that was a bit off. It needed to be slightly inclined to the inside, and instead, because of mutlple manipulations (in and out the trunk), it was now slightly to the outside.

    After putting it back to where it was supposed to be, everything went fine.
     
  14. peterpen

    peterpen New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    0
    They had mine for four weeks. But this was supposedly because it arrived the day they shut down repairs and production to re-tool the way the hub is sealed.

    Usually they say 7-10 days turnaround - keep checking on it and if it's taking too long try Kellen, [email protected] who (eventually) took very good care of me.
     
  15. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    RDO, you've saved my bacon again. I let the hub dry overnight, and it looks like everything's cool judging from this AM's workout. We'll see how it holds up over the week, but I'm pretty optimistic. Saris should cut you a check.

    It's funny to me that a gentle sponging with soapy water managed to muck up the electronics in the hub, when an entire winter of sloshing through sideways rain and getting sprayed by passing trucks didn't cause so much as a twitch; I must have gotten cocky and not screwed the hub cap on tight enough after changing the batteries.

    And peterpen: 28:12 is a hell of a ride for a 170lb, 5'8" dude. Your friend must be an animal. I made something like 275W to post my time (courtesy google earth for topo info, and analyticcycling.com); I'd need to do something more like 310 or so to be competitive with your teammate.
     
  16. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Did you use bicycle grease on the o-ring?
     
  17. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah. Pedro's SynLube, which has done well by me in various bike grease applications thus far.
     
Loading...
Loading...