Ray's Weekly Sports Electronics Mailbag
Written by: Ray Maker
Date: Thu Oct 14 2010
The mailbag has moved though – from my little place on the web, over here to Slowtwitch. So if you enjoy what you find here, then feel free to click the links to find even more in depth information on each topic. And if you have any questions, you can always e-mail me directly. Thanks for reading!
This week’s mailbag covers the following topics:
1) FR60 multisport mode
2) Non-rubber band mount option for Edge 500
3) Android ANT+ support
Question #1: FR60 multisport mode?
"I am blind, and I use Garmin devices (mostly the Edge 500) to track training because they are one of the few companies I've found to be accessible (even though Garmin tech support was unaware of their accessibility when I talked to them) when it comes to downloading training information to view on my computer. When using the FR60 in a triathlon, if I use both the Garmin speed/cadence sensor and the foot pod, will the watch automatically switch between the two in transition...My intention would be to manually trip the lap counter through transition. I don't want to have to change menu options on the watch, without being able to see the menus, to switch between disciplines of the race."
Unfortunately, the Garmin FR60 doesn't include a multisport mode, which is the feature term you're looking for. Without multisport mode, you'd have to manually switch from running mode to cycling mode in order for it to trigger the change and pickup the speed/cadence sensor after the running foot pod sensor (next segment). Each of those mode-changes would ideally involve resetting the timer. Lap button alone will only trigger a new lap. On the bright side, memorizing the steps will only take a second, and it's the same each and every time - so that might help. Though I'd agree it's a bit tough to just 'hope' it all works out in the end.
The only current generation watches that have multi-sport mode are the Forerunner 310XT and Forerunner 305. Both of these also have tones that let you know you've successfully transitioned to the next sport.
Question #2: Non-rubber bike mount
"In your Garmin Edge 500 gallery I found one photo that shows a special mount that does not seem to be included in the normal Edge 500 package. Here's the link to the photo (shown right) that shows the particular mount. This one uses cable straps which will hold the Edge more firmly on the bike's handlebar, I think. I'd prefer cable strap mounting instead of the rubber band stuff. Could you please tell me where to get this mount?"
That said, I wouldn't worry about the newer rubber band mount system. It simply works awesome. While I was hesitant at first, after nearly a year of pounding I’m a convert that it performs flawlessly. Further, it’s so much easier than the zip-ties. Also – because the cost is so cheap ($9 for a box of two and a million rubber bands), it’s easy to add them to your full bike collection.
Last but not least, all of the Garmin bike computers are standardizing on that mount system, which is pretty sweet. The new Edge 800 uses it, as well as the Edge 500 and the 310XT is compatible as well.
Question #3: Android ANT+ Support
"I am Android user and see all of the wonderful ANT+ products available for the iPhone. Do you know of any companies that have products currently available or in development for use on android phones? One of your posts asked for responses to show interest. I am interested! I use the HTC EVO on the Sprint Network."
Indeed – that post really helped to spur quite a bit of discussion both publically, as well as within ANT+ device vendor circles.
There’s quite a bit of movement on the Android side and ANT+ at the moment, in fact, on a number of different fronts. There are four phones that will be released ‘shortly’ that will include ANT+ support running on Android. I previewed one of these back a few weeks ago. Though that one isn’t quite out yet.
Part of the challenge at the moment is getting full ANT+ API support so developers can take advantage of that once the chipsets are actually in the phone. The guys from Wahoo Fitness are actually working with the ANT+ team to get some product and development options available (both separate initiatives).
The second part of the challenge is that the phones that in theory have the chips today don’t have them enabled for normal users. Adding to the complications is that some of the phones that were supposed to have been ‘off the shelf with firmware mods’ for the Tour de France tracker application may have had different physical chipsets than actual off the shelf units.
In my estimation, I think we’ll realistically see Android phones with ANT+ support built in just after the new year, with dongles of sorts (like the iPhone dongles) following shortly thereafter. Of course, some applications are positioned to have ANT+ support shortly after the chips show up enabled in phones – like MyTracks – whereas others will take a bit of time to catch-up.
Weekly Mailbag – October 4th, 2010
- Garmin Fitness Product Development Cycles
- Mac Cycling Focused Applications
- Timex Global Trainer and HR while in the water
Weekly Mailbag – September 28th, 2010
- Garmin Forerunner 305 and Walk/Run Tracking
- MetriGear Vector – wait or buy?
- Using Computerized Trainers over the Internet
You can find all past mailbags here.
[Editor's note: our capable editor-at-large for electronics Ray Maker is the publisher of the online sports tech blog DC Rainmaker, one of the top-ranked sites by Google for extremely in-depth reviews of advanced GPS and Heart Rate Monitors for triathlon, cycling, and running.]
In this week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics, Ray covers a question a question on CompuTrainers & tire life and also ANT+ gym equipment. 10.23.10
In this week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics, Ray covers a question on the new Garmin 800 and workout logging software. 11.03.10
In this week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics, Ray covers a question on the new LeMond Revolution trainer and shares a special tip on how to integrate your Road ID with your Garmin Forerunner. 11.16.10
This week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics with Ray Maker of DCRainmaker.com covers a question about Mac OS cycling applications and various other items. 10.04.10
This week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics with Ray Maker of DCRainmaker.com covers a question about whether to wait for the MetriGear Vector powermeter after their acquisition by Garmin and various other items. 9.27.10
Reviewed by: Eli, Oct 18 2010 5:26AM