Ray's Weekly Sports Electronics Mailbag
Written by: Ray Maker
Date: Tue Feb 08 2011
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!
1) Garmin FR305 not charging/syncing without rubber band
2) Garmin/Timex/Polar Product Release Cycles
3) Accounting for slope on treadmill with running watches
4) Determining yourFTP using a CompuTrainer
"I have been having issues with my Garmin 305. I have to literally strap it to the base in order for it to charge/download. I have tried the eraser trick and that did work for several months, but now it doesn't seem to do the magic anymore… Is there something else to try? Any suggestions would be much appreciated."
This is a somewhat common problem – and becoming increasingly more common as the fleet of Forerunner 305's out there begin to age a bit. The good news is that it'sa super-easy fix. It sounds like the little metal contacts on the charger unit have probably become a bit depressed down from lots of prolonged use on the charger. You can simply use a sharp object (like a pen, tweezers, or similar) to carefully wedge them back up (towards where the watch would sit). Usually that'll fix the problem and allow you to resume charging without the complexities of a rubber band.
Question #2: Garmin Product Release Cycles
"I found your 2010 Predictions Articleyou suggestthat a successor to the 310XT is unlikely to appear until Spring 2011 - although you wrote that back in January 2010; is that still your prediction?"
I think it would be really useful if someone were to draw a product release timeline for Garmin, Polar etc. It would help us (the consumers) make more intelligent guesses about future product release dates. So for example by looking back at history we might be able to see that Garmin releases a new watch targeting triathletes every 18 months, or a new cycle computer every 15 months or whatever."
In short, yup – that's still the plan! And, it was accidentally confirmed/leaked last week as well. Expect to see a new Garmin Forerunner triathlon focused watch coming out this spring. Interestingly, this one will include a touch screen as well (like the Edge 800). On the Timex and Polar fronts, both are also releasing new devices this spring as well. Timex will be re-vamping their Timex Global Trainer GPS unit– and Polar plans a few new units as well.
Your underlying question though prompted me to actually write up a big post on product cycles for Garmin and the like, which I outlined last week here. I cover the fitness side of their product cycles, as well as make a few predictions about what's in store over the next few months.
Question #3: Account for slope on treadmill?
"Is there away to adjust the FR305 (or other Forerunners)to account for the slope on a treadmill? Otherwise it seems they would never match if you do anything above 0.0 slope."
Unfortunately there isn't a way today in the Forerunner to indicate such. Which, when you think about it is kinda funny. Adding such a feature would be relatively simplistic – and also mathematically easyto account for in elevation graphs for later use assuming a footpod were used. Calorie-wise however it wouldn't be used as other methods that are HR-based are used instead (no Garmin units use elevation for calorie calculation).
"I do have a question that I was hoping you could help with since you use a CompuTrainer daily for training. I just recently purchased one and want to put together a winter training program through Training Peaks using one of Hunter Allen's training programs on their site. However, I need to find my functional threshold power and also want to create a power profile. I understand how to calculate both of these but I'm not quite sure the best way to do this on the CompuTrainer (I don't have a power meter on my bike). Which program is best to use and are there certain settings to use to accomplish this? I hope this makes sense. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you."
The best bet for using the CompuTrainer and doing an FTP test is to use the Coaching Mode software that's included. This would allow you to control the wattage on the fly during the test to hit the thresholds you need (simply by pressing buttons on the handlebar unit). It will also save the file afterwards allowing later analysis with a more in depth application like Golden Cheetah, WKO+, or Training Peaks.
Also, be sure to do a quick 5 test minute ride before doing the actual FTP test to ensure it saves the file correctly for upload to Training Peaks. Nothing would suck more than to finish your FTP test and not have any data.
After that, just follow the procedure in the book and use CT mode to control the wattage… and hold on for some pain!
Weekly Mailbag – January 28th, 2011
- Limitations and choice with Garmin power meter head units
- CompuTrainer and RacerMate One Software
- New Nike+ and TomTom Running GPS Partnership (Nike+ Sportwatch)
Weekly Mailbag – January 11th, 2011
- Choosing device for open water swimming measurement
- Waterproofing of Garmin Edge Cycling devices
- When will Garmin release a waterproofed FR210?
- How to fix Edge 800 that doesn't fit well between aerobars
You can find all past Slowtwitch Mailbags here, and all prior ones 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 discusses how to use your Garmin 310XT for all three legs of a triathlon, working with CompuTrainer's occasionally erratic HR sensor, and selecting a book for HR-based training. 2.18.11
In this week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics, Ray discusses the benefits of Computrainer Ergo Mode, covers the best GPS for skiing, and offers a comparison of the Timex Global Trainer and Garmin 310XT. 2.26.11
In this week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics, Ray covers questions on the limits of Garmin's headunits, CompuTrainer software, and the new Nike watch designed and built in partnership with TomTom. 1.31.11
In this week's installment of our weekly Q&A column focusing on personal sports electronics, Ray covers questions on waterproof (or not-so-waterproof) devices and their role in training. And a satellite question on fitting the Garmin 800 on aerobars. 1.12.11