Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to lose ride data from your Edge 500

The result of unfortunate experiment today:
  1. Make sure auto-pause (bike settings) and auto-power-down (system settings) are both set. This is the default.
  2. Start riding towards ride meeting place.
  3. Hit "start/stop" to start recording data.
  4. Reach your meeting point. Wait. Chat. First the system "auto-pauses", then finally the system auto-power-downs, but you don't notice because you're chatting.
  5. Start riding again.
  6. Notice system is off, so you turn it back on, figuring everything should be okay now.
  7. Begin your critical climbing interval (which for purposes of this work we'll refer to as "OLH"), you hit "lap". The system reports a lap time and everything seems fine.
  8. Finish your critical climbing interval, you hit "lap". However, no lap data have been saved. Indeed no data at all are being saved....

RoadBikeAction photo

It's a bit of a shock to get to the end of your ride only to find that you have data only up to your meeting place. That critical climbing interval, an important fitness test, one where you want to carefully analyze your pacing, is lost in the neverland of lost numbers. It's gone. Simply gone.

The solution? Shut off auto-power-down and/or shut off auto-pause. Auto-pause is what put the system into non-recording mode, and when it's in non-recording mode it auto-powers-down, and once it auto-powers-down it forgets that it had been recording.

I may be a nimrod at times, but the fact is I've never lost ride data in this way with the Saris Cervo "Little Yellow Computer". What would typically happen with that was if I would stop, it would shut off after 4 minutes, then after I started riding again I would take awhile before I realized I needed to turn it back on therefore I'd lose these segments of data. But if it was on, it was recording.

So my solution for the Edge 500 is to shut off auto-power-down. I'll just need to remember to shut it off when I'm done with my ride and I'm not going to plug it into a USB port from which it can draw current. Hopefully I avoid losing any more data in the future.


Allen Foster said...

This sort of thing really drives me insane with bike-computers. As you have mentioned previously data should be considered extremely valuable and every effort made to continue to record it. You may end up recording more than you need but at least you have the raw data to work from and reconstruct your training session.

May companies seem over-zealous with their auto-start/stop and power-up/down algorithms and which sensor inputs trigger state transitions. It may not be easy to get it working in an optimal way first time, but they should at least continue to optimise this functionality and upgrade the firmware based on user feedback!

djconnel said...

I agree data should be precious. I'm not sure the best way for this situation to have been avoided, although suppressing either auto-power-down (risking leaving it running when a ride has ended) or auto-pause (risking recording extended data at the end of a ride which increase data-file clutter).

I think the best solution in this instance would be if there was a more visual warning if it is not recording. There's not many pixels on the LCD and clutter is to be avoided, so I'm not sure the best way in which this should be done. Perhaps a warning which flashes every 3 seconds as an option which can be suppressed in set-up options.

U. Block said...

I get a different behavior than you report. If I take a break on a ride, my Edge 500 will autopause but does not shut down after four minutes. I've probably taken breaks as long as 30 minutes and not had it turn off as it sat beside the bakery in Pescadero. I get on the bike, it resumes, all is well.

Occasionally I'll hear it beep while it is sitting against the side of a building, shadowed from many of the satellites. I assume the beep is it momentarily autoresuming, then autopausing because it thinks it has moved due to a GPS hiccup. This doesn't always happen, but does occasionally.

It's possible that this behavior keeps it from shutting down. But like I said, it doesn't always happen and I've *never* had the unit auto-shutdown during a break. It *does* reliably auto-shutdown when I get home and the bike sits in the garage, its ride timer having been stopped when I finished the ride.

Is yours set to autopause when stopped or when below a custom threshold speed? Mine is "when stopped".

Note: I have the GSC-10 speed/cadence sensor installed.

Bryn said...

Auto-pause on the Garmin is evil.

Auto-off is of dubious usefulness. It has never helped, but has never harmed my data (yet anyway).

The Garmin 500 has great battery life, I just keep mine fully charged for every ride. Maybe not practical for everyone.

The big win on the Garmin 500 is the "movement alert" that beeps if you start moving but aren't recording data. There is a option to have it remind you after a certain time. So if it beeps at you and you're just parking your bike, you can ignore it. Then if you start your ride and forgot to hit start, after a time it reminds you again that you need to hit start.

djconnel said...

I used to have auto-pause set to "when stopped". I just recently set it to "3 mph", to avoid the toggling on and off which occurs at traffic lights, but still below the slowest speed at which I typically climb. I'm not sure what it's "evil"; it seems like it should avoid clutter at the end of a ride if I forget to turn the unit off. But maybe I overrate that utility.

And thanks for the heads-up on that alarm. I changed "start notice" from "once" to "repeat". That should be exactly what I was after.

Bryn said...

By "evil" I mean that even with a 3mph threshold, if you're on a bike without a speed/cadence sensor and you lose GPS lock (it thinks your speed goes to zero), the garmin will auto-pause. After having it auto-pause about 20 times while climbing OLH, I turned it off forever.

Strava keeps track of moving time anyway, that's all I need.

djconnel said...

Ah! Good to know. I typically get speed from my PowerTap, but for races I don't want the extra mass of that heavy wheel and will use only the GPS. So for that I'll shut off the auto-pause.