Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stages Power Meter Battery Drain !

If your don't want to read the whole thing then hit the link below for the very short summary.

Updates and complete timeline now here.

I have contacted Stages to see if they can help as I'm in the UK and the unit was purchased for me by a friend in Colorado Springs.
I emailed Stages Technical about the problem on 22-Feb-2014.

Well the first battery lasted for a total of 7 hours riding time. I didn't panick at this stage although it had not quite achieved the claimed 200 hours !

I replaced the battery with  new one. It lasted around 5 hours. The third Duracell is being taken out when not in use.

The sad thing is that Stages haven't made an Android app so I have to take my bike to an iPad user to get the data. If there was an Android app I would leave the battery in and check it throughout the day.

Duracell battery put in the day before but removed overnight.

My firmware is up to date 2.0.38

I don't see the point of the zero reset, it merely shows you a figure and doesn't reset anything to zero !

Don't know what the slope or DPOT values are for.

I have discovered that the earlier ones shipped to the UK had similar problems.

Tri Talk Forum    and here   Bike Radar Forum

I decided to perform a test on my 'unworthy' Android device as it does support Bluetooth 4 and so can see the power meter when its awake and transmitting. 

Look at the times in the upper right. I had woken up the device in the first pic and then let it alone for ten minutes to put it back to sleep. You can then see me searching for it at 15:06 and it is not found after several attempts. I backed up this test with the Garmin Edge 500 and the same thing happened for ANT+.

I have decided to leave another battery in and check it tomorrow night if I can get access to an i-device.

It's now the next evening 24-Feb-2014 at 18:30 GMT.
No reply from Stages yet. I will link this blog on their Facebook page.
The battery has been in place for 30 hours but only two of those were spent cycling.
No access to an i-device tonight so lets try the Excellent Trainer Road.

Trainer Road attempts to find Stages Power Meter.

Nothing happens. Also nothing on the Garmin Edge 500. I remove and check the battery on a battery meter which says the voltage is good so I replace it.

I get something but the signal goes from good to poor to bad. I'm going to leave it for another day, this time in the house.

Here is what I hope will be the penultimate update. I arrived home tonight to do my 1 hour turbo session. I had left the bike in the house overnight. I got ready, put on Trainer Road which detected my HR monitor. Then I spun the crank and Trainer road detected the Power Meter.

Got on the bike to start the workout and NOTHING, battery out battery in still NOTHING. Removed battery replaced with another new one and away we go, no problem. I later tested both batteries on a simple good/bad battery meter and they both moved the needle to the same good position. I'm baffled.

The good thing is I got a very good and detailed response from Evan at Stages who is going to send outa new one. That's why I hope I'll only be making one more update to the blog :)

Updates and complete timeline now here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Latest Training Aid. Virtual Power v Power

What can I say. I love using my turbo trainer now ! Yes. I sold two in the past because it's soul destroying, boring as hell.

Now it's great.  The reason is Trainer Road. 

I mentioned this before in my last blog so hit the above link if you haven't got beta on it yet.

I started off using Virtual Power to determine my FTP and all subsequent workouts were based on this. My Training plan was the Intermediate Base 1 a six week program working on the 'sweetspot' range of power output.

I got on well with this program with obvious improvements out in the real world. I did however notice that it wasn't quite right. I had been lazy with the bike setup. I should have checked my tyre pressure on the rear wheel to make sure that everytime i connected it to the turbo trainer the same amount of resistence was being generated. In reality the slow loss of air was making my workouts easier !! When I noticed I re inflated the tyre to over 100 psi and found that my FTP was actually much lower than I had thought.

Before this though I had already made the decision to get a more accurate view of my power, one that didn't care about tyre pressure, one I could use out on the road. I ordered a power meter.

I settled on the Stages power meter, I had to wait a month as they were out of stock. Many thanks to my friend and fellow cyclist John Macleod for facilitating the acquisition of the power meter.

The above one is on the bike of Richie Porte of Team Sky, they can't be that bad then I hear you say ?

The upshot is that my REAL FTP is 191, I'm more or less a beginner again :) I have restarted the six week Intermediate Base 1 program. I'm in week 2.

I have noticed that the Power Meter is very sensitive and its a lot harder to be bang on the power demanded by the workout. Even though I have reset my FTP, the workouts feel a wee bit harder. I immediately noticed that it was harder to achieve the low power 'warm up' and 'recovery' wattage. Needless to say I'm glad I went back to Base 1 and didn't plough into Base 2 !

Here's an example of the same workout, the first is using Virtual Power and the second is done with the Power Meter.

You can claerly see the 'shakier' plot of power with the second picture.

Now lets examine the heart rates. Remember the FTP has been adjusted down from 251 virtual to 191 power meter.

It's perfectly clear that I'm running a higher heart rate in the second  (power meter) picture. Remember this is a sweetspot workout, admittedly power orientated, but I feel that the HR results than in the first ( Virtual ) picture are far too low.

So there you have it. I have heard a lot of people say that the results they have had with Virtual power match up pretty good with the power meter but, maybe it's my lazy attitude to setting up, it didn't really work out for me. All was not in vain, as I said, I still made improvements out on the road and trail with vitual power.

I'm looking forward to the next 4 weeks of the program but most of all getting back out to test myself on some Strava segments in a month :)