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Cycle Computer with ability to turn off GPS

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Cycle Computer with ability to turn off GPS

Old 08-21-19, 12:21 PM
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grnmasi
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Cycle Computer with ability to turn off GPS

Does anyone know which, if any, of the current models of GPS+sensor cycling computers have the ability to prolong battery life by turning off the GPS capability and just limit functionality/features/metrics to the wireless sensors using ANT+ technology. Most of the time I am happy with just knowing speed, cadence, distance, time, and maybe heartrate; and being able to turn off navigation and GPS would be useful.

Thanks,
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Old 08-21-19, 02:49 PM
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As far as I know, on just about every Garmin unit the GPS/Nav function can be turned off and with ANT+ functions still operational
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Old 08-21-19, 02:56 PM
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All Garmin units have an "indoor" capability that's exactly as you describe. You don't have to use it indoors, it's called that because GPS won't work indoors so it won't even try.

Garmin and Suunto both have modes that sample GPS infrequently to prolong the battery, while still providing a map. Garmin's is called Ultratrack. Suunto's implementation uses the compass and motion sensor to fill in the gaps.
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Old 08-21-19, 10:32 PM
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I assume most have that ability. My crappy out of date Magellan calls it "trainer" mode.
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Old 08-22-19, 04:33 AM
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My Garmin edge 500 has spent a bit of time monitoring the temperature in my nursery and my kegerator. Gets really good battery life with the GPS off.
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Old 08-23-19, 09:18 AM
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I, too, assume most have the capability. I know the manual for at least some of the Brytons say you can turn GPS off. I the Lezynes have the same ability. There's more to the GPS world than Garmin.
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Old 08-23-19, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
There's more to the GPS world than Garmin.
Literally no one said that?
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Old 08-23-19, 09:55 AM
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Why not get a simple computer like a Cateye?
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Old 08-23-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Literally no one said that?
Garmin, Wahoo, Lezyne, Bryton, Polar, Stages, SRM, Pioneer, Hammerhead, Cateye, Mio, Memory Map, iGPSPORT, Meilan, SOON, and about a gazillon smartphones and apps.

Everybody happy now ?.
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Old 08-23-19, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Garmin, Wahoo, Lezyne, Bryton, Polar, Stages, SRM, Pioneer, Hammerhead, Cateye, Mio, Memory Map, iGPSPORT, Meilan, SOON, and about a gazillon smartphones and apps.

Everybody happy now ?.
^This! They all have indoor/trainer settings that can turn off the GPS feature if you don't want to use it.
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Old 08-27-19, 12:29 PM
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Thanks for all of the replies! For the recommendation of just a simple cyclecomputer, I totally agree. If I could get my old Cateye double wireless CC-CD300DW mounted on my 2016 Supersix Evo, I would just run that. Unfortunately the sensor package won't fit. The newer Cateyes don't seem to be nearly as reliable as my 15+ (?) year old computer.

As for the current batch of GPS-based computers, interestingly, I got a reply from Wahoo that states their units are not designed to be used outdoors without GPS enabled. See below:


Thank you for contacting us. The ELEMNT line of computers are not designed in such a way as to allow GPS to be disabled during outdoor workouts and any battery life savings from doing this would be negligible. When fully charged, the Bolt will function up to 15 hours continuously, depending on enabled features.
For maximum battery life, consider disabling the following features:

Backlight: Continuous use of the backlight plays a big factor in battery drain. Either disabling or setting a short (5-second) timeout period helps to maximize battery life.
LEDs: The side and top LEDs also contribute to battery drain. Consider disabling LED indicators in the settings.
Routing: Using navigation features consumes the battery faster than just recording a route. To get the longest batter life, ride without navigation enabled.
That's a bit disappointing, but not sure why it can't be done by using indoor mode. I realize, according to the instructions, that the Element(s) foresee using indoor mode with a Kickr, Core, or Snap trainer, but not sure why you can't just pair it with a normal sensor, ie. Duotrap S sensor. Anyone been able to do that?
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Old 08-27-19, 12:58 PM
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You can certainly run Garmins with GPS turned off, if you have a speed sensor. The speed sensor generally over-rides the GPS speed and distance in any event.

But as Wahoo stated, I'm not sure you;d save any actual battery time doing this and you end up buying a $40 speed sensor. I'd as soon run with GPS on and not worry as much about using up the battery.
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Old 08-27-19, 01:28 PM
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Well to be fair Garmin and my Magellan aren't designed to be used that way either and would probably say the same thing if asked



Doesn't mean you can't.
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Old 08-27-19, 01:33 PM
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I really only want to know what time it is and how far I've ridden most of the time so I bought a box of 10 Sigma BC 906 wired computers on ebay a few years ago for $50. Should be a lifetime supply.
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Old 08-27-19, 03:05 PM
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So how much battery life do you need for a typical ride?
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Old 08-27-19, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tunavic View Post
So how much battery life do you need for a typical ride?
Battery life is kind of a moot point in some respects when you consider most units allow you to charge off a USB stick battery while operating. I get that it's nice to have 20 hrs. out of Garmin and that when they start to lose life and they get down to 5-6 hrs., that's annoying. But if your doing a double century, 15 hrs might do 'ya. Touring ?, randonneuring ? and approach to device selection is different.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by grnmasi View Post
As for the current batch of GPS-based computers, interestingly, I got a reply from Wahoo that states their units are not designed to be used outdoors without GPS enabled. See below:

T[a...]bit disappointing, but not sure why it can't be done by using indoor mode. I realize, according to the instructions, that the Element(s) foresee using indoor mode with a Kickr, Core, or Snap trainer, but not sure why you can't just pair it with a normal sensor, ie. Duotrap S sensor. Anyone been able to do that?
As a software developer, I can tell you most products are used in ways they weren't designed for. The letter they sent you seems like boilerplate stuff, written by someone who didn't develop the product, I wouldn't read too much into it. There was no specific technical issue in the letter preventing you from doing what you want.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Battery life is kind of a moot point in some respects when you consider most units allow you to charge off a USB stick battery while operating.
The battery seems to drain especially fast when the unit is managing a large activity. Meaning if you've been at it for 20 hours, the battery runs down quickly until you save, and clear the slate.

Has anyone else noticed this? Is it just me?
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Old 08-27-19, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Battery life is kind of a moot point in some respects when you consider most units allow you to charge off a USB stick battery while operating. I get that it's nice to have 20 hrs. out of Garmin and that when they start to lose life and they get down to 5-6 hrs., that's annoying. But if your doing a double century, 15 hrs might do 'ya. Touring ?, randonneuring ? and approach to device selection is different.
I was asking the OP because he was concerned about battery life.

Last year I rode 7 double centuries using a Garmin 810. No problem till about hour #11 or thereabouts. When I saw it was down to about 10%, I connected an external battery and it was all good.

I now have an Edge Explore that I'll soon sell and an Edge 830 that's been flawless other than a minor hiccup recently when it took a very long time to upload a ride. Only the Explore has been on a very long ride and with a course loaded and navigating at about hour nine I plugged it to my external battery. I haven't done any really long rides with the 830 yet.

I like the large screen of the Explore for my aging eyes but it's missing a few features I wanted and thus I bought an 830.

I've had a 500 that was my first Garmin. About a year ago I gave it to a club member who didn't have a computer. She rides about 5 days a week and it's still going strong.
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Old 08-28-19, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
The battery seems to drain especially fast when the unit is managing a large activity. Meaning if you've been at it for 20 hours, the battery runs down quickly until you save, and clear the slate.

Has anyone else noticed this? Is it just me?
Basic ride tracking on a spanking new 1030, with a speed sensor plue Live Track running as well as a Weather Widget (not sure what stuff actually uses a lot of battery time), shows the rated 5% per hr., or expected 20 hrs. of run time. When I'm navigating and the TBT screen is getting a workout, the 6-7% per hr so I'm thinking it'll navigate a long day. So yes, I can see where some higher level thinking on the part of the device uses more battery. Saw this with the 1000 as well as the 810 as well.
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Old 08-28-19, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by grnmasi View Post
That's a bit disappointing, but not sure why it can't be done by using indoor mode. I realize, according to the instructions, that the Element(s) foresee using indoor mode with a Kickr, Core, or Snap trainer, but not sure why you can't just pair it with a normal sensor, ie. Duotrap S sensor. Anyone been able to do that?
I use indoor mode on my Elemnt Bolt on rollers during the winter - no problems (using Wahoo speed, cadence and HR sensors). Never really paid attention to battery usage so can't say how much it saved. The .fit files are much smaller without the GPS on, though.
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Old 08-28-19, 03:23 PM
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@tunavic

I would like to minimize battery life as I will shortly be on a week-long supported bike ride with my partner which will have very limited opportunities to recharge. Don't really need the GPS for the ride as the route is clearly marked and ride sheets provided. Between the two of our phones and two cyclecomputers, I want to minimize the number of power storage devices to take a long for recharging the units in the evening.

Also - most of the time - I don't care where I am when I am riding for training. :-)
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Old 08-28-19, 03:34 PM
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Talking

Forgot to add -
We've been trying out an Edge 530. It has been a bit of a struggle as it seems to like to instruct us to "Make a U-turn" often even when we are on a straight road going in the right direction or keeps sending us back to the start even though we are right next to the proper road/route (we were using RWGPS downloaded .fit file). At the same time of trying to figure out what is going on with the turn-by-turn, we had to keep looking at the screen which was hard to see in the autobrightness mode during the day, as we both have presbyopia (need +2.00), although I can normally read fine in bright light) Combination of incorrect instructions by the navigation tool and lack of visibility was very frustrating. Increased the brightness to either 70 or 80%, can't recall, which helped a small bit but did not solve the problem. But with that the battery started draining really fast.

Jury is still out on whether we will keep this 530. The lack of clarity in the screen, at least for us, and the weird navigation responses made us both want to throw it int he middle of the street.
I should probably post some a new thread on if anyone else is having trouble with the screen brightness on the 530.
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Old 08-28-19, 05:04 PM
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Enable the Lock On Road function in the Nav section - Routing, of the Activity Profile you are using. Possibly the device thinks you are off the Course - which as BTW is what Garmin calls a navigation of a route. RWGPS calls it a route. In Garmin speak, a “Route” is the track of the ride being created. There can be minor variations in your GPS position and what the map displays. Thus the device can think that 20 ft variation means you are off course. The Lock On Road function has the device understand that the drawn map is where you need to be, and you get fewer Off Course notifications as result.

If you are drifting off what the RWGPS file thinks is your course, the device will do a notification. You can turn those off as well, it’s in Navigation, just disable “Off Course Warnings”. As well pay attention and double check the RWGPS route you’ve created. I’ve at times found the software had me on a road I hadn’t thought I’d selected, this the device called an Off Course and this was just my own stupidity in how I drew the route.

Also note that my 64 year old eyes had issues with Wahoos display of turn-by-turn as they use white text on black background. I could not read this while wearing sunglasses on what is otherwise an OK black text on white background display. If you intend to navigate, the Garmin pop up TBT screen is far easier to read as it’s got text info as well as a map with a white arrow that shows the turn.

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Old 08-28-19, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Basic ride tracking on a spanking new 1030, with a speed sensor plue Live Track running as well as a Weather Widget (not sure what stuff actually uses a lot of battery time), shows the rated 5% per hr., or expected 20 hrs. of run time. When I'm navigating and the TBT screen is getting a workout, the 6-7% per hr so I'm thinking it'll navigate a long day. So yes, I can see where some higher level thinking on the part of the device uses more battery. Saw this with the 1000 as well as the 810 as well.
I did a 26 hour hike/climb this weekend. I use a Garmin watch to record my tracks. Normally it drains about 5-6% per hour. Towards the end it seemed to be in the ballpark of 30% per hour.

I've seen this before, usually less pronounced. It wasn't caused by nav or anything like that, or even use of the backlight. My hunch is that managing a large data set drains the battery too.
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