PowerTap tips

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of kylie kylie 10 years ago.

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    Profile photo of cjhoffmn

    I got it. Yup, a nice pretty PowerTap. I got it built into a new rear wheel just for kicks and installed it two nights ago. Needless to say I have two rides on in on the trainer and really am looking forward to the potential of learning more and improving my riding with it.

    I’ve read up on it and have gotten pretty familiar with PowerAgent but have a couple questions and welcome any tips or ideas.

    I’m a bit confused about how it determines if I’m doing a new ride. It seems that when I went to do my second ride, it wanted to just pick-up where I had left off from the night before. Should I develop the habit of clearing the data once I’ve downloaded the data to the PC?

    Where’s the PowerAgent file kept? I’ve been exporting data in Excel to do some different analysis on the data, and want a more complete file than exporting individual rides. Is it possible to grab the file that has all the data in it to extract the master data?

    As an example of the above, I was surprised there wasn’t a measure of “time spent at zero power” ie coasting. did I just miss it somehow, or does it not exist?

    I can’t seem to figure out how to get the data into Sportracks (Yes I’m still comparing programs, so I have Garmin Training center, Sportracks, PowerAgent, Fitday and a few other things loaded up that I’m using.). Is there a way to get the data into sportracks that anyone knows of?

    Before MarkyV jumps on me – you can just skip this pp. ;) I’m still using my Forerunner 305 because I just really like the training workouts. I find them very helpful to keep my workouts structured. Of course I’ve been tracking heartrate in those records, and now I’m tracking HR with the PT as well. I’ve been (mostly because I’m indoors on the trainer) actually wearing both hearstraps. Any suggestions as to which record I should prefer to have the HR on from the crowd excluding MarkyV cuz I already know your answer :)

    Same idea, followup question: Anyone figured out a way to combine the records from the Forerunner and the PT? Ideally, I’d have the power record together with the rest so I could analyze it all together. Anyone seen a way to do that?

    I look forward to any thoughts!

    Profile photo of BrooksBier

    I use cycling peaks for this. It’s good but would be interested in anyones opinion of other applications. Not trying to plug the site but I did not like the PowerAgent software. You will want to press both buttons on the PowerTap until it displays CLR to clear the data or it will do as you described. I use the Garmin 305 and the Powertap as well but the Garmin only for running. You can calibrate the garmin HR strap to work with the powertap, so you dont have to wear both at the same time. I had to do this as I was not getting HR readings on my Powertap head unit and called them. Turns out the HR strap was not working-I’ve only had the system for a few months.
    You can call Saris to have them walk you through this. Hope this helps. I am still learning what to do with all of this info and have yet to take full advantage of the powertap.

    Profile photo of throughthewall

    I use Training Peaks, which seems to be ideal as is Cycling Peaks, so not sure if the others you mention are good matches or not. Call CycleOps customer service at 1.800.783.7257 for a quick resolve on this though. They’re awesome over there.

    As for getting it to realize you’ve started a new ride, yes you need to clear the data from the CPU after you’ve downloaded it. Otherwise it’ll just think you’ve stopped to take a break. The unit goes to sleep after 4 minutes of inactivity, but it will remember where you were if you don’t clear it once you start again.

    The data is stored in PowerAgent after you save the file. You’ll be able to see it in the main window just after you name it. You can then select it and export it as you know (to your desktop, Excel, another folder, wherever), and from there can upload it to your program (training peaks, for example, where you can also see the graph and extract individual bits of data). However, you can also open the file and view the data breakdown in PowerAgent by double clicking on the file in the main window. When you open the file you’ll be able to see on the graph where your climbs were, for how long and where you’ve coasted, etc., but it doesn’t specifically highlight this data in the numbers output other than recording your range of efforts (max, lowest, etc). It will just average everything all together in the tabulations otherwise, so that’s motivation to keep the cadence up for sure ;-). Like I said though, you can see it all on the graph if you want to pull it out.

    Enjoy the new tools! They’ve made a huge impact on my cycling gains :)

    Profile photo of GGehrke

    I agree that after using the Garmin, the interface for the powertap is not as intuitive as I’d like with regard to starting new rides and such. I love that my Garmin will let me store several individual “activities” before downloading. If you forget to clear your powertap, when you download the data it will recognize the pause and you will be able to download each segment separately, the only downside really is that you can’t track average power/speed/whatever while on the second ride. At least you don’t have to lose your data, though.

    I know the cyclingpeaks software does have a measure of “time spent coasting” like you mentioned, but I’ve never used it. I’m a mac guy and haven’t bothered installing cyclingpeaks under VMWare. I am looking to play some more with that sort of thing now that I’m done with my first round of “training” for the season and am giving myself a few weeks to “just enjoy” cycling, which for me includes geeking out on all this tech stuff.

    I also still use my Garmin Edge 305 and my Powertap. I have not found a way to get one HR strap to register with both devices, so if BrooksBier could elaborate I’d appreciate it as well! I’ve taken to riding with my PT HR strap and running/swimming with the Garmin strap. The real bother, though, is for races! I wore my Garmin strap in my race on saturday because I needed HR for the run, but I’m bummed that I don’t have HR in my PT data.

    As far as where the raw PT data is stored, I don’t know, but I might look into that a bit more as well. I want to do a lot more complex processing with it. I am pretty sure that the Powertap records time as “time since ride start” and the garmin uses actual time of day. The problems with trying to correlate the two are (1) that the recording intervals might not match (i.e. 2 seconds and 3 seconds) and (2) that the way the two devices treat pauses are not the same. I’ve thought about trying to write a little program that would correlate the two based on speed/cadence – that is, adjust the spacing of the data so that the speed/cadence lines would match as closely as possible, and then interpolate for any gaps. That would probably not be a terribly difficult algorithm to write up initially, but I can see lots of room for errors to start creeping in and making in unreliable. I’d be curious to see what the new Garmin 705 data looks like and what software out there natively handles it. If I could somehow massage the 305/PT data into the same format as the 705 data, that would be awesome.

    So unfortunately I have no answers for you, but I’m on the same page and actively working on it.

    Profile photo of cjhoffmn

    Thanks all, this was really helpful. I’m definitely going to track down the method to get the units to read one HR strap. I haven’t found the data file yet, but certainly am interested in working with the data in new ways. Let’s keep this rolling.


    Profile photo of cjhoffmn

    So I got it figured out how to get the Powertap Computer to read the garmin HR strap.

    Hold Mode and Select until you get to Computer Setup.
    Item 5 is related to accessories
    If you select item 5, you get a series of choices starting with
    (i) Manually adjusting your HUB ID. Probably not a good idea to fool with this one, I left it alone. Hit mode (I think) to get through the numbers and into
    (ii) a “Learn 1” setting where by if you hold select, it will start to blink and “search” for a Hub. This mode is only if there are no other hubs nearby. Hitting mode then gets you to
    (iii) “Learn 2” mode where you get it into the mode and it searches for hub that comes online while its searching. It’s used if there are other hubs about and you can take the batteries out of yours.
    Next time you hit mode, it cycles to the next accessory.
    Same routine until the last accessory – HR strap
    When you’re there, get to the Learn 1 setting. Hold Select and have your Garmin strap on. It took no time at all and now I’m only a 1 strap rider.

    **NOTE** Now that I’ve typed this out, I’m not certain which button does what – check the manual to see if its mode to move through the settings or select. It will be intuitive when you get there, but the manual has the instructions near the back.

    Profile photo of cjhoffmn

    I also just downloaded wko+ from training peaks and it does a nice job combining things. Of course, now that I’ve got the HR strap worked out, the only benefit from downloading the Garmin track seems to be the auto lap settings and the GPS track. So I think for the moment I’ll focus on only getting the data from the PT computer into the software. I’d love to hear other ideas on collecting the data.

    Profile photo of kylie

    Very cool… will have to try that out sometime.

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