A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

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A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby Arlberg » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:07 pm

First up, a bit of history....

I had a 1st generation Stages which never once had a dropout but eventually succumbed to the water ingress problem. The replacement, a 2nd generation, drops out regularly despite Stages saying the only difference between the two is the housing/battery door. When I sought advice they recommended I mount it on the stem rather than on an out front mount. That does improve things slightly but who wants it there? My 1st generation unit was always on an out front mount and never failed.

Stages acknowledged water ingress was a problem with the 1st generation units and replaced it with the 2nd generation unit with a new door design. Well the new door design works but I believe they must also have changed something else with the internals leading to a weaker ANT signal, meaning it doesn’t have enough range to provide a good signal when the head unit is mounted on an out front mount. Many others have experienced the same problem and Stages have basically admitted there is a problem because they claim they have made the transmitter 6 times stronger with the dual sided 3rd generation units released a few weeks ago. I would be interested to hear from people with the new 3rd generation unit if it has indeed been fixed.

And now to the present....

Very strangely, in the past few weeks I have discovered that the dropouts nearly always occur only when I am riding in the drops. With my hands on the tops of the bars or on the hoods dropouts are rare, but within 30 seconds of placing my hands in the drops a power dropout occurs (And it only has to be the left hand BTW). Then, within seconds of taking my left hand out of the drop the power reading returns...

I cant see why this is so. Having my left hand in the drop does not affect the 'line of sight' between the Stages and the head unit. If anything it seems to improve it. Then I thought that maybe riding in the drops (and being lower) meant that my HRM was closer to the head unit and that may be causing interference with the head unit's ANT receiver, but that is not the case because if I lean way forward and have my HRM even closer to the head unit but keeping my hands on the hoods or tops of the bars then the power reads normally, but almost as soon as my left hand goes back into the drop the power drops out within about 30 seconds and almost as soon as I put it back on the hoods or tops of the bars the power reading returns.

I would be curious to find out if other riders experiencing dropouts have the same situation. Perhaps do a test during your next ride and let us know?

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Re: A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby madmacca » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:30 pm

ANT+ (and BLE for that matter) are low power wireless protocols (much lower than traditional BT or wifi), and signals do not really penetrate the human body. So yes, repositioning your hands could interfere - noting of course that being in the drops also lowers your torso, which may actually be the culprit rather than your hands.

Stages is notorious for being much lower in signal power than other PM's.

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Re: A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby AUbicycles » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:53 am

I really like it that you can accurately reproduce this error and it comes down to you left hand being in thd drops.

Moving the computer may mit be a good long term solution.

Try and contact the distributer with this exact information, for the first generation problems they were fairly confident that it was always rider errors, a response I have not agreed with following some of the stories in the forum though with your issue, it is hard to know how it could be rectified.

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Re: A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:14 am

A better power meter is the solution.

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Re: A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby g-boaf » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:52 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:A better power meter is the solution.

Yes. :| If I were buying again, I would not buy a Stages.

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Re: A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby you cannot be sirrus » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:04 pm

I've got 2 x Stages Mk 2 on bikes and never experienced this problem on either. I'm using a Garmin 510 if that helps.
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Re: A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby macca33 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:03 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:A better power meter is the solution.

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Re: A fix for Stages power meter dropouts?

Postby lewie15 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:03 pm

Thankfully I read about the horror stories regarding Stages before buying my first power meter a few months ago. I went with 4iii and it's been super reliable and accurate so far.

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