Getting the most out of your Garmin

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Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby im_no_pro » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:02 am

With the increase in popularity around the Garmin series of computers, I have been considering a thread where we can discuss how to get the best out of the unit. Particularly given a lot of "less serious" cyclists (me included!) are buying them. I love mine, but I certainly am not using it to it's full capability and would find a single point of reference useful.

Whether you have the 705, 500 or the 800 series, post up your experiences, tips, tricks that allow you to get the best out of your Garmin, or ask questions that you may have about the unit. Can be anything, and can be something you think is a given (e.g. setting HR zones)

I'll start with this little gem courtesy of arkle that I found in the HR thread. Helpful for measuring your resting heart rate, something I have tried to track in the past but usually forgot by the 2nd or 3rd day (I'm not a morning person :lol: )

arkle wrote:A double post sorry but I think it's interesting. I just got my Garmin Edge 500 and it's great fun.

You can disable the GPS function and record your heart rate while you're sleeping!

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The spikes and different stable levels are something to do with REM sleep and sleep phase transitions. I must dream a lot in the second half of the night.

A good way to figure out your resting heart rate perhaps.

arkle
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by BNA » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:38 pm

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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby tripstobaltimore » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:38 pm

Im considering getting the best out of my garmin by throwing it in the bin
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby im_no_pro » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:47 pm

tripstobaltimore wrote:Im considering getting the best out of my garmin by throwing it in the bin


OK, i'll bite. Why?
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby MichaelB » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:59 pm

tripstobaltimore wrote:Im considering getting the best out of my garmin by throwing it in the bin


Throw it at me. I'll even pay postage :lol:

Seriously :P
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby MichaelB » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:02 pm

Alo have a problem with my Edge 305 I want to solve.

My lower RH button (viewed from above) that is commonly used to reduce the scale of the breadcrumb trail or elevation trace has been dead for some time (probably because it's been dropped a bit too often ... :roll: ).

How to I get it to show the scale on a meaningful level ?

If you keep increasing the scale, it goes to a max, and then that's it.

Anyone ?
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby trailgumby » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:09 pm

I use mine for monitoring hear rate, pacing and training volume.

Example: I'm in the base-building phase at the moment. On Sunday I did a 3 hour road ride, in the first half of which I did a 4 x 5 minute hill interval with 5 minute recovery set up Darley Rd Manly.

Having my 705 set to automatically pick up start-of-lap and end-of-lap markers helped me push myself that bit harder on the climbs to keep the pace up to hit that marker at 5 minutes and not wuss out and back off on repeats 3 and 4.

The estimated calorie burn is also a useful figure in relative terms as a marker of training volume (intensity x duration).

@MichaelB: Sounds like a postpak and a trip to Garmin is in order.

@self: 1: Get cadence sensor
2: Find a longer or steeper hill - you'll need it in a couple of weeks.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby im_no_pro » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:15 pm

trailgumby wrote:Having my 705 set to automatically pick up start-of-lap and end-of-lap markers helped me push myself that bit harder on the climbs to keep the pace up to hit that marker at 5 minutes and not wuss out and back off on repeats 3 and 4.


This is one of the things I need to explore further - I assume it does it off distance?? I know mine goes off at various stages with lap times throughout a ride, even though I don't believe I have ever set a lap.... :?
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby trailgumby » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:04 pm

You can configure that.

I set mine to go off the GPS location. It sets a lap marker when I press the Start button for the first time, and when I press the lap button. Whenever I hit that location it starts a new lap for me.

A third alternative is to set it to count a lap on timed intervals (eg, every 5 minutes). I've seen a few of the TdF guys do that with theirs.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby Mustang » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:51 pm

Had problems with a large spike of heart rate early in the ride. Now i heat the strap contacts with warmish water, dry & spread "Buh-bump" cream on the contacts & strap on at least 15 min before the ride..... this system has worked during the last 10 rides. :o
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby trailgumby » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:04 pm

I was having those problems too. Turns out it was my strap being too loose and getting "buzzed" by my jersey flapping on fast downhills.

What confused me the first two times it happened was getting frights from obstacles appearing in my path at about the same time, but the third time there was no such distractions, so it showed me that what others were suggesting was correct.

Wearing the strap tighter seems to have cured it.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby snark » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:56 pm

I have my heart rate strap reasonably tight too and used to wet the two sensor pad strip things with water and still had the occasional spike early on. I read a tip somewhere that saliva is a better conductor than water for whatever the HRM is measuring so I now put a generous dollop on each sensor pad and haven't had a spiking problem since.

I also have the auto-lap counter set for distance at 5kms. I tend to ride a large loop on my rides so there's nothing to "lap". By having the auto-lap at 5km I can see at a glance each 5km whether I'm above or below 30km/h for that 5km simply by if the "lap" takes less than 10 minutes. Re-reading this paragraph it doesn't make as much sense as I'd like but hopefully you get the idea.

Cheers,
Simon.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby MichaelB » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:52 am

trailgumby wrote: ....@MichaelB: Sounds like a postpak and a trip to Garmin is in order.

...


I think you are right, as other than that it functions fine.

Have a 500 on it's way, so it will probably get refurbed and kept as a spare/MTB unit. :D
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby Axel Brawn » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:37 am

I've got a Edge 500 and its been playing up a little lately. I'm getting huge speed spikes in most of my rides like 175kph...

Last night the speed was all over the place - it might have had something to do with the cloud cover? I have a speed sensor on the rear wheel as well so I'm not sure what the issue is...

HR is always spot on though and cadence seems accurate.

Perhaps some sort of large antenna strapped to my helmet might work??
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby one_damo » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:55 am

What are some page data setups that people find useful? Just got my 500 and love it, but am at a loss with all the data display options available. Haven't found an arrangement that I like yet. Think simple is more at times.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby toppity » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:24 am

I had grade % spikes early on. I upgraded the firmware to the latest setting (it didn't come with the latest out of the box) and that fixed it.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby davidk » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:35 am

Ive had my 705 for 1 year now, and here is what Ive found:

1. HR spikes - I wasnt wearing the strap tight enough, plus wasnt moistening the contacts - now I just use warm tap water and smear over the contacts prior to putting it on - no more spikes.
2. Cadence spikes - I found the cadence sensor was very picky with how close the crank arm magnet was - readjusted and now everything is sweet.
3. Speed spikes - similarly I found the wheel magnet needs to be very very close to the pickup. My issue is that with my wheels, even with the Dura Ace slim line magnet, I couldnt align the magnet directly opposite the pickup arm. I have since resolved this my having the magnet just clear the END of the pickup arm on the sensor.

I have turned off the auto-lap sensor, as I ride many different routes, most rolling hills, so comparing each 5km segment as a lap doesnt really make sense for me.
I have auto-pause turned on all the time, and only turn on the auto-lap/start if Im doing interval lap courses.

For lap/split times I load my Garmin data into SportTracks, and via the AfterImport plugin, I can define auto-split points on a map.

I keep a file copy of every history file on my computer for archive purposes, load the history into Garmin Connect, and import into Sportracks, then delete the history file off the Garmin, to keep it clean and fast.
I also keep a library of courses on the computer, and only load a subset of courses onto the Garmin at any one point in time.

Occasionally I have the 705 screen suddenly go blank on me during a ride. I found if I power off the unit, then power back on, it seems to retain my current course or recorded history. The only trick is to remember to push the start button, as it seems after the reboot it wont kick out of auto-pause.

Oh, and NEVER automatically update the firmware on your Garmin unit. Always wait for 2 weeks or more, check the Garmin forum to see how many people scream about issues - if hardly any faults are raised, then its POSSIBLY safe to update :D
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby snark » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:02 pm

im_no_pro wrote:I'll start with this little gem courtesy of arkle that I found in the HR thread. Helpful for measuring your resting heart rate, something I have tried to track in the past but usually forgot by the 2nd or 3rd day (I'm not a morning person :lol: )

arkle wrote:A double post sorry but I think it's interesting. I just got my Garmin Edge 500 and it's great fun.

You can disable the GPS function and record your heart rate while you're sleeping!



I'm a nerd enough to have tried this straight away!

Is your resting heart rate the lowest you've ever seen anytime, or just while you're awake? I'd previously seen a low of 58 (admittedly sitting up), saw 49 last night before drifting off and had a low of 45 about an hour before I woke up. Would my resting heart rate be 45 or 49? This is obviously from a sample of one, but I'll try it for a few days. I'm also on pain killers at the moment, and that might have had some effect either way.

Cheers,
Simon.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby snark » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:13 pm

one_damo wrote:What are some page data setups that people find useful? Just got my 500 and love it, but am at a loss with all the data display options available. Haven't found an arrangement that I like yet. Think simple is more at times.


On page 1 I have:
    Speed
    Time
    Cadence
    Heart Rate

On page 2:
    Speed
    Cadence
    Heart Rate
    Time
    Distance
    Heading
    Grade

On page 3:
    Time of Day
    Temp
    Avg Cadence
    Calories

I used to use page 2 at the start (more info is better!), but as you suggest I've found simple to be better and now use page 1 all the time. I flick through to page 3 only to see what time it is and the other data fields were ones that looked vaguely interesting when setting up that page.

Cheers,
Simon.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby Oxford » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:25 pm

For the 705, I have left the virtual rider pages unchanged, I felt no need to alter them. for the other pages I kept them fairly simple and only have basic data that is nice to know while riding, anything else can be analysed in the armchair later on. things such as speed, time, average speed, average HR, max HR, time of day, direction of travel (more curiosity than anything on this one).
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby davidk » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:50 pm

705 Screens -
(Ive had to document this as everytime I upgrade the firmware they all get reset back to default)

Bike1 - Spd, HRM,Cad, Spd, Dist, Time Of Day, Time
Bike2 - SpdAvg, Spd, CadAvg, Cad, Dist lap, Dist, TOD, Time
Map - Elev, Grade , Map (fixed)
Courses - Spd Hrm, Cad (Dist to Crs, Time to Crs, Dist To Go, Goal Time all fixed)
Elev - Elev, Total Ascent
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby NotFlyingScot » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:20 pm

Took delivery of a 500 unit with HR and Cadence recorder earlier in the month. I noted that it appeared to switch itself off twice on Sunday, once when racing and again on the ride home. Happened again tonight when riding home from racing. Is it possible I have inadvertently set some sort of "auto off" setting to cause it to do this. Anyone else noted this problem? Bit of a PIA on what otherwise looks to be a great little unit.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby snark » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:17 am

My Edge 500 will turn itself off after (about) 10 minutes of no movement if Auto Pause is enabled. It's never turned itself off mid activity though.

My Edge 500 currently has firmware 2.6, but I've had it for just over a year with various firmware revisions.

Cheers,
Simon.
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby MichaelB » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:02 am

snark wrote:My Edge 500 will turn itself off after (about) 10 minutes of no movement if Auto Pause is enabled. It's never turned itself off mid activity though.

....Cheers,
Simon.


There is an auto power off function - maybe that's it ?


Anyway, separate Q :

I want to use the Virtual Partner feature to time/pace myself up a hill on certain rides, but obviously, this bit needs to be done mid ride.

Can I enable this VP for jsut teh hill section only, and not bugger up the ride data (getting to the hill & back) ?
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby rogan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:13 pm

I've got a dumb question. My Garmin 500, and my earlier Polar, both assumed a Max HR based on age data I gave it. The assumption 220 minus age is wrong in my case, and I suspect for the most people. How do I set my actual Max HR on the Garmin? Also, is there an option that displays the max HR reached during a ride? Even the crappy Polar would let me do that...
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Re: Getting the most out of your Garmin

Postby snark » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:30 pm

rogan wrote:I've got a dumb question. My Garmin 500, and my earlier Polar, both assumed a Max HR based on age data I gave it. The assumption 220 minus age is wrong in my case, and I suspect for the most people. How do I set my actual Max HR on the Garmin?


I use the "what's the highest value I've seen" method, which is usually at the top of a decent hill. Cheaper than paying for the proper medical test, and reasonably accurate if you're totally knackered at the time :)

Cheers,
Simon.
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