Does Garmin Express and Modern Garmin Connect suck? Then this might help

I’ve been using Garmin Connect for several months; firstly with the Garmin Fit iPhone app and later with a Garmin Edge 500.  I have been logging in to Garmin Connect and connecting the 500 by USB for upload.  And then repeat to upload to Strava.  (The 510 and 810 can connect by wi-fi to a phone and upload from there.)

Garmin recently updated the Connect website with spiffy, new features and a clean, new look.  However, it thought best to remove the upload button, apparently to reclaim valuable screen space.  To upload (or sync) to the Modern Garmin Connect, one must install the Garmin Express application.  Since Garmin Express works for my Nüvi navi and handles syncing and software updates in one place, it seemed reasonable to use instead of the old MyGarmin dashboard.

But the 500 worked once with Garmin Express, syncing to both Connect and Strava.

The next time I tried Garmin Express, the time zone software update appeared for installation, even though I had installed it the old-fashioned way with MyGarmin after it had failed.  Sync failures would be explained as the PC not finding an ANT+ adapter, which is applicable to the Forerunner range.  Since the 500 was connected by USB, an ANT+ Adapter is irrelevant.

The workaround was to temporarily revert Garmin Connect to its ‘classic’ view with upload button.  But the classic view won’t last forever.

Was the Garmin Communicator browser plug-in clashing with Garmin Express, as some forums suggested?

The solution came by installing the ANT Agent from Garmin, which made Garmin Express happy.  The ANT Agent will display a warning that it can’t find the ANT adapter.  Ignore this error, since now your Garmin Edge 500 (or other device connected by USB) will be recognised.  Possibly.

Syncing from Garmin Express will upload to Garmin, just as nature intended.

I hope that helps.  I hope it works.

UPDATE: July 2015

Forget all of that.  Uninstall Garmin ANT Agent and any other Garmin plugins and whatnot.  The latest versions work.  Since a few updates ago, the Garmin Connect and Garmin Express combination appear to be working according to spec.  Sometimes it takes its time to recognise my 500, sometimes it forgets to auto-upload to Strava and sometimes it auto-uploading everything twice, but it is working.

I have Garmin Communicator Plugin 32-bit and x64 v4.1.0, Garmin Express 4.1.3.0 and Garmin USB Drivers v 2.3.1.0 (to support a Garmin USB ANT+ adapter).

“Ferrari Impounded after Speed and Noise Orgy”, aledgedly

Ferrari 430 Spider
Ferrari 430 Spider (Photo credit: KlausNahr)

The funny things you see when riding…

As I hurtled down the Federal Highway/Remembrance Drive, spinning in top gear at up to 63km/h in the 100km/h zone, I noticed a Police car flashing reds and blues just beyond the Antill Street roundabout.  There’s a very prominent 80km/h speed camera just before the roundabout and a lot of warning signs and thick bump lines that get your attention… if everything else has escaped your attention and you aren’t even going to bother slowing for the roundabout.

Federal Highway and Antill St, Watson, ACT – Google Maps

But the Police car had stopped less than 50 metres from the roundabout.  If the car had sped through the camera zone there was hardly enough distance to stop.

I couldn’t help myself but ride past on the road instead of the bike path.  I’m going to guess that the car pulled over was a Ferrari 430 Spider in Rosso.  I zoomed past too quickly to hear and in any case they were parked in the bike lane so I couldn’t dawdle out in traffic.

In the past month I’ve noticed this Ferrari 430 Spider in Rosso and another one in Grigio Titanio Metallizzato or Grigio Alloy driving in high gears for all the world to hear.  There’s no surprise that they enjoy knocking it back a gear or two; the sound is very unusual and raw.  Ferraris are not common in Canberra, but you know them when you hear them and I’ve heard them often along Horse Park Drive.

I continued on to Dickson via Watson Shops, past the construction site that once was Satis Cafe and a good place for a cycling coffee.  Had coffee at Good Brother, as is my habit of late.  Even though they close at 1400, they were happy to serve take away coffee and allow patrons to sit on their outside tables as they cleaned up inside.  Lovely.

About an hour later I was riding back up the Federal Highway near Old Wells Station Road when I saw a Ferrari 430 Spider in Rosso being taken away on the back of a table-top truck.  I started to wonder just what had happened (and what was about to happen):

  • He had been speeding and Plod had finally caught up as he waited patiently on the other side of the roundabout, or;
  • He had broken down and had just pulled over when a nice Policeman stopped to offer assistance, or;
  • The car was given a defect notice for being too loud.

But there’s no “Ferrari Impounded after Speed and Noise Orgy.  “Summernats is in January” says arresting officer” story in The Canberra Times, so maybe it wasn’t a big thing after all.  And any Schadenfreude is short-lived when you’re going back up Federal Highway and faced with the reality of a long uphill ride.

MapMyEveryMovement

I’m tracking every movement with MapMyRide.  Every bike ride is recorded and shared with all humanity.  I keep the tracking of some activities such as walking the dogs for myself only.

The MapMy… apps and websites are quite good.  I’d previously used WalkWatch and found it easy to use but difficult to export the rich data it had captured.  I’m resigning myself to losing the maps of Japan I gathered last time I wandered around.

MapMyRide gets around that issue by saving to your account on-line when you finish a workout.  This is its stand-out feature since blowing away the app won’t affect the runs recorded on the website.  It will also allow you to upload from 9 popular training tracker apps and systems like Garmin, Polar and Nike+ as well as a few file formats.

The website and app are not without problems:

  1. Metric or imperial measurements are displayed at random, sometimes different units on the same page,  despite the measurement setting you choose.
  2. Date format reverts to MM-DD-YYYY (why?) instead of the preference chosen.
  3. The height that I input changes from 1.95m to 1.93 or 1.90, metric amounts that correspond to the nearest inch. (see point 1)
  4. The weight I input… It isn’t clear if it the website keeps track of weight, waist and resting heart rate.  Those are useful measures.  You record them against your profile, so they are probably point-in-time rather than tracked.
  5. If you do the same course multiple times in a workout, you only can analyse of one of the runs.

None of these are show-stoppers, but I’d like to see them fixed.

Happy riding.

UPDATE: 28/01/2013 16:54 – I just found another one: I just completed a lovely mountain bike workout in the drizzle on a new and very steep track at the highest climb I’ve attempted recently.  What is even more remarkable is that MapMyRide calendar believes that this happened on both 28 and 29/01/2013.

MapMyRide calendar can see your future.
MapMyRide calendar can see your future.

Prius fail – dead 12 volt battery

Once again I find myself with a flat 12 volt battery standing athwart billions of Yen of research and development… a flat battery has rendered my car inert.

Could have been a light left on, a door left ajar or just a crappy battery.  Sad face.

UPDATE 10:00: Nice man from Allianz Roadside Assist got me started.  The battery analyser said that the battery was charging just fine when the car was on but not running, this was probably the HV battery topping up the 12 volt battery.  The analyser then wanted me to rev the engine and then idle; tricky on both counts.  While in Park I had to press the brake and the accelerator together to force the engine to turn.

Is there a battery analyser for hybrid cars?

I think that I’ll invest in a jump starter, as a simple battery charger won’t start the car in that state.

My First Prius Fail – Post Script

So after the 12V battery discharged the first time down to about 3.5V, I knew that I had to replace it before the Canberra Winter got too deep.  (In fact, anything below 10V and a 12V battery is usually dead forever.)  In Canberra, ANZAC Day on 25 April is the turning point for cold weather to start, after which any plants that aren’t frost-tolerant will suffer.  I considered the expensive but high-tech Optima Yellow battery for about twice the price of a standard lump.  Since the 12V battery doesn’t crank the engine, it doesn’t have to have cold cranking amps.  The Optima Yellow is said to be better for running accessories like lights, sounds, windows and locks.  But did I want to spend almost $400 on a battery?

Despite fairly mild weather, the fail occurred again on Friday 2 March.  I couldn’t start the car because of the failed 12V battery.  I tried my battery charger on the jump terminals under the bonnet.  When I pressed the Start button the computer started and I could run accessories, but I couldn’t go to the next stage where the 270V hybrid battery starts the engine.  After a few tries I rang roadside assist.

You’ll recall that my first fail was just after I got the car and that my roadside assistance hadn’t been set up.  So my fleet people arranged the details and I got a serviceman in about 30 minutes.

Sadly, when I called the second time, I was on hold for 45 minutes!  Another 30 minutes and the service guy arrived.

This time the battery analyser displayed “Dead cell” and “5.13V”.  His range of replacements didn’t extend to a genuine Prius battery.  He had one that would fit if only backwards.  Since I wasn’t in a hurry (my wife caught a taxi home), I could buy a new battery the next morning.

The Prius started first time on Saturday morning.  I dropped Chikako at work and bought a genuine Toyota battery.  The spare parts man told my that he didn’t think much of Optima batteries and he often replaced them with the real deal within 12 months of fitting.

Extracting the battery from its packaging was a multi-stage operation.  The box with rope handles opened to a plastic-wrapped cardboard support, into which the plastic-wrapped box contained the battery was centred.  The void between the outer and inner boxes was filled with what appeared to be rejected popcorn.  It was Health and Safety gone mad.

Image
Pass the parcel winner gets a Prius battery

Fitting was easy enough.  Well… the brackets and various connectors were a bit of a handful, but at least the battery was so small that it is quite light.

Then came the fun task of resetting everything and Bluetooth pairing my phones again.  Toyota don’t make this process straightforward if you don’t have the navigation screen and you can only do it while the car is on but perfectly stationary.