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  1. #1
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    Garmin Edge 500/800 questions regarding tracking for extremely long rides

    I've been looking at the Garmin Edge 500 which claims an 18 hour battery, though many have stated 12 hours. Garmin also sells a power pack which gives another 20 hours, reviews have stated about 16 hours. This should realistically provide a 28 hour runtime.

    A number of people have said that using other, larger battery packs has resulted in the unit not recording as it thinks it is charging. I suspect in the $90 Garmin battery back, there is some intelligence that tells it that it has a remote battery, not that it is being charged. I could take one of those apart and use a Shimano or Schmidt dynohub to power the GPS, or, bring a few battery packs to cover rides.

    I've written Garmin, but, their response was a bit vague and I'm waiting for clarification. I found one mention that it will hold 180 hours of tracks, but, I don't know if that means I could record a single 180 hour track. The Garmin 800 claims 750 hours of tracks.

    Has anyone run across the maximum length of a track that can be recorded assuming that you can keep the unit powered? I will be running the cadence sensor and heartrate monitor and not running in SmartData mode. I will be tracking with 'every second' accuracy.

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Don't worry about that last bit. Set the training pages you use, including map, to display odometer rather than distance. Zero your odometer before the start of your event. Then reset the unit from time to time. Your odometer will keep you in tune with your cue sheet. Some people have reported problems recording over 200k. The maximum distance I've recorded between resets was 216k, so I've just been careful of that, true or not. I'm using an 800. I use a battery pack that takes 4 rechargeable batteries. It works fine. For long brevets, take 2 chargers, one for the Garmin and another for the battery pack.

  3. #3
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    I use a Mintyboost (kit built charger, back from the day the retail chargers were $100+), and it powers my 705 and 500 just fine. I have a new'ish Sony CP-2L charger and it puts both Garmin's into the recharge/data connect mode. I believe the difference is how the chargers signal on the data lines (which they do to enumerate what kind of device they are and determine how much power they can draw/provide); I don't think the Mintyboost does anything, and just provides power on the power pins to the Garmin (and as a side effect isn't recognized by my iPhone). The Sony puts the Garmin into recharge mode, but powers the iPhone just fine.

    The Mintyboost folks had to figure out how to get their charger to work with the newer iPhone/iPods (http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/icharge.html), which they ultimately did. Perhaps a "charge only" USB cable would make the Garmin's happy. I used to have one, though I don't know if it just left off the data lines, or set them to a specific voltage.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Some people have reported problems recording over 200k. The maximum distance I've recorded between resets was 216k, so I've just been careful of that, true or not.
    What does your track look like when you reset during a ride? Can you join them together or resume the prior track? Or does a ride report as x separate rides when you do the reset?

  5. #5
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    My Garmin...

    I use a Garmin 500.

    The Edge 500 software has not been changed (yet), so to operate the 500 while on external power so you must use a cable that has around a 47k ohm resister between pin X and ground. I use a Gomadic battery extender that contains 4 lithium-ion AA batteries and is set up correctly with the correct cable/resister. When I plug it in, it continues to track w/o shutting down to recharge.

    On the Last Chance, I generally plugged in the extender as darkness fell so I wouldn't have to fumble with it at night. When I stopped for the night and plugged the Garmin into a small USB charger, it was already fully charged from the extender! Therefore, I only had to charge the 4 AA batteries.

    I use bikeroutetoaster.com and trace out the route on it. I save that as a *.tcx file and then use the Garmin Training Center software to load it into the Garmin.

    Then, it's just a matter of selecting that particular course in the Garmin and following it. For the LC, I configured each day as a "course".

    The 500 appears to be notorious for rebooting itself. I've used ridewithgps to load other brevets as courses and they caused too many reboots. On the Last Chance, that only occurred once on the third day and I was lucky...I didn't lose any data! I think using bikeroutetoaster is a good mix with the Garmin.

    Therefore, in my experience, it worked well on days with 251 miles and 218 miles.

    I'm very happy with the set-up. Small, light, great battery life, easy to use, easy to load courses...once you're used to it!
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  6. #6
    Student balsingh's Avatar
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    I have the 800 and really really like it. I've used it for over 30 hours (500 miles) straight and, no it doesn't last that long, but I've got a good solution for battery life.

    Now ask yourself, 500 v 800? Yeah the 800 is buckets more, but do you want the navigation ability (ie. making routes and plugging them in)? This is the selling point of the 800. But then again, if you don't want navigation, how is the 500 much different from all other computers w/ respect to the information it can provide you (unless you want to use something like Strava? Not too sure about the 500 details though, so I could be wrong. Does it do any sort of mapping or route navigation?

    Back to the 800. It'll last for me about 12-13 hours if I'm conservative w/ screen brightness. When it signals low battery, I simply keep it mounted on my stem and plug this guy in to it (http://www.gomadic.com/battery-backup-cat.html). Takes 4 AA batteries and I secure it to my top tube. Very clean and works great. In my experience, the ride continues to be recorded and the unit is actually charging the 800 (not just keeping it alive). I think other devices, with 2 AA (speaking from a friend's experience), merely keep the unit powered on so long as they're connected.

    And yeah, if you get the 800, as noted above, Ride With GPS .tcx files are the way to go.
    balvindar.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    I use an 800, and an e-werk and dyno-hub to keep it charged on longer rides. The ewerk allows use of the 800 while it's charging, and it still records the track (longest ride 600K). I only use the e-werk on 300k or longer, and I have never had a problem with the 800 not recording the track on any ride.

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cd34 View Post
    What does your track look like when you reset during a ride? Can you join them together or resume the prior track? Or does a ride report as x separate rides when you do the reset?
    It reports as separate rides. From these other reports, it's not an issue. I don't care about the track, anyway. I'm using the thing to follow a course I've already put into it. My ride results are only vaguely interesting to me. It's which way to go at that fork up ahead that interests me.

  9. #9
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    It's which way to go at that fork up ahead that interests me.
    You're no Yogi Berra who once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  10. #10
    Student balsingh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    It reports as separate rides. From these other reports, it's not an issue. I don't care about the track, anyway. I'm using the thing to follow a course I've already put into it. My ride results are only vaguely interesting to me. It's which way to go at that fork up ahead that interests me.
    If your rides end up being separate, you can use Garmin's BaseCamp software to join them. Alternatively there is a fair amount of other free ones you can download to accomplish this (like an XML editor).
    balvindar.blogspot.com

  11. #11
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Any thoughts about switching between an Edge 500 and an Edge 200, or using a pair of Edge 200's?

    The 200 lacks ANT+ / hrm / speed / cadence / maps. But it has courses, and I'd think it would be a lot easier to switch than dealing with a charger.

  12. #12
    Student balsingh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Any thoughts about switching between an Edge 500 and an Edge 200, or using a pair of Edge 200's?

    The 200 lacks ANT+ / hrm / speed / cadence / maps. But it has courses, and I'd think it would be a lot easier to switch than dealing with a charger.
    Why switch? Spend $20 on a little charger that you'll use on rides over 200 miles (and how many of those are you doing per year?) or $150 on a Garmin 200 you'll use primarily as a backup in lieu of that? The charger has a nice form factor (tiny and works fine). Just my 2 cents though.
    balvindar.blogspot.com

  13. #13
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Etrex 20/30 might be a better option for you?
    25hrs off a couple of AAs.

  14. #14
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    I use a Garmin 705 with an external battery pack made by Gomadic. It takes 4xAA's and can be purchased with adapters for all kinds of devices. I change the AA's once very 24 hours and that keeps the unit charged and running the entire time. I even leave the backlight on continuously.

    With that setup, I've ridden 1000 miles (The Milia Miglia in Italy) over five days. It tracked the entire route as one file without problem. I've done a number of other 1200's the same way.
    Dave

  15. #15
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    A much easier situation for Garmin devices is to buy one of the older chargers that will work with a Blackberry 72XX series phone. The adaptor is exactly the same and allows you to charge your Blackberry via any standard wall socket. That's what I do on tours and it works well.

  16. #16
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    Purchased a Garmin Edge 500. I will probably end up purchasing an 800 eventually, but, now to get the extended battery issues worked out. I did play with the USB and having it in front of me makes me understand why some power packs put it in charge mode versus extended battery mode.

    Thanks again for the input.

  17. #17
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    a plug in charger doesn't work if you're riding 20 hours straight, thus my use of the 4xAA charger while I'm riding.
    Dave

  18. #18
    Student balsingh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thompsw View Post
    a plug in charger doesn't work if you're riding 20 hours straight, thus my use of the 4xAA charger while I'm riding.
    Thank you! Somebody agrees with me. THIS is the solution. Simple and effective.
    balvindar.blogspot.com

  19. #19
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    My Gomadic use to work last year but no longer does on my 500. Do you think this is because I upgraded the firmware to 3.0?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grncab97 View Post
    My Gomadic use to work last year but no longer does on my 500. Do you think this is because I upgraded the firmware to 3.0?
    I use the gomadic AA battery pack with my Garmin 500 without any problems, and I am 99% sure I updated to the 3.0 firmware last year sometime. I will double check and confirm tonight. I was able to use the gomadic before the firmware upgrade too (when it was 2.80).

    So, I don't tend to think the firmware update had anything to do with it. I think it's possible to go back to 2.8 if you really wanted to. Might be worth a shot.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    I use the gomadic AA battery pack with my Garmin 500 without any problems, and I am 99% sure I updated to the 3.0 firmware last year sometime. I will double check and confirm tonight.
    Confirmed. My 500 is on version 3.0 of the firmware.

  22. #22
    Randomhead
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    does anyone know approximately how many mAh it takes to charge an edge 500/800. I have 2 Engergizer power2go batteries. Does the gomatic 4xAA go through a set of batteries for each charge?

  23. #23
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    I think you'll get 2-3 charges from 4AA for the 500.

  24. #24
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    How are you all charging the Edge 500 with the Gomadic while riding?

    I bought Gomadic and it charges great at rest stops but I have yet to figure out how to get the charging cable to work with the Garmin mount. The charging cable connector sticks out so far that it hits the stem where I have the Garmin mounted.

    BTW, the Gomadic allowed me to record my first 1000K ride last weekend. I did break the ride down into ~200k segments and stitched it back together with Garmin Connect. The ride was actually 663.7 miles but the stitching together added 4+ miles. http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1873223

    Thanks
    RUSA #8269

  25. #25
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thompsw View Post
    I use a Garmin 705 with an external battery pack made by Gomadic. It takes 4xAA's and can be purchased with adapters for all kinds of devices. I change the AA's once very 24 hours and that keeps the unit charged and running the entire time. I even leave the backlight on continuously.

    With that setup, I've ridden 1000 miles (The Milia Miglia in Italy) over five days. It tracked the entire route as one file without problem. I've done a number of other 1200's the same way.
    ^^this^^

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