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  1. #1
    Senior Member c_bake's Avatar
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    Long distance cycling and Garmin

    Hey all, I was wondering if any of you record your long distance rides with a Garmin or similar device and if so do you use a backup battery pack to keep the unit charged.

    I have an older Edge 305 with a battery life of around 8 hours. I recently completed a 300K with 12K feet of climbing in 11 hours and 15 minutes but was only able to record about 8.5 hours of it. It would be nice to upload to Strava. I'm planning to ride a 400K then a 600k so I'm wondering if those small portable USB battery packs work well enough when tethered to the Garmin and stashed in the saddle bag.

    Suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    IIRC, Garmin 800/810 will recharge from a battery pack while in use, but the 500 won't do this, you can only recharge when stopped. I have no idea about the 305.

  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    I have the Garmin Edge 500. I like a lot better than the Garmin Edge 200 I previously had. The real durability test will be when I start training for a metric century that is the third week of September. I set my Garmin Edge 500 to turn off, after 30sec. of inactivity. So that saves on the battery.

  4. #4
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    If you want to mess around with recharging then yes a battery pack will work. Otherwise get an etrex (about 30hrs from 2x AA batteries). One less thing to worry about.

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    I run the etrex. It has AA.batteries and runs at least 12 hours on nimh. The 305 will run and charge at the same tme. Just get a smartphone charger with a usb output. It lasts.... a.loooooooonnngggg time. Tried it on the etrex.

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    My 305 will recharge with a battery pack while riding. I put a piece of velcro on the back of the battery pack and used a strip of velcro with hooks on one side & loops on the other side to strap it to my aerobars while riding. When charged, I removed the battery pack. Worked for a 600K.
    Marlin

  7. #7
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    The battery packs work for most Garmin Edge units. However, they don't work for the 500 unless you have a special cable.

  8. #8
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    I use an external battery to add time to my Galaxy Phone. I was able to use Strava for 32 hours to track a 600k ride. I also have a double sized battery in the phone. 3500mA in the phone and 6600mA external. I have seen much larger external batteries

  9. #9
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    Note that the Garmins can have trouble recording long rides (around 180 miles). This seems to be somewhat related to the file size (not to available memory). This isn't related to power.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Note that the Garmins can have trouble recording long rides (around 180 miles). This seems to be somewhat related to the file size (not to available memory). This isn't related to power.
    +1. First time I ever had it work was this past Saturday. Before, my 500 would always produce a corrupted file anytime I tried using it on a 300K or longer. I don't know why, other than to say it hasn't been a problem on shorter rides, and that I never let the battery run all the way down. It worked perfectly on this recent 300K, for some reason. The firmware has not been updated recently, either. FWIW, I use a gomadic charger (with the special cable that allows simultaneous use and charging).

    Edited to add: I wonder if following a single big TCX or GPX file for a long course is the issue. Legend has it that following a course that is longer than so many waypoints is corrupt-file-inducing. I can't really verfiy that, however.
    Last edited by Steamer; 05-12-14 at 08:17 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    +1. First time I ever had it work was this past Saturday. Before, my 500 would always produce a corrupted file anytime I tried using it on a 300K or longer. I don't know why, other than to say it hasn't been a problem on shorter rides, and that I never let the battery run all the way down. It worked perfectly on this recent 300K, for some reason. The firmware has not been updated recently, either.
    Again, it has nothing to do with battery power and nothing to do with available memory.

    Newer firmware doesn't appear to fix this problem (I'm running the latest).

    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    FWIW, I use a gomadic charger (with the special cable that allows simultaneous use and charging).
    It isn't worth anything (I'm trying to be clear not rude). Mentioning will only confuse people and encourage them to do vodoo to try to prevent the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    Edited to add: I wonder if following a single big TCX or GPX file for a long course is the issue. Legend has it that following a course that is longer than so many waypoints is corrupt-file-inducing. I can't really verfiy that, however.
    It's unrelated to that.

    I had the problem using a split route. The waypoint limit is 200 (supposedly) and the total route (not the split ones) had about 100 waypoints.

    Anyway, if the course loads, the device should be able to follow it. Navigation is (mostly) a separate process from recording data.

    Keep in mind that this is a "black box", which means we can't be certain what the cause is.

    I'm going to speculate here but it looks like the device is keeping track of some data in internal memory that is related to recording data. Some problem occurs with this "tracking" that is correlated with a larger data file (the longer the ride or the more data, cadence/speed/HR, that is recorded). When the problem occurs, it seems like the code overruns a buffer (or two) and causes a fault in the software. The problem doesn't appear to be related to a particular size the data file reaches. Given the kinds of software problems that I've seen reported, it would seem that the device is fairly memory constrained and some work is needed to get all of features to fit (but that's speculation too). This speculation isn't worth alot (it just is an attempt to explain why the behavior appears fuzzy/flaky).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-12-14 at 09:20 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    When I had a 305, the battery died at ~8 hrs.
    My 705 has recorded rides to ~13 hours w/o problem.

  13. #13
    so busy... fatso's Avatar
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    I just purchased one of these (Portable Emergency AA Battery Charger Extender suitable for the Garmin EDGE 500 - with Gomadic Brand TipExchange Technology) and tested it this weekend on my Garmin 500, which seems to be one of the more troublesome Garmins to recharge while riding. It worked as I'd hoped it would - though I didn't fully recharge the unit in this test. It wasn't that long of a ride. Seems like a neat, affordable ($20) solution for an occasional need to recharge.

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    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    It isn't worth anything (I'm trying to be clear not rude). Mentioning will only confuse people and encourage them to do vodoo to try to prevent the problem.
    Might be worth something to the OP, who asked about charging for extended operation.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    Might be worth something to the OP, who asked about charging for extended operation.
    You weren't replying to the OP.

    The issue is that you mention what you use as an aside in a conversation about a problem that has nothing to do with charging. That's confusing.

    I just want it to be clear that the data recording problem is unrelated to charging.

    =======================

    "Some time ago", the Garmins had issues with being charged at the same time as being used.

    It looks like that problem does not exist (for somewhat current firmware) any longer for the 705 and 800 (and later) Garmins.

    It appears that you can use anything reasonable to charge the 705 and 800 (and later) devices and use them while they are being charged.

    Somebody did point-out that the 500 needs a special cable.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-12-14 at 01:20 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member c_bake's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone, some very good suggestions.
    Here is what my plan is.
    I have a Galaxy S3 phone that I'm not using at all, it's not "connected" to any cell service provider, it's just a spare phone. I found a 7000mAh extended battery and case on Amazon for $40.00, I'm going to give it a try. I like the idea of using the phone as a dedicated GPS device for other activities other than cycling such as back country hiking etc because I can download maps to the phone as well. Plus I can upload to Strava wireless. For rides 200K or less, I can use my Edge 305 and for greater than 200K I'll use the phone. Size really won't concern me too much as I always change out the smaller saddle bag for a larger one to accommodate the extra gear for longer rides, I'll stuff it in the bag or perhaps my jersey pocket if it isn't to gaudy.

    If that doesn't suit my needs well then I'll try one of those portable chargers velcro'd to the the Edge 305.

    As a side note, one of the things I liked about the Galaxy phones is the ability to use the GPS while the phone is in "Airplane" mode. This will save a lot of battery. My current iPhone will not do this, once the phone is placed in "Airplane mode", the GPS shuts down as well. Stupid IMO.
    Last edited by c_bake; 05-12-14 at 02:29 PM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You weren't replying to the OP.

    The issue is that you mention what you use as an aside in a conversation about a problem that has nothing to do with charging. That's confusing.

    I just want it to be clear that the data recording problem is unrelated to charging.
    I think you need a hug.

  18. #18
    Randomhead
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    It wouldn't surprise me if the recording bug isn't related to state of charge. It's not like they've been able to fix it. I assume they've looked at it.

  19. #19
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    I think its in the older tech models that these problems exist. The Hiking unit I have is a bit bulky and limited to 500 points per route, or about 3000 in a tracking file. I get around it by cutting routes into smaller pieces with the garmin apps and uploading them. Just means you have to stop at 8 hours in and switch to a new route. The other issue actually resolves itself. If the unit runs out of waypoints it starts a new file and just tags it on to the end. Then at the end of the ride (worked up to 400km) you just save the track to the memory card and it automatically links them all together. I do wish you could upload a Garmin database file from an older etrex to endomondo though. It doesn't work with Garmin connect. Have to go through a few conversions to get it to gpx then upload.

    I want one of the new handheld units. 3D maps, bluetooth transfers, LLion and aa batteries. Very nice! they have lots more bells and whistles and a datapoint limit in the 10,000s. The bike mounted units all seem to suffer from battery life problems for really long rides. Sometimes small isn't always best.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    I think you need a hug.
    No, you just need to be clearer.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    It wouldn't surprise me if the recording bug isn't related to state of charge. It's not like they've been able to fix it. I assume they've looked at it.
    The data recording problem occurs with a good charge.

    I suspect they know about it. It doesn't seem to rank very high on their list of bugs. It's possible that they don't want to allocate the resources make and test the fix. That could be because the software is hard to work with or they have other "more important" things for their limited resources to work on. (I'd guess it's both.)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_bake View Post
    I'm planning to ride a 400K then a 600k so I'm wondering if those small portable USB battery packs work well enough when tethered to the Garmin and stashed in the saddle bag.

    Suggestions?
    Gomadic with 4 AA cells works well.

    No comment on the Garmin; Mine has a 460 Weatherby thru it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member c_bake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weatherby View Post
    Gomadic with 4 AA cells works well.

    No comment on the Garmin; Mine has a 460 Weatherby thru it.
    Haha! Yeah, this is my 3rd one. Yes, Garmin replaced the other two out of warranty when they really didn't have to, but apparently the 305 doesn't handle road vibrations and bumps very well as they both shut down for no reason. The current one I have stays in my jersey pocket, no more stem mount, they just can't handle it. I paid good money for it new, back in the day when it was the top of the line. I don't think I'd buy the upgraded model, too much money and too many bad experiences.
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  24. #24
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    +1 on gomadic. just bought one for my edge 500 and charges very fast (10% in about 10-15 minutes). the trickiest part was figuring out how to mount the garmin to keep the port accessible, and what pocket to put the gomadic for easiest routing of the cable.

    i don't know what the 305's deal is re: a special cable needed or not for external charging while recording, but just try to plug it into the wall while having the unit on and recording and see what happens. if it's still recording, then i'd assume any kind of external battery + any cable would do the trick for you. if not, then the gomadic seems to be the solution.

  25. #25
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    I've played around with the 305. Apart from being somewhat limited, it does indeed charge with the standard usb data cable and run at the same time.

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