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How Long Should Your Bike Computer Remain Reliable?

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How Long Should Your Bike Computer Remain Reliable?

Old 03-13-20, 06:57 PM
  #1  
Bassmanbob
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How Long Should Your Bike Computer Remain Reliable?

I purchased a Garmin 820 in February 2017, so it's now just over three years old. The problems with my device:
1. The charging connection is unreliable. I need to have the device hang off the shelf in order for an effective charging connection. Otherwise it loses its connection and won't charge.
2. The Garmin 820 won't download to my iPhone unless they are both connected to the same wifi. The device states that it is connected to the phone by Bluetooth, but the download won't occur without the wifi. It will download at home or at my office (where both are connected to the same network), but not anywhere else. I know others with the same issue.

This was an expensive bike computer. I really don't mind spending extra money on a more expensive device if I receive value from that item. But I am questioning how much value I've gotten out of this Garmin 820 in respect to reliability and longevity. Your replies about your experiences and alternative brand bike computers with turn by turn directions for possible touring is appreciated.
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Old 03-13-20, 07:39 PM
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I have a Garmin 1000 purchased in December 2015. I've used it a lot. It is still working as good as new. I hope it keeps it up. Sorry to hear about your experience.
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Old 03-13-20, 07:59 PM
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It is my opinion that the Micro-B design of USB plugs is a very bad plug design.


So far I haven't had any problems with the newer USB-C, but I haven't gone through as many charging cycles:


It is unfortunate that the Micro-B became so popular for devices.

I've worn out a bunch of Micro-B cords, and often find myself hunting for good ones at Goodwill (carefully look that no pins appear to be bent). Anyway, a new cord may help your charging.

You mention an iPhone, and outwardly the iPhone cords look like a much more stable design. Although, I suppose it depends on how the contacts within the device actually wear.


Nonetheless, it seems like charging to a micro-USB port is just asking for problems. Why not use a real power port, or perhaps some kind of magnetic or external contact port.

First try the new cord. If that doesn't help...

I doubt you'll get much satisfaction from the company, but to me, a low quality charging port is a major design snafu, and should be a warranty issue.
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Old 03-13-20, 08:06 PM
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I used a Wahoo Elemnt for 27,433 miles. Recently the battery life got down to 4 1/2 hours, about the length of some of my rides. I contacted Wahoo about buying a battery but they do not sell them any longer. They offered me a 40% discount on a new computer and I bought the Elemnt Bolt. I have about 340 miles on it so far. I like the easy setup of the Elemnts with the Wahoo app. A lot of the settings from my old Elemnt transferred to the Bolt.
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Old 03-13-20, 09:23 PM
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If the charging problem is not the cable and turns out to be the connector on the computer. t can be repaired. Take it to an independent shop that fixes phones. It is not total rocket science to unsolder the connector and put a new one on. They would use a hot air rework station and it takes about 5 minutes.

Also, you might check for any debris inside the connector using a light and a magnifier. Something as simple as an accumulation of pocket lint can prevent charging.
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Old 03-13-20, 09:56 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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I had a Garmin 800. Got 8 years out of it, then it got stolen. After a while the battery held less charge, but that's just how batteries work.
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Old 03-14-20, 07:35 AM
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There are 2 things going on that are not related.

1) Bad connector of some sort on the Micro USB charging/data port. Have you tried a different cable ?. Likely it's as CliffordK stated, it's a crappy connector but that's not really Garmins fault as it's developed that it's a crappy connector for every device that uses it. Which is why there's now other types. You can likely get it fixed.

2) Not understanding the "only downloads to phone if WiFi connected" issue. I do get that you don't seem to have a BlueTooth connection. AFAIK, the device does not connect to the Garmin Mobile App using WiFi, only BT and have never heard that Wifi between the device and a phone is a method to sync, I think it's only via BT. Might be wrong but have never heard of that. I think that's an Apple function that you would only see that connection if you enable the phone to be a mobile hotspot (which is a BT function in any event). The phone is unable to act as a WiFi router. The 820 has WiFi and can connect to the Garmin Connect web based app via WiFi (to routers's in which you've made a connection - it's not automatic). Typically it would upload via BT a completed ride to the GCM, which then uploads to the Garmin Connect web app via either a WiFi connection or cell data connection. You can do a test after a completed ride by turning off BT on the phone and saving the ride (assuming the device is WiFi connected). Will the ride show up on the web based Connect application as well as on the mobile app ?. If so, that might be a sync between the web Connect app and the GCM app.

Garmin and iPhone BT issues are well documented and IMO, is mostly a case of Apple doing very frequent iOS updates that Garmin cannot adequately test (they refuse to commit the resources). Thus the connections fail. Best methods seem to follow the Garmin directions to clear out and re-establish the BT connection. I also remove the Garmin Mobile app from my phone, then re-install to guarantee I'm getting the latest version.
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Old 03-14-20, 08:05 AM
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I've got a Garmin Edge 500 I got circa 2009 that I use for every ride and even when walking with my wife. No issues yet. However the manufacturer will tell you it's good till the warranty expires. From what I've seen or read. Garmin will send you another if it goes bad before the warranty is up.

If your warranty is up, then garmin might offer you a flat rate repair for cheap. Though that means you give them yours and they send you a re-furb'd unit. However I've had good experience with re-furb's of their other devices and have purchased from online vendors, refurb'd garmin watches, auto gps's and such.
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Old 03-14-20, 12:44 PM
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If properly cared for, bike computers should last a very long time. I, too, have an Edge 500 from 2009. But I've replaced the mini-USB and try to keep it clean and free of moisture. These same rules apply to the Edge 820. However, it's a more complicated device, with both wi-fi, bluetooth, and micro B usb connections. The wi-fi and BT have their own steps for connection. Bluetooth requires a phone, wi-fi doesn't. Make sure you follow all the steps in the Edge 820 manual.
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Old 03-17-20, 10:19 PM
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Thank you for your replies. I have started checking the different wires, and some seem to work better than others. I'll continue to check each wire and mark those that seem to have a problem. As far as the downloading of the info to the phone, my 820 states that it is Bluetooth connected to the iPhone, but it won't make the transfer of information. I can even get some notifications of phone calls and text messages that are coming through, but at the end of the ride, it won't transfer the info without both devices being connected to wifi.
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Old 03-18-20, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
Thank you for your replies. I have started checking the different wires, and some seem to work better than others. I'll continue to check each wire and mark those that seem to have a problem. As far as the downloading of the info to the phone, my 820 states that it is Bluetooth connected to the iPhone, but it won't make the transfer of information. I can even get some notifications of phone calls and text messages that are coming through, but at the end of the ride, it won't transfer the info without both devices being connected to wifi.
That sounds like a BT issue. There are usually 2 BT connections, the primary and the BLE (BlueTooth Low Energy) connection. It sounds like your primary is not connected. My understanding is the primary gets you sync with the GCM app on the phone for completed ride upload and data download for Courses created and sent to the device. The 2nd gets you notifications for text and phone calls.

When the device is powered on, check the phone BlueTooth connections. Do you have both ?.

If this were me, I'd be dumping the BT connections. Start by maybe updating the device to the latest Garmin OS using Garmin Express on computer. Then update the iPhone. Then I would dump and re-install the Garmin Connect Mobile app, have your Garmin log-in info handy as you'll need it. Then follow Garmins recommendation for clearing out and re-installing all BT connections. Here's the Garmin instructions, don;t ask why I have this handy...


On the phone and in the GCM app, from the My Day page, select the More tab.

Select Garmin Devices in Garmin Connect Mobile

Select the Edge 1030.

Select the 3 dots on the top right and remove the device.

Remove from Bluetooth settings in your phone settings.

Remove Phone pairing from Edge
  1. Go to the Edge 1030 Menu.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Connected Features.
  4. Select Phone.
  5. Select Pair Smartphone.
  6. Select Forget this Phone.
Turn off the phone Bluetooth.

Turn off your device.

Select the More tab, on the lower right.

Select Settings.

Sign out of Garmin Connect Mobile.

Double tap the Home button on your iPhone (the round button the front) and swipe off all the applications.

Restart the phone:

Once your phone boots up turn on Bluetooth and make sure that location services are on.

Go to Connect app and sign in.

Select, Browse All Compatible Devices.

Select Edge

Select Edge 1030

Put the Edge 1030 into pairing mode.
  1. Turn on device.
  2. Go to the Edge 1030 Menu.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Select Connected Features.
  5. Select Phone.
  6. Select Pair Smartphone.
  7. Select Continue.
In Garmin Connect Mobile, follow directions to pair
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Old 03-19-20, 05:10 PM
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Thank you Steve B. This is a job for the weekend, after my Saturday morning endurance ride. I was considering deleting the app off my phone, shutting the phone down and then rebooting the phone and adding the Garmin device again. I was concerned with possibly losing all of my riding data since I purchased the device.
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Old 03-19-20, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
Thank you Steve B. This is a job for the weekend, after my Saturday morning endurance ride. I was considering deleting the app off my phone, shutting the phone down and then rebooting the phone and adding the Garmin device again. I was concerned with possibly losing all of my riding data since I purchased the device.
The GCM app stores all your data, reinstall does not erase that. As well itís on the Garmin Connect online system. Redoing your BT in any event, doesnít affect the on device data, so even if you did a factory reset, the GCM sync will restore the data on the device. A reset does wipe all the screen settings, activity profiles, etc... and thatís a pain.
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Old 03-20-20, 07:58 AM
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A little late to the party but...

I've had my 520 for three years and the computer still functions as it should. Heck, the computer even took a swim in the washing machine and came out unscathed. I am super anal about charging though. I don't charge the computer until the battery is 20% life or lower. Not sure if that is doing more good than harm, but oh well.
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Old 03-20-20, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
I don't charge the computer until the battery is 20% life or lower. Not sure if that is doing more good than harm, but oh well.
And on the opposite side of that, I've had my Edge 500 for over 10 years and all I do is plug it into my computer after a ride to get the data from it and then leave it connected till I turn the computer off to go to bed. Short or long rides, it doesn't matter, still gets charged by my PC.

Don't know what the battery life is anymore, but it still more than I'd cycle in a couple of long days.
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