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Garmin Varia Alerts

Old 06-17-22, 08:39 PM
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Mtracer
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Garmin Varia Alerts

I just started using a Garmin VariaRTL515. It works surprisingly well. But I very quickly found an issue. On a route I do frequently, I'm on a length of frontage road. It has little traffic, but is exactly where I would like to use the Varia to detect traffic coming from behind. But this frontage road parallels an interstate highway. The RADAR picks up much of the traffic on the interstate. I get why this happens and it's probably all but impossible to discriminate which traffic is a possible threat. At least with a relatively simple RADAR unit. But at a minimum I would like to be able to quickly and easily disable the audio alerts.

While I'm all but certain this ability doesn't exist, I'm asking here just in case I missed something.

Also, I read an old thread where someone claimed to have developed a Garmin app to allow for this, but Garmin wouldn't approve it for distribution. Which I get, ass covering and all that. I've actually done some Garmin development of data fields, just for my own use. So, I'm generally familiar with Garmin development. If anyone has any ideas how I might change the sensor settings, or intercept and handle the alert event, or just shut off all sounds programmatically, that would be helpful.

I just want a way to quiet the thing down when there are too many alerts to be useful. And obviously, trying to burrow into the sensor settings and turn the alerts on and off while riding is not a practical solution.
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Old 06-17-22, 09:11 PM
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Polaris OBark
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As far as I am aware, this is standard behavior. Depending upon the Garmin head unit, you can silence the beep prior to a ride. I don't know if you even can do it mid-ride, however, and you clearly realize is not practical.

You can temporarily turn the radar/light off manually.

Depending upon how obsessive/creative you are, you could make some sort of temporary enclosure to give the thing tunnel vision.
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Old 06-17-22, 09:41 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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I have a couple miles like this on one of my loops. It's a fun place to sprint because flat ground is rare here, but the Varia goes nuts.

The couple of times I've forgotten to turn the Varia on before riding and turned it in after starting the ride on my watch, it wasn't able to connect to the Varia. Powering the light off for that stretch of frontage road would be my last choice.

There's a CIQ field that records some of the radar info into the fit file, I don't know what's available programmatically but more than zero. 🙂
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Old 06-17-22, 09:56 PM
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Put an empty Fritos bag over the radar temporarily.
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Old 06-17-22, 10:02 PM
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In the sensor settings for the Varia on Wahoo head units, you can disable audio alerts.
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Old 06-17-22, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
In the sensor settings for the Varia on Wahoo head units, you can disable audio alerts.
During one short stretch of the ride?
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Old 06-17-22, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
During one short stretch of the ride?
It's just like any other sensor setting, you can change it at any time.
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Old 06-18-22, 06:02 AM
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Can you adjust the angle the radar unit sits at so that it doesn't "see" so far to the left?

Or some sort of "blinder"? That way the light would still be straight back for max effect but the unit could be limited in what it reacts to. Could be a neat 3d printing project for someone...
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Old 06-18-22, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
Can you adjust the angle the radar unit sits at so that it doesn't "see" so far to the left?

Or some sort of "blinder"? That way the light would still be straight back for max effect but the unit could be limited in what it reacts to. Could be a neat 3d printing project for someone...
I can imagine there is a way to modify the aperture of the RADAR but I think you run the risk of blocking real threats that are closer. Maybe miss a threat from a car that turns on to the road just after you pass. I'm pretty sure the unit doesn't have the ability to detect angle, just distance. If it did, they could have a more sophisticated approach and be able to detect the side-to-side position of the threat. But i think the units are fundamentally limited to range and speed.

But really, this is a user interface software issue and I think it's one of the frustrating things that Garmin has decided to not allow the user to control. Likely they see it as a liability issue or perhaps like many features, they are just super slow to respond to user requests. Looking on the web, I'm certainly not the first person to want to do this.

As far as those suggesting to just change the sensor setting, while riding. It takes 12+ button presses to get to the setting and several more to back out of it. It's simply not practical to do that. Sure I might stop and change the setting if I were going to have it off for an extended period, but I'm looking at something measured in a few minutes at a stretch. It's not the end of the world that I'll probably just have to put up with this, but it would be nice to just be able to quiet the unit down when I want.
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Old 06-18-22, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer View Post
As far as those suggesting to just change the sensor setting, while riding. It takes 12+ button presses .
Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting this. In fact, I was questioning if it is even possible to do it mid-ride.

My experience is like that of SeattleForrest. If I turn off my (Gen1) radar mid-ride (like I might do for a 25 mile off-road segment), I can't turn it back on and get it to pair. I have to terminate the ride on my Garmin head unit, and start a new ride. (I haven't tried it yet with my newer radar.)
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Old 06-18-22, 01:37 PM
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I have the same issue with a gen 1 radar unit and a 520. You must turn on the radar before you start the ride.
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