Tuesday, February 11, 2014

TrainerRoad 101; hardware and soft decor

This the first of two posts that cover my set up of TrainerRoad, in this post I will show you how I have my hardware set up and a couple of tips to make it as simple as possible.

In the spirit of a picture is worth a 1000 words this is a picture heavy post!

First here is a list of the required bits and pieces;
Must haves; Nice to haves;

  • Bike
  • Trainer
  • Ant+ stick, I use the stick that came with my Garmin 910xt
  • Ant+ Cadence/Speed Monitor, I use a Garmin GSC10
  • PC / laptop and peripherals

  • Ant+Head unit, I use a Garmin Edge 500
  • TV / VGA Splitter & Speakers
  • Fan(s)
  • Flags / decorations

  • As you can see in this picture our set up is for dueling trainers. This is slightly unusual as it is only recording/displaying my data. To overcome this Becca moves her laptop into the garage and users her TrainerRoad installation for the workout which watching the larger screen in front of her for entertainment.
    IMG_3069 image

    As a by product or merging families our house has a glut of TVs so we decided to use them in the garage. Tip1; to split the screen across the two TVs I use a $6.00 VGA Splitter, this simply sends the image to the two screens, this is not the same as a dual monitor where you can have different things on different screens, I could do that with the laptop screen open but I keep the lid closed to keep it relatively dust free, it is a garage after all. I have a $5.00 USB keyboard plugged in and an old wireless mouse.

    image image
    I have just discovered that there is a Companion Version so I will be trying that out in the coming weeks.

    image image

    Tip 2; to pick up the signal from the Cadence Monitor I used to plug the Ant+ stick into the side of the PC but after lots of dropped signals I now use a USB extension cable to get it closer to the bike. To avoid stepping on it and breaking it I tuck it into the wheel block at the front, sometimes the simple solutions are the best!

    That completes the set up of the “must have” hardware. For the “nice to have” I have an old set of PC speakers, (I think they over 10 years old!), which I simply plug into the pc. I also have an 2.5mm “piggy tail” extension cable for when the house is asleep and I use headphones instead of the speaker, this avoids waking the house up and also the exquisite pain of yanking he earbuds out when I sit up!

    There are a couple of fans placed at the front, while they don’t add any resistance they do cool you down so I can avoid the massive pool of sweat under the bike!

    Finally and just for some decoration/motivation purposes and to improve the view of looking at a blank wall there are some flags hanging up, obviously the Sufferlandrian National Flag as well as the California State flag. To add a bit of European color there is Vlaamse Leeuw ("Flemish Lion") and a Luxembourg Roude Léiw (“Red Lion”), why these two you ask, well here’s a couple of reasons…enough said I think!
    image image

    Next I’ll look at the software and the installation and set up of that!


    1. It looks more complicated than it is now you've talked me through it... Will any ant+ head unit do? I have a very inelegant hack which lets me suspend my Garmin 405 between my aerobars...

      1. Petra, yes any Ant+ head unit will work so any Gramin unit that has a bike function is good although and you don't actually need a head unit as the pc displays the information for you, the two key pieces are the Sensor - to collect and transmit the data and the Stick; to receivce and display the data

    2. One thing to be careful of with passive splitters is that they change the impedance that the video cards see. I used to do this to run a projector simultaneously but found it would "dim" the display. Essentially I was drawing too much current (dual 75 ohm terminations in parallel result in the card seeing 37.5 ohm, and thus having to draw twice as much current -- the RAMDAC could not drive two without the voltage sagging). You can test this by seeing if one display brightens if you physically disconnect the other.

      1. Keith thanks for the tip, can't say I have noticed any differences from splitting the signal, but worth remembering when I convert over to the Companion setting in TrainerRoad


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