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Does anyone else have issues with Garmin elevation in the rain?

roubaixtomroubaixtom Posts: 316
edited January 2017 in Road general
Hello,

Just come back from a ride and my Garmin 520 has said I have only climbed half of what I know the route is. This only seems to happen in constant heavy rain (today) and not in the dry.

Does anyone know why this happens/ have the same problem?

Cheers
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Posts

  • buckmulliganbuckmulligan Posts: 1,031
    edited January 2017
    Yes, it's because the Edge 520 has a barometric altimeter, which uses changes in air pressure to measure elevation change. If the vent holes in the bottom of the unit get blocked up (e.g. by being covered with rain water) the air pressure inside the unit, where the sensor is, cannot equilibrate with the air outside and any changes in elevation are not picked up, or are very sporadic (i.e. sharp spikes when the holes become temporarily unblocked).

    Your best option is to try to keep the holes from getting wet in the first place e.g. keep the unit in its mount and don't take it out and put your wet gloves all over the back of it; this is usually the cause of the problem and I've only ever had one or two occasions of prolonged torrential rain where water has made it's way underneath the unit on its own without me having taken it out and fiddled with it.

    Alternatively, you can just use elevation correction on whatever service you're using (Garmin Connect, Strava, TP etc etc) after the fact.
  • thank you for your response. Does putting a small amount of electrical tape over the small hole on the back defeat the point? will this redder the barometric alter meter unless or help to stop water ingress?
  • buckmulliganbuckmulligan Posts: 1,031
    No, the units are very well sealed other than these holes (hence the fact that they're water resistant) so sealing them up with electrical tape will render the altimeter completely useless! The holes need to be free and clear for it to work properly; you might be able to disable the barometric altimeter somewhere in the settings and just rely on GPS-based elevation data, but this is significantly less accurate.
  • Updated to version 10.0 firmware? Seems that has introduced a similar systemic altitude error to the 820...
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 9,324
    I get this in heavy rain as above, in Strava you can select to correct the elevation to the map.
  • I get this same issue with my new 820 which I bought a few weeks ago. Every time I have rode in wet/damp/foggy conditions the elevation data completely loses the plot! I have been correcting the elevation data on Strava after uploading. This issue never happened in 4 years of having an edge 500, regardless of weather conditions. Quite annoying to be honest.
  • Is this a hardware or software issue?
  • Are people actually looking at the elevation data during a ride?
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 4,056
    Just buy a rubber case for your Garmin and it's sorted. job done.
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,852
    Yes people look at the data on their garmins whilst riding
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    Are people actually looking at the elevation data during a ride?

    not during a ride, but I take note of it afterward, see if it matches what my legs felt, and feel slightly amazed at how many feet it thinks Ive climbed over a year in a supposedly completely flat part of the world.

    but my 510 seems to be permanently on the fritz this year so far anyway not sure if the cold weather or dampness is getting to it, but so Ive no idea how accurate it is as it foobars half the ride
  • awavey wrote:
    Are people actually looking at the elevation data during a ride?

    not during a ride, but I take note of it afterward, see if it matches what my legs felt, and feel slightly amazed at how many feet it thinks Ive climbed over a year in a supposedly completely flat part of the world.

    but my 510 seems to be permanently on the fritz this year so far anyway not sure if the cold weather or dampness is getting to it, but so Ive no idea how accurate it is as it foobars half the ride
    I've found that my 810 consistently gives higher numbers than actual metres climbed by with no consistency so the numbers it gives are pretty meaningless. Having spoken to a good few people they've mainly said the same. We compared a few against each other after a couple of rides and the numbers were all over the shop.
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    Some people have been known to deliberately tape over the holes, so that their 'Strava climbing challenge' numbers are better than they actually are.
  • Some people have been known to deliberately tape over the holes, so that their 'Strava climbing challenge' numbers are better than they actually are.

    Why would they do that? Taping up the barometer reduces elevation.
  • There was more on this (mainly put on by me) on page 2 of this thread. Pretty rubbish really:

    viewtopic.php?f=40042&t=13073984&hilit=520&start=20
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    There was more on this (mainly put on by me) on page 2 of this thread. Pretty rubbish really:

    viewtopic.php?f=40042&t=13073984&hilit=520&start=20

    yepp, I also think there is a lot of rubbish written on that thread ;-)

    Why can't people just get out and ride their bike? Yes, Garmin has a few flaws as does life. If I go out on a very average everyday kind of ride of 40 miles and Strava shows it 2,100ft of climbing when it was actually 3,102ft of climbing...does it really matter? Those who think this is the worst thing in the world should take a deep breath and move on...or just use the Garmin/Strava "Correct elevation" feature when they get home.
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    Some people have been known to deliberately tape over the holes, so that their 'Strava climbing challenge' numbers are better than they actually are.

    Why would they do that? Taping up the barometer reduces elevation.

    Blocking the holes increases elevation if you block the holes at the correct elevation ( i.e. The top of a climb)
  • Bobbinogs wrote:
    There was more on this (mainly put on by me) on page 2 of this thread. Pretty rubbish really:

    viewtopic.php?f=40042&t=13073984&hilit=520&start=20

    yepp, I also think there is a lot of rubbish written on that thread ;-)

    Why can't people just get out and ride their bike? Yes, Garmin has a few flaws as does life. If I go out on a very average everyday kind of ride of 40 miles and Strava shows it 2,100ft of climbing when it was actually 3,102ft of climbing...does it really matter? Those who think this is the worst thing in the world should take a deep breath and move on...or just use the Garmin/Strava "Correct elevation" feature when they get home.

    You're absolutely right and I don't care about a normal ride. Might be cheesed off I'd done the Marmotte or something and found my ride looked like Norfolk when I uploaded it.

    Probably wrong on this but I thought the correct feature just corrects the numbers, it can't go back and redraw your elevation chart? That's the bit that you might like to gaze at in years to come as you remember slogging up some Alps.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    I can understand the big events being lost/incorrect being really annoying. I always start an "important" upload by saving the file from the Garmin unit onto a laptop. The correct elevation feature will revert to Strava or Garmin's stored elevation plots so will redraw the mapped route profile completely. It works really well in places like the UK but less so abroad where the granularity of mapping data is a lot less.
  • Some people have been known to deliberately tape over the holes, so that their 'Strava climbing challenge' numbers are better than they actually are.

    Why would they do that? Taping up the barometer reduces elevation.

    Blocking the holes increases elevation if you block the holes at the correct elevation ( i.e. The top of a climb)

    You're on crack.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605

    You're on crack.

    I think it makes perfect sense .... how much kudos would you get if your strava showed you getting tot eh top of a climb ... and then never coming down again ????

    thats a stat thats hard to beat
  • dannbodgedannbodge Posts: 959
    I've noticed mine records more elevation than I actually do (according to strava) However the recorded Garmin data (before elevation correction) actually matches the elevation given on the strava route planner.

    Mine's in a silicon Garmin case too. However, i don't really care. I just get Strava to correct it, no biggie
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 9,324
    Probably wrong on this but I thought the correct feature just corrects the numbers, it can't go back and redraw your elevation chart? That's the bit that you might like to gaze at in years to come as you remember slogging up some Alps.

    Yes you are wrong :D, when you press "correct elevation" it goes back and re-calculates the elevation data for the ride using the elevation from the map data (which can have varying levels of accuracy itself), including re-drawing the elevation data. Basically it bins the barometric altimeter data entirely and goes back to what you would have got had you used the Strava GPS app on your phone.

    It does take a little while to re-draw the data though while it does its updates on the server so you might need to come back and check after a few minutes.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Some people have been known to deliberately tape over the holes, so that their 'Strava climbing challenge' numbers are better than they actually are.

    Why would they do that? Taping up the barometer reduces elevation.

    Blocking the holes increases elevation if you block the holes at the correct elevation ( i.e. The top of a climb)

    Just blow into the hole a few times*. Takes a few seconds to add a hundred feet.........


    *I'm talking about the hole in the GPS unit here in case of confusion with other holes.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Dave_P1Dave_P1 Posts: 565
    Buy a Garmin case and it will continue to work perfectly in my experience just as before
  • bobmcstuff wrote:
    Probably wrong on this but I thought the correct feature just corrects the numbers, it can't go back and redraw your elevation chart? That's the bit that you might like to gaze at in years to come as you remember slogging up some Alps.

    Yes you are wrong :D, when you press "correct elevation" it goes back and re-calculates the elevation data for the ride using the elevation from the map data (which can have varying levels of accuracy itself), including re-drawing the elevation data. Basically it bins the barometric altimeter data entirely and goes back to what you would have got had you used the Strava GPS app on your phone.

    It does take a little while to re-draw the data though while it does its updates on the server so you might need to come back and check after a few minutes.

    Garmin Connect or Strava?
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 9,324
    Oh, strava. I never bother doing anything on connect, it possibly has the same options but I've never checked.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Yes, this seems to be a pretty general 'design issue' with the 520. The barometric hole is tiny and underneath at the front. It seems to easily get clogged in the rain. Happens less frequently when its in a case. You can keep stopping and blowing it clear. Or do the elevation correction thing afterwards. I suppose those lovely garmin people didnt really appreciate that people might want to use their product in the rain....
  • Mikey23 wrote:
    Yes, this seems to be a pretty general 'design issue' with the 520. The barometric hole is tiny and underneath at the front. It seems to easily get clogged in the rain. Happens less frequently when its in a case. You can keep stopping and blowing it clear. Or do the elevation correction thing afterwards. I suppose those lovely garmin people didnt really appreciate that people might want to use their product in the rain....

    I still think it's pretty shoddy as I can forgive software glitches as these are hard to find and can be fixed with updates. That nobody at Garmin actually tried a 520 in less than glorious sunshine is a bit hard to imagine. Did they really do zero testing or else knew about it and just didn't care? Out of interest is the 820 the same?
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    The 800 suffers badly from this but I've not had so many issues with the 1000.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
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