Garmin Vector 3S - stick or twist ?

RutlandGav Posts: 144
edited September 2019 in Workshop
This is where i regret not doing more research before making an expensive purchase.

I finally bought a power meter back in June. My low end chainset wasn't compatible with any of the crank arm based solutions, so I went with a pedal based one, and bought the Vector 3S pedal (single sided).

Owning a power meter has been fantastic, but this device has known problems with the battery holder even in its revised incarnation.

First issue is, the tiny LR44 cells it takes only have about 20 hours of battery life. This means I end up changing them on a weekly basis.

Second, the well known problems of the battery holder itself, which has to deliver power to the stationary electronics of the vectors while the pedal body rotates around it. Weather proofing in this situation was always going to be a challenge, but Garmin have failed badly here. Moisture got in and caused corrosion on the contacts within a few rides in dry weather, in the rain they quit within a matter of hours. The battery holder screws into the end of the pedal body. The battery holder is made of soft aluminum and the pedal body is plastic, both very fragile and easy to strip.

You have to do it up finger tight then add perhaps 45-90 degrees of additional rotation with an allen key - any more than that and the threads start to jump. This is far below what my torque wrench applies even on its lowest setting.

Replacement battery holders can be purchased from Garmin for £25 each. On average they last me three weeks. Two failed because the terminals in the end cap broke off, and one fell out onto the road and was lost because i either didn't tighten it enough or tightened it too much and damaged the thread.

Every time you change the batteries you need to clean the corrosion off the terminals and apply a drop of oil to them to slow the rate at which they corrode. I'm getting the knack of this so am no longer plagued by dropouts. I am considering using threadlock to make the battery holder less likely to fall off and hopefully reduce the moisture ingress.

My friends think i should have returned this product a long time ago. If i keep having to buy battery holders, in the long run it will be much cheaper to upgrade my chainset and get a Stages crank arm.

On the other hand, it seems the electronics of the power meter itself are well sealed in the pedal spindle even though the battery compartment is not. Whilst the Garmin forums are still plagued with battery corrosion, there don't seem to be any other ongoing issues. Better the devil you know ?

I also hate the idea of being without power if i do decide to go through the process of seeking a refund and returning the vectors. What do you think ?


  • I reckon Garmin will eventually solve the issue and send out revised battery holders which are more robust and eliminate the fretting. I haven’t had any issues with the doors after getting the new ones. No water gets in no corrosion. Battery life on mine has improved since I put a slice of wine cork under the prong on the battery holder.
    The problems on the Vector 3 can be off putting and I wouldn’t blame you if you returned them. Do you think the stages will be any better?
    My Power2max cranks have been very reliable to me they are a benchmark for a quality power meter.
  • asprilla
    asprilla Posts: 8,440
    Another option would the Favero Assioma pedal based power meter. I've had mine for about six months and so far they have been flawless.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • hostman
    hostman Posts: 104
    Interesting you post this now, I have been looking at power meters for the last few months and settled on the Favero Assioma Uno (single sided meter) this week, fitted them yesterday. The reported issues with the garmin vectors put me off, I very nearly committed to them. I read they were sending out replacement battery covers, doesn't sound very good the issue is still kicking around, a year or so since it popped up?

    Favero Assioma uses a rechargeable battery, no need to replace. Official stats and reviews suggest they should last 50 hours between charges. I've only had mine a day, so I can't comment on long term usage ... but the reviews are good.

    I did have 1 issue ... pairing over bluetooth to trainerroad resulted in a 50% power under reporting (no issue paired via ANT+). 2 mins googling, trainerroad forum pops up, there is a new firmware update from Favero that fixes the firmware bug, they have to push it to your pedal manually. I e-mailed their support yesterday evening, they replied this afternoon asking me to try the update, it now works fully when paired over bluetooth. Pretty good support. The firemware update is super easy to do via their app.

    If you can return the vectors for a full refund I would personally.

    I bought the Assioma from bikefast, £385: ... ower-meter

    Took 2 days to arrive from Germany.

    Good luck ...
  • Had Favero Assiomas (dual sided) for the best part of a year now. Like Asprilla I have found them to be flawless. I would say you get more than 50 hours out of a charge too.
  • bobones
    bobones Posts: 1,215
    I've had Vectors for about 16 months, use them in all weather conditions, and I don't have any of these problems. I use SR44 or CR1/3N batteries and get around 100 hours of use. The battery holders do not cause me any bother whatsoever: they screw in and tighten normally, they don't fall off, I don't need to remove corrosion, and I don't have any water ingress or drop outs. In short, they work as you would hope and expect. There is something far wrong with the OP's setup to get that much bother.