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Garmin (Finally) Releases Vector 3 Bluetooth Smart Firmware

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As of today, Garmin finally has their first sensor that actually broadcasts via Bluetooth Smart (in addition to ANT+).  Vector 3 was of course announced last August at Eurobike, and then started shipping back in October (my in-depth review dropped in November).  That was slightly behind initial plans to ship in late September, but in the tech industry being only a few weeks late isn’t unheard of.  However, at the time the secondary part of the plan was to release the much awaited Bluetooth Smart power meter support, which would allow you to pair Vector 3 to any head unit, app, or thingamajig, as long as it supported ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart.

That secondary timeline was initially early October, just after Vector 3 was slated to ship.  Unfortunately, that timeline slid faster than Janet Jackson’s wardrobe, and soon October became November, then January, and then February.  But today, it’s finally here.

Better later than never, right?

The Quick Details:

Now the main reason most folks care about BLE connectivity on Vector 3 is for pairing to apps, predominantly indoor trainer apps.  This includes apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, Kinomap, Rouvy, and so on.  All of these apps also of course support ANT+ sensors, but that usually requires a dongle/adapter.  For users on iOS, for example, using an iPad with Zwift is easier via Bluetooth Smart sensors than ANT+ sensors.

And Garmin has been clear from the beginning that’s actually a core reason why they added Bluetooth Smart sensor capabilities to Vector 3 (of course the reality is that if they didn’t, they’d no longer be competitive).  It’s also why virtually all Garmin fitness devices announced in 2017/2018 also support Bluetooth Smart sensors too.

In any case, getting your Vector 3 pedals updated is pretty easy.  You’ve got the following options:

A) An Edge 520, Edge 820, Edge 1000, or Edge 1030: If you have any of these, and you’ve previously paired Vector 3, it’ll go grab updates for you the next time it chats with Garmin’s servers.

B) Garmin Connect Mobile App: Assuming you have a smartphone, you can pair it via Bluetooth Smart already (even before the update) and then update your pedals that way.

There are a few minor caveats to either method.  The first is that sometimes getting the updates to show up on the Edge devices can require a bit of a tango, especially in the first day or so when the update is being rolled out systematically.  The second caveat is somewhat part of the first: Garmin says that the update might not show for 100% of people until tomorrow sometime, as it tries to stage them a bit more slowly.

In my case, I just used the Edge update method, which you can see here:

The unit will prompt you to upgrade a split second after it connects to your pedals. Obviously, you’d click yes if you wanted to update:

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My general practice with updating Garmin Vector pedals is to place my phone in between my two pedals on my water bottle cage.  I find this gives it the best signal for both pedals.

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It only takes a few minutes, during which the LED’s will blink for a bit.  After it’s done…well, you’re done.

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At this point, you’ll be able to find the Vector 3 pedals via Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ concurrently.  It’ll always broadcast on both, just like most other power meters these days.  And you’ll get power, power balance, and cadence on both.  Here’s TrainerRoad for example:

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Except, you won’t get Garmin Cycling Dynamics data (the advanced stuff like pedaling metrics) on Bluetooth Smart, even if paired to a Garmin head unit.  That’s because there’s no standard for this advanced data on Bluetooth Smart.  Thus, only the baseline pieces are there.  Additionally, there isn’t a method to set crank length via Bluetooth Smart head units today (that I’m aware of anyway).  So you’ll want to set that separately.  Vector 3 will remember that and apply it to any other connections.

However, there is an interesting Bluetooth Smart tidbit here on Vector 3 that’s not on any other pedal based power meters: Vector 3 properly shows as a single power meter in Bluetooth Smart device lists.  This is different than the PowerTap P1 pedals and Favero Assioma pedals, which show up as two devices (one left, one right).  So, for example, in Zwift, if you use the PowerTap P1 or Assioma pedals, you’re actually just connecting to either the left or right pedal and it automatically doubles that…which isn’t super accurate.  Vector 3, however, shows up as a single cohesive device, which is a neat little trick.

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From a compatibility standpoint, I’ve been using the Vector 3 on Bluetooth Smart update since early this fall (in beta).  In doing so I’ve tried a bunch of apps and devices over Bluetooth Smart: Zwift, TrainerRoad, FR935, Edge 1030, Hammerhead Karoo, Suunto Spartan series, and probably more apps and devices I’m forgetting.  I haven’t seen any Bluetooth Smart specific issues with any of those devices.

The only issue I have seen isn’t Vector 3 specific on the Hammerhead, but rather how it handles power meter zero value data points causing some incorrectly high values.  But Hammerhead is digging into that.

FAQ’s:

Here’s what I suspect are probably going to be the most common questions:

Ok, that’s nice and all, but when will Vector start shipping?

It’s actually been shipping since October (Ironman Kona to be very specific, they had units there).  Since then it’s been pretty easily obtainable in the US, sorta easy in Europe, and less easy in Australia/New Zealand.  For North America, they seemed to largely catch-up right before Christmas, and then it slid a bit in availability where I think they’re close to catching back up again. As for Australia…well…at least you’ve got warm weather.

Should I pair my Garmin device to Vector 3 with ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart?

Definitely ANT+. 100% ANT+.  The reason being is that if you pair via Bluetooth Smart you’ll lose out on the additional metrics you get over ANT+.  Not to mention if you pair via Bluetooth Smart, that’ll block you from pairing a second device via Bluetooth Smart (such as Zwift or TrainerRoad).

Can I pair both a Garmin Edge and Zwift at once?

Yes. Pair your Garmin Edge via ANT+, and then Zwift via Bluetooth Smart.  You can change ‘Garmin Edge’ to ‘Any ANT+ bike computer/watch’, and it still applies.  You can connect unlimited devices via ANT+, but only one via Bluetooth Smart.

Can I pair two Bluetooth Smart devices/apps at once?

No, that Bluetooth Smart limitation is still there.  That means only one concurrent Bluetooth Smart connection.  That could be TrainerRoad via BLE, Zwift via BLE, or even a Polar or Suunto watch via BLE.

Why doesn’t the update show up yet?

Because it’s Wednesday, which is in nowhere-land in terms of the middle of the week.  Thus, things never quite work on Wednesday.  Try it tomorrow, it’ll work then (probably).  As noted, in reality it’s just because Garmin is phasing the roll-out over the next 24 hours or so.

I’ve done something wrong, I think I killed it.

Assuming you didn’t put it in the microwave…your best bet if something went horribly wrong is to reach out to Garmin support, specifically, their Vector support team.  Phone works, as does their support forums.  They respond pretty quickly in both those places.  As a side note though, I actually do often put sensors in the microwave, as it’s the perfect faraday cage. Just don’t press ‘Start’!

Why do you have a Zwift water bottle on your bike?

Funny story actually. I forgot to pack cycling water bottles in my bike case for my trip to Australia. When I got to Adelaide, I went to the Rapha pop-up shop and figured I’d buy a water bottle there.  But holy f’in @#$@# balls.  They were like $30 or $40 for a water bottle.  A @#$@#$ water bottle!!!

A few hours later I was loading up bikes and gear with Lama to go for a ride and turns out he had a gigantic garbage bag of like 90 of them. Thus, I stole one. Or three.  Shhh…

Will this show me power balance in Zwift?

No, Zwift doesn’t support power balance. Nor Cycling Dynamics.

Does this work on Vector 3S too?

Yes. Simply yes.

Which power meter should I get?

Read my full power meter buyers guide here!

Should I get Vector 3, the PowerTap P1, or Favero Assioma pedals?

Read my power meter pedal shoot-out post here!

Going forward:

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Now that Garmin has Bluetooth Smart on Vector 3, you may be asking when they’ll release a firmware update for other sensors.  Unfortunately, that won’t really happen.  The remainder of Garmin’s existing sensors (I.e. older cadence, speed, heart rate straps, etc…), don’t have the dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart chipsets required.  They lack that hardware.

So it’s really a going forward type of item.  Going forward, Garmin needs to look to refresh their sensor lineup to be dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, like the rest of the sensor world.  It’s a major reason I recommend Wahoo speed/cadence cycling sensors over Garmin ones, even though I actually prefer Garmin’s cadence sensor design (it doesn’t require zip ties).  Similarly, Garmin’s latest generation HRM-RUN/HRM-TRI heart rate straps are actually pretty comfortable, but I’d be hard-pressed to recommend them unless you really needed the HRM-TRI swim offloading capabilities – because you can’t easily use it with Bluetooth Smart apps.

Hopefully though, Garmin will see this as an opportunity (because it is).  The chipset cost for them is barely pennies on a per unit basis, and I think the pride thing around ANT+ only is largely gone (as seen in the rest of their product lineup).  They can look to the retail success they’ve had with Vector 3 thus far (in terms of sales volume) and see that easily.

As for ANT+, it’s still just as popular as ever before (one only needs to look at the sold-out Symposium last fall to see that). It’s just that the applications shift a bit. Gone are the days where for purely heart rate only you ‘must’ have an ANT+ strap.  Instead, now are the days where for advanced cycling metrics that are cross-manufacturer compatible, you want to use ANT+.  At least, for now anyway.  As with any tech, it’s a see-saw effect with competitors.

All of which is good for consumers.

With that, thanks for reading!

Related posts of interest: Garmin Vector 3 Power Meter In-Depth Review | Power Meter Pedal Shootout: Vector 3 vs PowerTap P1 vs Assioma

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141 Comments

  1. Ray,

    The Video linked is to the AirHub.

    Duaine

  2. Stikman

    RE: the water bottle. Were you not previously aware of the “Australia tax” placed on everything here?

  3. Doug

    Is it possible to use the Vector 3 pedals as the power source in ERG mode or will I need to stick with the trainer for that?

    • Assuming your talking for Zwift/TrainerRoad? You definitely can.

    • Doug

      Yep, and thanks!

    • stu

      Ray, on that topic quickly. Do you have any experience/what are your thoughts on Power Match? I’ve done my last few trainer sessions (Flux with Vector 3s) on TR and found the resistance fluctuates wildly/is quite laggy (apparently due to the calculations required in Auto). I ended up disabling it mid session and noticed that when doing steady power intervals the power reading from the trainer was at least 20 watts (+6%) less than on the power reading on my bolt was showing from the vector3s.. Is there a recommended method to simultaneously record power data on a trainer and plug it into your analyser?

    • Yeah, I generally don’t recommend it (for the reasons you noted).

      I’d recommend just recording your power meter on a separate device (i.e. your Garmin/Wahoo/whatever), and then basing your intervals off of the number displayed there, rather than the trainer*. That way indoors and outdoors all match.

      *So if you want to do an interval at 280w, and when you set your trainer to 280w your power meter only shows 265w, then simply set your trainer higher until you see 280w on your bike computer.

  4. Brendan

    Did the update and lost the ability to get all of the cycling dynamics besides left/right power. Frustrating to say the least.

    • Double-check via the mobile app that Cycling Dynamics is enabled. Pretty sure it is by default, but that’s a quick way to check.

      Also – double-check that somehow your Edge isn’t paired via Bluetooth Smart now (can’t imagine that being the case, but a good troubleshooting step).

    • Chris McReynolds

      I’m having these problems because my Forerunner 935 paired in BLE mode on Vector 3 firmware 3.3. Now my Edge 520 is just running with basic power data (like the FR935 in BLE mode) and I can’t find any way to force ANT+ pairing. None of the ANT+ features are mentioned.

      I’m shocked that Garmin would do this to their customers. It’s insane. They prioritized BLE, I assume to sell more new product to new customers, over their existing customer base that has invested thousands of dollars in their gear. This is insane.

    • Your Edge 520 only pairs on ANT+, it doesn’t have the hardware to pair on BLE. So if you see Vector 3 on your Edge 520, that’s via ANT+.

      On the FR935, you have a choice which one you select. By default it’ll show you ANT+ first, then BLE.

      Finally, be sure that Cycling Dynamics is enabled using the mobile phone app if connected via ANT+. Some earlier firmware versions had mistakenly disabled that, it’s an easy toggle in the app.

      If connected via BLE, you can’t get Cycling Dynamics because no such method exists for that data to occur via BLE per the BLE spec (Said differently: Blame the BLE Sig for that, not Garmin).

  5. Karl Billeter

    Oh and definitely don’t try power match with a left only power meter when doing single-leg drills. It’s… challenging in all the wrong ways 🙂

    • Chris McReynolds

      “Your Edge 520 only pairs on ANT+, it doesn’t have the hardware to pair on BLE. So if you see Vector 3 on your Edge 520, that’s via ANT+.”

      I fully understand that the Edge 520 can not pair with BLE sensors in BLE mode.

      “On the FR935, you have a choice which one you select. By default it’ll show you ANT+ first, then BLE.”

      That’s not quite true. What actually happened is that the switch was forced on me after I upgraded from Vector 3 firmware 3.0 to 3.3. I tested it once indoors and it worked fine for a stationary bike session. The next day I went out and it forced a new pairing that I didn’t accept after I started the ride. After about 10 minutes the Cycling Dynamics data ceased. I then worked to remove and reinstall in ANT+ (using many combinations with the assumption that pairing with the Edge 520 first might help) and I can’t force an ANT+ priority pairing. I realize that having some power data fed to the Edge 520 is ‘proof’ that it is also running in some kind of ANT+ mode.

      @If connected via BLE, you can’t get Cycling Dynamics because no such method exists for that data to occur via BLE per the BLE spec (Said differently: Blame the BLE Sig for that, not Garmin).@

      I know. That is why I’m so angry that this is being forced out. I have no controls on my phone, the devices or the web tools to toggle or control any ANT+ or Cycling Dynamics related data. I have blank pages and missing controls. I could write a small booklet on all of the settings that are now gone. Not just defaulting to something that I don’t want but the choices are gone. Of course I blame Garmin for this. I never asked for BLE. The only reason I use it at all is that, since I paid for it, I decided to use the 24/7 HR monitoring and might as well have the BT link set up. I can’t even turn off the BLE sensors without turning off my BT connection to my phone? Of course I blame Garmin! There are so many other things they could have done to develop BLE sensors without hosing their customers. So many other better choices. At the very least they should have better troubleshooting and admin tools for when these kinds of things crop up. The other thing is that they could have done two firmware update tracks at least until they had more field testing done. This is very, very bad management. This is what happens when marketing-oriented managers start winning internal fights with engineers at once-great enterprises. Garmin is toast if they can’t restore that great results-first (before promising more candy to potential new customers) culture. I can both applaud the great things that Garmin has done and condemn whoever it is that is destroying their brand with this kind of nonsense. Right now the current Vector 3 firmware is suitable only for alpha (in house) testing. And what are the customers supposed to do with that? I specifically chose all of this hardware in order to get Cycling Dynamics on my Forerunner and an Edge device (or realtime display of CD data when I want it).

    • The FR935 doesn’t force any pairing. You have to accept the pairing for it to pair. I think in general you’re mixing up a few things on BLE vs ANT+, specifically as to what’s pairing where. 24×7 HR doesn’t really have anything to do with Vector here. Nor does turning off BLE on your phone impact BLE to your FR935.

      If you paired to two variants of the same device (both ANT+ & BLE, as it sounds), and if one of those units falls out of range for whatever reason, it’ll automatically failover to the next available power meter.

      If you paired to BLE (again, you have to manually accept the pairing if/when offered), you can delete that pairing. Alternatively, you can keep that BLE pairing on your FR935 and set it to disabled, so it won’t use it for any reason…period.

      I’m not sure why your Vector controls aren’t available on the Garmin Connect Mobile app, but I’d remove the Vector pedals from Garmin Connect Mobile on your phone and simply re-add them.

      Failing all that, it sounds like a ring to support would probably get you all sorted.

    • Chris McReynolds

      Yes, it did force BLE pairing. I know that that is not “as designed.” It apparently can happen after the same device is known under ANT+ pairing, hence my frustration. What happened is that it worked as designed under “indoor training” mode and then the next day under “Bike” mode it “rediscovered” the Vectors but I declined to calibrate and so forth so I didn’t look at any of the settings. It ran for 10 minutes with Cycling Dynamics and then changed to BLE and also changed my crank setting to the default 172.5 length.

      And I only mentioned the 24/7 HR recording as a feature I care about that is enhanced by BT connectivity. Otherwise I have zero use for it with Garmin devices since I have WiFi and USB choices with FR and Edge respectively. I would shut down all Bluetooth if not for my Fenix 5 and FR935 24/7 monitoring.

  6. Guillermo

    Hey Ray,

    Thanks for the report. We’ve been waiting this firmware release for a while.

    Were you able to test again the issue that Shane GPLama reported about the power difference in ERG mode with Vector 3 vs other power meters, then after the sprints the differences are less?? Garmin were working on this as far as I remember.

    Guillermo

    • Joel

      Hi Ray,

      I too am interested in your thoughts on Shane’s experience on seemingly Vector 3 losing accuracy at higher cadence (above 80 rpm – not that 80 is terribly “high” for most folk). There was one test (test 2) where there was slight discrepancy of Powertap P1 at high cadence but in general this seemed to be confined to Vector 3 “high” cadence (>80rpm) issues. Someone also made a comment on his blog that he too was also seeing same discrepancy.

      Wondering if you have tested similarly to Shane. I really like Garmin gear, but if the Vector 3’s lose accuracy above 80rpm then I am not keen to part with good money.

      Link to Shane’s blog article: link to gplama.blogspot.com.au

      By the way – hope you are enjoying Perth. Awesome place to live.

      Joel

    • Yeah, I simply haven’t seen any cadence type issues like that. I typically ride at about 90-100RPM, and my accuracy looks really solid. 80RPM is somewhat low, as you noted.

      In the next few days you’ll see my Stages LR (dual) power meter review, and that too agrees with the PowerTap hub and Vector 3.

      I’m not sure where Lama stands on some of those earlier accuracy issues he saw specifically indoors, but I know he was chatting with Garmin on it. I didn’t see them in my tests, on any of the 3 or 4 different pedals sets I’ve had (including my final one via just normal retail). I don’t think I’ve seen anything similar from others either. Part of the challenge though with power meter testing is getting body-specific nuances. For example back in the day I saw this with the original 4iiii unit, where my pedaling style messed with it badly. Shane and I both saw similar then indoors with the ROTOR 2inPower units as well, which weren’t really explainable either.

    • Joel

      Good to hear. Thanks Ray.

  7. Matthias

    Good article. Have you tested the BLE function with the Polar V650? Thanks.

    • Danny

      I managed to pair the V650 with the Vector 3. Had no time to do exhaustive testing, but at first sight it looks like display is indeed limited to a single power value. So, no sophisticated Dynamics stuff, not even Left and Right split or balance.
      Is this to be expected?
      Again, only tested for a minute or so to make sure I got the connection working.

    • Danny

      OK. I think I got it figured out and am afraid it’s not such good news.
      Ray is right that the head units or apps connect to only one pedal (left one), which acts as the aggregator for both during BLE communication.
      While this is a presented as a plus – in the case of indoor trainer apps like Zwift – compared to other brands, it actually is a disappointing limitation for non-Garmin head Units, like Polar V650, since these sort of head units assume separate pedal connections to measure separateL/R values.
      The effect on the Polar V650 is that readings are only displayed for your Left pedal and none for your right.
      I actually bought these Vector 3 mostly to analyse difference between my left and right leg (due to a difference in leg length). I’m afraid in that sense it has been a waiste of money, unless I decide to spend another 400-500€ on a Garmin Head Unit on top of the +1000€ spent on the pedals alone.
      Only hope left is that I’m doing something wrong on my side …

    • Matthias

      Danny, keep us posted. I’m using a V650 as well and would like to check on left-right balance as you want. If even the dual side version of the V3 in combination with the V650 does not work as expected…

    • I suspect we’ll see Polar adopt it pretty quickly. They’ve been pretty good about that actually, and even had a slide at one point in presentations about them trying to be more forward-focused on power meter compatibility.

      Realistically it’s the right way to do it, because otherwise you just get useless fragmentation that every other player is doing on dual-sided BLE power meters. At present, if using BLE as a power meter and you had a dual sided unit (except Polar), then you’ve basically wasted your money.

    • Danny Willen

      Not sure I understand completely. Must be that I’m not native English …
      The reasoning about Polar’s strategic choices indeed sounds sensible, but am a bit sceptical for 2 reasons:
      1) Polar had updated their firmware for the V650 quite regularly up until a year or so ago and then it brutely stopped. No more updates. I think it’s not a coincidence that it was around the same time they introduced a new model on the market: M460. So I’d be surprised if they would still update the V650 firmware.
      2) I’m afraid it will not be possible ‘by design’. There is simply only one communication channel and – admitted I’m not a BLE protocol expert – I think the standard simply does not allow for transmitting 2 different power values over one single bluetooth channel. (I wonder how the unit communicates with the Keo power sensor(s)).
      I sincerely hope the latter is incorrect, because then we can still put our bets on Polar. Not a reassuring thought though …

    • Chris McReynolds

      “Is this to be expected?”

      Since they’ve also hosed the ANT+ data on Garmin units as well, and we’re all (users that have BLE mode forced on them) down to those basic values, no. It is not acceptable.

    • As I just explained about, it’s not Garmin’s choice here. There’s no standard for advanced cycling metrics on Bluetooth Smart (and there’s barely a standard on ANT+). Thus, they can’t implement what doesn’t exist.

    • Chris McReynolds

      “OK. I think I got it figured out and am afraid it’s not such good news.
      Ray is right that the head units or apps connect to only one pedal (left one), which acts as the aggregator for both during BLE communication.”

      “The effect on the Polar V650 is that readings are only displayed for your Left pedal and none for your right.”

      That’s also what happens with the right pedal is partially failing. See my other post from a few minutes ago. I have this exact same problem in ANT+ and BLE modes, on Forerunner and on an Edge 520. I get some Cycling Dynamics data for the left side but absolutely nothing for the right side. The right pedal does indicate power is OK with the red LED and it now has enough power for pairing with my phone but not for calibration. Do you get through calibration or is that even offered through the V650?

  8. Robin

    Speaking of Garmin, when is the winner of the Clever Training $500 spending spree going to be announced?

  9. lovemyway

    Hey Ray,

    Did you make some power comparison already (Vector 3 Bluetooth / Vector 3 ANT+ / Other PM’s)? Is everything good on the Bluetooth side? No dropouts? Spikes? I’ve been reading too much official Vector 3 forum and I’ve seen some complaints about the pedals in general; just want to make sure everything’s good before I get myself a set.

    Marcin

    • Yup. I’ve done some previous BLE/ANT+ dual comparison sets without issue – primarily in Zwift. I actually attempted to do the exact same thing this past weekend again outside, but I had used the Hammerhead Karoo as my BLE paired device (since you can only have one BLE paired device).

      Turns out that was a mistake, since the Karoo has a weird zero-value power bug in it, so it inflated all my power values anytime I stopped pedaling. Steady-state pedaling was fine though. I’ll re-do it again in the next day or so with two Garmin units (i.e. Edge 1030 paired via BLE, Edge 520 via ANT+).

      As for other PM testing, yup…every ride. 🙂 Stay tuned for my Stages LR (dual) power meter in-depth review in the coming days. Though, I’ll give you the spoiler version and note that I don’t see any accuracy issues with any of the PM’s on that bike (Vector 3, Stages LR, PowerTap G3), though, I did see some Stages LR dropout issues depending on the specific head unit you use. I’m waiting for a second comparison Stages LR to arrive via FedEx sometime today…maybe.

  10. James

    Thanks Ray, updated without problem.

    Quick question though – on the Connect iPhone app I had (and still have, post update) a red exclamation mark on the settings sub-menu, as per picture.

    Does anyone know what it might mean? The pedals seem to work fine but it irritates me every time I see it!

    Thank you, James.

  11. Alexey Pal

    Any news on MTB (spd) Vector 3 ?

    • Fred2

      Ray has been quiet on this subject, which means: 1) he is bound by a non-disclosure agreement with Garmin or 2) he hasn’t heard anything. 🙂

    • Dave Lusty

      I’m not sure the market is big enough for people wanting to use MTB cleats on road bikes to justify the investment there. I think most people who want/need a PM on a road bike just suck it up and use the cleats available.
      Pedal based power while actually mountain biking would be hopeless as most of the force at the pedal is not caused by pedaling and is not predictable enough to filter out. Consistent power output is irrelevant in those sports as power tends to be used in small bursts, leaving max power as the training goal – this doesn’t need a PM to train for and certainly doesn’t require a display of the wattage other than perhaps for tracking purposes. Power on a MTB often comes from pumping rather than pedaling so training leg power with pedals wouldn’t necessarily improve performance the way it does on the road, and suspension setups will almost certainly mess with pumping power numbers. Other than roadies with multiple bikes I don’t see much demand/discussion in MTB forums either so there may be no market there.
      I think if this happens it’ll be because Garmin can do it and they can do it cheaply. If that’s not the case I just don’t see it happening. They have the ability with the Vector 3 spindle, although whether this is strong enough to withstand a drop I wouldn’t even guess at.

    • Garmin has long talked about the idea being that the pedal spindle for Vector 1 was designed to be easily movable to other platforms.

      However, I think reality struck a bit with some of the engineering limitations of Vector 1 (including the pods) that probably limited their desire to get into the mountain bike side. It does sound like the Vector 3 pedal spindle design is quite a bit more robust, which might make for other variants to be an easier transition.

      Still, as Dave says – I’m actually not convinced there’s a big enough market for a pedal based mountain bike power meter. Merely for the fact that I think about 50-75% of market will probably dismiss it out of hand, regardless of vendor. On the flip side, much of the Garmin Vector team based out of Calgary are very avid mountain bikers…

    • Fred2

      I agree that the market is smaller and that tracking power on mountain bikes may not be as useful, but the TrainerRoad Podcast often encourages the collection of MTB power data. Similarly, Xert pretty much ignores anything that doesn’t include power. As such, CX, city and trekking bikes add to the market for a MTB pedal. I’ll even mention the very small market of triathletes who like to run through transitions in MTB shoes. Haha! I admit that I hadn’t considered the pump aspect of mountain biking since that skill is still missing from my repertoire. :-/

  12. Juri

    Hey Ray,

    Could you also please ask your garmin contacts on any updates on the “better integration between the fenix / edge series, like cross syncing and such” that was mentioned last year? It’s still annoying to have to record everything twice, just to have updated data.

    Can you also figure out what the plan is for the newly FCC’d fenix 5 model is? Already in production as a newer batch?

    Best regards,
    Juri

    • Dave Lusty

      +1. The complete lack of cross device features is embarrassing for the leader in the market and could ultimately be Garmin’s downfall. Their settings sync is a joke and more often causes issues than solves them while the disjoint application of training effect makes recovery estimates worthless on all devices.

      How hard can it be?!

      Oh yes, completely separate teams in different locations working in isolation. May as well be different companies we’re buying from.

    • Andrew M

      A recent comment from a Garmin mod on Garmin’s discussion boards noted they were working on it, but couldn’t give a release date.

    • It was previously penciled in as Q1, but I’m not sure where they stands. Or to the full extent of what will be there on X day 1.

      You actually can start to see some of the elements coming together over the last few months if you look carefully at GCM and GC. Various FirstBeat driven attributes are starting to flow centrally, which is part of the step in getting them to then flow back out.

    • Dave Lusty

      Thanks for the update Ray that’s great news as this is something that’s been missing for way too long. Hopefully they’ll do a better job here than settings sync which is still a nightmare. Especially when I get a new device and set it up only to have Garmin overwrite what I configured. Their OOBE is atrocious and I’m surprised you don’t mention this more often considering how many times you get new devices to set up. Perhaps being from the US your settings tend to align better with their defaults (miles vs KM for example). Also, I’m guessing you don’t often set up in GCM and on the PC, but that user journey makes me feel mildly violent every time I have to endure it!

    • Chris McReynolds

      “Oh yes, completely separate teams in different locations working in isolation. May as well be different companies we’re buying from.”

      It’s not hard at all. Just make the “cloud” data master and any connected device can choose to update when it sync’s. Garmin absolutely must do better on the “admin” apps. Wahoo and others are only behind because Garmin’s Unique Value Proposition is based on technical superiority of their hardware. And they’re losing that “edge” too.

  13. Chris Ott

    This is great news! Thanks, Ray, for publishing the review so quickly.
    Now I just have to get my hands on a unit here in Germany…

    Chris

  14. Mark

    Hmm wait I can not update Vector with Garmin 1000? what with such expensive device is not possible but with lower models and new 1030 yes?..?

    • Chris McReynolds

      “Hmm wait I can not update Vector with Garmin 1000? what with such expensive device is not possible but with lower models and new 1030 yes?..?”

      It is supposed to be supported:

      link to www8.garmin.com

      Changes made from version 14.20 to 14.30:
      Fixed configuring Shimano Di2 sensor settings.
      Improved the user interface for Vector 3 software updates.
      Fixed an issue allowing Connect IQ Apps to disable sensors.

      Just don’t spend on money on the pedals until they fix the battery carriage.

  15. Michal

    That seems like a proper way to implement BT power sensor connectivity. No dual sensor BS. Funny thing it’s against “official” BT protocol guidelines but who cares, it works better that way.

    Also one question. Is Stages LR review coming any time soon?

  16. Tom Marshall

    Welcome to Australasia and thanks for another great update. Unfortunately though Garmin New Zealand took my money at the beginning of the summer cycling season it looks as though it will all be over before I ever see my Vector 3. So much for training with power. They estimated 3-5 weeks till delivery. Since then I have heard nothing from them. No better than fly by night fraudsters in terms of their communication. I wonder how many others are in the same situation. Anyone willing to guess when this will be resolved?

    • Chris McReynolds

      “Unfortunately though Garmin New Zealand took my money at the beginning of the summer cycling season it looks as though it will all be over before I ever see my Vector 3.”

      Garmin Asia is headquartered in Singapore. Give them a shout. The Asian region is shipping tons of product. I’d ask for a refund and wait until they fix the battery carriage.

  17. naisss

    I have been waiting for this very long. Does anyone have tried to use it with Polar V800 after this update? Just need to know does it broadcasts just basic power via bluetooth? If yes, how should crank lenght be set, if like Ray said: ‘there isn’t a method to set crank length via Bluetooth Smart head units today’ . It is possible via Garmin Connect with phone? Really appreciate any help.

  18. Theo

    Ray,

    Do you foresee PowerTap implementing the same way of transmitting power through BLE (one PM signal for the left and right pedal) for the P1 now that Garmin has done so?

  19. Mark

    Hmm strange, my Garmin shows that 2.3 is the latest version?!? But when I first run program it shown to me that update is avaiable. I tried to remove and again set up connection with vector 3 but again ” firmware is up to date” ?!?

    • Mark

      Lol. I powerd up Garmin 1000 and Vector 3.0 update pops up…

      So as it looks also Garmion 1000 is capable to update Vector 3 and not just 3 upper mentioned device, please correct !

    • RE: GCM – Could just be a weird case of it pulling from different servers and causing that during this first 24 hours. :-/

      RE: Edge 1000 – Nice, that’s good to know! Updated!

    • Mark

      Yep, here is “proof”

    • David

      Hi Mark,

      I have the same problem as you had. My app on my Iphone show me that my pedals are up to date with the version 2.30 but unfortunetly I don’t have a Edge to update my device. So, is there someone who found a solution to update to the last firmware (which is I think 3.0) with a cell phone ?

      Thanks a lot,
      David

  20. Thomas Purcell

    Tried to update firmware using the Garmin Connect app but it crashes every time I select it. I tried it on two different phones, same outcome?

  21. a

    Does this mean that my Edge 520 can now talk to my Stages via BTLE? Or would that be too nice of Garmin to actually implement? 🙂

    • No, unfortunately not. That requires additional hardware. Only Garmin’s 2017/2018 new devices have that hardware.

    • a

      Doesn’t the 520 have BTLE for smartphone connectivity? i.e. it has that hardware already? Or is there something different in the chip for that vs. what can speak to my Stages?

    • Slightly different purposes. In the case of the 520, it’s using one of those BLE channels to chat with your phone, versus in Stages it’s using it to broadcast power.

      Now, that said, I do suspect that if Garmin really wanted to, the hardware on the 520/1000 could probably actually handle it (since I’m pretty sure it has a full BT stack, and not just a sensor set). But at the same time, we know they were battling some communications stack issues, so that may be a contributing factor.

      Whereas, on something like Fenix 3, that definitely only has the sensor side of things for BLE.

    • a

      Awesome, thanks for your replies! (And I really hope they bring BTLE support to the 520… I get ANT+ dropouts with my Stages… and I don’t know who to blame :P).

    • Michal

      Blame both. And I’m not joking. Worst combo ever.

    • In the case of the Fenix 5/5S for example, definitely blame both (they’re both operating at the limits, and eventually someone gets bit).

      But in the case of the Edge 520? No…that’s definitely on Stages. I run 2-3 Edge 520 units on every single ride I do, connecting to literally every power meter that’s come out in the last few years. And no unit has had dropouts…except Stages.

    • Michal

      Yet I know people who resolved their Stages dropouts issues by swapping Edge 520 for Elemnt Bolt. But it’s purely anecdotal evidence so I’m not gonna argue. I would say Edge 520 is not bad on that matter, but not perfect either.

    • Dave Waterworth

      I fixed my stages issues by putting some folded up card between the battery and the battery cover! The design of the battery enclosure isn’t particularly good, the battery keeps popping out as there’s a space between the top of the battery and the cover with nothing to hold it in

  22. Kasper

    Hi. I have no experience with apps for indoor training since my trainer isn’t “smart”. Does this new update mean I will be able to ride Zwift just by pairing my Vector 3 pedals with my pc?

  23. John

    Kasper,

    Correct, when you set up sensors at the beginning of a Zwift session, instead of configuring a speed sensor with your dumb trainer for estimated power (zPower) you’ll configure the Vector as an actual power source and rely on the dumb trainer to provide resistance.

    The difference is that the Vector power will be far more accurate.

    You’d still need a smart trainer if you were looking to automatically set power levels for ERG mode, etc.

  24. Paul

    “They can look to the retail success they’ve had with Vector 3 thus far (in terms of sales volume) and see that easily.”

    Interesting. Success in terms of comparisons to V1, V2? In comparison to competitors? Or they’re exceeding targets?

    • In terms of orders to time in market ratio, as well as orders to competitors sold ratio. They’ve basically wiped the P1 pedals off the sales map in every channel I can account for. It’s literally as if the P1 doesn’t even exist anymore on sales reports I can see (which mirrors what I hear from retailers/etc elsewhere). That’s saying a lot, since the P1 dominated the pedals market the last few years. Like a light switch overnight.

      And while Assioma is taking a piece of the pie these days, I’ve been surprised by how many people are going with Vector 3 due to purely looks.

  25. Bart

    Rode the Vector 3 pedals on Zwift last night the connection was solid:)

  26. Chris.K

    Great news I have been holding off until this update. So after seeing this I ordered the Vector 3s today. I already successfully use Stages for 99% of my road cycling and Powertap P1`s with Zwift on a Ipad on a spin bike in the gym at work.
    But the problems I have are the P1`s seem very chunky on a light weight bike thus I prefer stages.
    European airlines wont let me carry the Stages in my hand luggage when I travel and hire bikes thus I have to use the P1`s.
    The new gym bike at work has no clearance for a hex wrench between the crank arm and belt cover so I have great difficulty fitting the P1`s.
    Hopefully the Vector 3 with solve all my needs, Light, easy to fit with a 15mm spanner, allowable in hand luggage and now Bluetooth compatible.

  27. Gerald

    Hey Ray,
    first of all i want to thank you for yor great product reviews over the last years….

    I have paired my Vector 3 pedals with the Polar V800 with BLE. The Powermeter works well but the Cadence is wrong it jumps like 40 to 80 or 50 to 100. It seems like sometimes only one Pedal is shown in the Cadence View….
    Is it a Polar Problem or a known BLE issue.

    Have a nice Weekend best regards from Bavaria

    • It’s tough to assign blame in this specific case. On one hand, Garmin made it easy for every other app/watch to consumer the BLE data, on the other hand, Polar has been pretty good about making power meters work with their V800 (and to a lesser extent the V650).

      My guess if Polar will probably issue a firmware update for it, but it’d be good to log a ticket with Polar to add some pressure/weight there.

      That said, what you see is the exact problem I have with using BLE for power meters (still!) today. Every time any company on either side of the fence makes a firmware update, everyone breaks for a while till it gets fixed. It’s been this way for years. Part of the problem from what I understand was that the original BLE power meter spec wasn’t actually written by power meter companies, so it ended up being basically written by people who didn’t know the nuances of power meters and thus is clunky at best to use. I can’t speak to the accuracy of that from a coding standpoint, but it is the sentiment that virtually every power meter company in the industry I’ve talked to (which is all of them) have noted.

  28. Mike D

    Hey Ray,

    Do you know if the Garmin vector 3 is compatible with the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt? I know that vector 1 and 2 were, but I’m not sure about vector 3. Apparently there were recent Garmin software tweaks that may have made some problems.

    I am interested in the vector 3 but need to know if it will work with my setup.

    Thanks,
    Great blog!

    • It is compatible, however, you won’t get Cycling Dynamics data. Note that by default the ELEMNT will use ANT+ instead of BLE for power, which both Wahoo and I recommend anyway.

    • Brett Masterson

      Hey, I’m running vector3s (latest firmware) connected over ant+ to the wahoo bolt. Pairing is fine but every time I come back to the bike after the vector has switched off the crank length setting in the connect app revert to 220mm and the auto-zero option is disabled. There’s clearly a compatibility issue here between the bolt and the vector. So so so annoying as unless I do the arduous task of calibrating through the head unit then changing crank length in the connect app, my power reading is ridiculously high.

      Why can’t Garmin / Wahoo talk and get this resolved. Can’t exactly be hard can it?? Amy idea if wahoo are planning to update the vet for this? Cheers Ray

  29. M.Darley

    I have updated to 3.0 software today via Garmin 820 (12 minutes) . I can confirm that Cycle Dynamics are turned off as part of the update, I think I had to turn them on via the Garmin Connect app when the pedals were new and I have switched them back on manually via the app following the update. All other settings were unchanged by the 3.0. update. I had 2.20 software beforehand.

    • Simon O’Brien

      How do you switch on the cycling dynamics?I too have lost mine since the update.Also won’t connect to the connect app on my I Phone.

    • Apart from the app, I vaguely remember a conversation somewhere with Garmin that I think they said if you had the pedals connected to your Edge and turned on the cycling dynamics screen (data page), it’ll in turn toggle it on the pedals.

    • Tomas

      I had the same problem…… after many tries I got the vector 3 connected to my iPhone again. In the Garmin app the right pedal was not connected. Had to put in the serial for the right pedal again and turn on cycling dynamics…… Now it works. Looks like the update made them single side pedal and you had to connect the second pedal once more. Now I have cycling dynamics.

    • Jan Van Mieghem

      I had the same issue: my Vector 3 pedals came straight out of the box about two weeks ago (early April 2018) with firmware 3.0 and after a first ride, I no longer saw Left-Right power readings, nor cycling dynamics, on my Garmin Edge 520.
      Reading this post, I finally saw that I had to manually “Pair right pedal” by manually entering the ANT+ ID number that is on the right pedal.
      Then the Edge 520 said “pairing” and that worked. Then I got the automatic notice that a firmware 3.3 update is available, and am now updating. fingers crossed as I ‘ve had power drop problems with this Vector 3. [I ‘ve had vector 1 and 2 before and never had such issues. And then the battery problems… I switched to CR1/3N one-piece batteries yesterday. Let’s see whether my problems will be solved… I do like the idea of these pedals; but they must work…

    • Chris McReynolds

      “How do you switch on the cycling dynamics?I too have lost mine since the update.Also won’t connect to the connect app on my I Phone.”

      There is a properties page in the Vector 3 setup when paired to a phone properly. What has happened that I know if is that if you have any problems whatsoever with the pedal power (battery power to the circuits inside) the pedals become “unlinked” and you must go through a “link” process where you manually feed in the serial number. After that if you properly pair it you should have a Cycling Dynamics toggle (and one related submenu item, I think torque effectiveness/smoothness or something like that) as indicated in the Garmin documentation. But as I’ve said, it can disappear altogether if there are problems with how your pedals pair. The pedals must both pair with each other ( or “link” which is transparent to the user) and then with devices.

  30. John

    TBH, I would’ve expected some sort of updated P2 pedal from PowerTap by now. In fact, I’m surprised they haven’t developed an SPD-compatible power meter pedal.

  31. Tuomas

    A few notes:
    – firmware update on Android (Oneplus3) with Garmin Connect crashed every time I tried (before being able to start actual update); it worked smoothly over iPad although it took pretty long time like 10-15 minutes
    – Vectors have paired nicely with Edge 810 and Polar V800, I just had some issues pairing with V800 when my phone was around; I turned bluetooth off after which it worked
    – I had same cadence issue as Gerald and someone else pointed; on V800 cadence showed often just half like 40 instead of 80 or 48 instead of 96 etc. (my test bike already had dual ANT+/BLE speed & cadence sensors, so I am not fully sure, if Polar took cadence from Vector 3 – but before adding Edge 810 and Vectors I did not have this issue)
    – on my 1st 30min test ride on rollers about 1min of power data was missing from V800 graph

    • Denis

      Same here – Garmin Connect Android App keeps Crashing attempting to update the firmware of my Vector 3 :/

    • Chris

      I had a similar problem with iOS Garmin Connect. In the end deleting the app and reinstalling it did the trick. It didn’t solve the fact that the pedals drop connection every few minutes…

  32. Jay

    Having an issue with vector 3 and the MyETraining app by elite via Bluetooth
    It Shows that the vector 3 connects to the app in the power spot but no values show up for power or cadence in the app while using it
    Anyone else have this issue

  33. Richard Hamilton

    Anyone else still having update problems via the Garmin connect app? I’ve tried on two android devices and they keep crashing and also on two IOS devices but they aren’t showing the latest firmware update, only the 2.3.0. Unfortunately I only have the edge 810 so I’m out of options.

  34. Dave Waterworth

    Good news, I have a pair on pre-order in New Zealand. Talked to the shop today, they received their first pair a few weeks back but they’re coming in 1 by 1 not in a single shipment so I’ll be waiting a few more weeks it appears.

  35. E Bike

    Updated the garmin app. Getting that 2.2 is still the latest available. Thoughts?

    • OJ

      for what it’s worth, the 3.0 firmware update is causing a LOT of issues, I would recommend avoiding it if at all possible (my pedals are basically non functioning after the update and garmin forums have many posts stating similar issues)

  36. Brian

    I am having problems with repeated 20-30 sec power and cadence dropouts while riding ever since updating to 3.0. Have you heard of others with this problem and any ideas from Garmin? Really unsure how they get such a market share given how touchy their stuff is.

    • There’s some info in the forums, but I also think there’s a few wires getting crossed in some of the threads.

      In reading through things, there are basically two issues that people see (and if you count, we’re only talking a handful of people, but nonetheless, they are):

      A) Battery cap issues: I think we’re getting to the point where people are hitting the end of their first set of batteries, and as such running into whatever issue Garmin is having with some battery caps. Apparently they’re sending out new caps to people on request while they build up stock. In any case, this can cause the dropouts. I suspect people weren’t seeing this issue until now simply because people hadn’t touched their batteries – so it was fresh from factory and undisturbed. Obviously, this doesn’t impact everyone, since plenty of people like to poke at things and open up battery compartments when they get something (like me).

      B) A GCM connectivity bug. There’s reports of an issue/bug where the latest GCM (Garmin Connect Mobile) version is interrupting the connection for the pedals, causing dropouts. One recommendation I saw was to de-pair GCM from your pedals after firmware update. Given there’s little tangible day to day value in GCM and Vector 3 being paired (it’s more for setup/config), this sounds like a good short term fix until they can figure out what’s up.

      I haven’t seen any dropouts on my pedal yet (and I just changed batteries last week)…so fingers crossed.

    • Tomas O

      Hi,
      It seems to exist one more issue with the v3.0 firmware. After updating my pedals with GCM from 2.30 I can’t activate the TE/PS option. Everything looks good when toggle the switch to Active, during the update the sensor indicator doesn’t show any errors and the procedure ends with 20 green blinks. But when stepping back into the Settings section, the TE/PS toggle is deactivated again. With v2.30 it worked as expected and I was getting the pedal smoothness/torque effectiveness values to my Wahoo Bolt.

    • Brian

      Just got an email from Garmin saying this is a major issue that many have reported. They have a team working on a solution. For anyone having a problem with power reading dropping out, it is best to contact Garmin. They had me send in some files and added me to a list that they are troubleshooting. They do not have a solution worked out yet.

    • Edoardo

      Posts (DCR e Garmin Forum) with complaints there are so many …
      Do you have news from Garmin on upgrade hardware of Vector 3(battery doors and PCB boards)?
      Should you wait before buying?

  37. Brian

    Wow….this situation with the pedals going blank and not reading power is only getting worse, and Garmin seems to have no idea. May be my worst purchase ever. The pedals are nowhere near nice enough to buy just as pedals. Should have gone with another brand. Wishing Garmin would help me out.

  38. DFWKen

    Problems with the Vector 3 pedals. I’m very frustrated. Received them a couple of weeks ago. They started giving “Right Pedal Sensor Missing” errors when I rod. The problem became more and more chronic every day that I rode. Now, no readout at all. I’m hoping that Garmin comes up with a fix quickly, before I return the pedals for refund.

    • Brian ipsen

      They responded to me saying there is a known problem. That was weeks ago now, and they have stopped communicating with me. I am returning mine for sure. Too many options that actually work to waste time on a company that can’t figure out it’s software.

  39. Dean Tucker

    Great summary. Just installed my Vector 3s. Working on the best way to train for my first Ironman. Using Best Bike Split and Ride with GPS to create the ride, and trying to get the best way to integrate with Zwift. Would be awesome if someone figures out how to integrate Google Earth with Best Bike Split.

  40. michiel Oosterhuis

    the availability of these pedals is very poor at the moment in europe. This is kinda disappointing.

  41. Tuomas

    Drop-out or about half-value issues mostly with cadence and occasionally on power over BLE to Polar V800 remain. I emailed Polar on Feb 19th. Someone from Polar customer service replied promptly (Feb 21st) with a link to the list of supported power devices and that list is what works with V800 currently. I replied same day and explained that this Vector 3 is a new BLE enabled power meter on the market and if Polar cares, someone from R&D could take a look on the issue, as a fix/solution is likely to be requested by many others (unless Polar starts to support ANT+ in some future product). No reply, I have heard nothing back yet.

    • el_maco1

      The V800 pairs with Vector 3s very nicely and seems to give pretty accurate readings, except the drop outs…

      I didn’t see any comments about the drop out reguarity in this thread.
      When looking closer at the power data I noticed that the drop outs came with a steady 3 min interval and lasting ~13 sec each time. To me the occurance interval is too steady to be a battery problem.

      Also taking out Garmin Connect out on the equation did not help.

      The cadence readings are over the place but that is a minor issue for now.

    • Chris McReynolds

      “The V800 pairs with Vector 3s very nicely and seems to give pretty accurate readings, except the drop outs…”

      I think that all of the dropouts can be explained by the battery carriage problem. They say that they need to revise the cap but the root problem is very poor design of the PCB (negative) connector. I’m not sure if the positive connectors are much better. When testing the pedals I got the exact same reports to my Edge 520 and FR 935 on my wrist. No dropouts were unique to either unit. So it’s not an RF issue between head and sensor but internal to the sensors circuits.

      Spikes are also explained by the same problem,. Evidently there is some caching or rebound effect. My first session that contained a problem had a (supposed) 51 kWatt power spike. Come on. I now get zero power reports from the right crank even though it can pair with my phone and head units but not pass calibration.

  42. Chris Carney

    Given the connectivity issues people seem to be experiencing (me included) that might not be such a bad thing…

  43. Chris Carney

    I’d wait. Right now I have very expensive pedals that just don’t work properly. I’m waiting for the next firmware update. If that doesn’t fix it I’ll return them and get my money back.

    • Brian ipsen

      Same here. Waiting somewhat impatiently for a firmware update, but I would not buy these pedals. I would go another direction. Even if they figure this issue out…. Garmin always finds a way of producing problems.

  44. donal

    The Garmin Vector 3 pedals have my heart broken. Without going into detail on all the problems ive experienced, and theres many, in a nutshell Power Dropout. I have tried absolutely everything, finally sending them back to Garmin. They replaced them with brand new pedals and straight out of the box, the same issue. Connected for 1 ride of 90 mins then back to square one. My Garmin edge 1000 recognises the power meter (displays the serial number and ticked the box to add, but it simply won’t connect.

  45. Brian

    Same here. New pedals on the way, and I am going to sell them before even opening the box. A total disaster of a product. Not ready for market.

  46. Henrik

    So, which is the best ANT+ dongle option for an iPad with a lightning connector?

  47. RickB

    I was hoping to find a post indicating when the Vector 3 pedals would start to generally become available. Seems that nobody can get them at the moment. But then when I got to the bottom of the posts and started seeing all the problems I’m starting to rethink the purchase.

    What’s keeping Garmin from shipping these pedals?

    • Brian

      I will sell you the unused replacements that Garmin is sending me this week. They will likely get the issues ironed out in the next 5 years. 😁

    • Rick – Garmin has been shipping units since last October. They basically got caught up around Christmas time, but then fell behind in orders. Since then the wait has roughly been 4-8 weeks, rolling. So any order times you see online are generally for new orders.

      I suspect some of the battery cap issues may have slowed things more recently, but I also suspect at least a 1,000 units a week are probably heading out into the wild.

    • Steve

      With the availability not getting any better, it occurs that Garmin is either holding shipments while working on fixes (would mean no shipments though, which is not the case as some small quantities seem to reach dealerships) or Garmin has tremendous yield issues and only gets out so many good pieces.

      Option #3 might be parts shortages as there are some heavily allocated electronic components hard to come by currently.

    • …or demand simply outpaces supply (which has seemingly been the case since August).

      Hard to know, but I’ll meet them next week for some meetings, so the entire Vector 3 pile is certainly top of my list for discussions.

      Do remember that while Garmin owns their own factories, it doesn’t mean they can assign unlimited production lines to Vector 3 (especially since I understand it to be one of the more complex products that they’ve had to manufacturer).

      Also, keep in mind that even if you start dividing up 1,000 units per week (my wild ass guess) to various countries and retails, that really becomes a small number quickly. Even just to the US, that’d mean a mere 20 units per state….but that ignores Europe/Asia/etc…

      And finally, that ignores the reality that Garmin makes more power meters in a month than a number of brands do all year. Thus, skewing things even more.

      My random guess is that they’ve held constant on the supply, rather than increasing things. That gets a steady stream of units out in the wild, but doesn’t exaggerate any battery pod issues more than they need to, should they have to sort that out later on in a more complex matter.

    • Steve

      Well, will be interesting what they tell you, if they tell you.
      Safe travels.

    • Hans

      Garmin has more than just battery pod issues with the Vector 3 pedals. Those go away with the use of CR1/3N batteries is most cases. The pedal software is still very troubled especially with regard to BT and BT/ANT+ coexistence. ANT+ communication with various generations of Edge, etc units isn’t what it needs to be either. I also have a sneaking suspicion that the RF side isn’t robust. The Vector 3 support forum is full of problem reports that point in all of these different directions.

  48. Alex

    Hi,

    does it make any sense to use power meter (e.g. Garmin Vector) with Ebike? How about accuracy? I’d like to buy ebike for mountain biking but would like toy have full control over my trainings efforts (even in case of electric bike), work done, calories burned, keep planned power level during workout, etc.

    What do you think? Have anyone tested such combination?

    • That’s kinda an interesting one.

      On one hand, your mental power to speed quick math won’t really work. But on the other, it’ll quite plainly measure the power output from your legs since it has no knowledge of speed elsewhere, so in that sense I don’t see any issue there.

      I haven’t tried it with an e-bike, but, it’s certainly an interesting idea.

  49. Chris McReynolds

    The Vector 3 pedals are the start of a great product. They are not ready to sell. It’s not just a matter of quality control before shipping. The battery carriage design is inherently flawed and can not hold up over time as employed.

    The battery carriage design is already mediocre for a lot of devices (iow, as a standard component engineers might use to avoid designing their own). But then add in the additional stress and instability as used and I predict that the PCB contact will fail 100% of the time under normal use at some point before the bearings need repacking and certainly many people are getting failures within days and hours of actual service.

    The Garmin service bulletins blame things like moisture and obscure problems with batteries as if lubrication and revising the tape insulation will fix most problems but this fails to address the inadequate PCB (negative) battery contact. It’s also possible that the positive contacts are flawed as well, but I can’t test all of the variables with ordinary tools.

    I would suggest that nobody should pay for these pedals until a completely re-engineered battery carriage is available either as shipped or as “ready stock” to deal with the inevitable failures.

    There is a YouTube video where a user solves his problem with cork to support the PCB contact.

    link to youtube.com

    This isn’t bad IMO for a temporary remedy, I guess, but Garmin can not expect users to do that kind of thing and it may introduce additional problems down the road. The battery contact itself is not suitable for use in this pedal. It would be OK (though still not the quality that I expect) in a head unit but no way should they rely on this design to hold up as used in the pedals. Right now I’ve repaired my right pedal well enough to communicate during pairing but not for calibration or use (no power data recorded).

    Basically, the levels of failure are divided along these thresholds:

    1) No LED indicator when installing batteries or at any other time. Check all battery parameters as per Garmin service bulletins.

    2) LED lights to indicate that your batteries are oriented correctly. Pairing and or “linking” might fail.

    3) Better contact will allow you to pair as normal indicating RF activity and some function from right to left as well as with head units and/or BLE controllers. Calibration fails and no power data can come from one or both pedals.

    Those are all possible types of failures. Obviously you need minimal power for the LED to fire, more stable power for the RF functionality on the pedals as a pair, and solid, “as designed” power provided consistently to each pedal in order to get “as expected” reports for our real-time data reporting and post-session reports.

    There are also some weird behaviors related to BLE but those might be reconcilable with stable power. What has happened to me during testing and partial failures is that the right crank would lose and regain power without my intervention and pair as BLE device. I assume that the head unit (the Forerunner 935) accepted it without calibration since I had already paired the same device under ANT+ and evidently this is enough for the BLE signal to be partially “trusted” by the device. If everything works as designed but you’re missing Cycling Dynamics you might have to go through and remove and repair everything as ANT+ with all of the required parameters for Cycling Dynamics to be enabled. If you still have problems with the batters or consistent performance like I described above it’s useless to try to troubleshoot Cycling Dynamics problems without fully functioning circuits.

  50. Jay

    Is it possible to connect vector 3 to my phone.. I can’t buy a head unit yet.
    Therefore, I’ll use my phone as my headunit via bluetooth smart..

    Is it possible?

  51. Walter

    Hi Ray,
    Any insight from your April meetings with Garmin on the Vector 3 problems? I just got my pair a couple of weeks ago and they worked great for the first 10 rides, but now I’ve started getting “right power sensor missing” errors. I did a little searching around the Garmin support forums and came across this thread: link to forums.garmin.com which suggests that the battery holder is literally spinning relative to the pedal body as you’re pedaling, so that the batteries can remain (relatively) stationary in relation to the pedal axle, contacts and electronics. Does that sound right to you, and if so, do you think that design will have long-term durability issues? I did notice that my batteries had the corrosion (fretting) issue that Garmin mentioned in their 3/8 bulletin link to support.garmin.com so it does seem that the batteries move around while in use. I just ordered some conductive grease from Amazon to see if that can stop the fretting and thus fix the problems, but would really appreciate your thoughts.. Thanks!!