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How to Screen Record On the Wahoo BOLT V2

Here’s a quick (and totally awesome) tip for Wahoo BOLT V2 users. You can now screen record what your Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2 is doing, which is useful for approximately two of us: Me and GPLAMA. Actually, three if we include DesFit. Four to five if we include Matt LeGrand and Tariq, and oh heck – any other YouTuber. Even TrainerRoad, and their race analysis video series.

But in reality, this can also be super useful for product support too. If someone is having a really weird bug that’s hard to repro, or even just doing something themselves that’s weird and need to explain it to Wahoo support, there’s often no better way than a video recording. It’s just that this simply takes the complexity of pointing a phone at it.

In fact, it’s entirely plausible this may have also been hurried along after all the issues I had on my BOLT V2 at launch, allowing them to see what I’m seeing. And, since you’re probably curious there, things are definitely better in the last week or so. Today’s ride was the first flawless ride, with no sensor dropouts. So, we’re getting there. More later.

Oh, and it may come to other Wahoo ELEMNT series units, but the BOLT V2 has some additional API’s, so they’re seeing if they can pull it off on other units too. How would it be to also see it on the Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL watch?

Setting it up:

Getting it configured is silly easy. Though, it takes a computer. Essentially we’re just creating a folder on the BOLT2, and then it knows to start capturing files. Maybe down the road there will be a secret menu option or something, but for now this is perfect (and somewhat reminiscent of the nifty Varia radar trick allowing you to change the car icons to chickens or whatever).

In any case, here’s the steps:

1) Plug your Wahoo BOLT V2 into a computer

2) Navigate to it on your computer, here’s what it looks like on Windows:

image

On a Mac, you’ll need to first grab the Android File Transfer app, as like many devices these days, that’s required for your Mac to see it.

3) Create a folder called capture on the BOLT:

image

4) Now unplug your BOLT and power it off, then turn it back on.

5) Go into the BOLT menu, and scroll to the very bottom, and you’ll see ‘Debug Menu’ to open (or, if not in a beta group, it sounds like it’ll simply show as an option at the bottom, without opening a Debug menu), then you’ll see Adv User: Screen Record, with a toggle for OFF or ON (default is OFF). Simply switch it to ON, by choosing the start option:

image

6) At this point, it’s now recording. It’s as simple as that. The recording rate is about 75MB/hour, so pretty small. My BOLT V2 with full EU/US/Australian maps has 865MB of space remaining, so that’d be 13 hours of recording, or even more if I vote Australia off the island, since it appears I won’t be able to travel there till 2028 or something. Or any other country I don’t plan to travel to.

You can validate that it’s recording (or stopping it) by going back to that menu option, and you’ll see the current recording time, along with the ability to stop it:

image

7) Finally, to grab the file (after stopping it), you’ll plug it back in your computer and in the capture folder you’ll see the MP4 video file:

image

The file renders at 230w by 320h, at a whopping 1.95fps. Obviously, that sounds low by 4K/60FPS standards, but realistically it doesn’t matter. You’re not blowing that up to full screen size (or, I’d assume you aren’t anyway).

In my case, for my videos, I’ll record footage on a GoPro or such, and then overlay them together:

vlcsnap-2021-07-07-18h05m41s523

Some very quick pro tips on doing that, that apply to both Wahoo & Hammerhead, from someone who has had to piece these videos together:

1) Don’t shoot a lot of clips. You’re FAR better off shooting really long clips than 12 little one-minute ones. The reason? You have to merge them together, and since the bike computer ones don’t include audio to sync on, you’ll need to do that manually.

2) To make your life easier there, once your GoPro is recording (and the BOLT recording), audibly count what’s on the screen. So, either on your ride timer (how long you’ve ridden), or on the screen recording timer (in the settings menu), count out 3-5 seconds worth. The reason? You can use that to match up the timers.

3) Next, to get super precise on matching the screen recording with the video, hold up the BOLT in front of the GoPro for a moment, and press some buttons, so that you can get the exact frames matched. This is harder to do when the BOLT is far away from the GoPro, so put it about a book-length away.

4) That’s all the tips I have.

Wrap-Up:

image

Finally, fun, the background on this is that both GPLAMA and myself were talking to one of Wahoo’s original engineers, Murray, back a month or so ago. You may remember him from the Tour Down Under Bikes & Beer panel we did, where he dropped all sorts of neat behind-the-scenes tidbits. In any event, I was pointing out that one of my favorite features of the Hammerhead Karoo series is the ability to screen-capture/record (due to it just being an Android device). That allows me to make far better videos, and even photos for the review, since I’m not dealing with the glare of camera equipment. And more notably, in the last 2 years here in the Netherlands, it’s illegal to hand-hold a camera/phone while cycling. So I’ve had to create all sorts of creative rigs to overcome that, none of which yield great video results.

For Murray, the same restriction actually recently came into effect in his area too in Australia, thus, adding more reason to build it in. He put it in some test builds first, and now it’s in the production builds as an Easter-egg of sorts. Perhaps it’ll grow up to get its own menu option someday.

Speaking of perhaps; perhaps we’ll see other companies add this in too. I casually noticed that in a YouTuber’s sponsored video (by Garmin) the other day, they had created real watch renders of what she had workout-wise on her watch. I don’t know if that was done automatically, or if she gave them a list of workouts after the fact, and they just whipped them up and sent them back. But there’s no way I know of to do that today on any Garmin devices.

Thus as reviews and content continues to slowly shift towards YouTube (for better or worse), being able to get/show exactly what’s on the screen, especially small screens while working out, is more and more important. And equally, it’s just as useful for support/helpdesk/engineering folks to troubleshoot quirky problems.

With that – thanks for reading!

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26 Comments

  1. Dave

    Hi Ray,

    Reading this has reminded me to ask you about an issue i have with my Bolt 1 which has been ongoing ever since an update last year. Wasn’t sure whether to post under this article or under the Bolt 1, but a mate said he is experiencing the same issue on his new Bolt 2, so i thought i would drop it here.

    The issue is only small but very annoying. It only occurs when using the Bolt with a garmin speed sensor (doesn’t happen when using wahoo sensor or no speed sensor). I have the speed v ride average as the top data field, so it shows the current speed and a little arrow next to it indicates if your speed is faster or slower than the ride average. Trouble is, when using a garmin speed sensor the arrow indicator is incorrect. For example, i can do 20miles in 1hour, so 20mph, yet the arrow indicator always indicates i have averaged faster (showing a down arrow), whereas when using a wahoo sensor or having no speed sensor and just using gps the arrow indicator is correct.

    I have sent wahoo loads of videos showing the problem (had to film all these with my gopro, so this article reminded me to ask you about this) but they have not been able to figure it out, or can’t be bothered.

    Have you experienced this? I guess you may not have looked for this as i know it’s only a minor annoyance but still, if you know of any fix or if you could nudge wahoo that would be great.

    Thanks

    • David Horn

      Interesting. It does the same for me using a Wahoo speed sensor. Wonder if there’s a calibration issue here where the average speed used to show the arrow uses an uncorrected value, or vice-versa.

    • Dave

      Not sure, but I have been on touch with wahoo support for months and they have got nowhere with fixing it.

      I hope it’s because it’s a complicated fix (somehow) rather than the alternative – that they don’t think it’s a big enough of an issue to sort and are just ignoring it.

  2. Matt

    If only you could buy one in Europe!

  3. Klaus

    Great Tip. Now i can record the bugs i found.

    – not the right elevation at my start point at home

    – not show the original black route when i go a wrong why and the blue route is shown and will be back soon on the original route

    – left Stages 1 connected over ANT+ (i see the right ANT+ ID) is show as BTLE Device

  4. Henk

    There are many more files, directories and commands that do secret stuff.
    We’ve been able to generate custom up-to-date maps and routing (with elevation) files from OpenStreetMap data. wahooMapsCreator project on Github.

    Create directory with name config_backup to backup your configuration and config_restore to restore it. The files are in a binary format and not easy to read/change, need some program for it.
    Create file with name cfg_BHomeActivity_VtmMaps to enable VTM map rendering instead of Mapsforge. Wahoo is testing and will become available for all later?
    Create file with name cfg_MapPanZoom with VtmMaps enabled to pan and zoom in the map, even works on my ELEMNT.
    Custom themes with maps are also possible, I’ve been riding with VtmMaps enabled but the theme is for the BOLT2, had to modify the vtm-elemnt.xml and copy it to the maps/vtm-elemnt/ directory on the device.
    For the Mapsforge rendering custom themes come from maps/mapsforge-roam/mapsforge-roam.xml or maps/mapsforge-bolt/mapsforge-bolt.xml.

    The Wahoo devices run Android, and with ADB (Android Debug Bridge) you’re able to access even more.
    With a command you can trigger the device to play a song from a game with a plumber or something. And many other commands exist to control/trigger things on the device.

    Have some Eeaster eggs/stroopwafels. 😉

  5. Changren Y.

    Thanks for the tips Ray, especially the second one. That’s going to make matching data from FIT with video – especially for short non-contiguous clips – easier for me!

  6. Adam

    If you put the clock data field on the Bolt, video sync with the GoPro should be quite easy 🙂

  7. Adam

    “vote Australia off the island”
    Poor old Australia… more geo-blocking.. and no Ray visits till 2028

    Btw Australia *is* an island in its own right, so check mate, QED or something 🙂

  8. Andy

    If only there was a global, accurate timecode broadcast over… say satellites?…to help sync these types of videos.

  9. Karsten

    Offtopic: Which Headset did you use to record the sound? Despite the wind, the sound quality is still great.
    I am still looking for a good headset to answer the “yes, i’m late / yes i’m fine / yes i’ll arrive soon” calls 😉

  10. Ggd

    Ray, still no “real” review of this Bolt v2 ? The last blog article is an “in-progress”, and I understand the reasons you exposed.
    I’m thinking of something to navigate properly, but more recent than an Edge Explore, and was considering this Bolt v2. That’s why I might seem impatient to read your “true” review 😉

    • Adam

      In my experience navigating properly is not currently possible on the Bolt2, unless you use either Komoot/Strava/RideWithGPS or the companion app. On device routing and rerouting is completely broken unless you’re riding very small distances or in rural settings.

      Even todays update WA20-12513 didn’t fix the persistent routing crashes, and Wahoo tries to hide all the numerous fixes and re-fixes in their firmware release notes by not detailing what’s improved/fixed.

      Maybe in six months it would be usable, but I’d stay away right now if true on-device routing is desired.

    • Higli

      I completed a 110km tour through Germany and the Netherlands today, the route came from Komoot. After 50km I cancelled the route due to heavy rain and from then on used the “take me to home” feature of the Bolt2 for the last 60km. That worked very well. Whenever I deviated from the route (and I did that very often and on purpose), the Bolt2 immedialely recalculated and found the new way. That’s exactly what I expected from that feature. Had no problems at all.

    • Adam

      Hm, that’s odd because no matter which way I want to route from my home the routing crashes if I pick a spot further than 10km. I sent detailed reproduction steps and video to wahoo support and they have an internal ticket to look into it. Perhaps it’s a bug that’s only exposed in certain locations or with map features that are specific to my location.

      Good to hear it’s not universally broken!

    • Higli

      The inital distance of my “take me to home” route was 39km, which I then extended to 60km. The area where the route started was a city of 150.000 in the Netherlands, the country with the many bike lanes. 🙂

  11. Passes a 30k/h speed limit sign, overlay says you’re going 34k/h 😁

    • Higli

      In Europe speed limit signs are limited to motor vehicles, not bicycles! Most car drivers don’t know this rule, that’s why we’re always being honked at when we overtake them in the 30 km/h zone. 🙂

    • Norbert

      Not sure, where you got that idea from, but it’s not true. At least not in Germany. Any “red lollipop” speed limit applies to cyclists too. What is limited to motor vehicles (in Germany) is the general 50 km/h speed limit within city limits.

    • Martien

      The same is true in the Netherlands. City limit sign is not relevant to cyclists, regular speed limit signs are relevant to cyclists. However, there is a weird exception that the boundary of a 30-zone doesn’t need a 30-sign when entering/leaving from a designated bike path.

  12. ChrisTexan

    I wonder if this can be done on the Stages Dash M50 (et. al.)? (I could probably research, but then I wouldn’t have a reason to post the question, LOL)… Seems perfectly reasonably possible at least, whether the code is actually in there or not would be the question. Since I hardly use my road bike nowadays other than the trainer, haven’t had a ton of opportunity to use the Dash since I got it) too much traffic in this area sadly to feel safe outside of controlled events) thus haven’t had much incentive to deep-dive into what it can do that’s outside the “common features”.

  13. Mayhem

    Bolt v2 firmware is still in a pretty terrible state. The previous firmware update (WA20-12072) seems to have completely broken WiFi for me. Syncronizing activitites/routes takes forever and eventually just fails silently. Trying to install the latest update released yesterday similarly tries to get WiFi going but eventually just gives up. Also the temperature is still several degrees above where it should be (and where other bike computers says it is). FIX YOUR GODDAMN BUGS WAHOO!!!