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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There's not a whole lot of specific info on this yet so I thought I'd ask.

For those of you who have used Garmin Edge 500 and Powertap cpu unit,

What does the Garmin has that the PT unit doesn't have?
What does the PT unit have the Garmin doesn't have?

Not sure if there are enough of good reasons for me to give up the PT head unit for the Garmin. I'm newb in the power world. Garmin seems much more comprehensive, and from the impressions I got PT unit is very reliable.

Thanks for any input
 

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Garmin has a lot more data, and it's configureable on three screens. PT's LYC has what it has, which is not a lot.

You can RT the Garmin's FM for all the details. But most of the things I use on the Garmin that wern't on the LYC are more bike computer related (i.e. elevation gain). The LYC is fine for power info, but that's all it does.

I've had the Garmin lock up when I hit the lap button but that's been fixed with the latest firmware. That firmware has been totally reliable.
 

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Workouts (added in firmware 2.2) and virtual partner. (i.e. race
againest previous rides).
Altitude/gradient and temperature tracking.
 

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On either unit, are you able to immediately view the power output of a just completed interval to compare intervals in a set? And I think I read something about how these 2 units (Garmin 500 vs PT head) update the power readout differently or read the output of the Powertap hub in different ways from each other - or something like that. Does anybody have the details on this?
 

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Sonomasnap said:
If you are serious about training you need power data period. And PT has cadence, HR, speed, etc... Who cares about maps?

The Garmin 500 doesn't have maps. And how exactly can more data hurt?
 

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My bad. Misread. Yes the Garmin head unit is much nicer to pair with your PT. I use the 705. I have ridden with both on the bike just to compare and I think the PT head unit responds a little quicker to changes in power output but at the end of the day the Garmin is a better head unit.
 

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From reading other posts here, main disadvantage of the 500 vs. PT CPU is data loss and software bugs, which is significant, but I think that the trade-off of having more display parameters is worth while, provided the extra $$$ doesn't hurt. Also, not sure about the user interface on the Garmin not having owned one, but the PT CPU's is pretty lame, unless you're one of those people who can set all of their digital watch functions without cursing or reading the manual!
 

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Mahatma Kane said:
On either unit, are you able to immediately view the power output of a just completed interval to compare intervals in a set?
On the Edge 500, you can display the power output of the current lap in around half a dozen different ways including power averaged from the beginning of the lap until now. When you complete the lap that field will have the power for the whole lap, then when you push the lap button it resets for the next lap. The Edge 305 had data fields for "last lap" but the Edge 500 does not. So not ideal but workable if you can remember the last lap power.

I'm not sure about the PT as I never use its lap features. I can never remember which button combinations to press.

And I think I read something about how these 2 units (Garmin 500 vs PT head) update the power readout differently or read the output of the Powertap hub in different ways from each other - or something like that. Does anybody have the details on this?
You have to be careful to set up the treatment of zero power on both units the same for average numbers. "Include zeroes for power" is strongly recommended.

Edge 500 attempts to do "every second" recording when using a power-meter. However, it does drop samples so you do not get every second output in the FIT file. Some people have observed discrepancies from data point to data point for the same activity comparing the 2 head units. Neither is supposed to be smoothing the data so this is harder to explain. It may be that the ANT+ signals from the PowerTap are not arriving synchronized to the Edge's clock, and that the Edge is doing some interpolation to coerce the PowerTap signals to its timing. This would tend to reduce instantaneous peaks which is what some users have reported. This might be a big effect on "1 second power" (which is not a useful measure anyway), but gets averaged away for "5 second power". In summary, they are close enough for almost all practical purposes.

If you want GPS data you should get the Edge 500 (or maybe 705 or 800). If you want customizable screens and a nice head unit, consider the Joule too. If you just want basic cycling computer functions plus power in a traditional bike computer unit with 100% reliability, get the yellow PowerTap CPU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When the Garmin 500 first came out, it had a lot of bug issues and users were complaining about dropping ride/interval data, and other weird things.

But then Garmins has come out with firmware upgrades (firmware 2.2?) and that has apparently fixed a lot of those issues and have made the 500 much more reliable and some new features (%FTP). Plus, it has altitude, virtual partner, and it displays a lot more information on the screen than a PT headunit. From the limited research I've done, Garmin seems to be improving the Edge 500.

Well, I guess in comparison, the PT cpu would be like a tried and true Honda Civic...plain, simple and reliable, and the Garmin would be something like a Merc or BMW.

I'm leaning toward Garmin..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
kbiker3111 said:
Isn't the Garmin cheaper than the PT?

Well, if you are talking about "value"...then yes.

PT unit is now overpriced for what it does. Garmin can do a whole lot more with $50ish more and now is more reliable than when it was new
 

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simplyhankk said:
From the limited research I've done, Garmin seems to be improving the Edge 500.
Sure, if you define "improving" as fixing all the bugs that they should have found during product test prior to launch to make the device behave as documented as opposed to adding new features. Admittedly, one additional feature that they did add was the virtual partner feature which I guess didn't make the cut in time for the launch. There have probably been other minor feature adds which I've neglected to mention. But, in general, the point remains that most of the firmware changes have been bug fixes (eg. recent fixes for device freezes and corrupt activity data).

But with my experiences with firmware 2.4, I think the Edge 500 is finally ready for prime time.
 

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ukbloke said:
But with my experiences with firmware 2.4, I think the Edge 500 is finally ready for prime time.

Apple continues to have new OS updates to improve the iPhone, don't they? :p

Your first hand experience is valuable, as users like myself don't have experience and can only read what's posted on the web and speculate. With an ANT+ hub/powermeter compatible Garmin has opened up another door. I look forward to using mine.
Without power the Edge500 already seems like a competent piece.
 

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raspaaa said:
Apple continues to have new OS updates to improve the iPhone, don't they? :p
Yes, it is unfortunately becoming more common place to ship the product before it is done. Apparently Santa Claus just won't wait for QA testing to complete or for production firmware to be available!

Nonetheless, we can still b1tch about it on the internet and hope that they will mend their ways. Garmin are serial repeat offenders on this so I think the criticism is warranted. As I keep on saying, every new Garmin cycle computer comes with free membership to their field beta test program. I'd be happy for them to prove me wrong with the new Edge 800. Actually, if they send me a free one I'll happily search for their bugs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Alex_Simmons/RST said:
An ability to validate the calibration / accuracy of the power meter. An inability to do that is a deal breaker.

If I really wanted a Garmin for its other features, I would still have an LYC for this one vital function.

You can't zero the torque on the Garmin? That sounds odd with all the things it can do.
 
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