Monday, May 27, 2013

Garmin Fenix

... oops I did it again

Right, after my 910XT misadventure I finally decided to give the fenix a try. There's a lot of information about the watch already out there in form of reviews and the Garmin forum so I'm not sure if I can come up with an awful lot of new information here.
So I just post a few things as I get going with the fenix.

The first thing I did was to update to the latest watch and gps chipset firmware. After that I discovered that the watch still has a very bad bug that reminds my about the 910xt course navigation issue. While in navigation mode the track redraw did not work! What a bummer!
The suggestion is, in the Setup->Track Menu, to write tracks only as FIT. This make sense as this is a binary format and file size is much smaller than gpx. However I still consider this as a serious bug for this type of watch (remember the old Forerunner 305 is better here than the fenix and any eTrex or alike is better as well).

But worse than that was the fact I used it for an 85k ultra-trail with track navigation enabled and just about a few minutes into the race the watch hang up completely :(

How nice's that? So I try fiddling with the watch but could not even manage to turn off/on again. After a while I noticed some reset screen, pressing a few buttons showed the "locating satellites" screen. I didn't touch the watch for the next two hours or so but there were no satellites found.

I then managed to reset (power/light button >30sec) turn the watch off and on then do another reset from the setup menu and after that satellites were found even while moving along within 1 or 2 minutes. After that I was able to track another 10 hours of running (given the two hours searching for a fix this makes a total runtime from full battery of about 12 hours).

It should be noted that the current drawn by the gps receiver while getting a fix is quite high compare to normal operation.

Still I have kept the watch so far ;) The main advantage for me as compared to the Ambit for example is that you can just mount the watch and copy your files from the fenix to you computer using standard unix commands. And the other way round you can just copy any gpx file that you created elsewhere to the watch and later use it for track navigation.

Compare the the 910xt the elevation profile (from the watch) looks far better now. Getting gps fix is really good for me.

Regarding FIT file format, this is fine and nowadays no problem to handle. Gpsbabel now includes fit support as well and you can get the FIT SDK here.

In order to convert a fit file to gpx or garmins training center format you can do the following (note you need GPSBabel Version 1.4.4 or later):
$ gpsbabel -i garmin_fit -f -o gpx -F /tmp/2013-05-24_12-27-43.gpx
$ gpsbabel -i garmin_fit -f -o gtrnctr -F /tmp/2013-05-24_12-27-43.tcx

For now I want to point out that you can easily use the linux garmin plugin to upload file to your favorite online training portal (I nowadays use regularly).

My config ~/.config/garminplugin/garminplugin.xml looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?>
<GarminPlugin logfile="/tmp/garminplugin.log" level="DEBUG">
        <Device enabled="false">
            <Name>Home Directory /home/andy</Name>
        <Device enabled="true">
            <Name>Garmin Fenix</Name>
        <ForerunnerTools enabled="false" />
        <BackupWorkouts enabled="true" path="~/Dropbox/Workouts/[YEAR]/[MONTH]/" />

Note: I have not yet setup automount, so you need to have the watch connected and mounted before this works.

Online Tool to repair corrupted Garmin fit files (e.g.reserved bits not zero):


finally ... managed to write the script to download latest fenix update (also read the comments!):