Tag Archives: bluetooth

Wahoo Headwind

The Wahoo Headwind is a ‘smart’ fan specifically designed for cycling.

When I first heard about this product, I was quite dubious. First, and foremost, it’s expensive. $250 for a fan is pretty high. Also, for some reason, my initial though twas that they were trying to reproduce the experience of a headwind while cycling.

Well, cost aside, most of the reviews of the fan I saw were pretty positive. With the holidays upon us, this is what I decided I wanted

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4iiii Viiva Heart Rate monitor revisited

Some time ago I posted about my general dissatisfaction with the 4iiii Viiva heart rate monitor.

In a nutshell, in addition to being a ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) heart rate monitor, it also acts as a bridge between ANT+ devices that don’t offer BTLE functionality. In my original review of the Viiva, I complained because few software offerings provided support for it and the data is sent to apps wasn’t accurate.

Well, I need to revise my opinion of the Viiva … it has gained adoption and now appears to be quite useful.

Those who use training programs (such as Zwift) with Apple TV have already learned that the Apple TV only supports 3 total BTLE devices connected. One of those devices slots is already taken by the remote control. That leaves only 2 more slots.

If you’re using a training program, you’ll need at least 3 devices connected (possibly more) …

  • Cadence sensor
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Trainer
  • Speed sensor (depending on the trainer)
  • Power meter (depending on the trainer)

In my case, I need a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, and Kickr smart trainer (which acts as both a smart trainer and power meter).

You can use the Zwift companion app to gate the BTLE sensors, through the phone, to Zwift … but I find that to be somewhat twitchy (see my post on Zwift, which I will create later and link).

With the Viiva HRM, I’m able to pair my cadence sensor (which broadcasts in both ANT+ and BTLE) to it and feed both it and the heart rate data to the Apple TV without needing an extra BTLE connection slot.

So far it’s working well … the only issue I’ve had is that sometimes it takes a little while for Zwift to pick up the Viiva heart rate monitor.

Another option to accomplish the same thing is to use the North Pole Engineering (NPE) CABLE ANT+ to BTLE gateway. I tried using that but had problems with the hardware. It was probably defective. Getting support for the device, from the manufacturer, was pretty difficult. I ended up giving up, returning the device, and using the Viiva (since I already had it).

Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor

One of the things I like to do when I’m cycling, is keep track of various statistics related to my ride.

This includes things like speed, cadence (how fast I’m peddling), and heart rate.

To do this, I have a number of sensors that connect to my bike computer (Garmin Edge 810).  The sensors communicate with the bike computer using a low power communication mechanism called ANT+.

There are, however, some advantages of being able to track the sensor data on my iPhone in the various fitness apps (Strava, Endomondo, iBiker, etc).  The problem is that the iPhone needs an adapter to receive the ANT+ signal.  It’s not a big adapter, roughly the size of a charging cable connector.  In addition, the adapter is currently only available for iPhone 4S’s and earlier … it uses the 30 pin connector.  There are no ANT+ adapters for iPhone 5’s & newer (which use the lightning connector).

iPhone 4S’s & newer do have a variation of Bluetooth called “Bluetooth Smart” … also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE).  SOME fitness sensors support BTLE, but very few support both BTLE and ANT+.

This is where the 4iiii Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor comes in.  It functions as a heart rate monitor with both ANT+ and BTLE communication.  In addition, it can act as a BRIDGE between other ANT+ sensors and feed the data via BTLE.

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iPhone 2.0

Well, I jumped the gun a bit and installed the iPhone 2.0 update.

Overall, I’m not super impressed … the incremental functionality improvements are rather limited.

Some of the applications look cool, but I’ve only played with a few of them.

What I’m really disappointed in is the lack of base functionality enhancements … things like ..

  • No voice dial
  • No stereo bluetooth
  • No Google Calendar integration
  • No Jabber / XMPP chat application (there were rumors about this)
  • No cut & paste in the editor

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