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  1. #1
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    Garmin Edge 500 data loss

    My apologies if this is a duplicate thread, but I couldn't easily find reference to this issue with a search of the forum.

    On Saturday, I did a 67-mile ride with 5700 feet of elevation change on gravel in southwestern Wisconsin. The Edge 500 looked like it was working just fine the whole time. At the end of the ride, I stopped the timer, held down the reset button for the duration of the countdown, waited for the distance to zero out and then powered down the unit.

    Upon connecting the device to my home computer in the usual fashion, neither Garmin Connect nor Training Center were able to find the activity. Navigating to the data revealed that there was no fit file for the date and time at which it was supposed to have been saved.

    Further digging through the file system revealed BEE.BIN and ARC.BIN files with modification dates that correspond with the end of the ride and file sizes that suggest the data may be contained there.

    I'd like to find out whether this ride data can be salvaged. Scoring for the event in question consists of posting GPS data online.

    There are numerous posts about this on the Garmin forums, but I wonder whether anyone here has dealt with this? I've recorded dozens of rides with this unit, so it's disappointing to say the least that it would fail at random.

    Thanks in advance for any insight...

  2. #2
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    $#!+ happens.

    Cars break down, bikes break down, power goes out at home, cell phones drop calls, babies puke on you, dogs crap on the lawn, humans make mistakes.

    $#!+ happens.

    Nothing is 100% perfect and reliable all the time. Period.

    One of these utilities might, MIGHT, work.

    (standard disclaimer, use at your own risk, if it goes wrong, you did it, not me, no pixels were harmed in this reply, I am not a gps expert nor do I make a living in the gps world, I am just a rank amateur. ad nauseum....)

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  3. #3
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    I have no experience with that model, so I can't help you much. I do know that with my GPS (Oregon 450), it will auto archive track segments and so on a long ride like what you did, I will have to go back and piece the segments together on my computer before uploading. It works well.

    Sounds like you did some kind of Strava ride or something? At any rate, is it possible to do the ride again? You may not be able to salvage the data from your GPS.

    Fact is, electronics fail sometimes. It doesn't matter who made it or how much it cost. If it is THAT important that you get the data, you need redundancies.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    $#!+ happens.

    [...]

    Nothing is 100% perfect and reliable all the time. Period.
    I work in IT, so I'm well aware, thanks. But looking at the forums over on garmin.com, it looks like they've been aware of this issue since early- to mid-2010. I'm a lot less willing to cut them slack than I might be were I say, testing something in beta. If it's a mature product, it should reliably do its job. If it can't reliably do its job, folks might benefit from knowing so before they plunk down $250-$350. That's part of why I'm posting here.

    That said, thanks much for the links. I'll give those a shot.
    Last edited by MauricioB; 04-23-2012 at 10:45 AM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5
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    Might try contacting Garmin Tech Support and see if they have any ideas. When I first got my 800 I had a few issues somewhat like that and I did a couple of different resets and I think I was able to get all the saved information back. Not familiar with the 500 model, though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauricioB View Post
    I work in IT, so I'm well aware, thanks. But looking at the forums over on garmin.com, it looks like they've been aware of this issue since early- to mid-2010. I'm a lot less willing to cut them slack than I might be were I say, testing something in beta. If it's a mature product, it should reliably do its job. If it can't reliably do its job, folks might benefit from knowing so before they plunk down $250-$350. That's part of why I'm posting here.

    That said, thanks much for the links. I'll give those a shot.
    Thanks for appreciating my approach and warped humor. Let us know if it works out with the utilities. I've used them on my 705 once or twice in the last three years.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    Thanks for appreciating my approach and warped humor. Let us know if it works out with the utilities. I've used them on my 705 once or twice in the last three years.
    Right, thanks for the links to the utilities.

    The TCX Converter doesn't recognize ARC.BIN or BEE.BIN files.

    I don't have a PC handy to try the TCX Builder. I could get my paws on something, but I wonder whether you know if it can actually read the .BIN file type?

    See, here's my theory: the Edge writes data to the ARC and BEE files in the ExtData folder during the ride, and then upon Reset, converts them to FIT files and drops them into the Activities folder. Somehow, this process must error out or crash, resulting in a FIT file not being created or populated.

    The question is whether the ride data is really in the BIN files and if so, whether it can be put back together by anyone besides Garmin.

  8. #8
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    When I turned my 500 off by mistake while logging, I still got a FIT file that ended abruptly.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauricioB View Post
    Right, thanks for the links to the utilities.

    The TCX Converter doesn't recognize ARC.BIN or BEE.BIN files.

    I don't have a PC handy to try the TCX Builder. I could get my paws on something, but I wonder whether you know if it can actually read the .BIN file type?

    See, here's my theory: the Edge writes data to the ARC and BEE files in the ExtData folder during the ride, and then upon Reset, converts them to FIT files and drops them into the Activities folder. Somehow, this process must error out or crash, resulting in a FIT file not being created or populated.

    The question is whether the ride data is really in the BIN files and if so, whether it can be put back together by anyone besides Garmin.
    I do not know, and Garmin has been rather closed about the .FIT file documentation, much to the discontent of many third party software developers. The best I can find is this:
    https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?t=4219
    Format of activity .FIT files created by Garmin Edge 500 (incomplete)

    I know the 705 writes the raw data as .dat files in the /laps folder. When you reset and connect the USB or power cable, those many .dat files are built into a .tcx file in the /history folder. And that is what the TCX builder can do when Garmin fails.

    You likely have some research. I know that Garmin changed from the .tcx which is an enhanced .gpx xml file format with the 305/705 and the new .FIT file format came with the 500/800. Also, documentation stopped for some time, but that link seems to be the only info out there, and you need the FIT SDK to do more.

    I'm over my head at this point. Good luck.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    I do not know, and Garmin has been rather closed about the .FIT file documentation, much to the discontent of many third party software developers.
    I seem to remember reading on their forum that FIT includes some code for supporting ANT that's proprietary. I could understand their not wanting to get into NDA trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    I know the 705 writes the raw data as .dat files in the /laps folder. When you reset and connect the USB or power cable, those many .dat files are built into a .tcx file in the /history folder. And that is what the TCX builder can do when Garmin fails.
    I'll check there too. Fortunately I haven't done any rides since the data loss.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Crawler View Post
    Might try contacting Garmin Tech Support and see if they have any ideas. When I first got my 800 I had a few issues somewhat like that and I did a couple of different resets and I think I was able to get all the saved information back. Not familiar with the 500 model, though.
    I have a case in to them, but have not heard back yet (24 hours hence.) Fortunately, I haven't recorded a ride since.

  12. #12
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    Many thanks

    Several good insights in this thread. A big thank you to all who responded. I'll post again in a day or two and let you know what I find out...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauricioB View Post
    My apologies if this is a duplicate thread, but I couldn't easily find reference to this issue with a search of the forum.

    On Saturday, I did a 67-mile ride with 5700 feet of elevation change on gravel in southwestern Wisconsin. The Edge 500 looked like it was working just fine the whole time. At the end of the ride, I stopped the timer, held down the reset button for the duration of the countdown, waited for the distance to zero out and then powered down the unit.

    Upon connecting the device to my home computer in the usual fashion, neither Garmin Connect nor Training Center were able to find the activity. Navigating to the data revealed that there was no fit file for the date and time at which it was supposed to have been saved.

    Further digging through the file system revealed BEE.BIN and ARC.BIN files with modification dates that correspond with the end of the ride and file sizes that suggest the data may be contained there.

    I'd like to find out whether this ride data can be salvaged. Scoring for the event in question consists of posting GPS data online.

    There are numerous posts about this on the Garmin forums, but I wonder whether anyone here has dealt with this? I've recorded dozens of rides with this unit, so it's disappointing to say the least that it would fail at random.

    Thanks in advance for any insight...
    I never reset before I shutdown. Just stop the timer. After I download the data the unit is reset. I will reset before the next ride if I did not download.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I never reset before I shutdown. Just stop the timer. After I download the data the unit is reset. I will reset before the next ride if I did not download.
    I could try that, though resetting follows the FM's instructions and has worked for dozens of rides. Also note that there are many posts on the Garmin forums from people who have done as you've described and thought it was the cause of the problem.

    The Edge 500 suffers from an intermittent data loss problem. Don't think I could recommend it to anyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MauricioB View Post
    I could try that, though resetting follows the FM's instructions and has worked for dozens of rides. Also note that there are many posts on the Garmin forums from people who have done as you've described and thought it was the cause of the problem.

    The Edge 500 suffers from an intermittent data loss problem. Don't think I could recommend it to anyone.
    I found my Edge 705 to be fussy (never to the point of data loss, but other minor issues) if I didn't press reset at the end of the ride. Same with my Forerunner 205.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I found my Edge 705 to be fussy (never to the point of data loss, but other minor issues) if I didn't press reset at the end of the ride. Same with my Forerunner 205.
    Hmmm...that was never the case with my Edge 305 or 800. I would get weird tracks if I turned the unit on again before downloading.

    The 200 I just picked up does ask if you want to save or discard a ride when you turn off the timer.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauricioB View Post
    I'll check there [in the raw data for .dat files in the /laps folder] too. Fortunately I haven't done any rides since the data loss.
    Alas, the 500 seems to have no /laps folder...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Hmmm...that was never the case with my Edge 305 or 800. I would get weird tracks if I turned the unit on again before downloading.

    The 200 I just picked up does ask if you want to save or discard a ride when you turn off the timer.
    I'd get that, too, but it wasn't the only issue. I don't even remember now. that was very soon post-cancer and I don't remember a lot from then.

  19. #19
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    Last time i tried to upload a ride without resetting it, i think i wasn't able to find it. I had to reset for the activity to be created. I haven't lost a ride like the OPer. If i did, i would be mad. Thats about the milage i get in a whole month. Hope Garmin can help you out. Let us know if you get it back.

  20. #20
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    I do mine just like Shiggy said. When your done with your ride, stop the timer, then just turn it off. I have never used the reset function. Once you download the ride, next time your ready, just turn it on and start the timer.

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    I too have never once reset. All I do is stop the timer, and turn it off. Then when I get home, upload. Never even knew about a need to reset.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by trmn8er View Post
    I too have never once reset. All I do is stop the timer, and turn it off. Then when I get home, upload. Never even knew about a need to reset.
    Reset is needed if you do not upload between rides, the Garmin performs its own reset when it detests the USB connection. The reset converts the temporary data accumulated in the ride (still having data added), to the final result that can be parsed by whatever software you upload the final ride data.

    If you do a second ride in the same day or consecutive days without reset or upload, they will show as one single ride with a long pause in the middle. That is why the manual reset is there.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    If you do a second ride in the same day or consecutive days without reset or upload, they will show as one single ride with a long pause in the middle. That is why the manual reset is there.
    Yes, that's the other issue I had before I did the manual reset, and I think I had that happen on my Forerunner shortly after I bought it and started using it. The manual reset takes 3 seconds, so I found it easier to do that cutting two days' tracks apart.

  24. #24
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    Final Tally

    So, the results are in.

    The post over at the Garmin forum on this issue has languished for a week. Not holding out any hope there, though I did archive the BIN files from that day.

    Garmin tech support got back to me also (this was the second message):

    I am sorry for not being very clear. I wanted to ensure that when you disconnected the Edge that the timer pages were "0:00" and not still showing any times. Often when a previous days activity is stopped but not saved that activity will then be corrupted if allowed to continue over a 24 hour time frame and all activities will have this date going forward unless this corrupt file is deleted.
    [Mind you, I had told them that I had reset immediately after the ride and that the timer, etc. showed zero.]

    Here are some precautions that would be advised to keep this from happening going forward,

    -Ensuring that the unit's system software is up to date
    -Ensuring that any and all previously uploaded activities have been removed from the unit after being transferred to the computer
    -Ensuring that the Edge has had enough time to acquire in the start of the activity
    -Being sure to reset your activity after stopping and finishing for that days events.
    -Ensuring that your Garmin Communicator Plug In is up to date.
    Except for "all previously uploaded activities [...] removed," all of this checked out. There was 45+MB of free space on the unit the day of the ride, so this shouldn't be a case of the storage space being full. Also note that there's nothing in the manual about removing previous activities.

    There are alot of users that operate the Edge 500 for recording thier data. The units operation can depend on many factors. Because we all use and care for our units a little differently, there will be varying results. If these steps are used or incorporated into your routine, this should help minimize the chance of the unit failing to operate as designed.
    Perhaps this paragraph is not intended to do so, but it sure sounds like "this is your fault, chump. $#!+ happens."

    Did another ride on Sunday and it worked fine. Same as usual, except that I no longer trust it.

    Could anybody recommend a non-Garmin unit for under $250? Bryton Rider 35?

  25. #25
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    Just for the record, I lost another ride data file this morning. Two missing files in as many months qualifies this unit as unreliable as far as I'm concerned.

    So, anything new from the competition?

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