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  1. #1
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    Battery life experience while using navigation

    I'm looking to replace an Edge 500 with something that can do real navigation for gravel and trails well outside cell signal range. It's easy to find the battery life of Garmin and Wahoo when recording but not for navigation. Can people share their experiences, especially when using on unit apps like TrailForks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laekon View Post
    I'm looking to replace an Edge 500 with something that can do real navigation for gravel and trails well outside cell signal range. It's easy to find the battery life of Garmin and Wahoo when recording but not for navigation. Can people share their experiences, especially when using on unit apps like TrailForks?
    The more you use the device and the more the device is "processing" which includes navigation, sensors, bluetooth, etc, the more power consumption you're going to have. Stated battery life numbers are usually either a maximum or they're a "typical use" scenario with a few extras enabled. You're not going to find stated battery life for the exact use you're talking about, but it's reasonable to fudge it down a little bit from that.

    Years ago, I even read reports from folks who said that displaying the map screen all the time (as opposed to the trip meter screen) results in lower battery life.

    Plus, the more you use the device, the shorter the "maxmimum possible" battery life will be.

    But beyond that, actual battery life is going to depend on your specific use scenario. The longest I've used navigation on my Edge 520 was when I did a century road ride and I loaded a preprogrammed course with turn notifications. I spent about 8.5hrs on the ride, and I think that my battery life might have been somewhere close to the halfway point according to the little indicator on the screen (which isn't terribly accurate, anyway).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laekon View Post
    I'm looking to replace an Edge 500 with something that can do real navigation for gravel and trails well outside cell signal range....
    You can use a cell phone for nav outside of cell range by using an app that downloads area maps to the phone. You can even use a cell phone with no call or data plan by doing the same via wifi.

    That said, cell phones generally have pretty short battery life used like this.
    What, me worry?

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    I get that different use cases effect battery life. I'm asking for real world experience hoping people would list if they had things like live segment tracking on.

    Cell phones have horrible battery life using GPS with the screen on. Plus they are large and fragile.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laekon View Post
    I get that different use cases effect battery life. I'm asking for real world experience hoping people would list if they had things like live segment tracking on.
    You're going to have a hard time finding specifics.

    Why? Consider the stated best-case battery lifes of the various Edge receivers.

    up to 20hrs for a 1030. 520+ up to 15hrs. 130 up to 15 hrs. Edge Explore up to 12hrs. Edge 820 up to 15hrs.

    Even if you cut all those times in half, that's still WAY MORE than most people ever spend riding in a day. I've personally spent 6-8hrs in the woods (not riding the whole time) with my 520 running the whole time, and have had the battery life indicator showing roughly half remaining, give or take. How I use mine isn't exactly how you're suggesting you'll be using yours, so expect some variation.

    I don't use live segment tracking. It doesn't fit my riding style. Yes, it'll use a little more battery. Is it going to double battery consumption? No, it won't. Will you even notice it? You might not ever notice a difference, unless you're sitting there with a stopwatch and checking battery discharge rates with a voltmeter. At a certain point, asking for that kind of detail gets pointless.

  6. #6
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    What you will experience is variation in battery life because of changing temperature. During wintertime battery life is much shorter than during summer.
    Also, the feature that's draining the most power from your battery is the screen back light.
    If you place your gps in such a way (viewing angle with the most contrast) that you don't need the back light, you can get a full day of riding out of your battery, no matter what.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thasingletrackmastah View Post
    What you will experience is variation in battery life because of changing temperature. During wintertime battery life is much shorter than during summer.
    Also, the feature that's draining the most power from your battery is the screen back light.
    If you place your gps in such a way (viewing angle with the most contrast) that you don't need the back light, you can get a full day of riding out of your battery, no matter what.
    Very true.

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    Well, OK.

    My experience with the Garmin Edge 1000 is Iíve seen a max. of 15 hrs. between charges when it went to 5%. Not navigating but usin a speed sensor. Nowadays (3 years later) it seems to be around 12 hrs.

    While navigating I estimate about a 25% reduction in max. time, so I would expect 8-9 hrs., but note that Iíve never navigated longer than a 3 hr. road ride.

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    Using the Edge 520 for navigation and BT off (no live segments), I've run out of power around the 8-9 hour mark so I've taken to charging the 520 when stopping for a break.

    With the Edge 1030 doing proper turn based navigation it's not run out of power after a ten hour ride and without recharging on the go so I don't know how long it can do in total. There is an external battery pack which can attach to the Edge 1030 through the mount to substantially extend the run time although it's pricey.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    Well, OK.

    My experience with the Garmin Edge 1000 is Iíve seen a max. of 15 hrs. between charges when it went to 5%. Not navigating but usin a speed sensor. Nowadays (3 years later) it seems to be around 12 hrs.

    While navigating I estimate about a 25% reduction in max. time, so I would expect 8-9 hrs., but note that Iíve never navigated longer than a 3 hr. road ride.
    Lemme guess, you only provided numbers because you were pressed for them, but you'd rather not because memory is fuzzy and all.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMcL7 View Post
    Using the Edge 520 for navigation and BT off (no live segments), I've run out of power around the 8-9 hour mark so I've taken to charging the 520 when stopping for a break.
    I have to wonder about the conditions for this to occur. How old was the Edge 520 (aka how many charge cycles)? What was the temp during the ride? What were you navigating?

    I ask because I was navigating a course with turn notifications (created in RideWithGPS) for this ride:
    https://www.strava.com/activities/684337662

    and had battery left. It was almost 3yrs ago, so I don't remember how much. It was warm, so low temps were not reducing battery life. No BT, but I was using speed/cad/hrm sensors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Lemme guess, you only provided numbers because you were pressed for them, but you'd rather not because memory is fuzzy and all.



    I have to wonder about the conditions for this to occur. How old was the Edge 520 (aka how many charge cycles)? What was the temp during the ride? What were you navigating?

    I ask because I was navigating a course with turn notifications (created in RideWithGPS) for this ride:
    https://www.strava.com/activities/684337662

    and had battery left. It was almost 3yrs ago, so I don't remember how much. It was warm, so low temps were not reducing battery life. No BT, but I was using speed/cad/hrm sensors.
    So you are stating your memory is fuzzy ?

    Part of the issue of not being any more precise is 1) Iím not typically riding 12 or 15 straight hrs., thus itís impossible to state that it runs the battery to 12.7 hrs. 2) Itís only occasionally I pay attention to the battery life and do a calculation that has to be based on percentage of battery life used on shorter rides. Then you have to do the math of X amount of hrs, used in 2.5 hrs of riding. 3) I do this calculation every few months, thus it varies. 4) Some rides are on warm days, then months later when Iím checking, itís much colder and that temp changes affects battery life. 5) Iím only occasionally navigating.

    Thus what you see as fuzzy memory is actually a case of Iím not paying attention much to battery life. It seems to be about 12 hrs or so when Iím not navigating.

  12. #12
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    FWIW: The battery meter is not absolutely reliable. It sometimes shows much less capacity left than actual. 10% indicated might actually be 50%, so extrapolation from the indication can show much less time remaining than actual.

    I suspect this is due to the very shallow discharge curve of LiIon batteries, which changes over time, making it difficult to estimate charge level based on voltage. I don't know about the 520 but on some other LiIon devices I'm familiar with, the meter is adaptive, so if you let the device run until it shuts off, the meter will recalibrate itself and more accurately indicate partial charge levels.
    What, me worry?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    So you are stating your memory is fuzzy ?
    Oh hell yes I am.

    I'm also saying that the best way to measure the battery would be if the device is saving the remaining battery voltage in the .fit file (and you're charting that out over your ride so you see your discharge rate). Also that the battery life meter on the device is only a suggestion, because there are some assumptions baked into that display (converting the voltage to a %) that do change as the battery has more recharge cycles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Oh hell yes I am.

    I'm also saying that the best way to measure the battery would be if the device is saving the remaining battery voltage in the .fit file (and you're charting that out over your ride so you see your discharge rate). Also that the battery life meter on the device is only a suggestion, because there are some assumptions baked into that display (converting the voltage to a %) that do change as the battery has more recharge cycles.
    Yup. All true and as LR stated, the battery indicator is imprecise as well, so it's a bit of a guessing game. I carry a USB battery stick and cable if I'm out on long days. Never needed it yet.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    I carry a USB battery stick and cable if I'm out on long days. Never needed it yet.
    Probably a worthwhile addition for bikepacking, too.

    I have a massive power bank that can charge a big phone half a dozen times or more, but the little ones would be more useful for stuff like this.

    When I base camp and ride, I tend to get 2-3 days of typical riding before I get uncomfortable with the battery life indicator and recharge. My teardrop camper has a nice power system with solar, so I've never needed to really push it.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

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    I have an edge 1030, used it to navigate a 71 mile training ride. 9hr 48m ride time, and battery was pretty much done.

    Without navigation, I completed a 13hr 30m ride with about 30% battery remaining.

    Edit to add: Garmin cadence, speed, and wahoo heart rate meter.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I have to wonder about the conditions for this to occur. How old was the Edge 520 (aka how many charge cycles)? What was the temp during the ride? What were you navigating?

    I ask because I was navigating a course with turn notifications (created in RideWithGPS) for this ride:
    https://www.strava.com/activities/684337662

    and had battery left. It was almost 3yrs ago, so I don't remember how much. It was warm, so low temps were not reducing battery life. No BT, but I was using speed/cad/hrm sensors.
    I'm not sure what you're suggesting here, do you mean that batterylife is more than expected or less? I don't know if you've linked to the wrong ride but that's a seven hour ride so I would expect there to be battery left at that point.

    The Garmin has never managed more than that from new, the temperture is usually between 10 and 20 degrees celsius (definitely not cold) and it was simply following a route file stored on the device with no actual navigation, simply following the route plus BT off, low backlight and not connected to any sensors.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMcL7 View Post
    I'm not sure what you're suggesting here, do you mean that batterylife is more than expected or less? I don't know if you've linked to the wrong ride but that's a seven hour ride so I would expect there to be battery left at that point.

    The Garmin has never managed more than that from new, the temperture is usually between 10 and 20 degrees celsius (definitely not cold) and it was simply following a route file stored on the device with no actual navigation, simply following the route plus BT off, low backlight and not connected to any sensors.
    That was actually over an 8 hr ride by total time. 7hrs ride time.

    All of the questions I asked refer to factors that affect the usable life of all batteries

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMcL7 View Post
    I'm not sure what you're suggesting here, do you mean that batterylife is more than expected or less? I don't know if you've linked to the wrong ride but that's a seven hour ride so I would expect there to be battery left at that point.

    The Garmin has never managed more than that from new, the temperture is usually between 10 and 20 degrees celsius (definitely not cold) and it was simply following a route file stored on the device with no actual navigation, simply following the route plus BT off, low backlight and not connected to any sensors.
    Confused by what you mean by ďfollowing a route stored on the deviceĒ, yet not navigating ?. If you are following a route you are navigating. That uses battery as compared to not asking the device to process a navigable route - I.E. just letting it track a ride.

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