Smart Trainer Compatibility

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    Jeremy Sweeten

    I think a lot of trainer manufacturers are using deceptive marketing with the term "smart" and "Zwift compatible."  Yes, your "smart' and 'compatible' trainer will transmit your data to Zwift, but Zwift can only control your machine/trainer IF it has FE-C, which few do.  

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    Aaron Johnson

    +1 for that comment Jeremy Sweeten.  I could write a whole article about that.  :)  

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    Pete Kutheis

    Perhaps they (ZWIFT) have baked in support outside the FE-C protocol for the Powerbeam Pro (Post 2015 models).  The Zwift pages certainly say they DO change the resistance of  a late model powerbeam pro.  I haven't used Zwift in 6 months plus, as I find the community there can be very whiney, but unless something has changed I can certainly say ZWIFT DOES change resistance on my powerbeam pro, set up using the instructions on the Zwift pages.

    I would be very interested in what you have to support the claim that FE-C has to be on a trainer for Zwift to control its resistance.  I think that is not accurate in some cases.

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    Tom Boden

    ZWIFT can also control trainer via Bluetooth if I am not mistaken. 

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    Aaron Johnson

    Hello everyone,

    Yes, you can control trainers over Bluetooth.  However, the developers have to write in the bluetooth code specific to each trainer that doesn't have the FE-C standard.  Fitness Equipment Control (FE-C) is great, because it is standardized across the marketplace and any App Developer can easily connect to FE-C trainers.  There is no standard bluetooth protocol.  So, some trainers are easier than others to support.  We will start working on special bluetooth code to support nonFE-C trainers sometime in January.  The trainers we support will all come down to customer demand.

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    Eerke Berger

    Hi, are you *only* going to release BT control for trainers that don't have FE-C? TrainerRoad has just released BT control, from their iOS apps, of Tacx trainers; it actually works very well. TBF, the Tacx protocol is just FE-C smuggled in a BT envelope, so it won't have taken much work, but still it means that a dongle isn't necessary and Taxc is a big name. I don't know why the trainer companies don't just sit down at a table and agree to one protocol, even if the BT people are busy with getting BT5 ready and non-sport stuff. The Taxc way is quite sneaky, but clever in that it means they don't have to do any work in designing a new protocol.

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    Grzegorz Mucha

    Is there a way to connect BOTH power meter and a FE-C trainer?  I have both and ideally would want to do a power match, as the numbers from the trainer may be off

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    Aaron Johnson

    Hello Grzegorz,

    Power Match is something we cannot do "Yet".  We will be looking at this capability next year. 

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    Camilo Kejner

    ZWIFT controls my CompuTrainer via direct USB connection. Can this be done with the sufferfest app? Will it be possible in the future? Thanks.

    https://support.zwift.com/hc/en-us/articles/204002479--Setting-up-a-Computrainer

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    Jack Read

    I am also hoping that Sufferfest might support Computrainer!  It works great with ZWIFT but Sufferfest is just better (real video vs animated).  

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    D

    I just received my ant+ dongle to control my Tacx Vortex Smart (which I also haven't had long).  I can't find any good documentation about the Sufferefest trainer controls.  Erg mode is clear, but I guess it doesn't  let you put in any extra effort.  For flats, I'm happy using gears just like I would on the road.  It could be nice though to have the resistance crank up on the hills.

    I just did the Rookie with trainer set at "level 3".  There are few places where there are hill climbs targeting about 115% ftp at 70 rpm.  I couldn't make those numbers work.  I've only got a 50t crank and 12t cog, but it fell far short of creating enough resistance and I couldn't stand up or keep the revs that low.

    I don't think I noticed any resistance increase on the hills though.  Is there supposed to be?  What do the levels mean?  Is it just a higher overall resistance setting or is it like zwift and is supposed to set the amount of resistance variation on hills?  Of course the Vortex Smart is only rated to simulate 7% hills, so I expect I'll have to use gears some to simulate the rest but I would have thought (or hoped) a 7% hill simulation and my top gear would be able to get me there and a a lot more.

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    D

     

    Double posted.

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    Marty

    Hi All,

     

    Struggling to get Sufferfest set up properly with my TacxNeo.

    I can't find any clear instructions On this BTW.

    Major problem is that I can't get power and cadence to match-Only close in the Granny gears.

    Should I only be using the lowest gear on my bike? Should I need to change gears at all during the workout?

    Wondered if I had a calibration problem-tried the spin down calibration several times-failed...Found that you can't calibrate a Tacx Neo, Does that mean I can't calibrate it to the App (Mac)?

     

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Marty

     

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    D

    Marty,

    I don't have the neo, just the lowly vortex.  I guess the neo is capable of much more resistance and it sounds it's using too much.  Assuming it's anything at all like the Vortex, and I'm using ant+ and windows), at the connection screen you can select the device and then there's probably a "mode" selection box.  The Vortex has "erg" and levels 1 through 9.  Erg means you don't have to shift, but you are locked into exactly how much power it wants you to produce, slow and hard or fast and easy.  Personally I prefer to shift as I would in real life and have a little freedom to push harder (or even easier) for a bit. For that you want the levels.  I try to choose a level that puts me in my lowest gear on the big ring during the recovery efforts.  That leaves you all your other gears to work with for harder efforts.  I've found that this does NOT do any active control of resistance at all though, even on hills, so even hills require just shifting to a harder gear to get the cadence down lower.  I feel the power curves are maybe little wrong this way, but it's ok.  You either give the software full control or none.  I prefer none, but hill simulation would certainly be nice.   
     
    When I was using bluetooth with an ipad, I could connect from ant+ with my smartphone at the same time and use the utility app to set a hill incline (including possibly negative).  This seemed to achieve about the same thing as the levels. 
  • Avatar
    Scott Phelps

    Hi all,

     

    I was bummed when I read the "Trainers that do not have FE-C installed and are not supported." list above, as I own a Kurt Kinetic Rock & Roll Smart Control and was going to be really mad if this expensive machine did not work with Sufferfest. Well, guess what, it does work. I contacted Kurt Kinetic customer support to get the straight scoop and ask if they were making any changes to make their Smart Control system compatible with Sufferfest. The following is the response:

    "The issue is not related to FE-C, but rather that Sufferfest doesn't support our hardware in their app. You can subscribe to the Sufferfest series through our app, which gets you the same cycling content and trainer control.  In addition to our Kinetic Fit app, we're also compatible with Zwift and Trainerroad, with more on the way.  The Sufferfest content in our app is separate subscription fee from our Smart sub."  the fee is $10 per month.

    Hope this saves others from going through the same stress and process that I did.

     

     

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    Aaron Newman

    I was quite frustrated with Sufferfest/Elite Rampa integration, but the helpful support folks at Sufferfest helped me out. The problem was that in ERG mode, power was not changing quickly, or sometimes at all, to the target. So I'd hit a short interval and be spinning my brains out at low power rather than grinding at high wattage.

    Turns out that having the ANT+ USB stick plugged into the back of my iMac was the problem. I plugged it into the keyboard USB port instead, and now the power changes right when it should. 

    So if you're having problems be sure to try using a USB extension or some other way of moving the ANT stick away from your computer.

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    Steve

    Zwift and Trainer Road control the resistance on my Cycleops PowerBeam Pro via ANT.  Disappointed Sufferfest doesn't work with my it, particularly now many videos only seem to be available through the SF app.

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