Pain, Misery and Agony are three of the most important virtues in our tortured country. But they should be experienced when you're on your trainer begging for the end of the interval, not when you're trying to connect your devices. If you've arrived at this little corner of our Help Centre it's probably because your sensors—be they cadence, power, or heart rate—are not talking to The Sufferfest Training System like they should. Never fear, The Minions are here. To facilitate your Suffering and help you get the most out of The Sufferfest app, we're going to walk you through some common sensor connectivity issues and how to troubleshoot them.
First, a little background. There are two types of low-energy wireless communication protocols commonly used by fitness sensors to send information:
- Bluetooth Smart (also called Bluetooth LE or BLE).
Both of these are open standards, meaning anyone can use them. Some manufacturers opt to use their own proprietary communication methods. In these cases, the sensors may only be able to talk to the devices or software made by that manufacturer, and unfortunately won't work with The Sufferfest Training System. Chalk one up for the Couchlandrians. Some sensors transmit simultaneously over both ANT+ and BLE, making it easier to connect to a wide variety of devices.
Before you enter Sufferlandria to start your workout you'll find yourself on the Ride Check screen. This is where you can search for and connect to your devices. If you've successfully connected in the past but are now unable to see your sensors, here are a few things to try:
Basic Reset of Connections
Sometimes sensor connections will simply get stuck. Couchlandrian sleeper cells hidden deep in your device or computer have any number of tricks to try and delay your Suffering. The first thing to try is to reset the sensor connections. In the Ride Check setup screen you'll see three icons: Cadence, Heart Rate, and Power. Disconnect the devices in all three sections by clicking on the icon and then clicking the X next to the name of the sensor. Then reconnect in this order: Power, Heart Rate, then Cadence. If that doesn't solve the issue, move on to the Restart Protocol below.
Step 1: Delete The Sufferfest app from your device. For Macs, drag the icon for the app from the Applications folder into the Trash bin. Empty the trash bin.
Step 2: Restart your Mac.
Step 3: Download The Sufferfest app again and re-install it. Don't worry, all of your workouts and information in your passport are safely stored on the Sufferlandrian Servers deep in the Courage mines under Mt. Sufferlandria. They will still be there.
Here are some common issues we've encountered with peripheral devices.
The ANT+ dongles we recommend are in the article Connecting ANT+ Devices. We have a full list of ANT+ recievers that we have tested out and know work. If your ANT+ receiver is not on that list, then we can't guarantee it will work.
-If you're using the Garmin ANT+ and have Garmin Express or the FitBit app installed on your device, these programs can hijack the dongle, preventing The Sufferfest app from connecting. Close out Garmin Express in your top menu to see if that helps.
In the image below, the dark triangle in the toolbar means that Garmin Express is working in the background. The icon to the right of the triangle is the FitBit application.
To Close Garmin Express or FitBit, simply double-click or right click the icon and select 'Quit'.
-Using an older ANT+ dongle. Not all ANT+ USB dongles are created equal. The older version of USB, USB1, only transmits information on 4 channels. New and improved USB2 has the ability to transmit data on 8 channels. This is the one you need. How many Sufferlandrians are content to soft pedal with 4 when they could go 8? My point exactly. Before you purchase an ANT+ USB dongle, make sure it is USB2. How do you tell? The manufacturer's technical specifications should help you. Barring that, you can use the same technique that Sufferlandrian wildebeest herders use to tell if a newborn calf is a boy or a girl: flip it over and take a closer look.
As you can see in the small lettering at the top left, this Garmin Stick is "USB2", which is your express ticket to Sufferlandria.
Battery life can have a dramatic effect on the range and performance of sensors. As you can see from the images below, a less than 40 percent battery life will reduce the range by about 50%. Before you contact Sufferlandrian Services, verify that you have fresh batteries in all of your sensors. Oftentimes this is all it takes.
Sensor Maintenance and Validation
We know, you have more important things to do than wash your heart rate monitor. Things like Suffering. And Suffering. And avoiding floggings. And then there's that chamois dance at 7pm. But a little sensor maintenance goes a long way. Here are some maintenance tips for getting the best performance out of your sensors and solving pesky connectivity issues.
-Is your Heart Rate chest strap covered in the glorious salt of suffering? It may be time to wash our strap so it functions at it's full potential. Also, how are those connectors looking? Salt corrodes metal, so you might need to do some maintenance there.
-Is your magnet still aligned with your speed or cadence device? Your fury and power may have slipped the magnets out of position due to the increase centrifugal force created by your Sufferlandrian legs.
-If the sensor has a light, can we get down there and validate that the light is flashing on the device. If not, we probably need new batteries.
-Lastly, check to see if the sensor is working properly by connecting it to another app or device. This can be done by simply connecting your Garmin device or any other app that uses the same wireless protocol (ANT+ or BLE) to the sensor. If your Garmin or another application can see the sensor, then there may be something else going on, namely a fight for control.
The Battle For Sensor Control
The battle between multiple applications for control of sensors is real, and it can cause many a pre-Suffering headache. Maybe you just finished a workout yesterday using The Sufferfest app on your iPhone at the gym, but now you are trying to use the app on your Mac in the quiet (except for the shrieks of the Minions) confines of your Torture Chamber. Once devices get a taste for The Sufferfest, they sometimes don't want to let go. The app may still be running in the background of your iOS device preventing the copy on another device from connecting to your sensors. If you suspect this might be the case, complete the following sequence:
- Disable bluetooth on your other devices.
- Ensure you connect to the Sufferfest App first, before you connect to another App.
- Close down any other Apps that may be used to provide software updates to your sensors.
Update Sensor Software
Another issue could be out-of-date software or firmware on your sensor. This is usually most evident when The Sufferfest app updates and some of your sensors no longer connect. The Minions at app development work closely with all of the companies that make and maintain sensors and power meters. We patch and update our app whenever a company makes a major software change. This ensures that our app works as intended with all sensors. If the sensor has the old software after we upgraded it in The Sufferfest app, you could lose complete connection. Consult your user manual or the manufacturer of the sensor for information on how to update the sensor firmware.
ANT+, Bluetooth, and your Wifi all share the same radio frequency: 2.4 ghz. This can be especially problematic if your wireless Wifi router is right next to your Pain Cave. To test if the Wifi router is effecting your device connections, turn it off and see if you can connect your sensors. If that is the problem, then follow this link to Learn how to change your WiFi channel.
Lastly, some of us use Bluetooth speakers to transmit the sounds of suffering to better speakers; or, we use wireless keyboards and a wireless mouse that transmit over Bluetooth. Turn off or distance yourself from other bluetooth devices and see if your sensors are now discoverable in The Sufferfest app.
Distance and Obstructions
ANT+ and Bluetooth signals work best at close range and when there are no physical obstructions between the transmitter and the receiver. Make sure your computer is close enough to receive the signal and that there is clear line-of-sight between your sensors and the device running The Sufferfest app.
Mac/Windows Energy Save Mode
If your Mac/Windows machine has, or is in Energy Save Mode, it could be lowering the power output to your Bluetooth card or turning it off completely to save power. Make sure you are not in Energy Save Mode.
Still having issues with connecting your devices? Email TheMinions@TheSufferfest.com.