Light At The End Of The Tunnel

systems administration meanderings

Polar V650 cycle computer

Initial thoughts

I recently received a Polar V650  as a gift.  It looks great, the touch screen works well even when riding.  The GPS seems to work well, and integrates nicely with Strava.  Installation was a breeze, although I think the rubber bands that hold the bracket on the bike will stretch.

My Software Experience

To get the units data in to Strava you have to perform the following:-

  1. Connect the [Polar V650](http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/pro/V650) via it's [micro-usb](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#Mini_and_Micro_connectors) port to a computer.
  2. The [FlowSync](https://flow.polar.com/start) software from [Polar](https://www.polar.com/) is supposed to recognise the  [Polar V650](http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/pro/V650) and start syncing the device to the [Polar Flow](https://flow.polar.com/start) web site.
  3. [Polar](https://www.polar.com/) then syncs the data to [Strava](https://www.strava.com/).
  4. [Strava](https://www.strava.com/) then allows you to edit the ride before saving it into your dashboard.

Problems

  1. My [Polar V650](http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/pro/V650) unit turned up with old firmware. That shouldn't be a problem, the [FlowSync](https://flow.polar.com/start) software is supposed to recognise out of date firmware and offer to upgrade the unit.  I run [Linux](https://kernel.org/) and [Mac OS X El Capitan](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X_El_Capitan) at home, unfortunately the former is not supported by [Polar](https://www.polar.com/) and the latter had a fairly major bug, where it didn't recognise the [Polar V650](http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/pro/V650) at all on that OS. The local support said a new later version of [FlowSync](https://flow.polar.com/start) would fix the problem, to my knowledge that never occurred. In the end I borrowed a Windows laptop and upgraded my [Polar V650](http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/pro/V650).  In the new firmware you tell it that you are connecting to [Mac OS X El Capitan](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X_El_Capitan) ( I wonder why?).
  2. Using [Mac OS X El Capitan](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X_El_Capitan) on the [MacBook Air](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBook_Air) I have to force run [FlowSync](https://flow.polar.com/start) for the synchronising to work, note I use the actual onboard [USB](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB) ports for this.
  3. Using [Mac OS X El Capitan](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X_El_Capitan) on the [iMac](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac) I plug the [Polar V650](http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/pro/V650) into a [USB](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB) hub. The hub has two external hard drives connected, they are immediately ejected, but do come back! I again have to force run [FlowSync](https://flow.polar.com/start) but it never sees the [Polar V650](http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/pro/V650) unit.

Feature Requests

  1. The Routes feature only shows you your favourite routes, i.e. ones you have already ridden, it would be nice to be able to upload GPX files with a route that you are about to do.  There are work arounds mentioned in the [Polar](https://forums.polar.fi/) forums.
  2. It we be nice if it handles running. Instead f having the ability to have 4 bike profiles, one of them could be running. I wouldn't need to take my phone on a run then.
  3. In Australia it is the law that all cyclists have to ride with a [bell](http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/bicyclists/helmetandgear.html). It would be good if this was available from the pull down menu or a new pull up menu.

On the whole I like the unit, the software around the Polar V650 let it down. Some of the bugs related to USB shouldn’t exist, it’s been around a while now.  I’m hoping  Polar fix the bugs and include some of the features requests, using it would be a much better experience.


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