Here are our recommendations for setting up and using your Stages Power meter with a Garmin Forerunner 910XT. Please also see our article Best Practices for Multi-Sport Watches.
Preface: Head unit set up can affect the quality of the data captured from your Stages Power meter. Below you will find our recommended settings for your Garmin Forerunner 910XT, as used by Stages Power meter staff and athletes. We’ve also compiled known issues affecting this particular head unit, as well as our best recommendations to deal with these problems.
Garmin Forerunner 910XT Owner's Manual - English
Overview: These recommendations come from our daily usage of the Garmin Forerunner 910XT head unit. They are our best recommendations to get the best possible data capture from your head unit, with the least chance of data drops and connection loss between your Stages Power meter and the Garmin Forerunner 910XT head unit.
Key areas of focus: Manually enter ANT+ ID; Prone to drop outs in power data when worn on the wrist; Zero reset interaction when ANT+ HR strap paired but not present; Drops caused by ANT+ Speed and Cadence sensor pairing, but not present; Updating head unit firmware.
There are two ways to pair a power meter to your Garmin Forerunner 910XT. The more common way is to ‘search’ for it, which we strongly advise against. Our reasoning is that if your previously ‘searched’ sensor is not available the head unit will go back into a default search mode and either find another power meter sensor in close proximity or revert to ‘0’ for a device ID.
If you enter the ANT+ ID for your personal Stages Power meter, your Garmin Forerunner will only look for the meter with the ID you’ve input.
To manually enter your ANT+ ID follow this key path:
Turn on head unit. Press ‘Mode’ button, to get to the main menu and then follow this key path (using ‘Scroll Arrows/keys’ in the upper right corner and ‘Enter’ key on the lower right): Settings > Bike Settings > Bike 1 (or applicable bike profile) > ANT+ Power > Sensor Details > Sensor ID (Enter each digit by scrolling to the number and then hitting the Enter button) > then select 'Done' from the number selection
Note: The Garmin Forerunner head unit cannot Zero Reset your Stages Power meter if the unit is also paired to an ANT+ HR sensor and the sensor is not present. There are two ways to remedy this: making sure the head unit is receiving HR data at the time of Zero Reset initiation or turn off your ANT+ HR function when Zero Resetting your meter.
To Zero Reset:
Rotate your Stages Power one full revolution to wake the meter, then the crankset vertically, click the ‘Calibrate’ function in the Garmin Forerunner’s ANT+ Power profile page.
The ‘Calibrate’ Zero Reset function can be found through this key path:
Press ‘Enter’ button, to get to the main menu and then follow this key path (using ‘Scroll Arrows/keys’ in the upper right corner and ‘Enter’ key on the lower right: Settings > Bike Settings > Bike 1(or whatever bike you’re working on) > ANT+ Power > Sensor Details > Calibrate
Your Garmin head unit will then return a Zero Reset (Calibration) value of 890 +/- 50 counts.
For data collection, we recommend changing the setting to record data points every second.
To change the data recording selection follow this key path:
Press 'Mode' button > Settings > System > Data Recording > Every Second
The settings for ‘Data Averaging’ are found in Settings > Bike Settings > Data Averaging. You should consider Zero or Non-Zero Avg for your Cadence and Power averages; this is a personal preference and one you may run by your coach. Non-Zero averaging doesn’t count the 0s produced by not pedaling, where as Zero averaging counts those Zeros in the overall average as presented by your head unit. This is an important setting to understand should you want to compare historical averages to contemporary averages; note, comparison may not be possible if the zero settings do not match
As per Garmin’s connectivity requirements, the Forerunner will not pair reliably to a power meter when it is also paired to an ANT+ Speed and Cadence sensor, but if the sensor IS NOT present.
Our recommendation is to turn off ANT+ Speed and Cadence function within the head unit if the additional ANT+ Speed and Cadence sensor IS NOT present. If your Speed and Cadence sensor is built into your bike’s chain stay (Giant, Trek) we recommend making sure that the sensor is paired or if you don’t care to use it, you may also remove the battery from the sensor.
Turn off Speed and Cadence using this key path:
Press and hold ‘Enter’ button, to get to the main menu and then follow this key path: Settings>Bike Settings> Bike 1(or whatever bike you’re working on)>ANT+ Speed/Cad>No
Much like our ability to better the performance of the Stages Power meter by continually working to improve our firmware, Garmin works similarly to keep even its older head units in top working condition. With regards to this we strongly recommend checking and updating your Garmin head unit firmware monthly (if available).
To update your head unit firmware:
Download Garmin Express
Plug in your USB ANT+ stick and follow on screen instructions to pair Garmin Express with your 910xt watch.
Prone to data drops when worn on the wrist
Cause: Position and orientation of the device when worn on the wrist prevents reliable connection between the FR 910XT and Stages Power meter
Effect: Power data frequently drops to 0 or --w, resulting in a lower average power and missed data
Solution: Position the FR 910XT on the base bars or stem
Further recommendations: See further recommendations under Best Practices for Multi-Sport Watches
Prone to RF interference
Cause: Weaker connectivity to paired sensors. Sub-optimal chip orientation causes drops when fully extended in aero bars
Effect: data drops in signal heavy environs, be aware of cause and effect.
Solution: upgrade to Garmin device with 8-channel ANT+ chip: Garmin Edge 510, 810, 1000.
Further recommendations: keep Forerunner firmware up-to-date; check monthly
ANT+ signal interruption due to orientation, shrouding, water, or rider mass interference
Cause: The Stages Power meter puts out a signal capable of spanning distances of 10-15 feet, so long as the receiving radio is properly oriented. Putting a head unit in a rider’s pocket, wrist, or mounting it within any sort of aero shroud, or on top of a bar mounted water bottle will cause signal interference and data loss.
Effect: Signal drops and data loss.
Solution: Make sure the Garmin head unit is in the open with reasonably clear line of sight to the Stages Power meter.
Further recommendations: Do not use bar mounted combo bottle/head unit mounts that place the bottle between the head unit and the power meter. Do not cover the front of the Garmin head unit with plastic, carbon fiber or other material. Larger riders may not be able to get data when in the aero extensions
Will not pair to power meter when previously/currently paired to additional Speed and Cadence sensor but sensor is not present.
Cause: As per Garmin’s connectivity requirements, Forerunner will not pair reliably to a power meter when the paired ANT+ speed and Cadence sensor is missing.
Effect: Will not pair to power meter; if pairs to power meter, connection can be very weak and frequently drop.
Solution: Make sure that ANT+ Speed and Cadence sensor is paired OR turn off ANT+ Speed and Cadence function within the head unit if no sensor is present or desired.
Further recommendations: Also disable HR if HR strap is not present.
If you still have additional questions about setting up your new power meter, please feel free to open up a support ticket with Stages Cycling or Stages Cycling EU to get help with your power meter and head unit.