Connecting TACX Trainers

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Hello Sufferlandrians who use TACX Trainers.  In this help article we will discuss the spin down calibration for TACX trainers and the tools available to you.  We will also discuss some common troubleshooting steps if your TACX trainer is acting up. 

Calibrating TACX Trainers and The Spin Down Calibration

The Sufferfest always recommends using the TACX Utility App to do a proper spin down.  The TACX Utility App will help you find the correct tire contact for your individual trainer.  This is the only place where you can fine tune your tire contact with your trainer.  Tire contact is very important as it determines the amount of friction, and the accuracy of your trainer.  Below is a picture that shows what you will targeting with the TACX Utility App. 

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As you can see from the image above, this is the perfect tire contact using the TACX Utility App.  That will give you the most reliable results when using the Sufferfest Training Centre.  The only thing you need to ensure, is tire pressure remains consistent each time you get on your TACX Trainer.  Those of you who are using the TACX Neo, will not need to do this calibration.  The TACX Neo requires no spin down calibration.  For the Neo, you only need the TACX Utility App to ensure your firmware from your trainer is up to date.  

Troubleshooting

The minions want to take a minute to talk about some common problems we see with TACX trainers.  Especially, those that use the wheel on trainers.  You can also use the shortcut directory below. 

TACX Neo Wattage Spikes
Can't Hit Recover Targets
Trainer Won't Go into ERG Mode
Other Software Controlling Trainer
Check Firmware Updates

 

TACX Neo Wattage Spikes

The TACX Neo isn't power smoothed like the Wahoo KICKR.  The Neo provides a more accurate estimation of power as a result in cadence and effort changes.  This means the Neo will bounce around the ERG target by +/- 10 watts.  Any change the user makes in the cadence will have an effect on resistance applied to the NEO during ERG mode.  This means slight decreases in cadence will cause the Neo to increase resistance and then quickly increasing cadence will cause Wattage spikes.  It very important you keep a steady and smooth pedal stroke.  Below is an image that shows cadence changes by a user and the corresponding wattage spikes. 

Neo_Power_Fluctuations_and_Cadence.png

Power Spikes Due To Cadence or Effort Changes

All TACX trainers will also over achieve target wattage coming into an interval.  Don't worry about shifting when you see this, just give the TACX Trainer some time to come back down into the target wattage.  This could take up to 3 seconds.  If you find this to be too annoying or bothersome, then we suggest doing the workout in a level mode where you can shift gears to hit your targets.  

 

Can't Hit Recover Targets

The minions are asked about this quite a bit at Sufferlandrian Services.  The rider has a recovery wattage of 125 watts.  However, their trainer won't go below 150 watts.  What is going on?  We will show you exactly what is going on.  Below is an image of a TACX Vortex Smart being used with the Sufferfest Training Centre.  

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You see that bump in wattage that we are reporting?  That is strictly due to wheel speed.  All trainers have a wattage line that dictates minimum power output.  That wattage output is purely influenced by wheel speed.  Look at our next image below of the virtual power curve of the TACX Vortex Smart that is not connected to anything. 

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A rider cannot go below that red line.  So, if you are trying to hit 125 watts, but your wheel speed is 40kph, then you need to shift up a few gears.  Slowing wheel speed will help get you to your recovery targets.  That is the down side to mid-range and budget trainers; they still need to be shifted to hit the lower wattage numbers.  

 

Trainer Won't Go Into ERG Mode

The minions have noticed that sometimes TACX trainers get stuck and won't go into ERG mode.  The quickest way to test if your TACX trainer is stuck, is by going into the power menu at the workout setup screen.  Head there, and then we want to switch to Standard mode.  Look at the image below. 

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What we will do here is select the ERG menu, then cycle between Level 9 and Level 0.  This should force your TACX trainer to become unstuck.  You will feel heavy resistance on Level 9 and no resistance on Level 0.  Still no resistance?  Head on over to the TACX Utility App and do another Spin Down calibration.  That always gets the trainer unstuck.  However, we must make sure we completely shut down the TACX Utility App when we are complete.  The TACX Utility App will hold onto your TACX trainer even when running in the background on your iOS device. 

 

Other Software Controlling Your Trainer

The last thing we want to ensure is that no other smart trainer or device is controlling our TACX trainer.  We can connect to multiple apps at the same time, but how we do it is important.  Only one App can own one ANT+ dongle, and only one App can run your trainer over bluetooth.  Furthermore, only one App can have smart trainer control.  Make sure you follow those rules.  This also applies to Garmin computers that have smart trainer control.  You can connect your TACX trainer to a Garmin device, but the trainer must be connect as a Power Meter and not a smart trainer.  Here are some examples on how this would work. 

Three connections and one trainer

Connected to Sufferfest App with Dongle 1:  Connect as FE-C trainer in the power section.

Connected to Garmin 520/820/1000:  Connect as a power meter. 

Connect to another training App with Dongle 2: Connect only as an ANT+ power meter.  

If you follow those rules, you can connect to multiple devices and apps at the same time.  If you do it incorrectly, you will not have smart trainer control. 

 

Check For Firmware Updates

The last thing we will talk about is firmware updates.  Go to the TACX Utility App and just check to see that you have the latest firmware.  Simple as that. 

Troubleshooting Articles

Below are common problems that users have connecting trainers.  Click on the problem that you are having to go into that troubleshooting article.  

  1. ANT+ Dongle Not Being Detected or no FE-C trainer?
  2. ERG Mode Not Working For You?
  3. Sensors Keep Dropping Out/Losing Connection?
  4. Speed and Distance Calculations are off?

Conclusion

Are you still having issues with your TACX Trainer?  Please email theminions@thesufferfest.com and they will be there to help you out.  

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