Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Topics relating to online racing and training with 3rd party software.
CJOttawa
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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by CJOttawa » November 3rd, 2018, 3:15 pm

Bumping an older thread but it seems to be the definitive one on the topic of using a Concept2 rower in Zwift.

I bought an Apple TV recently for the sole purpose of Zwifting, since nothing else in my household has the computing horsepower to make this work.

Attempt 1 - 4iiii Viiiiva ANT+/BTLE HRM bridge
To bridge the Concept2 Model D PM5, I first tried the 4iiii Innovations Viiiiva ANT+/BlueTooth HRM - that was no-dice - it simply doesn't recognize or understand the PM5 as a valid wattage sensor. It may be a perfectly fine HRM for "non-edge cases" trying to Zwift - people with bicycles that have ANT+ based sensors and/or BTLE equipment - but it's software isn't written to grok a rower.

Attempt 2 - iPod Touch 6 / CABLE
Since I'm not in the Apple eco-system (Apple TV aside), the only options left seemed to be buying the North Pole Engineering "CABLE" (Convert Ant to BLE) ANT+ to BLE bridge. That gizmo requires iOS to configure though, so I picked up a used iPod Touch 6th gen on Kijiji and that's where things get interesting.

Any iOS device that has BTLE/BT-Smart - which means an ancient iPhone 4s, without a SIM card, or an iPod Touch 5 or 6 would work. (whatever generation of iPad that had similar BTLE capability would work too).

Maybe you or a friend have an old iPhone 4s or 5/5c/5s/5se or iPod Touch 5 sitting in a drawer somewhere, unloved - it'd make a great free bridge between the PM5 and Apple TV via the PainSled app.

So... while I'm waiting for the CABLE to show up in the mail, PainSled on an iPod Touch 6 is fantastic. Further, if you run Spotify, Audible, or other streaming audio app, you can hit "AirPlay" and pipe it right over-top of your Zwift session. (literally doing this right now as I type, and follow some Zwifters)

The iPod Touch makes a great Apple TV remote, and run Zwift Companion nicely. So, while I look forward to the options the CABLE will provide (running silently without interaction), and it still requires the iOS device to configure, I'm digging the setup I'm working with now.

BTW: NPE hinted they were looking at Apple TV and Android apps in future, which would negate the need for any iOS device to configure the CABLE bridge.

Oh, another thing: an ANT+ HRM linked to your PM5 will pass heart-rate data via the BlueTooth connection to PainSled on iOS so as far as Zwift on Apple TV is concerned my "iPod Touch" is both a "Heart Rate" and "Wattage" sensor source.

https://i.imgur.com/9DT3lbY.jpg

I was prepared to spend a winter stuck in the gym, grinding out the miles to see progress but Zwift-erging is going to be fun.

https://i.imgur.com/TCesHqJ.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/r76Ryo5.jpg

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Carl Watts
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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by Carl Watts » November 3rd, 2018, 9:28 pm

Sounds messy and I though it was hard enough to get RowPro up and running.

I think its a common problem with a lot of this type of third party software trying to interface with the Concept 2 monitor, you need to be pretty tech savvy to get it up and running, not to mention have a lot of patience in the process.

There are a few incompatibilities starting to appear with the older version of RowPro now which is annoying as even when you get it working at some point it will stop working through no fault of yours. At some point Windows 10 will no doubt implement some sort of change and kill my existing set-up.
Carl Watts.
Age:51 Weight: 98kg Height:183cm
Concept 2 Monitor Service Technician & indoor rower.
http://log.concept2.com/profile/863525/log

CJOttawa
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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by CJOttawa » November 3rd, 2018, 9:56 pm

Carl Watts wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 9:28 pm
Sounds messy and I though it was hard enough to get RowPro up and running...
I should write a more "wiki-like" post instead of my narrative - this is one of those cases of "everything's difficult until it's easy," and now that I've figured out what talks to what, I could connect a Concept2 PM5 to Zwift in less than 5 minutes.

* plug in Apple TV and tell it to download Zwift app; while it's doing that...
* download the PainSled app on an iOS device, in "settings," toggle "Zwift" on, then go back to the "monitor" tab
* power up the PM5, turn on wireless (connect your HRM via ANT+ if you want HR to display in Zwift)
* by this point, Zwift should be loaded; open it and have it look for sensors - it should spot the iOS device if PainSled is up and running

Boom! You're off to the races. Everything reconnected for me when I started my next session the following day - no re-pairing, all automatic.

I haven't received my NPE CABLE ANT+ to BLE bridge yet but I understand it's configurable via app and would negate the need for having PainSled running; you could stick the NPE-CABLE to the back of your PM5 and just forget it's there, with the Apple TV merrily thinking it was the source of all your data.

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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by fischmeister » November 4th, 2018, 10:47 am

This is most interesting - thank you very much for sharing your experience with Apple TV. Please let us know how the NPE bridge works.

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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested

Post by eea123 » November 9th, 2018, 5:41 pm

at1839 wrote:
April 25th, 2018, 10:27 am
Yet another C2 to Zwift connector.

I do have a working PoC to allow riding in Zwift with the Concept2 rower.
When I say *working* what I mean is I rowed 1179 Km in Zwift with it until Mar 18, 2018,
completing the Everest challenge and completing the 7 stages of the Watopia tour.

Go to
https://diana.bib.uniurb.it/pyRide/pyRide.html
for further readings.

Have fun :) PaoloC
That looks awesome. Do you know if anyone has a PC based solution? I have a latop with a Garmin ANT stick and the PM5 near each other.

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at1839
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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by at1839 » November 18th, 2018, 4:55 pm

I'm working on a PC only based solution, but the issue is with Python ANT library (the wheels) missing drivers for Windows. I've not enough spare time to rewrite from scratch the already working python Linux library for the damn Windows. So, at now, we need Linux to convert PM5 data to Ant and we need Windows to run the Zwift game. Unluckily.

I'm also working on a project to *intercept* PM5 Fe-C ant+ sensors on Windows and then broadcast a Zwift compatible sensor. Maybe.

Cu. Paolo, 7040 km *rowed* in Zwift, unofficial level 27.
Paolo Cecchini. Age:65 - xWeight:64.5kg - Height:166cm (5'5")
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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by shoerhino » November 29th, 2018, 7:46 pm

We just purchased a new concept2 model d and so far, so good. I'm primarily a cyclist looking to add rowing to my workouts.

I love using Zwift for cycling and one thing I wanted to mention is that the founder of Zwift, Eric Minn, recently said in the "zwiftcast" that they were about a year away from adding rowing to Zwift. That should be taken with a grain of salt but it's the first time I've heard anyone in a position of authority mention rowing in Zwift. Seems like it's on his radar, which is good for rowers!

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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by joejones » December 11th, 2018, 9:13 pm

Despite reading several threads on this and finding a poorly document youtube video I did get this to work.
1) install painsled on a ios device (iPad mini 4)
2) start the painsled app & turn on Zwift connection in settings, go back to main screen
3) on PM5 turn wireless connection to ON
4) PM5 says connection successful, give the concept 2 erg a pull, data should start showing up on painsled monitor
5) on a Win 10 notebook I ran the Zwift program & logged in
6) Connect to your power meter using Zwift's beta Bluetooth connection (not zwift commander connection)
6a) select the "ipad" (device that painsled is running on) as the power meter
7) pick your ride/workout and start pulling, the cycle avatar will star cruising along

I wanted to see it on the big screen so I used a chromecast dongle to send the video to a HD TV. The quality was really grainy and video did not update smoothly. The notebook screen looked much smoother, and smaller of course. I'll get a usb-c to HDMI converter tomorrow so I'm sure quality will pick up.

One other note, after pulling for 40 minutes I noticed the the zwift wattage was typically 25% to 30% higher than what the PM5 would display for wattage. I was pulling at a casual 160 Watts and Zwift was showing 200+ watts. With a little effort I could absolutely fly and I know I don't cycle that fast. It would be nice to have a scaling factor that I could edit in painsled settings to get the wattage a little closer to PM5.

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Re: Rowing in Zwift (high quality software) who's interested?

Post by sander » December 12th, 2018, 3:09 am

Carl Watts wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 9:28 pm
Sounds messy and I though it was hard enough to get RowPro up and running.

I think its a common problem with a lot of this type of third party software trying to interface with the Concept 2 monitor, you need to be pretty tech savvy to get it up and running, not to mention have a lot of patience in the process.

There are a few incompatibilities starting to appear with the older version of RowPro now which is annoying as even when you get it working at some point it will stop working through no fault of yours. At some point Windows 10 will no doubt implement some sort of change and kill my existing set-up.
Painsled running on a phone (connected to PM5 through BT) and an iPad running Zwift which "sees" Painsled as a power meter (also through Bluetooth). Works like a charm and is not hard to set up.
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Training Blog: http://blog.rowsandall.com/
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