I turned the unit on, and it walked me through some basic configuration, such as language desired (English and Bad English), age (old), sex (Often), etc. The screens are very intuitive, and the 4 multi-function buttons which were easy to use and comprehend. After the initial configuration, you can set up the data fields that appear on the screen in any layout you desire. There are 41 data fields that can be chosen, and they run the whole gamut of information from speed, distance, time, heart rate, etc. Some of the data fields are only pertinent to the optional input devices, such as power meter, heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor. Another great new feature is having 3 pages of data screens with up to 8 data fields each, so you put lower priority data on the secondary screens, and access them if needed. The multiple page feature prevents cluttering up the screens with too much information, since I personally find more than 5 pieces of data hard to read and focus on. The screens can easily be paged through using the buttons, or the Auto Scroll feature can be enabled for automatically rolling through the pages.
In regard to ANT+ sensors or devices, I predominately used the heart rate monitor, and on rare occasions used the cadence sensor (power meters are more roadie specific). The devices need to be paired (synced) up with the unit, which entails enabling the device within the menu system, and then scanning for the device. After the initial pairing, the device will automatically be recognized.
The included CD is just a user manual (60 pages) and doesn’t contain any software, so you need to go to the Garmin web site and download any of the required software. I downloaded and installed their WebUpdater software, and plugged the Edge 500 in when prompted, and it loaded the latest firmware. I next installed their training and data gathering software, which consists of Training Center (locally based) and Garmin Connect (web based). The USB connector port is on the back of the unit, behind a small rubber cover (it can be a pain to slip back into its slot). One thing I really liked is that there is a charging counter, that shows the current percentage of battery storage.
Installing the new mount system was a breeze. You simply place the mount on your stem or bar (notches pointing forward), clip the rubber band on the mount’s hook, wrap it around to the other side and hook it up. The industrial strength rubber band, come in 2 sizes, and there are quite a few extras in case they get old, broken or lost. This past week I lost a band while I was on a road trip, while the bike was on the rear bike rack. I rode the unit with one band on a bone jarring trail, and it did not fall off! I didn’t have an extra with me, but a normal rubber band seemed to work just fine as a temporary stop gap.
To install the Edge 500, push the back tab into the mount’s slot to engage it, and then rotate it 90 degrees.
The US NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) is operated by the U.S. Air Force, and is a space based global navigation satellite system. It consists of three parts, a space segment which is 24 to 32 satellites in medium Earth orbit (20000 kilometers), a control segment which comprised of five monitoring stations (Hawaii, Kwajalein, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, Colorado Springs), three ground antennas (Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, Kwajalein), and a Master Control station (Schriever AFB in Colorado), and lastly a user segment which is the receiver such as the Edge 500.
The satellites send out a microwave signal at the frequencies of 1.57542 GHz (public) and 1.2276 GHz (military), which includes the time the message was transmitted (via onboard atomic clock), precise orbital information (the Ephemeris), and the general system health and rough orbits of all GPS satellites (the Almanac). The signal (30 seconds long with 1500 bits of encrypted data) is encoded with high-rate pseudo-random (PRN) sequence, which is unique among each satellite. Each receiver knows the PRN codes, so it can decode the signal and distinguish between different satellites. Each of the satellites is in an orbit that allows a receiver to detect at least four of the operational satellites from any spot on Earth. The receiver utilizes the data to determine the transit time of each message, and computes the distances to each satellite using the time lag, and along with the satellites’ locations it uses trilateration (intersection of 3 spheres) to compute the position of the receiver.