Saris H3, ATV Bluetooth dropout

Thanks everyone, I too have had many problems the last month.
My rider just slows and stops, sometimes I can hop off the trainer disconnect and reconnect the power and it starts working again without losing too much time but for a race I am toast.
I use a Saris H3, 1 year old IPAD, and new iphone xs on bike for zwift companion.
I thought maybe it was the blue tooth wireless ear phones but everything worked all year until about a month ago. I plan to not use those and try the old plug in to phone style with cable for music next ride to see if it helps the drop outs.
I have the latest trainer firmware upgraded last week and the latest ZWIFT and companion versions.
I will continue to check this thread, Thanks.

It’s not the Apple TV. I ride mostly on Apple TV 4K w/Neo. No issues. A buddy is riding on Apple TV 4K w/Kickr and no issues. If it was the Apple TV itself, there would be a lot more complaints here on this forum as well as elsewhere.

It’s something about the Saris. In another thread, someone mentioned they updated the firmware on their Saris which solved their problems.

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Hi Rob, did you bring your H3 firmware all the to version 31.063? If so you might want to try winding it back one notch to version 31.062. I have had all kinds of crazy stuff happen with the .063 version.
If others have any commentary on this please chime in.

I will check tomorrow, I did upgrade the trainer firmware within the last week or two. I have had more drop outs the last 3 weeks than the whole 11 months prior. Thanks for the info.

Rob

Rob, I got to thinking about things last night and realized that I had not tried the .063 firmware since the last Apple TV OS and Zwift updates. So, I pulled the firmware forward this morning and took it out for spin. All I can do is report results. The ride went well, no resistance latency and no BT drops. Now all that said it is much more likely that this is just one more ■■■■ in a long series of wanks with this issue the last couple months. Compare your software with mine and see if we are running the same versions.
Tomorrow is a rest day for me so I’ll try again Thursday and report results.

Apple TV - Version 14.3 [18K561]
Zwift - 1.0.60639

BTW, I was using the Companion App for mapping with the BT bridging turned off.

Add me to the long list. Setup:
Apple TV
Zwift version 1.0.60639
Saris H3 firmware version 31.063 - connected via BLE to Apple TV
Garmin Dual HRM - connected via BLE to Apple TV
Garmin Edge 520 Plus - connected to Saris H3 via ANT+
Stages crank arm - connected to Garmin Edge 520 Plus via bluetooth
Zwift Companion running on iPad

Since the Zwift version update on 1/5/201, have ridden 6 times on ATV/Zwift/H3.
First 4 rides ranged in duration from 1:00:06 hour to 1:26:45 - no events or races, but did include one workout. Did not drop the connection between ATV and H3 on any of the four rides.

Last two days’ activities were both events (Tour de Zwift). In both cases, the ATV-H3 connection dropped at almost the same time - 40 minutes into the event. In both cases, had to unplug the H3 and plug it back in for ATV/Zwift to find the H3. I also have a Stages crank arm, and ATV/Zwift could find it via BLE before the H3 restart.

Question for those more knowledgable than me: many mention the ATV remote disconnecting at about the same time as the H3 disconnects. I believe that the ATV remote “goes to sleep” if there is inactivity for some period of time. Is it possible that the ATV remote going to sleep after some period of non-use results in the ATV losing the BLE connection and the H3 then not being able to reconnect? I ask because when I ride an event, I tend not to use the ATV remote (relying on Zwift Companion for information). When I am just riding, I tend to use the ATV remote more frequently. I haven’t tested it, but will do so to see if using the ATV remote to keep it from sleeping makes any difference. With regard to the ATV finding the Stages when the H3 disconnected, I note that I had used the ATV remote to try and repair, so that would have “woken up” remote.

The thing is, I can’t recall anyone saying this happens on Apple TV apart from in combination with a Saris H3. I use Apple TV with an Elite trainer and I’ve never lost the ATV remote connection.

Apple TV can go to sleep and the remote will disconnect. However, I have never had that happen during a ride of any duration (e.g., 30min - 4hr) I also never use the remote while riding. You can check in the Apple TV settings to see if there are any power saving or sleep options, but I do not remember having changed any such settings.

I had a look at the Saris firmware update release notes. I noticed that they actually include specific fixes related to Zwift in addition to other bug fixes. Here are a few examples:

* Fixed power dropouts on hills in Zwift.
* Fixed issue where Zwift would sometimes stop on a transition to an uphill.

I have used a Neo1 for years w/out upgrading the firmware. I also have a Kickr1 that has not been upgraded since 2016. They never experience any type of dropouts, resistance issues, etc… My point for mentioning this is that to me this appears to be strictly a Saris issue where they have not implemented something correctly in Bluetooth or otherwise. Then again, maybe everyone else is doing it wrong :man_shrugging:

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Thanks @Lin_Alan - interesting that the notes from the current firmware version and even the last couple are not on the Saris website. The notes you cite are from versions that are a couple of years old.

Ride report:
This is the follow-up to my initial test of the .063 H3 firmware with the most recent versions of iOS for Apple TV, and Zwift. In short with no surprise, failed. My wife did a ride first thing this morning and got a BT drop about half way through her ride. Then I hopped on a couple hours later and immediately had resistance latency. So, I’m tapping out on Apple TV until something comes around for a fix.

This is what I know to be true and tested in my pain cave.
All with H3 .using .062 Firmware

H3 with Zwift PC version - Works
H3 with Rouvy PC version - Works
H3 with Saris App on iPhone 7 ERG Mode ride - Works

Further, I got my H3 September 2019, I rode all winter last year with Zwift PC, no problems. The only thing new was introducing the Apple TV into the equation late this fall and it has been nothing short of a dumpster fire.

I trained all last year on Apple device + Saris H3 + Zeift and it was perfect. It went wrong in one of the autumn updates.

Infuriating that Zwift are ignoring the issue.

I just bought my H3 and ATV in October 2020, so don’t have a lot of data but I went back to look at all virtual rides.

  1. No dropouts with Rouvy - only Zwift
  2. No dropouts in erg mode on Zwift, even after most recent update
  3. Dropouts started after Zwift VERSION 1.0.58982 and are almost constant after Zwift VERSION 1.0.60239
  4. No dropout with Mac version yesterday

Just noticed that there is a new ATV update as of yesterday: * Apple TV v 1.0.60640 (January 14, 2021)

Will give that a try but not hopeful.

Updated the Zwift APT app this morning to V 1.0.60640.

Warmed up with with ride for 38:39 and had no drops.

Started Tour de Zwift Stage 3. Made it 1:19:36 and then started to experience a series of dropouts. In Strava, you can see a series of four dropouts followed by reconnections. The fifth dropout was fatal (.6 miles from the top of Ventoux - argh). Had to restart the H3.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier - I have the H3 and a Garmin Dual HRM connected to ATV through BLE. When the dropout occurs, it is not just the H3 that disconnects - the HRM also disconnects. So issue is not limited to the H3.

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The fault could still be strongly connected with the H3, particularly as the only people seemingly reporting this sort of issue with ATV are H3 users.

For example, it could be the H3 creating RF interference.

It could be some sort of BT communication specific to the H3 that is causing the BT to disconnect everything on the ATV (maybe an ATV BT bug, or maybe the H3 is sending something it shouldn’t which legitimately confuses the ATV?).

Those are just some examples off the top of my head. But the common factor in all these issues is the combination of ATV and H3.

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Fair point, but if the H3 is creating BLE interference generally, then wouldn’t such interference exist with respect to any BLE connection, such as a computer, iPad, iPhone, etc.? Whatever is happening is causing Zwift/ATV to not be able to find any BLE connections after this happens, including non-H3 connections.

Given the evidence on this thread, and the other relevant threads, the problem is definitely specific to H3, but the predominant issues arose after a Zwift update in the fall, and most cases involve an H3-ATV interaction. I agree its BT interference. In my own troubleshooting, I’ve managed to have no drops when I turn of my phones BT, and skip the HRM. Problems return when I bring another BT device near the trainer/ATV. My inference is that the fall update changed a way that BT signal is captured and retained for H3s. It seems like other devices compete for the three slots available to ATV and kick out the trainer. These issues do not seem to be appearing between H3 and other programs.

I assume a zwift update that debugs this would be the right approach.

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Throwing my two cents in here as well. I’ve had two BT dropouts total in ~40 rides. The biggest thing I encounter is the resistance being backwards, where going uphill is easier than downhill. I can easily fix that in the first couple minutes of a ride by unplugging the H3 and going to the connection screen within Zwift and un-pairing/re-pairing the trainer.

I’ve been keeping an eye on these threads just to see what everyone has been saying though. The only thing different from my situation than the majority of cases I see here is that I’m always riding after having powered off the ATV. I use it as my main streaming device, so I switch from my TV upstairs to the downstairs bike setup. I’m also connecting a TICKR HRM to the ATV. I’ve also always worn BT headphones for all my rides too, connected to my phone for Spotify.

The two times I had the BT dropout, it was the same as everyone else’s experience, where the remote disconnects and you see that pop up, then the trainer loses it immediately after. I’ve never been able to reconnect the H3 without ending the Zwift ride and closing out of the app (along with unplugging the trainer).

Wondering if my (relative) success with this setup has something to do with the ATV being rebooted before every ride? There was one night recently where I only watched downloaded shows on my PS4 and I didn’t bring the ATV upstairs, thus not rebooting it before a ride, but I can’t remember if my next BT dropout was the next day.

Thanks @Kyle_Janowski. Tried your method of restarting ATV. Also, turned off all other BT near the ATV and H3. Two rides and no dropouts.

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Add me the list - just bought the Saris H3, have been using a Stac Zero Halcyon previously. I am vEveresting on the 30th and purchased the H3 as the SZ tops out at 7%, I wanted to the real experience. I love the trainer when it works. I rode on Saturday with Mac Book ad again Monday with no issues. Today didn’t have my Mac so I used a newer iPad, dropped after 30 min, tried again, dropped after 10 min. Went to my iphone - dropped after 5-10 min. Was frustrated so I hopped on the Stac Zero and that bike, and finished my ride on the iPad - no issues at all. Something with iPad/iPhone - I hope. I will ride the Mac again tomorrow - hearing from others that no drops with Mac - that would be great.

I want to make sure I have no drops in the 12 hr ride on the 30th.

Thanks to all for sharing, looks as if there is a solution with the Mac. In 6 months of riding the Stac Zero with various devices, I have never had a drop like this. Fingers crossed.
Darcy

More updates. After 2 days using the ATV reset method, I warmed up then joined an event. H3 was connected during the warm up ride and the two minutes after joining but before the event started. The minute the event started the connection dropped. Had to restart H3 and reconnect. Rest of the event was fine - no drops. Given that, did another event today but used my Mac. No issues whatsoever.