Sensor Pairing & Storage – all the small things – Wahoo, Garmin, Karoo

Image: Blink182 Enema of the State,

All the small things

Sports sensors: alongside increased cleverness comes increased complexity.

If you are ‘normal’ you will likely only have a couple of ANT+/BLE sports sensors to worry about. In fact, you have so few sensors that you weren’t even aware that you have to worry about them. However, some of us seem to have got in the habit of getting the latest, greatest sensor or having a spare sensor or just a large sensor collection that seems to grow exponentially each year (ahem). Pairing and naming sensors can become tricky simply because of the volume of sensors we might be dealing with. To make matters worse, many of these new sensors, as well as needing battery management, also transmit up to 3 BLE connections in addition to the mandatory ANT+ connection. Thus, your Garmin watch effectively thinks that your lowly Wahoo Tickr v2 heart rate monitor is FOUR devices (one ANT+ and 3x BLE).

Here are some of the problems that this might cause, first-world problems admittedly:

  • Which sensor is it? Are you pairing the right one? Typically on the back of the sensor, you might find the ANT+ ID and/or you might find that the sensor appears in the list of available devices with an appropriate name. Sometimes.
  • Sensors that you’ve already paired to a watch or bike computer may well appear again as ‘pairable’ using one of the other two BLE IDs or the ANT+ ID if you paired by BLE the first time.

Hopefully, you will agree that this can be ‘a bit of a faff’. Hopefully, you will also agree that ‘it doesn’t really matter that much’.

Nevertheless, my contention here is that precisely how these small things are handled gives an insight into the true user-centred design ethos that the manufacturer has. Many of you reading this will have Garmins and you will probably agree that Garmin could do better here. If you are a Wahoo user then there has been some effort to try to handle multiple sensor ID but just about every other sports device manufacturer is somewhat guilty of just adding a simple menu option to enable you to pair to whatever sensor is available; they were originally only thinking you needed ANT+ and you should be grateful that they are giving you BLE as well…as an afterthought.

Hammerhead Karoo – new firmware

Source: Hammerhead

This brings us nicely back to the design gurus at Hammerhead who have today released new firmware for friendly multiple sensor ID management. Let’s start off with a nice image of the Hammerhead Karoo 1, I even like the look of the Profile screen at the start to remind me to use my Cervelo R5.



I had a whole series of before and after photos to show, however, I got the exposure wrong and the images came out WAY too overexposed and you’ll just have to trust me that Karoo used to show multiple BLE IDs for the available sensors with the Wahoo Tickr.

This image just shows the new pairing screen and you can toggle between ANT+, BLE and, confusingly, Di2. What’s NOT unusual here is that you can toggle between ANT+ and BLE to find devices but the toggling IS done in a friendly way AND the multiple TICKR IDs are hidden. Furthermore, there is a separate list of sensors that you’ve already paired and there is a neat feature there where you can optionally disable either ANT+ or BLE pairing entirely.

All the small things…



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5 thoughts on “Sensor Pairing & Storage – all the small things – Wahoo, Garmin, Karoo

    1. Hey Sturat…welcome!

      it’s easy if you have the phone with you I guess! (a perennial debate in these circles but i take your point entirely)
      yeah it’s a PITA on a Garmin (forerunner/fenix OR Edge) although the edge 1030 plus signals a new feature that copies your sensor pairing from a previous device.

  1. Why do you find DI2 confusing as a separation? Its a private protocol I think so its neither ANT+ nor BLE.

  2. My frustration is Zwift using a device broadcasting BLE and ANT+and not being able to choose which I want and make it stick.

    The cadence and power go with ANT+ and the controllable goes with BLE. So I can’t calibrate and there’s a big delay in power changes.

    Turn off ANT+ you say? Can’t, my HRM is broadcasting on that.

    All random strings of letters and numbers obviously…

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