Kickr issue that I just can't crack

I guess this is kind of a long story, I’ll attempt to be brief.

I had been very happy with my Kickr, but then last fall (Sept 2018) I starting having this one particular issue. The resistance would completely crap out at random. Sometimes it was in the middle of a workout, sometimes it was at the beginning. When I say ‘crap out’ I mean that the trainer was no longer supplying any resistance. The TR app (and the Wahoo app) could still ‘see’ the trainer, it was still paired over both BLE and ANT+, but no resistance, no speed, nothing. If I tried to calibrate it (in TR or in Wahoo) I couldn’t actually do the spindown calibration, because there was no registered speed (so the calibration process would never actually start).

I went back and forth with the CS folks at Wahoo for a while. They suggested several things, none of them worked. They even went as far as to send me a new motherboard, which I installed, and the issue kept popping up. The peculiar thing was that it wasn’t every ride. It would work for a week and then spaz out for several days.

Also, in terms of the kickr, a new motherboard is essentially a new trainer, so the fact that it didn’t solve the problem makes me think it’s something on my end. Their suggestion was that another bluetooth device was ‘stealing’ the signal. Even though I had never paired the Kickr to anything except my phone, I turned off every other bluetooth receiver in the house, but again it would work sometimes, then stop, etc, etc.

Then, after several weeks of this, it just worked again. Flawlessly. I finished the CX season, and then trained for an ironman this past winter/spring with no issues. I did a bunch of 4+ hour rides on it with no hint of problem.

Then all of a sudden, two weeks ago, it started again. Crapped out on my wife, and then came back to life 20 minutes later. Then it worked for a week. Then I tried to ride last week and couldn’t even get started. Haven’t tried it since then, I just put my bike on the dumb trainer and used my P1 pedals. I’m going to try the Kickr again tomorrow.

One other strange thing: Whenever this happens, when I go to the spindown calibration page in the TR app, it says my last calibration was 2/1/2019. Every time, no matter how many spindowns I’ve performed (when they work, that is). If the unit goes out, calibration date goes back to the first of February.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this is terribly frustrating for me. Since I’m not sure that it’s the actual machine, I hesitate to go out and drop the coin on a new one if this is just going to keep happening.

Any advice you can give you be much appreciated. Thanks.

I don’t know why, but power supply has sprung up to mind…

A few times I had an issue where my Kickr Core would suddenly switch to forcing me to ride at 50W (as if in Erg mode, even if I was in Standard mode or had a much higher target power). Probably very different than your issue, but reducing signal interference (messing around with Wifi channels; turning off unnecessary Bluetooth devices) seems to have worked for me.

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Yeah, that definitely crossed my mind. I tested my outlets and they are all fine. I would think that if the power block was faulty then the ANT+ and BLE signals would also be cutting in and out, not just the speed/resistance/control-ability of the machine. But I’m not an electrical engineer, so I might just order a new one.

If the resistance goes to zero (or 50W for @mcsenn) on a Kickr, it’s usually indicative of a speed sensor issue. Those have historically been caused by ESD from the power supply. It doesn’t make sense that it would correct itself, but that’s what comes to mind (and is what I had happen on mine).

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Well if that’s the case, then I would be looking for a flaky electrical connection with the speed sensor.

I bought a 2017 Kickr (wheel off / direct drive) and had weird intermittent issues. After several attempts to correct the issue, Wahoo support asked about overhead lights, windows, and shadows. The Kickr has an optical sensor for power and speed estimation. Basically Wahoo told me its possible for your shadow from an overhead light to confuse the optical sensor, or for the same from sunlight/shadows thru a window. The floor in my garage is concrete, and after putting down a black mat the problem went away.

Not saying its your issue, but it was interesting to hear the Wahoo CEO reference that light interference issue during the Kickr Core apology video on DCRainmaker.

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What caught my attention is the groundhog day reset, kinda suggesting there could be a data corruption of some sort, not uncommon to be caused by dirty power or brief outage.

@bbarrera makes a good point about the optical sensor/sunlight. I had similar issues to what you describe, although more consistently (i.e. it wouldn’t go back to normal for long periods). Also had major calibration issues, again not dissimilar to your by the sounds of things.

After making sure all firmware was all up to date, I eventually stumbled upon the troubleshooting walkthrough guides on the Wahoo website. What fixed it for me was the optical sensor troubleshooting. I cleaned it thoroughly with a cotton bud (q-tip), made sure there was zero sunlight hitting that region of the trainer, and everything went back to normal and has been fine since (few months now).

Apologies if you’ve tried all this already.

Well that’s just the strangest thing I have ever heard (the sunlight thing, I mean). Makes total sense, just nothing I would have thought of. I did clean the sensor first off last fall, that didn’t seem to do anything. When the sun is out and I pull the shade up on the window, the trainer is often sitting in direct sunlight. How very bizarre. Of course, not doing that means riding with the window closed, which is less appealing…

Thanks, keep the anecdotes coming!