Stages to Garmin 530 pairing - Bluetooth or Ant+

I’m pretty sure I had my Stages connected via Ant+. From time to time, I was getting tons of power drops. I swapped batteries, rebooted everything, reset everything, and then everything was fine for a while and then I started getting dropouts again.

I thought maybe it was interference because I was using some new bluetooth headphones.

Anyway, I finally deleted and repaired the Stages to my 530 and everything has been perfect. Now, I see that it connected via BLE (bluetooth).

Is there a preferred protocol? I thought Ant+ was the best but since BLE is working fabulously right now I’ll just leave it.

As long as it works, it does not really matter. Some people have better success with one vs the other for various reasons.

^ thats what I’m thinking too. FWIW I have Stages and previously a 520 (and a 530 for over a year). The 520/Stages combo was notorious for dropouts, however I rarely had dropouts. My engineering brain long ago hypothesized that putting the speed sensor is on my front wheel would reduce radio interference. I’ve got the following on my bike:

  • speed sensor front wheel
  • Stages crank power meter
  • Varia radar (gent1) and Flare RT rear light on seat post

I realize with radio signals that nothing is simple, but my hypothesis was putting the speed sensor on the front wheel was “better” than the rear wheel from an interference point-of-view. Not sure why, but it seems everyone in our club puts the speed sensor on the rear wheel. FWIW, in case you have a speed sensor on the rear wheel or somewhere near the crank.

The issues that I had heard with Bluetooth le were the number of synchronous connections to each device, but I could be wrong. For example, if you were using that sensor and wanted it connected to both zwift and trainerroad, ant+ allowed it but Bluetooth wouldn’t. Then again, could be wrong.

And, since you are only pairing to your bike computer, it’s likely irrelevant. You have a good solution that doesn’t drop and should stick with it.

Generally it is preferred to connect via ANT+. Not only can it handle multiple connections, but also in general it is a more robust protocol for sports data.

However, if you are getting dropouts, interference, etc, it is worth trying Bluetooth. iirc, Bluetooth is less susceptible than ANT+ interference from other EMF sources (eg. wifi) that may be common in a home training environment.

I’m not longer seeing dropouts while riding the trainer but I can no longer calibrate my Stages from the 530 nor from the Stages app after it has already connected to the 530 via bluetooth.

I’m going to have to try repairing it with Ant+ and see whether the constant dropouts come back.

Edit: another new development is that the Garmin 530 is also telling me every ride that it’s battery is low when it’s 70-80-90%.

I had the same battery warning when connected via bluetooth (stages and 530) and also only ever got a 1 calibration. Connected via ant+ and no battery warning errors and calibration from 880-920 depending on temp.

Does anyone know the trick to connecting a Stages to a 530 using Ant+. I only ever see a BLE option. I’ve searched the internet and the forum and keep coming up short.

Just had a thought - could I disable bluetooth on the 530 before pairing the Stages?

if having a problem then I’d reset the Stages by opening the battery case, reversing the battery to reset, and reinstalling the battery.

I figured it out. I had to disable the bluetooth connected version of the power meter first and then it would show the ant+ connection when adding a power meter sensor.

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Hi there!
I recently bought a variaclight and as soon as I linked to My edge unit (530) my stages powermeter went wild giving me abnormal high readings or not reading at all
After I disconnected the light, the powermeter came to life but, here comes the but! With abnormally high calibrated numbers either in the app or in the edge unit.
Right now I’m waiting (comfortably seated) for stages cycling to respond

Weird. My first step would be to reset the unit by reversing the battery in each PM, then putting new batteries in the PM. And if that didn’t work the next step is contacting Stages support.

If you disconnect the Varia light, does the Stages once again work correctly?

Personally I’d suspect the Garmin with Garmin’s long track record of software glitches.

FWIW, it might help to check for updates on the Varia. You can connect it to your computer with Garmin Express and do any firmware updates.