Wahoo Element Bolt Woes

I have had an Element Bolt for several years that has served me well on outdoor rides. Indoors I use my phone to control the trainer for TR workouts. Currently I’m crossing the country on the TransAmerica Trail. I’ve run through rainstorms in Wyoming and Colorado with no issues with my bolt. In Missouri, I ran into rain and the bolt started acting up., starting and stopping rides spontaneously and changing pages without any button input. After spending the night on the charger, it worked fine and I had no further problems until the day before yesterday. Ran into quite a bit of hard rain in eastern Kentucky and western Virginia. The first day, the bolt developed black lines on the screen that coalesced into a total black screen except for the bottom line of data. I went ahead and used it, I figured it could record the ride and I’d download it later. Yesterday, it worked for a short time then started spontaneously changing pages, then completely bricked. Right now it’s dead. Doesn’t charge, or at least no LED’s come on when charging.
I’ve been in touch with Wahoo, and all they offer after warranty is a 40% price break on a replacement unit. Anyone else had problems with a Bolt in the rain?

Your description of the quickly appearing problem leading to complete failure sounds exactly like what happened to my Wahoo TICKR FIT HRM about 3 weeks after its 1 year warranty expired a few months ago.

Unfortunately, electronics just break sometimes. And seems like Wahoo’s tend to have more of the completely breaking issues versus the slightly buggy issues in my experience. FWIW, I’ve had many a Wahoo head unit drenched in water without any problems.

If you’re in the middle of a cross country trip and need a working computer ASAP, I think you’re going to have to suck it up and head into the local sporting goods store and just buy another bike computer.

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Sounds like potential water ingress.

Have you checked your Bolt’s case for cracks or other gaps? I’ve had broken rubber on the right-hand buttons on mine, noticed it before water could get in (and put on a silicone case).
Could just be bad luck / any other cause, of course.

If you decide to pick up the Bolt v2: I did, and I think it’s a good upgrade, especially overall design and screen wise.

Unfortunately I know multiple people who have had issues with wahoos in the rain (including me). I currently have a 1.5 year old roam that is starting to get water under the screen.

OK. If the darn thing is dead anyway, then maybe it’s worth considering disassembling it, and then putting the unit in a bowl of rice. I’ve heard immersion in (uncooked!) rice described as one way to dry out electronics that have water ingress. It’s not guaranteed to work, but I’ve had it work once for me. I would guess that opening your unit up will be more effective, but you could also try just dunking it in rice without opening, wait about 24h, then see if it powers on. Then try disassembly + rice dunk.

Here is a Youtube vid that shows how to disassemble a Bolt. They did suggest that you’ll need a heat gun to soften the glue. Also, there’s no way the unit will be as waterproof as before after you close it back up. Unless you re-glued it, I guess. And if this sounds too complicated to do, then TBH 40% off a new Bolt (I assume the v2?) actually sounds reasonable.

At this point, I might insert a comment about how electronics are effectively consumables like your drivetrain parts. I guess their expected lifespan is on par or better with chainrings (provided you keep your drivetrain reasonably clean). Yeah, that’s the price we pay for data. I guess you have nothing to really lose if you try the dry in rice method.

I had put it in rice overnight, and had no change in brick status. On the trip there is no hair dryer or heat gun. I will probably take it apart when I get back home. Given that it went belly up at an inconvenient time, I may jump to another ecosystem like Garmin or Karoo.