Warning! Radio frequency interference may be affecting your training
February 23rd, 2011 by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
“When gadgets talk to each other unintentionally, the results can be a wireless mess.” John Herrman
I have recently been bothered by erratic power readings during training. The readings were inconsistent and jumping more than normal. It was terrible coming back from a training ride and finding that my average power did not match my perceived effort.
I was convinced my Power Tap was experiencing interference, but just couldn’t pin point what it was interfering with, until yesterday!
While reading the March issue of Popular Mechanics magazine , I came across a very informative article called “Fighting RF interference – when gadgets talk to each other unintentionally, the result can be a wireless mess” by John Herrman.
The article points out that most gadgets communicate wirelessly in a very limited frequency spectrum. This phenomenon leads to radio frequency interference, RFI.
“RFI takes many forms, and they’re all ugly: a humming microwave chokes a Wifi connection, a baby monitor brims with noise; an audio recording made with a laptop fizzles and pops. RFI has been an irritant throughout mankind’s love affair with electronics, particularly with wireless gadgets.”
RFI is common at home or in the work place due to the large variety of electonics, but it took me a while to realise how easily this can happen on the bike as well.
The article brought to my attention that my blackberry wifi could have been causing the interference with my Power Tap during training. Wifi operates on 2.4-GHz frequency and so does the Wire-less ANT+ Power Tap.
Today I rode with my blackberry in my pocket, but turned off the wifi, and I am much happier with the power readings!
Finally I’ve cracked it, thanks to Popular Mechanics!