Continued frustration.

So I've been following this forum, probably too much, (a bit like Googling ones medical symptoms, will just make things worse) seem there are bugs and issues, and speculation of whether things are HW or SW issues. I have been hanging on to my device in the hope that it is SW and will be fixed, I like the garmin ecosystem.

My problem is still the barometer, I liked being able to compare elevation with pace and HR on my VA hr. But on my VA 3 the barometer has not worked at all. And have had no elevation data. Viewing an elevation graph on a saved activity, the graph is wildly erratic and bearing no relation to the ascents and descents of the route. Calibrated before the activity! It has been an education researching barometers, GPS and elevation.

I did a simple test using the ambient pressure widget on the watch and weather reports and a local weather station at an airport under 10 miles away. Today's reading is 1010 mb verses the watch saying 965 mb, the barometer on my phone is reading an ambient pressure of 1001 mb, watches ambient pressure reading is 954 mb. When I recalibrate the elevation the pressure readings will change too? And then elevation readings can fluctuate anywhere from minus figures to over 500m. In a very short time, Without a pressure change.

I have mainly had auto calibrate selected in settings, which I don't think has any effect at all, for example saving a position with the navigation app will give you a lat. and long. Obviously using the GPS, but also gives an elevation of what ever the barometer happens to be set to at the time, it seems the VA 3 doesn't use the GPS to get an elevation reading at all. I suppose my question is has anyone had similar experiences, and trying to find out if it is a hw issue with my device or if it is sw, and if it is sw is there anyone with more experience with garmin products to speculate on how long we might have to wait for a update. Sorry for the long post by the way.
  • Former Member
    0 Former Member over 2 years ago
    In my thread "Auto calibration of altimeter", I stumbled upon a fix for my watch. It's been working fine since. I won't guarantee anything, but it may work for you too. Also, after I complete an activity, I can select that activity in Garmin Connect on my PC (haven't tried on my mobile) and then enable the GPS correction. This doesn't change the graph for some reason, but it does correct the numeric value to the correct reading. I was doing this prior to fixing my altimeter problem. I hope these work out for you if you decide to give them a shot.

    I think you're correct in saying that the VA3 doesn't use GPS for elevation readings. I can manually calibrate any number and then use navigate or any number of apps that use GPS and the elevation is always whatever figure I imputed. After researching, I've learned the watch needs to be calibrated very often (I do it ever other day or prior to starting an activity that requires GPS) so the watch gets a base elevation which the barometer will then make adjustments on weather/pressure. Without calibrating often, the readings will keep changing until they are absolutely ridiculous. Enabling the GPS elevation correction will change your elevation based on your route using known elevation. I suspect from either Google Maps or the USGS for those in the US.
  • Cheers will check the thread out. Have tried the elevation correction on the pc if that is what you mean, but hadn't noticed a change, but I will try it again now. Edit just tried the elevation correction and yes see figures that makes sense, is a shame that the graph does not change though. So you have been getting reasonable elevation readings from the barometer after a factory reset? I had tried that but not for awhile.
  • I am not sure how they are correcting the "corrected elevations" but the data is still considerably off from the data from my county GIS. [and that is true for both the The data from my county GIS pretty much matches the elevation data from Garmin Basecamp ]. If it was important to you you could export the data as a gpx file, import to basecamp and have basecamp fix the elevations.

    So, as far as I can tell, neither one is right but the other thing is the elevation gain. VERY different but if I do that math from a low elevation to a high elevation on the same walk using both approaches (corrected or not), the difference is the same. BUT For a one mile route through my neighborhood it is 80 feet elevation gain using the altimer and 121 feet using the
    corrected" map. Yikes. The CORRECT answer is 79' using the County GIS map data (and Garmin Basecamp) So I would say the altimeter is pretty darned good at getting differences right even if the baseline elevation is off and I would rather rely on data with the correction disabled since what I mainly care about is "how much did I climb" - If I really need to know I will slap that data on a map.
  • Former Member
    0 Former Member over 2 years ago
    OK. Your barometer is working and GIS map data is off for you. The problem we're experiencing is faulty barometer readings off my 100's of feet, and in my case Google Maps or USGS (whichever is used for my location) is more precise. Trusting my 167' barometer reading at a known elevation of 470' would be foolish. Using elevation correction that shows me around 460-480' is far more accurate.
  • Perhaps I was not clear. The barometer is way off. But the DELTA between points A and B on the map is spot on and for some reason when you use the "corrected" values they do not match a confirmed GIS map which is also consistent with the topo map in basecamp.

    The problem I see with the corrected map is that the elevation gain for the route is incorrect.. By the GIS map and Basecamp I know there is 80 feet worth of climbing in my one mile track. By the barometric altimeter, there is 80 feet of climbing. By using the "corrected" elevation data in Garmin Correct, I an elevation differnece of about 140.

    Either way with the barometric altimeter or the corrected values the actual elevation values are wrong. You elevation correction appears to be working for you. Mine is way off.
  • Former Member
    0 Former Member over 2 years ago
    That's interesting. My elevation was way off using the altimeter, but the elevation gain was correct. When I use elevation correction in Connect, the graph doesn't change, nor does my elevation gain. The only thing changed is the elevation which is now based on GPS only.

    Update: When I was having problems I went for a neighborhood walk. The altimeter gave me and elevation reading of 304' (470' actual) and an elevation gain of 20' After I used elevation correction in Connect is was showing 467' with a 20' gain. I just assumed it corrected the elevation, but not the gain. I guess it's possible that GPS records also has my gain as 20'. Now I'm going to have to do a test elsewhere and see if the gain from the barometer follows the elevation correction in Connect, or if it was just a coincidence.
  • I will have to check it out other places as well but I consistently get a difference in "elevation gain" when I toggle the "disable" or "enable" drop down - definitely will confirm the elevation from the altimeter is off for me from between 25 and 100 feet so far.
  • Well did a factory reset and went out today, the barometer is still as erratic as it had been, although I did get steps back, Small bonuses.
  • Maybe the problem is about your Vivoactive 3 Altimeter? You should make sure it's updated to latest version however it didn't solve my issue with defining correct level tending to claim I am always downhill. I'll give up soon and ask website for a help.

  • Edit just tried the elevation correction and yes see figures that makes sense, is a shame that the graph does not change though. So you have been getting reasonable elevation site readings from the barometer after a factory reset? I had tried that but not for awhile