Overview of Erg rowing Data Collecting Applications

To get your erg data on Rowsandall.com, you need to get the data off the erg and into your phone or computer, so that you have a way of connecting to the internet and uploading your data.

I know there are more erg brands than Concept2, and if there are any users who use other brands and want to use rowsandall.com, just contact me and I can see what we can do for you. For now, this blog post is going to be Concept2 centric.

Here are (in random order), the options you have. I just give a short description for each of them. Later, we will publish detailed how-to guides, although most of the things are straightforward.

Disclaimer

I haven’t tested all these apps personally or purchased their Premium versions. As most of these apps have frequent updates, the information here may not be accurate any more by the time you read it. Feel free to leave a comment for other readers to be aware of the latest info.

RowPro

RowPro is software that runs under Windows and Macintosh on your computer. You connect the PM3, PM4 or PM5 monitor with a standard USB cable. This software is the software of choice if you are into online rowing with others. With this software you can schedule workouts to row online with others, or row offline. RowPro has by far the largest group of online rowers, so there is almost always a scheduled workout you can join. This is great if you get motivated by rowing with others.

Programming the workout from your computer is also much more convenient than doing it on the PM5. On your computer screen, you are rowing against your online friends, or against multiple pace boats.

RowPro connects to an online logbook on digitalrowing.com and has a local logbook. From your logbook, you can export your workout with stroke data to excel (CSV). You can also export your data to the Concept2 logbook. The data export is limited to the standard parameters (time, distance, SPM, heart rate).

The new RowPro version 5 looks good but has some issues. I am sure the issues will be resolved, but I could not save a CSV file when I was offline, so for now it seems safer to stay with v4.

Painsled

Painsled is an iOS (iPhone, iPad) app that does an excellent job at data collection. You can connect to a PM5 using BlueTooth and to PM2, 3, 4 or 5 with a USB connection using the Concept2 iConnectConcept2 cable. With this app, you use the PM to program and execute your workout, and painsled is quietly collecting data in the background. It duplicates the info from the PM and also has a cool stroke force profile view.

After your row, you can select workouts and export stroke data to the Concept2 online logbook, to Strava, or email them to yourself (or to rowsandall.com).

The big differentiator of this app is the wealth of data that are collected and stored. On iOS, this is the only app that gives you peak and average force, drive length, drive time, drive speed, and a few other parameters.

ErgData

ErgData is a free app for iOS and Android, developed by Concept2. It is compatible with PM3, 4 and 5 and with a PM5 you can connect wirelessly using BlueTooth. For PM3 and 4, you need a special adapter to connect to your phone.

A nice feature of ErgData is that it speaks workout data and results, so it is currently the only app for the visually impaired.

The app synchronizes the data directly to the Concept2 online logbook, from where you can import the data to Rowsandall.com.

As this app is maintained by Concept2, this one is probably the safest bet in terms of integration with the Concept2 online logbook. However, the online logbook API only allows to import the basic parameters (time, distance, heart rate, strokes per minute), so if you like your esoteric parameters, you should look elsewhere.

BoatCoach

BoatCoach is a free Android app. In terms of parameters captured, it is on par with Painsled. Data export is easy through CSV files. In the app, you can set your email address, and data are automatically emailed to your email account. From there, you can manually upload data to rowsandall.com or send them per email. The data export in BoatCoach is a Premium feature (paid upgrade).

The BoatCoach app also allows erging with friends, using nothing more than your Android phones. You can program workouts from your phone, and do basic data visualization in the app.

ErgStick/Float App

ErgStick is a hardware addon to the PM3 or PM4 monitor to enable wireless data transfer to your phone. The Float app (formerly ErgStick) also connects wirelessly to PM5 monitors. With the paid upgrade (data pack), you can email your data to yourself. The CSV file can be uploaded to Rowsandall.com.

The data are limited to the standard parameters (SPM, heart rate, time, distance). The cool thing about ErgStick is that you add wireless connectivity to any PM, including the one in the gym, at the rowing club, or in the hotel gym.

Which App is the best?

That depends entirely on your needs. What prevents you from trying out a few and then deciding what is best for you?

Also, nothing prevents you from running a couple of apps simultaneously. I am personally quite excited about the possibilities of running RowPro through USB and Painsled through Bluetooth. It works. RowPro for the motivation factor of rowing online with other rowers, and for ease of setting up complex interval workouts. Painsled to capture the data for analysis on Rowsandall.com

  • Richard

    The Ergstick doesn’t seem to work with PM’s that are made before 2008.
    “PM3 monitors manufactured before 2008 will not work with ErgStick.”

    This was also the case with the C2 iConnect Cable and thus ErgData.

    “Issue 4

    All PM5s and some older PM3s have been found to be incompatible with the original version (shipped prior to March 2013) of the iConnectConcept2 cable. If you are purchasing a new iConnectConcept2 cable (that is, a cable shipped March 2013 or later), it will work with your PM, provided you update your firmware.

    PM3 Users
    If you are having problems with your older PM3 and one of the original cables, please check your monitor and refer to the following information:

    If your PM3 serial number starts with 1000, 2000 or 3000, your monitor will likely not work with the original cable.
    If your PM3 serial number starts with 3001 and:
    The hardware version is between 200 and 435, your monitor will likely not work with the original cable.
    The hardware version is above 435, your monitor should work with the original cable, provided you are running the latest firmware.
    If your PM3 serial number starts with 3002 or 4000, your monitor should work with the original cable.

    To determine your PM’s serial number, look at the label on the monitor caseback; the serial number is printed above the bar code.

    To determine your PM’s hardware version:

    From the PM Main Menu, select More Options > Utilities > Product ID. The hardware version will be listed on the resulting screen.

    Resolution

    Contact Concept2 to arrange to exchange your iConnectConcept2 cable at no charge.”

    From the notes on Painsled this doesn’t seem to be an issue and it even connects to the PM2 as well. Is that definitely correct that it can connect to a PM2? Does a PM2 have a USB connection that will let it connect to a phone/tablet?

    I have an older PM3 (2004) on my home erg and it connects to the Windows Google Chrome App version of PainSled with no issues. My club has a mix of PM3’s and PM4’s but no PM5’s 🙁

    I have been reluctant to get the C2 cable because of the original cable problem and also that it has the old 28 pin Apple connector. I have been waiting for the LiveRowing cable to come out with Lightning connector, which it seems British Rowing will even stock, I hope the first gen of this cable does not have the old PM3 issue.

    Does LiveRowing allow data export?

    Another thing to note for Android users and PM3’s and PM4’s. The cable is a lot cheaper, but a lot of Android phones do not have USB Host / USB OTG (On The Go) support either the hardware is not right or even when it is the manufacturer has left out the drivers from the firmware to enable it. Android phones that support it are the more expensive mainstream phones but any Android phone that is sub £300 sim free price will probably not connect to a PM3/PM4 via a cable. I am playing with a cheap Alcatel Android phone that will need routing and a ‘USB Host Y cable’. Anyone know again of any issues of connecting an Android phone via USB Host Cable to older PM3’s?

    • Thanks Richard for the comments. This will be useful for users checking if their setup is good for data analytics.
      I haven’t tested LiveRowing in the full, and as Rowsandall.com currently is not supporting it, I have no incentive to do.
      However, I encourage LiveRowing and their users to contact me. I will be happy to enable LiveRowing users to use Rowsandall.com.
      I have a CSV standard that I guarantee will be processed correctly. There is an API in development (it’s already up but it is in beta). And finally, if their own CSV file is sensible, and creating a parser is not too much work, I can add support for parsing native LiveRowing files.

  • Richard

    A little thing to add about USB Host / USB OTG on Android phones, sometimes you do not have to ‘root’ the phone sometimes installing the correct drivers is all it needs. Instructions for this can be found here – http://rfexplorer.com/usb-host-mode/
    I have noticed even some of the most recent top of the range Android phones do not have USB Host (OTG) activated as standard.

    What is the issue with Android phones. Some Micro/Mini USB ports don’t give out any voltage (5V I think it is) the port needs to output to in a sense switch on the device it is connecting to. This is where my Y-Cable idea comes in as power can be sent to the PM at the same time as connecting to is. Alcatel needs rooting because the manufacturer locks the firmware so you can not add the required drivers. USB Hosting is normally listed against your phone if it has it if you search your Android phone on – http://www.gsmarena.com

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