Suunto with barometric altimeter worth it?
I have an ambit 3 peak with barometric altimeter and this past weekend I went on a hike with two friends, one of them had an ambit 3 sports (no barometer). How is it possible that the ambit 3 sport recorded a much accurate track, in terms of elevation gain and reached altitudes?
We climbed 4 peaks that are higher than 3000 meters, but the elevation profile of my track only has one peak reaching above the 3000 meters, while the friend with the ambit 3 sport has a more accurate elevation profile of the hike. Needless to say that during the hike, our altitude readings were off, mine always below the correct altitude.
Before starting the hike I did not check the altitude reading of my watch. I know that for best precision, it is recommended that you enter manually the known altitude (or use the autoreference of fusedalti), but some times the autoreference takes way too long, and I had bad experiences with the manual entry (wrong elevation profile).
This has not been the first time that my watch goes nuts with the altitude. It makes me wonder if watches with baro are worth the overprice when it is so hard to get accurate data and other watches with no baro don’t have these problems.
The profile of the activity was set on altimeter.
Baro is worth the price but can also be faulty.
If only sometimes, it could just be dirty and needs cleaning (it is just a sensor into the watch behind some small holes). If issues are frequent, sensor could be defective.
Or fusedalti didn’t run properly for some reasons.
@Mff73 thanks for the response.
How can I clean the barometric sensor of my phone?
I understand that there are several things that can go wrong when using a watch with baro, but it puzzles me when I see cheaper watches having less issues with the altitude data just because they don’t have a barometer. it makes me wonder if it’s worth the cost.
@ivansalas saok the watch in lukewarm water for some hours. Shake it in the water and blow into the holes.
Search the forum for more tips as this has been discussed before.
Perhaps you where wearing some clothes over the watch and your friend not. These could be a good reason for a better track of a non baro device.
Or any of the ideas coming from others…
Anyway, if you buy a non-baro dev, you will regret (this is my experience)
@ivansalas did you have FusedAlti on?
From the sound of your trip it’s possible that your elevation profile was affected by changing barometric pressure, especially on a long day traversing four 3,000 m peaks. Since you had the watch set at altimeter mode, any change in pressure was interpreted as elevation delta. I suspect the barometer was somewhat rising that weekend so it may have kept reducing your interpreted altitude through the day (or not increasing it as much as it should have). This could be the case if you didn’t have FusedAlti on.
That said, assuming your pressure sensor isn’t faulty, pressure sensor watches are great tools in steeper terrain where GPS interpreted elevation isn’t terribly good and also at basecamp/bivy as a barometer for monitoring weather. Given what you’re doing it’s a tool to have, assuming it works
@Umer-Javed I always have FusedAlti on. The profile of the activity was set on altimeter because I knew we were going on steep terrain. My friend and I were not wearing anything that would cover the watches.
The elevation error was not the only issue during that day. My watch messed up the track by recording points very far away from where we actually were. The result was a track with straight lines connecting diferent points during the first half of the hike.
When we reached the highest summit, my watch started tracking properly, even though the altitude was a bit off. It is true that during the first ascent we did, which was when the watch didn’t record the track well, there were fast winds on the summits we reached, so it could be due changes on atmosphere pressure.
As I said, it is not the first time my watch goes nuts with the elevation when I go to the mountains, specially if it’s windy up there. I thought the FusedAlti was there to fix those problems. When I go for a run where I live, which is pretty flat, I never had any issue.
@ivansalas Fused Alti is a really cool feature. It just needs a certain quality of GPS reception (enough satellites in view with a good VDOP value). If you are climbing a steep wall and experience GPS problems, it is super likely, that FusedAlti could not kick in due to poor reception.
AFAIK it does not try forever. If it can’t get good enough GPS signals for a certain time at the beginning of the move, it won’t keep trying - at least iT#s been like this with the Spartans.
Then you get what the pressure sensor delivers (and if it is wind or dirt affected, it is not good)…
That’s the way, this technology works. Sometimes good to know where the limitations of technology are.
@Fenr1r we were on a remote area with poor phone signal, so I could not update de gps using the Suunto App. That day I chose not to use the auto reference feature of FusedAlti because on other ocasions I spent 30 min waiting for the watch to get accurate altitude with no luck. Any advice on how to proceed in these situations?
@ivansalas aGPS is basically loading data of the GPS satellites in the memory, to give the system an easier and quicker start.
Tha data loaded are valid for a few days, so if you can load it prior to your tour it should help.
During use the data is constantly updated through the GPS system itself - it is just very slow.
Still if you are in a deep valley or similar the watch can struggle - put it in an open space facing the sky prior to starting the tour can help (I understand, that’s what you did). Like if you still pack your gear, the watch can sit on a rock and try getting data.
If this is not successful, there is nothing more to do. a few weeks ago I was in the same situation where GPS reception just was not possible. I tried all systems and finally the additional use of the GLONASS satellites helped and provided a proper positioning.
@Egika thanks for the advice. As I said, I had problems before getting gps positioning on deep valleys or remote areas. Next time I will try to get a GPS update at the closest area with phone signal before going deep into the valley, since some times I cannot wait there waiting for the watch to get GPS positioning because I need to be careful with the timing of the hike/route.
@ivansalas Also, if it looks like you’re setting off without a good fix, attach the watch to the top/shoulder strap of a rucksack (if anyone’s got one) with its face getting as much sky as possible on the ascent. That both improves the watch antenna-satellite geometry vs swinging by your side AND means it will be harder for you to get annoyed at seeing the wrong altitude every time you glance at your wrist.
Re-don the watch when you notice it’s getting things right or when your friends get fed up with your checking.