Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Fortius, i-Magic , Cosmos, Flow , upgrade kits

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richos
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Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by richos » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:01 pm

When my ten-year old Tacx Fortius finally wears out, I still want to make use of the Real Life DVDs and downloads which I now use exclusively. Those DVDs are loaded on a tower PC which does not have bluetooth, though I understand an attachment can be bought.

The real question is this: If I replace my Fortius, with it's control unit mounted to the handlebar, with cables running to the PC, and go with the Neo Smart, how do I control the software? Presumably I'll need to get TTS4, right? Do I then operate the software with my mouse (hopefully NEAR the bike)? Do I have to replace the PC with a laptop, and at that, something that mounts to the bars, namely a tablet?

It really amounts to two questions: 1) How much hardware and software needs to be replaced; 2) where are the "controls" to start, stop, and change screens with TTS4 if using one of the smart trainers?

With TTS3 of course, the control unit on the handlebar allows you to manipulate the program, switching display modes, as you run through a Real LIfe DVD course. But with an aging motor brake unit as the supposed culprit, I am seeing more frequent software failures, e.g., the program stopping/jerking part way through a course, or program failure when you try to save a session. So after 10 years and several motor brake replacements, it would be nice to be clear on how to replace the Fortius, while retaining use of all the DVDs.
-Rich of Eagan, MN

thebigoneinfront
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by thebigoneinfront » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:56 am

You will need TTS 4 to control the Neo. TTS4 can use the wired interface (assume you have the T1932 white/blue ring) in parallel to the wireless ANT connection to the trainer, so in principle you could keep using your interface to control the software. The Neo comes with a 100 € voucher to be used on the „Smart Upgrade“ that is a combo of TTS4, the Tacx ANT antenna and a wireless handlebar interface unit to control TTS4 much like the wired interface does. Depending on your style requirements or budget, you can choose between the Smart Upgrade or getting only TTS4, a generic ANT USB stick plus 1.5 m extension cable and continue using your wired interface.

You may want to check whether your PC is up to the requirements of TTS4. If you see software issues, I’d rather suspect an ageing PC than an ageing brake.) There is no need for a laptop/notebook and I‘d always prefer a desktop PC unless I need to move it around. The Neo can be controlled by either Bluetooth or ANT, TTS 4 uses ANT.

You will be able to continue using your TTS 3 RLVs in TTS 4.

richos
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by richos » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:50 am

Looking at the Recommended and Minimum system requirements for TTS4, it's likely I'd have to replace the PC I'm using with the Tacx Fortius, so when that time comes, I'll be asking about transferring Real Life DVDs to the new PC.

I do have a T1942, which looks to serve the same purpose as the T1932. The T1942 has a wire connected to the motor brake, a cable for steering, and the cable to the USB slot on the PC. It would be nice to use the cable to the PC to control the software, because it's not clear to me how else this is done short of having a tablet with a touch screen in front of me. Or does the Tacx Neo Smart come with some sort of handlebar mounted controller?

As for the software issues I'm seeing now with TTS 3.13, a lot of them seem to have to do with the T1946 motor brake, as they occur while I'm running DVDs that I've also done before with no issues. Typically the DVD will stall, I'll stop pedaling, and it'll jerk ahead, or whatever. Twice I've seen a "Too Hot" message. Another issue is when the Tacx fails to save a course you've completed--this may be related to having too many saved courses.

I've replaced the T1946 more than once, even tried to fix one, and don't see buying another (even if I can find one for sale). Nor would I care to replace the T1949.50 Motor Brake Adapter--they're way too expensive. So it's just a matter of knowing when the time comes(?)
-Rich of Eagan, MN

thebigoneinfront
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by thebigoneinfront » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:44 am

richos wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:50 am
Or does the Tacx Neo Smart come with some sort of handlebar mounted controller?
That handlebar mounted controller is part of the „Smart Upgrade“. The Neo comes with a 100€ voucher to be used on that Smart Upgrade. The other parts of the Smart Upgrade are TTS 4 (advanced version) and the Tacx ANT antenna.

The Smart Upgrade now comes at 179 € in the Tacx webshop, so you can get those three items at 79 € using that voucher. The basic version of TTS 4 comes at 65 €, the advanced at 125 €, you may need an ANT antenna anyhow, so if you don’t have TTS 4 yet it‘s a no-brainer to get the Upgrade and have the controller on top.

If you need a new PC anyhow, you have the freedom to get something with Bluetooth that will run the Tacx Desktop App (now in beta). Downloading and riding RLVs will be subject to a monthly flat fee (to be announced), so this would mean ditching your present DVDs and downloading newer versions of the RLVs. The video quality has been skyrocketing since the DVD days, and I‘d say that if you go TDA once you won’t go back.

richos
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Location: USA, Eagan, MN

Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by richos » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:14 pm

When the time comes, I would like to retain the use of my 22 DVDs and my several downloads, now loaded on the old PC--with the Euros invested in all of these, I'd rather not ditch them unless this monthly flat fee turns out to be quite low, which I doubt will be the case. So I would hope I could transfer all the courses to the new PC, and continue to use them with the flat screen TV (I'd probably replace the 12-year old 50 inch 720P Samsung with a like-sized 4K version). And continue to use them without necessarily being connected to the internet. I would presume I could do all this, i.e., retain this as an option, right?

I do appreciate all the replies I'm getting here, as it's getting clearer and clearer to me how us users of the old Tacx Fortius set-ups would go about replacing all of our investment.
-Rich of Eagan, MN

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Alex Masalovich
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by Alex Masalovich » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:03 pm

richos wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:14 pm
So I would hope I could transfer all the courses to the new PC, and continue to use them
Do not worry, there is such an opportunity. The shortest way:
1) copy the tts-files from this folder on the old computer
C:\ProgramData\Tacx\TrainerSoftware\TTS3\Trainings\RLV
to this folder on the new computer
C:\ProgramData\Tacx\TrainerSoftware\TTS4\Trainings\RLV
2) specify the path to the avi-files from the TTS4 (these files can be stored on an external disk or in any other convenient place).

Do not forget that to use RLVs on a new computer, you need to deactivate the license on the old computer. To unify the situation, I think it would be advisable to install both programs on the new computer: TTS3 and TTS4.
Тренируйтесь много, отдыхайте ещё больше!

mcorn
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by mcorn » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:57 pm

Alex Masalovich wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:03 pm
Do not forget that to use RLVs on a new computer, you need to deactivate the license on the old computer. To unify the situation, I think it would be advisable to install both programs on the new computer: TTS3 and TTS4.
I think it is probably self-evident form what Alex has advised, but you have to deactivate before you uninstall as deactivation is done within the program.

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wasupwitdat1
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by wasupwitdat1 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:50 am

I think but may be wrong here but it was stated that this is an old PC running the Fortious? Then I assume that PC is a 32Bit operating system because Fortius did not work on 64Bit. It also goes without saying then that TTS4 needs a 64Bit operating system. And although TTS4 works on Windows 10, it works better on Windows 7. Windows 7 operating system can be purchased for about $20 now. Microsoft is still providing security updates for 7 but soon will stop. If the time has come to replace the trainer and the PC then you are probably looking at starting from scratch and I would go with TDA if that was your choice because it is working great on Windows 10. Then you should be good to go for the next 10 years hopefully.
NEO W2017
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mcorn
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by mcorn » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:57 am

The Fortius trainer is 64-bit compatible. The old Fortius software is not. I think he was using TTS3.

TTS3 and TTS4 work on both a 32-bit and 64-bit OS.

He was thinking about the Neo, which I think will only run with TTS4 and TDA

thebigoneinfront
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by thebigoneinfront » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:55 pm

In my comments, I also assumed TTS 3 ist at issue because this is mentioned in the last paragraph of the initial post.

The Neo is connected as ANT FE-C trainer, and ANT FE-C support was added to TTS 4 years after the last update to TTS 3, so I don‘t think TTS 3 supports the Neo, or ever will.

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Alex Masalovich
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by Alex Masalovich » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:27 pm

Support for the ANT + FE-C protocol has been added since version 4.16.2. However, one of the users claims that he managed to connect the Neo to version 4.13:
waywardcyclist wrote:
Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:42 pm
then the Neo yesterday still on 4.13 and the speed calculations were way way off
I suspect that if there is no support for the ANT + FE-C protocol, the Flux and Neo trainers pretend to be other models, in particular Flux pretends to be Vortex (we found out that they have the same firmware).
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richos
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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by richos » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:16 pm

My "old" PC is not the original one I used with the trainer. It is an ASUS CM1730:
Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 220 2.8GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

It would seem to meet the TTS4 Minimum system requirements. I could conceivably double the memory and install Windows 10, per TTS4 Recommended system requirements. I would still be concerned with the CPU speed, which even now running TTS 3.13.0, seems to cause the software program to have issues after running past a certain time threshold (though never earlier than 87 minutes into a session, in my experience).

Maybe the time and cost savings wouldn't be enough to warrant using the old PC, versus replacing it. It would I think depend on that old PC processor speed while handling TTS4, and whether it could greatly reduce or eliminate the issues I'm seeing 5-10% of the time I'm using the trainer these days.
-Rich of Eagan, MN

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Re: Replacing the Fortius with the Neo Smart

Post by mcorn » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:31 pm

richos wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:16 pm
My "old" PC is not the original one I used with the trainer. It is an ASUS CM1730:
Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 220 2.8GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

It would seem to meet the TTS4 Minimum system requirements. I could conceivably double the memory and install Windows 10, per TTS4 Recommended system requirements. I would still be concerned with the CPU speed, which even now running TTS 3.13.0, seems to cause the software program to have issues after running past a certain time threshold (though never earlier than 87 minutes into a session, in my experience).

Maybe the time and cost savings wouldn't be enough to warrant using the old PC, versus replacing it. It would I think depend on that old PC processor speed while handling TTS4, and whether it could greatly reduce or eliminate the issues I'm seeing 5-10% of the time I'm using the trainer these days.
Rich-

There are some modest and inexpensive improvements you can do to help your Asus desktop. Your CPU is a weak performer by today's standards. You can purchase a used AMD 3GHz Phenom II X4 for about $25 on eBay. Look for a B95 HDXB95WFK4DGI. This CPU uses up to 95 watts, has 4 cores, is a bit faster, and has L3 cache. Some Phenoms in this category go up to 125 watt, which might exceed your power supply and motherboard limits. Your current CPU is 65 watt, so you should be okay with a 95 watt CPU. Upgrading you memory to 8 GB would help as well. I have done this upgrade on a couple of my AMD-based PC's and have been pleased.

Of course, to do this, you have to have some familiarity with CPU replacement, including removal, thermal paste, installation, and how to remove and install a CPU fan. I would go to the ASUS website to confirm this CPU is compatible with your motherboard. I would be very surprised if it was not compatible.

Follow-Up. It looks like your PC has an Asus M4A78LT-M motherboard and it appears to support up to a 125 watt Phenom II CPU. Not sure about your power supply, so it would be safer to stay with a 95 watt CPU. You can get the manual for your motherboard here. The manual will help if you want to make some upgrades:

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/soc ... 1512331086

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