There are three simple steps to be up and running:

1. Install the power meter*
2. Pair the head unit
3. Zero the power meter

*All power meters shipped from the factory after August 14, 2014 have accelerometer-based cadence. This includes the Quarq ELSA RS and SRAM XX1 power meters. Quarq power meters with an LED and CR2032 battery are backwards compatible with accelerometer cadence. Switch it on by installing the latest firmware using Qalvin. Accelerometer cadence is a replacement for magnet-based cadence. You do not need to install a magnet. All other power meters must use a magnet to function. The magnet wakes the power meter and measures cadence. Cadence is required to calculate, display and record power output. When you zero the power meter – using Qalvin or the head unit’s Calibrate command – the power meter returns a zero offset. The zero offset is a good way to measure and track the health of your power meter. See Operation for more. In some cases you require your bike or frame manufacturer's manual to complete a power meter installation. If you are uncomfortable installing the power meter yourself, your local bicycle store and its qualified mechanics will have the necessary tools and expertise.

Garmin Head Units and Sport Watches

We created a Quick Menu Guide for Garmin Head Units to aid set-up with popular Garmin Edge® head units and Forerunner® sport watches. To display power data on Garmin head units, you must add a Power data field to one of the data pages. Another important change is to record every second, which gives you complete data:

Menu › Settings › Data Recording › Record Data Points (Every Second)

We recommend setting Data Averaging to Do Not Include Zeros for Cadence and Include Zeros for Power.

For comprehensive display and analysis we suggest setting up the following data pages and fields:

Page 1: Ride
Power – 3s Avg., Cadence, Time, Distance/Speed

Page 2: Intervals
Power – 3s Avg., Power – Lap, Time – Lap, Laps

Page 3: Totals
Time, Distance, Power – Avg., Normalized Power, Cadence – Avg., Total Ascent, Power – kJ, Training Stress Score On the Edge® 500, which can display a maximum of 8 fields, you may want to swap a field for Speed – Avg. or Intensity Factor.

Pages 4-5 can be used for ascent and descent, grade, time of day and, on some models, sunset. No one wants to be caught in the dark without lights.

Keep your head unit’s firmware up-to-date to ensure trouble free operation and don’t forget to press Start or you won’t record anything! Press Stop and Reset to save your ride. Failing to press Reset merges the current ride and the next into one file.

Using Garmin Head Units for Triathlon

Many Quarq power meter owners ask us what settings to use for triathlon. This is what we use and recommend for professional and age group competitors alike.

Turn off Auto-Off
When you turn the head unit on in transition it will find the GPS satellites and not turn off. It will be sitting there ready when you finish the swim.

Settings > System > Auto Power Down

Turn on Start Notice 
Set the start notice to repeat every 15 seconds, so if you forget to press Start you will do it the first time you look down at the head unit. We recommend people have this on all the time, so you never miss out on recording your power data.

Settings > Bike Settings > Start Notice

Turn on Auto Pause 
With Auto Pause you can press Start and your head unit won’t begin recording until the bike moves. We use and recommend Auto Pause for triathlon.

Settings > Bike Settings > Auto Pause

Race Day Routine 
Your full race day routine would therefore be:

- Switch on the Garmin in transition and let it find the GPS satellites.
- Turn your cranks one full revolution so your power meter wakes up.
- Zero (Calibrate) the power meter - without your shoes on the pedals.
- Press Start and head off to swim.

You do not need to press Stop when you rack the bike in T2, because the head unit will pause recording when the bike stops moving. Instead, press Stop and Reset when you collect your bike and the power file will be ready to analyze.

The Alternative to Auto Pause
The alternative to Auto Pause is to press the Start button when you jump on the bike. The Start Notice, mentioned above, helps you remember to do that. Press Stop at the end of your ride or press Stop and Reset when you collect your bike from transition. Really, just remember to press Stop and Reset so you save your power file! If you don't press Stop until you pick up your bike you can edit the zeroes from the power file later using your analysis software.

There is another alternative altogether: Using a sport watch that can record power data.
You can wear a sport watch in the swim, ride and run. Garmin’s Forerunner® 910XT and 920XT can record splits for all three disciplines and transitions. You may need to manipulate the data file to see your data in all analysis tools.