DFC Data Broadcaster


The DFC Data Broadcaster is a device that allows Peloton bikes to connect to fitness watches, bike head units, and apps. In real-time it reads data on a cable from your indoor bike and broadcasts power and cadence data wirelessly to other platforms like Zwift and Garmin. This allows the simultaneous use of services from other platforms in addition the service offerings of the bike.


Use Cases

Want to chase the leaderboard on Peloton while grinding up Alpe du Zwift or following a power-based training plan on your watch? That's just a few of the scenarios that DFC enables.

Connect to Cycling Apps (e.g. Zwift, TrainerRoad)

DFC enables using a Peloton bike to ride and race in the virtual worlds of Zwift or RGT Cycling, the real-life videos on Kinomap or follow a training plan with TrainerRoad, The Sufferfest, or Rouvy. It's been tested with hundreds of hours of riding on Zwift.

Sync with Wearables and Cycling Computers (e.g. Garmin, Wahoo, Polar, Suunto)

Follow a training plan or track your progress with Garmin Connect or another ecosystem? DFC makes it easy to use advanced analytics like Firstbeat on your Garmin and track all of your data in one place. It makes it easy to use training plans and have them sync automatically to your watch watch through Training Peaks. Hop on the bike, load your training for the day, and get on with your workout. Afterwards all of the data is sync'd and your recovery metrics are accurate.

Satisfy the needs of a cycling enthusiasts and spinning enthusiasts in multi-user houses

Rather than buying, and needing the space for, one indoor bike for Peloton and another for Zwift, you can just plug in your DFC and share a single Peloton bike. Then if you get curious about other structured training platforms you’ll have everything you need to check them out.


Features

  • Connects to third-party fitness devices and apps by broadcasting cycling power and cadence
  • Supports two simultaneous wireless connections for connecting to both a wearable and app at the same time
  • Wireless device firmware updates for future upgrades
  • Open and expandable platform for adding new features down the line

Upcoming Features

  • Addition of speed sensor capability. We have a prototype of this working but testing with several fitness devices revealed some undesired behavior. We're working on this and will include an update once we get it working consistently across devices.

How it Works

Your bike has a data cable which plugs into the back of the tablet (see the block diagram). This device simply splits off of that cable, reads the data stream, and broadcasts it wirelessly. Power it up and you'll see it advertised as a power meter for connection to wearables and cycling computers and apps. From there it works like other wireless fitness devices. Your indoor bike continues to function as usual and you get a real-time stream of your data to use where you want.


Interested?

Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign DFC is in production! Head over to the campaign page here to get one.

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How will I connect it?

DFC has two jacks on it — like the kind you plug headphones into. You'll unplug the data cable from the back of the bike's tablet and put that in one jack. Then connect another provided cable from DFC into the back of the tablet (the green line in the diagram above). It's really simple and no cable-cutting or permanent modifications to the bike are necessary.

After that you connect it to the platform you want (e.g. Zwift, Garmin) and it works just like a power meter and cadence sensor.


Expandability

One of our goals for this project is to make it easier for hobbyists to design and build hardware that interacts with fitness machines, which is why we've opened DFC up for us and others to expand it. We also don’t want DFC to become obsolete any time soon or be dependent on any one service.

The expandability of DFC allows for us and others to make add-ons that do things like:

  • Changing a light's color or cranking up your music depending on how hard you're riding
  • Adding an air quality sensor that maps the quality of the air you work out in and how that changes over a workout
  • Progressively inflating a balloon as you ride to see if you can make it pop! (We really want to see this one!)
  • Adding a display to show a realtime graph or additional data fields
  • Using a data logger to capture fitness metrics off-line

To enable this expandability the hardware design files as well as the code for the firmware that we used for early prototyping is available on our GitHub repository. The prototype firmware supports cycling power and cadence data, and you can modify it using the Arduino development environment to change the functionality of the board.


FAQs

How can I get DFC?

The first run of DFC is shipping now and new orders will ship in the spring. You can order and find more details on the campaign page.

What all can DFC do?

DFC acts like a power meter giving you the ability to use your data on the platforms you want. It also has a number of features to support continued use and expandability.

What's the story behind DFC?

This started as a passion project as a way to make training on a Peloton simpler. After seeing the interest in it we decided to make it into a product available to all. It's been great to see others wanting to get more out of their fitness equipment.

Will it work with Bike+ released in September 2020?

DFC was designed to be compatible with the original Peloton Bike and is only supported for use with that model. Initial testing with the Bike+ has found that it's going to be infeasible at this time to support it.

What if Peloton changes the data you're reading from the bike?

DFC can be updated to account for some such changes. While the Peloton data format hasn’t changed in over a year, certain things are beyond our control, and it is possible that Peloton will make a change that is beyond DFC’s ability to address. But we don’t want DFC to become obsolete anytime soon, which is one of the reasons we’re open sourcing the hardware and providing an Arduino-compatible version of the software that provides cycling power and cadence functionality. With those in hand, DFC can continue to be used in a number of ways.

How does DFC work with my fitness device?

The details here are for Garmin devices but others will be similar. Once you do the initial pairing the Garmin will connect automatically every time you start a ride. You just go to start Indoor Cycling on your watch and it all shows up.

The Garmin will start recording (if you want) before the class starts as long as the power/watts are displayed on the Peloton screen. Then, when the class is over, you can keep going with a cool down and the Garmin will keep recording your data. Another thing you can do is string a few Peloton classes together and have them show up as one workout on the Garmin.

Another benefit is that by connecting DFC to Peloton you get the Garmin FirstBeat analytics which will give you info on training status, recovery, load, VO2 max, FTP, etc.

What does DFC stand for?

The name DFC stands for data fitness connector or damn fine coffee — you decide.