The Data Fitness Connector (DFC) data broadcaster is a Bluetooth device that allows Peloton bikes to communicate with fitness watches, head units, and apps—a feature that’s not available on stock Peloton bikes. It reads power and cadence data in realtime, through a cable connected to your bike, and broadcasts them to nearby devices, including those built around non-Peloton platforms like Zwift and Garmin. This allows you to enjoy the built-in functionality of your bike while simultaneously utilizing features and services that depend on third-party platforms.
Note: DFC does not currently work with the upgraded Peloton Bike+ that was released last September. (But it might someday!)
Interested in the fitness data you produce? Want more control over who else has access to those data? Prefer not to be locked into a particular platform? If you have a Peloton bike, then DFC is for you.
Suppose you have a Garmin watch, for example. Using it to access your Peloton data would normally require that you:
With DFC, those data go straight from the bike to the watch in realtime!
And what if your workout room has to satisfy the needs of a cycling enthusiast and a spinning enthusiast? Rather than buying (and rearranging furniture to accommodate) one indoor bike for Peloton and another for Zwift, you can just plug in your DFC and share a single Peloton bike. And if you get curious about some other structured training platform—The Sufferfest, for example, or Trainer Road—you’ll have everything you need to check it out.
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’re offering the DFC Maker Edition. Sure, if you’re trying to start the next indoor fitness revolution, you probably have your own hardware team. But what if you just want to crank up the music and cue some heroic lighting when you hit your pace? Or simulate the wind in your hair by pointing a fan at your face and making it blow harder the faster you go? Or fire off some confetti when your break your distance record? DFC brings your quirky idea to life and lets you take it for a ride on the handlebars.
Or you can do something more practical…if you must. Add a dedicated display and use it to chart realtime metrics that Peloton doesn’t provide. Maybe make it an e-paper screen for better sunlight readability? Or log your raw data offline for the last word in platform independence. Or attach an array of sensors and monitor how your performance is affected air quality, humidity, and other indoor environmental factors (like confetti). It’s entirely up to you!
DFC is open hardware. By the time we ship to backers, we will publish the schematic, layout files, and case design files on our GitHub repository. For the Maker Edition, we will also provide an Arduino-based reference implementation that we used for early prototyping. It supports cycling power and cadence data, and you can modify it using Arduino IDE to change the functionality of the board. The Fitness Edition firmware is not open source.
|DFC Data Broadcaster||Favero Assioma Power Pedal||Garmin Vector Power Pedal|
|Bluetooth power & cadence||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bluetooth cycling speed||Yes||No||No|
|Single sided power||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Fabrication and assembly of the DFC PCB will be carried out by a contract manufacturer in the United States. Cases will be professionally 3D-printed by our on-demand manufacturing partner. We will handle final assembly and testing for the initial production run in house. To ensure a timely delivery, we also have the ability to shift final assembly and testing to our manufacturing partner should demand far exceed our expectations.
After testing and packaging the production batch of DFC boards, we will send them on to Crowd Supply’s fulfillment partner, Mouser Electronics, who will distribute them to backers worldwide. You can learn more about Crowd Supply’s fulfillment service under Ordering, Paying, and Shipping in their guide. And please remember to update the shipping address listed in your Crowd Supply account if it has changed.
Manufacturing: There is some risk that production will be delayed by electronics supply-chain constraints. When designing DFC, we selected components in part for their ready availability, but supply issues have been hitting many manufacturers lately, and we are not immune to this risk. To mitigate it, however, we are constantly evaluating the tradeoffs between switching to new components and waiting for additional quantity to come online. We have swapped out parts between different prototype revisions, so it’s a process with which we are quite familiar. Nonetheless, it takes time to redesign and test such modifications, and some parts have few drop-in alternatives.
Software: One additional risk we face is the possibility that Peloton could change the data format that DFC reads from the bike. To mitigate this, 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. We don’t expect DFC to become obsolete any time soon, however, 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, you will have the option to re-purpose DFC in a number of ways.
DFC was designed to be compatible with the original Peloton Bike and will only be supported for use with that model.
While we do not support the Bike+ at this time, DFC includes a number of features to help makers dig into the possibility of Bike+ compatibility. This may lead to the addition of Bike+ support in the future. We do not yet know whether it will be possible, but DFC may be able to broadcast cycling power and cadence from the Bike+ if those signals are transmitted along the USB D+/- or USB SBU1/2 lines. Please see our USB connection diagram for more detail.
DFC has two jacks that look similar to the ones you might use to plug in headphones. You’ll unplug the data cable from the back of the bike’s display, and insert them into one of those jacks on DFC. You’ll then connect a second (provided) cable from DFC to the back of the display. It’s really simple and requires no cable-cutting or permanent modifications to the bike.
After that, you’ll be able to connect it to the platform you want to use (Zwift, Garmin, etc.) and it will works just like a Bluetooth power meter and speed sensor.
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.
An additional 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.