Build you own cheap virtual power-meter.
Now that winter is coming, it is a perfect time to get ready for indoor training with a power-meter. With this guide and a few cheap parts you should be able to build your own power-meter.
Parts you will need:
Ant+ USB stick (I use a Garmin stick)
Ant+ Speed/Cadence Sensor (I use a Garmin GSC-10
Indoor trainer with a fan
For an OS I use Ubuntu (because it is free) which runs fine on older/legacy (cheap) computers. I use Golden Cheetah v3 which is a free download and does real time virtual power. It also will upload the data into TrainingPeaks. I also use VLC so I can watch a training video at the same time. You can use Windows or Mac (OS whatever) but need to use a more powerful processor and more RAM. My goal is to keep the price less than $100 but in reality some people probably have everything they need already but just need to know how to put it together. Because of that price point, Ubuntu is a no-brainer.
To get started, use any computer and go to http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop
Download the flavor you need. If you have a single core processor I would go with 32-bit, multi-core 64-bit. I would suggest using 12.04
Once you have it downloaded you need to burn it to a disc or thumbdrive. Once you have a bootable image, put the media in the computer you plan to use as a power-meter and boot the computer from the disc or drive. It will prompt you to install Ubuntu. Follow all the steps and install. Make sure you are connected to the internet during installation.
Now that you have Ubuntu, it is time to install the software. Hold down the Ctrl and Alt buttons at the same time and then hit the t button. A black terminal box should pop up. copy and paste the following lines one at a time and hit enter after each line. It will ask for passwords at times.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc browser-plugin-vlc
sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra-53
The next part is where it gets a little tricky. You can get Golden Cheetah v2 by simply going to the Ubuntu Software Center but "virtual power" is only available in v3. To get v3 you either have to build it yourself or go into the Debian unstable Sid repositories, THIS MAY BREAK YOUR SYSTEM. It worked fine on my system but proceed at your own peril.
To add the Sid repositories I used the Software Center
Edit>Software Sources>Other Software>Add
then add this line
deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free
and make sure you check the box. Then
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -t unstable install goldencheetah
then go back into the Software Center and disable/uncheck the box. I actually deleted it out of sheer paranoia
This should give you a working version of Golden Cheetah v3 and virtual power in time for the indoor riding season.