Turbo Vado & Como Tune - A Hidden Gem for BLOKS Display Users

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
While the users of Turbo Levo and Turbo Kenevo could have enjoyed the benefits of the Mission Control app for a ling time now, that was not necessarily case for the users of Turbo Levo and Turbo Como e-bikes. Everybody makes mistakes; the mistake of the Specialized Bicycle Components was to place their trust in BLOKS, a start-up company to deliver the display/control function for the new commuter and city e-bikes back in 2017. BLOKS could not make their promises; they left Specialized as well as the Como and Vado owners with the half-baked product; only the 2020 models sport the new TCD-W display and Bluetooth connectivity, making it possible to get a full insight into the e-bike settings and diagnostics.

Since Levos, Kenevos and Creos have had their wireless TCU (Turbo Control Unit) embedded somewhere in the motor, they could and can operate without the display; the wireless TCD display is optional. Even not having the TCD, the Levo/Kenevo/Creo can communicate with the TCU wirelessly with the Mission Control App on a smartphone. The concept has been different with Vados and Comos: The display plays a vital role in the e-bike operation and it is connected by wires with the motor's controller. In 2019, Specialized offered free replacement of the BLOKS display with the TCD-W (wired) even if such upgrade means dismantling half of the bike. Many owners had no luck to get the replacement.

There is a hidden gem: An unsupported Android app called "Turbo Vado & Como Tune", which is capable to communicate with the BLOKS display from Android smartphones over Bluetooth. The application performs the most important part that the Mission Control provides to the users of newer Vado and Como e-bikes.

Functionality
  1. Connect with your e-bike via Bluetooth
  2. Tune the Power delivered by the assistance system for Eco, Sport and Turbo travel modes (from 0-100%). This functionality controls how much the rider is assisted by the motor on the ride
  3. Tune the Max Motor Current, globally for all Travel Modes. (0-100%). This functionality controls the bike acceleration and may extend the bike range if the Max Motor Current is set at less than 100%.
  4. Set the Wheel Circumference: That feature may or may not work, depending on the software update of your e-bike.
  5. Provide Charging Status, Battery Health, distance registered by the Odometer and extract the Frame ID number.
  6. Provide Firmware number, Current Status, Temperature, Voltage, Current Charge Level for the battery
  7. Provide the Firmware number and Temperature for the motor
How to download the App

Download the Turbo Vado & Como Tune APK free

How to setup the App

You will need a smartphone or a tablet running Android OS (the app will not work on iPhone). After downloading the APK file from the link above to your mobile device, execute the APK file; you have to confirm you really want to run an app from outside the Play Store. After the app setup, switch Bluetooth on (on your mobile device). On the first app use, you will need to accept certain Application Permissions. Enter your e-mail address on the Welcome screen.

Now, be near to your Vado or Como. Click Add a Bike icon.
1582663531875.png


Now, turn your e-bike on. Be very close to your bike and wait patiently. This operation may take quite a long while.

Once connected, the app will ask you if you want to pair your mobile device with the Vado/Como. Please accept the pairing. When successful, your bike will appear in red in the list of know bikes under My Bikes.
1582663872919.png


Tuning

Go to the main menu and click TUNE. A screen similar to this one will appear:

1582663969347.png


The default values are:
ECO: 35%
SPORT: 70%
TURBO: 100%
Max Motor Current: 100%

The Wheel Circumference requires you switch off and and switch on your e-bike after the change has been done. (It didn't work for my Vado).

It is possible that you place your smartphone on the handlebars mount and ride out testing. Make a stop before modifying the parameters, then ride again to see how the parameter change has affected your bike's performance. The changes are accepted by the bike immediately.

The power setting for each Travel Mode means how much the motor should assist your pedalling on, say, constant speed ride. Decreasing the power will increase the range but it will make you feel weaker (and the opposite on increasing the power).

The Max Motor Current responds for acceleration or agility of your bike. Decreasing that parameter will make the bike sluggish but it is expected to dramatically extend your battery range at the cost of acceleration capability of the bike.

Diagnostics

The most important parameters there are the Battery Health and temperatures of the battery and the motor. Monitor the temperature on very warm days especially during a long uphill ride. Avoid overheating, which means going above 70 C/158 F for the battery (I don't know the safe temperature for the motor).

I hope some of you still can make use of that hidden gem app.
 
Last edited:

Kam1936

Well-Known Member
Hi. Thanks a lot for the find. I'm presently an owner of Specialized Turbo Vado 2019 model with the blok display. I was happy to find that the app you recommended does indeed pair with my display using my android device. I noticed immediately that it gave me a more accurate reading of my battery. The blok display was showing 3 out of 5 bars but the true reading was 41%! Great find! I also adjusted the default settings on all three modes including max output for the motor. I have the 1.3 Brose motor. I haven't had a chance to check out if it will make a difference in the range. I just got my bike this month Feb 10 2020. I upgraded from a DJ City bike that I purchased off Amazon 750 Rear hub with 48volt 13ah battery. Great upgrade from a low end 7 speed Drive to an 11 speed. Riding my Turbo so far is a joy. Quiet motor, no jerky take offs or abrupt motor disconnect jerks when I reach max speed of assistance. It felt like in comparison to my old bike that I was riding on a tin can with a powerful motor and this just feels smoother and overall feeling of comfort. I've been reading the specialized forum. I hope to have many trouble free joyful rides on my new bike. Thanks for the find. I can't see spending an additional 300+ US dollars on a TCD display. I've read it is buggy at best 3.2 out of five in Play Store review. Also, I got my Turbo Vado for 4250.00 US dollars + tax.
 

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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I was happy to find that the app you recommended does indeed pair with my display using my android device. I noticed immediately that it gave me a more accurate reading of my battery.
Perhaps it is also possible to change the battery status from bars to % in the BLOKS itself. Please check the Setting on the display.

I play with the Tune a lot. I increased the assistance for Eco mode to 50% today due to hard winds we are experiencing here. That gave me a kind of "Sport" mode but with less power consumption than the original Sport mode.
 

Kam1936

Well-Known Member
I made some adjustments. (screenshots) I rode 30 miles wind slowed me down at points in my ride. I definitely got a leg workout😁
I was pleased to see my range increase from default. Mostly I rode using Eco mode and unassisted. I used Sport and Turbo to get me over the rough patches (hills). The basic function of the app suits my purpose by allowing me to tune the motor according to my ride preferences. That in itself is amazing to me! Before I made the adjustment I was easily hitting 24mph on flats using ECO mode with not to much effort. Today I got a heck of a workout and I loved it. Options, I love the apps functions!
 

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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I see. Would love to decrease the support but I need to overcome strong winds. Before the tuning, I was mostly riding in the Sport mode. By default, pedalling in that mode is a fun but it takes too much of battery. As I have found decreasing support may make sense in the Spring, I increased the Eco mode to be still below the Sport mode but stronger than the default.

What I like about tuning is you can change the assist level on the fly. Easy riding conditions: decrease the support and vice versa.
 

Kam1936

Well-Known Member
Agreed. The tuning function is of great value. The first time I used it riding was today. Also, the blok display only allows me to see in 20% increments. The app allows you to see in real time 1% increments. At 72% the block display shows 4 out of 5 bars. Same as on the battery it shows 4 out of 5 green circles. So the app allows for a much more accurate reading. Today I rode battling the wind and the hills of Santa Clarita Valley. Normally I would of had about 41% battery remaining after the same kind of ride and conditions with the default settings. I always carry my U-Lock, chain, portable pump, bike tools, battery pack and extra water bottle in my bag. Total weight 27 pounds on the rear rack. I weigh 180 pounds. I'm very 😊. I can do a couple rides at the same range before I need to charge the battery. I think this is good for extending the charge cycles and overall life health of the battery. Range is more important for me than speed. Going faster is of course an option if I need to get there quickly. I would think others who have the blok display will find this as a great alternative to the less than perfect Mission Control app (3.2 android market review rating). Obviously, MC has issues. On the other hand, this is a great work around for the tuning function. There are several other bike apps that let you see the average speed, max speed, elevation, etc. Use one of those with this one and create your own adjustments for rides.
 

Kam1936

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure about that. I have read reviews of different bike models that there are connection issues. (Kenovos, Levos, Comos, Vados). A variety of bikes, later models, as well as older models. The app is buggy. I don't think all those bikes have blok displays. I could be wrong. I was never able to connect my bike to the app period. Others have but have issues staying connected as well as faulty data analysis. There's no way I'm paying 300+ for a so called upgraded display that may or may not work properly with MC. Specialized informed me that my bike model is upgradable. My display works fine with it's limited functions. What isn't broke, doesn't need fixing. I also like that I can remove the display when I lock up my bike. I haven't tried to see if my bike's motor functions without the display attached. Specialized told me that it doesn't.
 

Kam1936

Well-Known Member
I purchased the same bike last September. Love it. No issues
So far I'm very pleased with my investment. I use my bike for commuting all over the SCV, mostly on the bike trails. All our bike trails connect to each other so it's easy to get anywhere you want to without dealing with roads and motorist. California Law limits bike trails to Class 1 and 2 E-bikes but here the local trails accommodate Class 3 too.
 

Kam1936

Well-Known Member

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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
What isn't broke, doesn't need fixing. I also like that I can remove the display when I lock up my bike.
I agree. The problem is my BLOKS hangs up from time to time. Now, I remove the display in such situation and press a tiny reset button at the display's base with the tiniest Allen key; that resets the display and I can replace it in the mount. That, however, resets the ride stats and some obsolete stats pop up. Luckily, I record my rides on a smartphone using Endomondo, so the stats are lost rarely.

Originally, the display was secured in place with a tiny (1 or 1.5 mm) screw. The designer's intention was the display would not fall out on street bumps and it is harder to steal the display. Since I have to reset the display from time to time, I removed the screw permanently and am removing the display to block the bike when needed. Not a bad thing.

You say you don't see % on your BLOKS. Within couple of minutes I will show a picture how the % work in my BLOKS.
 

Kam1936

Well-Known Member
I agree. The problem is my BLOKS hangs up from time to time. Now, I remove the display in such situation and press a tiny reset button at the display's base with the tiniest Allen key; that resets the display and I can replace it in the mount. That, however, resets the ride stats and some obsolete stats pop up. Luckily, I record my rides on a smartphone using Endomondo, so the stats are lost rarely.

Originally, the display was secured in place with a tiny (1 or 1.5 mm) screw. The designer's intention was the display would not fall out on street bumps and it is harder to steal the display. Since I have to reset the display from time to time, I removed the screw permanently and am removing the display to block the bike when needed. Not a bad thing.

You say you don't see % on your BLOKS. Within couple of minutes I will show a picture how the % work in my BLOKS.
Interesting. There is no screw to remove display on the 2019 Turbo Vado model. At least not on mine. I just turn it counter clockwise to remove it and clockwise to lock it in place. I discovered a place on the bottom phone charge connector port. I use my battery pack to charge my phone and tablet. Actually, I think this block display is very nice. The digital readings of speed is huge and easy to see the odometer, time, trip distance, etc. I haven't discovered a different battery monitor. Just the 5 20% blocks. Not very accurate.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Ah. Your display is another BLOKS. Now I understand. The colour TFT BLOKS displays such as mine were installed with the flagship models of the Vado.

The overall mileage (the odometer) must not be reset, same as the odometer in a car. It documents the mileage for servicing and resale purposes.

Regarding the units of measure, these should be configurable in any display.

Regarding the screw, my Vado 5.0 is the 2017 model, and that's the model made in the first year of the history of the Vado. The screw was there.
 
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Kam1936

Well-Known Member
Ah. Your display is another BLOKS. Now I understand.

The overall mileage (the odometer) must not be reset, same as the odometer in a car. It documents the mileage for servicing and resale purposes.

Regarding the units of measure, these should be configurable in any display.
I think your right. It's weird because we both have the Turbo Vado 5.0 correct?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Specialized try to cut the corners. The specifications of my 2017 Vado 5.0 are equivalent to the 2020 Vado 6.0 (available in Europe) or even better in some respect.