Rails User Manual



This manual describes all features of Rails, but the availability of specific features may depend on your watch model. If you don’t find an option in your settings, this means that option is not available on your watch. In particular, Venu works quite differently from the other models, so some topics discussed here, like ‘Power save options’ are not applicable. For more details on Venu operation, please refer to the Venu topic below.

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A configurable digital face with:

  • 6 customizable color themes (14 base colors + 2 custom colors on supporting models, applicable to different screen elements)
  • 2 time font options (Option 2 requires unlock key) with adjustable weight
  • 6 configurable status/data icons
  • 4 data fields and 2 rail gauges (options depend on what your watch supports)
  • flexible date format (for date format definition, see the date format below)
  • ‘time only’ battery saving mode that can automatically kick in for the night
  • enhanced HR information (requires unlock key)
  • weather (requires unlock key)

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Changing settings

If you are not familiar with adjusting Connect IQ app settings, please have a look at: https://forums.garmin.com/developer/connect-iq/w/wiki/14/changing-your-app-settings-in-garmin-express-gcm-ciq-mobile-store

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Common Problems / Frequently asked questions

For advice on frequently asked questions please have a look at https://vgfsyhcxft.wordpress.com/common-problems/

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The default settings for the configurable data after installation are:

* Top icon 1 – battery level (% remaining)
* Top icon 2 – notifications (number of messages pending)
* Top icon 3 – alarms (number of alarms set)
* Bottom icon 1 – phone connection status (on/off)
* Bottom icon 2 – activity tracking enabled (on/off)
* Bottom icon 3 – do not disturb mode (on/off)
* Option data 1 – steps counter
* Option data 2 – steps goal
* Option data 3 – distance
* Option data 4 – calories
* Top rail – steps goal completion %
* Bottom rail – move bar

The meaning of other icons available for option data can be understood from the settings – if you choose a specific setting, you will know what the corresponding icon means.

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On most supported models except Chronos and Venu, the seconds can be configured to show all the time, during daytime only, or on gesture for about 10 seconds.

There is also an option to display some weather parameters (min/max temperature, humidity) in place of the seconds, when the seconds are inactive. For this, the weather update has to be enabled.

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On watches with a wrist HR sensor, HR reading can be displayed on the left side of the screen. On most supported watch models there is an option to show it all the time, only during daytime, or on for about 10 seconds on gesture. On the older ones only on wrist gesture for about 10 seconds. The frequency at which the reading value is refreshed depends on the watch, generally lower on older models, higher on newer ones.

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Enhanced HR info

This feature allows to:
– display an ‘HR bar’ representing the current or the average HR on the scale ranging from the min to max HR over an adjustable monitor duration
– display two customizable data fields that can show min, max, current, average and resting HR
– use min, max, average and resting HR as optional data fields
– the min, max, average monitor period is adjustable from 10 to 360 minutes

This feature requires unlock key. To get the key, please go to: https://vgfsyhcxft.com/rails-unlock/

NOTE: All the HR parameters are retrieved from the watch system, except the average which is calculated by Rails. It has been observed and reported by many users that the ‘resting HR’ is not displayed (showing only –). This appears to be a problem of the watch firmware – from time to time it stops providing the resting HR information. If this happens, you can fix this problem (at least for some time), by going to the watch Settings/User Profile/Heart Rate/Resting HR and choosing an option there.

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Configurable fields

There are 10 configurable data fields in 3 separate groups, with focus on different uses:

  • 3 icons with text at the top
  • 3 icons at the bottom
  • 4 data fields in the middle

The behavior of each group is different:

  • Top icons change colors according to their normal/alert status. For example, floors icon will change color to ‘alert’ when the daily floors goal has been reached, or the battery icon will change color to ‘alert’ if the battery level drops below 15%. The notifications icon will show ‘alert’ if there are any pending notifications, and the alarm icon will show ‘alert’ if there are any alarms set.
  • Bottom icons change color according to their on/off status. So, for example, the Bluetooth icon will use the ‘active’ color when the phone is connected, and ‘inactive’ color otherwise. The icons that have a goal associated with them will change the color when the goal is reached.
  • Data fields along the rails do not change icon colors, but they allow a broader choice of data options.

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Top icons

There are 3 status icons at the top of the face that:

  • have associated text/number data right below
  • change color when reaching a trigger or target value of the data they represent

The trigger/target value depends of the data the icon is set to show.

The color of normal/alert status of the icon is set in the theme customization at the bottom of the settings.

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Bottom icons

These icons do not have the corresponding text field and so the choice is limited to those that can change color when their status changes (e.g. active calories goal reached), or they are meaningful with graphics only (the moon).

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Data fields

The four data fields in the middle provide the widest choice of options, including enhanced HR and weather data.

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Barometer & Watch temperature sensor

Barometric pressure and watch thermometer readings (available on some watch models only) come from internal watch sensors and not from any weather forecast web service. So you can’t expect that the temperature shown will match your ambient or outdoor temperature, unless you take the watch off and place it where you want the temperature measured.

For the outdoor temperature, you need to enable the weather update which requires unlock key. The temperature from the weather service is shown on the right side of the watch above the weather icon.

Barometric pressure is ‘mean sea level pressure’ according to Garmin’s technical documentation – “This returns barometric pressure calibrated to sea level. Since pressure varies dues to several factors, a GPS-based altitude must first be obtained, then the ambient (local) pressure is measured by the pressure sensor before conversion to a calibrated barometric pressure value.”

The icon shows the barometric trend over an adjustable period, up to 1440 minutes (24 hours).

The pressure units can be switched between mbar/hPa, inHg and mmHg.

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Weather info

This option allows to display weather information for the location from your last activity recorded by the watch, according to https://openweathermap.org/

To enable it, you need to get unlock key at https://vgfsyhcxft.com/rails-unlock/ and set the update interval (when it is set to ‘Off’ by default, there is no update).

The basic information is an icon shown on the right side of the screen, representing current weather conditions and temperature. On top of that, it is possible to select for optional data fields wind speed and direction, minimum and maximum temperature or humidity.

There is also an option to show the last time the weather info was updated.

The weather update interval is adjustable and can be set to 15, 30 or 60 minutes. A longer interval may reduce your battery drain a bit.

Please note that the weather feature needs to know your location. If you see the GPS? when you enable the weather, please go to some activity that uses GPS, like run or cycle, and get the GPS locked there. Then, when you return to Rails, the weather should be updating at your set interval.

If after that you continue to see ‘…’ and a cloud with a question mark on the right side of the face, this means your watch has not been able to connect to the weather service to get the update.

Also, if from time to time you see ‘conn’ message displayed instead of the temperature, this means that the weather could not be updated because Rails had trouble connecting to the openweathermap.org server. This message is shown if Rails fails to connect to the server within double the set update interval, to let you know there is a connection problem.

To avoid this, please make sure that the Bluetooth connection between your watch and your phone, and the internet connection of the phone are both stable (dont’ go too far away from your phone, and choose a WiFi hotspot with strong signal). If you can’t improve your connection and you prefer to see the last update instead of ‘conn’, you can extend the update interval. For example, if you set it to 60 minutes, the connection alert will only appear after 2 hours, if Rails does not manage to connect to the server during that time.

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Sunrise and sunset times

After fresh installation, the watch face needs to retrieve from the watch system the current GPS coordinates which are necessary for the sunrise/sunset calculation. To update GPS coordinates, just switch to an activity such as run or cycle and wait until ‘GPS ready’ message appears or the GPS indicator turns green. Then you can cancel the activity and return to the face. The sun times should now be shown. Note that you may need to repeat this procedure after you have changed your location for the sun times to be updated accordingly.

NOTE: It appears that on some new watch models this procedure may not be sufficient. If you can’t get the sun times to appear correctly after locking the GPS, please try to use the ‘Time Sync’ with GPS (not mobile phone) from the watch system settings.

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Color themes

This face features 6 color themes that you can easily switch and customize.  In each theme you can modify the colors of all screen elements. Your modifications will be kept until you choose to restore the factory theme.

The available colors depend on your watch model. There is a base set of 14 colors, and on some watches there are two additional custom colors that can be set to any of these values:


Please note that this color map is a rough guide and the colors that appear on your watch might not exactly match the colors shown above.

If you change the color theme, press ‘DONE’ first to activate it on your watch before you start customizing it. Otherwise your customization will modify the previous theme. But if it happens, don’t worry – you can easily reset the theme back to the factory setting with the ‘Reset theme’ option.

Date format

The date format is very flexible. It may require some effort to understand how it works, but it allows you to make it almost any way you like. To customize the date, enter a string of characters up to 12 in length, with this coding:

D = day number with leading zero

d = day number without leading zero

M = month number with leading zero

m = month number without leading zero

Y = 4-digit year

y = 2-digit year

N = month name

n = day name

W = ISO week number with ‘w’ in front

w = ISO week number without ‘w’

Any other character (e.g. – / : . ) will be displayed if it is available in the current character set.

For example, you can use the following formats:

“n N d”  →  Fri Aug 24

“n D.M”  →  Fri 24.08

“d/m W”  →  24/8 w34

“Y\M\D”  →  2018\08\24

“m-d-y”  →  8-24-18

“n D [w]”  → Fri 28 [34]

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Setting up alternate time zone

For alternate time data field, you can set the UTC offset from -14 to +14 hours. The offset is a fractional number, so that half hour offsets can be taken care of as well. For example for India (UTC+5:30) enter 5.5. For UTC just enter 0.

NOTE: Garmin apps tend to have problems with accepting special character input (for example minus ‘-‘ or decimal point ‘.’). To get around this problem, you can try to:

-start from the default value “-5.0” and edit it as you need, without deleting the characters that you want to keep, or
-use another app to write the offset, then copy and paste into the Garmin app.

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Power save options

It is important to note that the more information is shown on the watch screen, and the more frequently it is updated, inevitably the watch face will drain the battery faster. This watch face has several features that allow you to reduce the battery drain in different usage scenarios.

The ‘Power save’ option allows you to reduce the battery drain at times when you don’t need to see every detail of the information that this face can display and just the time plus the notifications icon is enough. If you set it to ‘Night’, it will activate automatically for the ‘bed time’ declared in Garmin’s user profile settings.

On the watches supporting Connect IQ 2.0 and higher, the power save mode can also be activated any time by switching the watch status to Do Not Disturb. This setting allows you to switch between normal and power save modes easily using the Do Not Disturb shortcut. Please note that this option might overlap with ‘Night’ power save mode, if you set your watch to switch automatically to Do Not Disturb for the duration of your sleep hours.

If you don’t enable the Power save mode, you can still control when you want the seconds and HR to be shown. Depending on the watch model, you may see some of these options:

  • Off (the feature is not shown)
  • Daytime (the feature is shown during your wake hours)
  • On (the feature is shown always)
  • On gesture (the feature is shown for about 10 seconds on wrist gesture)

Of these, obviously ‘On’ will drain the most battery, while ‘On gesture’ is the best compromise between the functionality and economy. Note that ‘On’ is only available on the newer watch models beginning from fenix 5 family.

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Some of the available features require an unlock key. These options are marked by a key icon 🔑 in the settings.

To obtain an unlock key please visit https://vgfsyhcxft.com/rails-unlock/

If you try to activate a locked feature without a valid key, a key icon will be displayed to indicate that the feature is not accessible.

When you receive the key, you need to enter it in the settings in the ‘Unlock key’ field, and press ‘DONE’ or ‘SAVE’ button (depending which Garmin app you use). Then the ‘Key status’ field will be updated to show the status and the expiry date of your key. Please note that for the key status to be updated, a good connection between your watch, your phone and the internet is required. Sometimes it may take some time for the key status to be updated, and if you are sure that you have entered the correct token, but the status is still ‘invalid’, you might try to restart the Connect App on your phone or restart your watch – this has been reported to help in some difficult cases.

FOR VENU USERS: After entering the key and saving the settings, you may need to ‘wake up’ the watch from its ‘sleep’ state (show the full watch face) for the key to be validated.

IMPORTANT: The 12-digit unlock key is created for a 6-digit token that is unique to your watch. So, if you enter incorrect 6-digit token on the unlock page, you will receive an incorrect key that will not work. Please be careful and make sure you enter the correct token!

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Venu support

Venu operates in two distinct modes – short ‘wake up’ after gesture, button press or double screen tap, and ‘sleep’ otherwise. Wake up mode allows bright full screen updated every second, but in sleep mode the screen is only refreshed once a minute and the display has to be reduced/dimmed to conserve power and prevent burn-in.

Because of this, some of the features present on other models do not make much sense on Venu and so are not available:
-Options to control the display of seconds and live HR,
-Power save modes.

However, Rails provides several different options for the ‘sleep’ mode display:
-Off (blank screen)
-Moving screen saver showing small time
-Dimmed regular size time
-Dimmed full display (complete information except seconds, updated once a minute)

Please note that the bigger display you enable in ‘sleep’ mode, the faster it will drain the battery.

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