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View Full Version : Soft strap Heart Rate Monitor Malfunctions Late in Workout



paulaskimchu
02-07-2011, 02:58 PM
I just got the Garmin 310xt with the premium soft strap heart rate monitor. In my first few workouts, the HR monitor works great for the first 40 minutes or so and like clockwork around 40 - 50 minutes, the HR monitor drops off then starts going crazy - it'll have no reading, then read at a HR much lower or higher than the range I know I'm in and will continue to fluctuate wildly up and down.

This is different from the static cling problem mentioned in other threads. The malfunction I'm experiencing doesn't appear to be a static issue, and it certainly isn't an issue of wetting the nodes, since I'm dripping with sweat by the time the HR monitor starts going haywire. Is there such a think as the HR monitor getting too wet? Any other suggestions?

Help please and thanks in advance.

t_smit
02-08-2011, 08:22 AM
It is possible to effectively short-circuit the electrodes if a sufficiently conductive bridge is formed between them, across your skin. This can be caused by a buildup of sweat, or by applying conductive gel right across the entire strap. Curiously, swimming in a chlorinated pool does not cause this effect.

The only time I've seen it is when wearing the earlier cloth electrode strap; it would get soaked with sweat and then conduct across its front, to my shirt, and then the other electrode. This would only occur with cotton shirts - I was never able to get this to happen with a technical fabric top.

paulaskimchu
02-08-2011, 11:32 AM
T-SMIT, thanks for your response. I'm not clear based on your comment what the answer is. Are you saying that not wearing cotton will help avoid the problem?

If that's the solution, its a difficult one for women because the HR monitor is typically under the sports bra, which is usually some kind of cotton/lycra/polyester blend. If the HR monitor will go crazy every time my sports bra gets soaked with sweat, the HR monitor will essentially be useless for long workouts and races....

t_smit
02-08-2011, 01:11 PM
In my case, not wearing cotton shirts made the problem difficult or impossible to reproduce. Unfortunately that fix doesn't necessarily extend to your situation, and I appreciate that wearing the HRM strap under the bra band can cause any sweat-related issues to be more apparent.

One thing that you can try is to shift the strap towards the left side of your chest; that may give you slightly better signal as well as keep the sweat away from the center area between the electrodes.

Even though the strap is fairly new to you, it may be that it has been sitting on the shelf for some time and you might try a new battery in the HRM.

fishyweb
02-05-2013, 01:34 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I'm getting the same issue and I was wondering whether there have been any developments in finding a fix / workaround.

I have a theory that it may be made worse by the saltiness of sweat in the strap if it is not washed frequently enough, so I'm planning on washing mine after each workout to see if that improves things. Be interested in others' experiences, though...

t_smit
02-05-2013, 03:41 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I'm getting the same issue and I was wondering whether there have been any developments in finding a fix / workaround.

I have a theory that it may be made worse by the saltiness of sweat in the strap if it is not washed frequently enough, so I'm planning on washing mine after each workout to see if that improves things. Be interested in others' experiences, though...
The best approach is to use cool water and no detergent, hang or lay flat to dry. Don't fold or crease the electrode area while washing. You can machine-wash the strap if you have a front-load machine.

andyobi1
03-23-2013, 10:54 PM
I had two premium soft straps fail with my edge 800 within the 12 month warranty period after doing the same thing. I then purchased a 910xt and within about 3 months its strap also failed as you describe. It was replaced by Garmin only to have it fail about 2 months after that. In frustration I searched the web and found, what I think is the perfect solution. For about $33 on eBay you can buy the POLAR SOFT STRAP...of which I did. It has been 9months now and all is well. The Garmin module simply clicks onto the Polar strap, just as the Garmin strap. Several of my training companions have also had their Garmin straps fail as you describe. They too have replaced their straps with the Polar one. I figured Polar has dedicated their company to HRM's, so how could I go wrong. My friends and I have not had one anomaly since using these straps. Garmin need to pull their finger out and develop a more reliable unit. It is most frustrating at the end of a race to see your hard earned data...useless. For $30-$35, I think it’s a small price to pay for a bit of reliability. I hope this helps..

fishyweb
03-24-2013, 01:32 AM
Funny you should mention that. I've now been using the same solution for a few weeks after seeing it recommended on DC Rainmaker's blog. No issues with it so far.

It really annoys me, though, that Garmin get away with selling such a shoddy product. It seems to be a recurring theme that there is something fundamentally wrong with every Garmin I buy, whether it be dodgy HR straps, buggy software, or failing speakers. Great product concepts, but third rate execution. Shame there isn't a viable competitor.