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HRM Dropouts

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  • HRM Dropouts

    I am having issues with both Polar H10 as well as Garmin HRM-Run dropping out multiple times throughout a run. I thought it was an issue with the Polar H10 so I bought the Garmin. Issue is the same with both HRM's. Short of buying another watch, is anyone having these issues and if so, any solutions for a fix?

  • #2
    I haven't had that problem BUT.... starting with 8.x what was a once-in-a-blue moon issue with the HRM-RUN turned into a "nearly every use" problem, to the point that I've stopped using it.

    What happens is that at the start of an activity it will record wildly-inaccurate (too high) heart-rate data -- showing me at ~220ish when if I stop and manually take my pulse it's around half that. It typically starts doing it almost immediately after I begin the session, and a few minutes later, when my heart rate legitimately gets into the ~110-120 range, it *slowly* comes back to normal. Once in a great while it will stay "pinned" at over 200bpm.

    This totally wrecks the VO2Max and Lactate Threshold computations, along with recovery times. Once in a great while doesn't do so much violence to them but when its frequent you basically have no worthwhile data there at all. In addition the watch will *sometimes* choose to update my HR Zones (this may be coming back from Garmin Connect -- not sure) which then destroys my time-in-zone numbers and also screws up the other stats until I realize it happened and go back and fix it.

    I though the strap was worn out and bought a replacement (the HRM-Run of course has a replaceable strap) - no change.

    Fortunately I'm one of the people for whom the optical HR works perfectly well during running, provided I wear the strap reasonably tightly, so I still get heart-rate data. However, I've now got to figure out whether I want to invest in a pod to keep the running dynamics, which I lose without the strap of course. I don't dare buy another HRM-RUN strap since from everything I can figure out the issue is in the Fenix firmware and not the strap itself as the misbehavior showed up suddenly and immediately when the 8.x firmware hit the street, and there was no firmware update pushed to the strap that I'm aware of.


    • #3
      I have had the issue where my heart rate goes through the roof at the beginning of the run. Only happens once or twice a week. It seems to happen only when I use the strap dry. I have never experienced that issue with the H10. I use a Stryd so I have all the running data I need. Since the HRM-Run did not sort out the issue with dropouts, I may just go back to the Polar.

      Not sure what I can do about the dropouts at this point other than switch watches.


      • #4
        I thought that might be the issue (dry strap) based on other's reports, but it's not -- it does it in my case after the 8.x firmware whether the strap is dry, I lick the pads before putting it on, or I get the fabric "good and wet" with water first. Doesn't change a thing....

        I'm going to hard-reset the watch much as that will really piss me off (all my customizations will disappear, of course) and see if that helps on the possibility some piece of stored data has gone wonky and is screwing it up -- but I suspect it won't.


        • #5
          I’ve had drop-outs with my 1 month old 5X with firmware 8.00 and HRM-Tri myself. Not satisfied. Never had a dropout with my Scosche Rhythm+.


          • #6
            It seems to happen only when I use the strap dry
            That's shouldn't be a surprise because the recommendation has always been to wet before use. I've always thoroughly soaked my straps before putting them on and can't remember the last time I saw an high heart rate at the start of a run that wasn't expected.

            Note also that you need to follow the care instructions to as quite often a manky strap can cause issues.

            Obviously, if the problem still exists when you start with a soaked strap and you have changed the battery, then I suggest you contact Garmin Support,


            • #7

              There are 3 inter-related problems that can cause the start-of-workout HR spikes you are describing:
              * poor contact between strap sensor pads and skin
              * buildup of salts from sweat in the strap fabric
              * static electricity from the technical fabrics of some running shirts

              Basically, this results in spurious electrical signals having an easier electrical path to the sensor than your genuine heartbeat.

              Cool and/or low humidity conditions can exacerbate this, but the problem will often disappear as you warm up and start sweating.

              It sounds like you are already on top of moistening the sensor pads (although I tend to dip my fingers in water to moisten more thoroughly than licking alone). Moistening the skin as well as the strap can also help.

              Washing the strap can help dissolve some of the salts - it may take a couple of washes if there is a significant accumulation.

              It may also be worth experimenting with a few different running tops to see if there are some more or less prone to creating static. I have heard of some people going so far as to use an anti-static fabric spray.

              I'm not sure that resetting the watch will resolve things, as the cause of high HR spikes is usually related to the strap, rather than the watch.


              • #8
                Either something in the firmware updates in the watch are responsible or my strap (the "replaceable-strap" button style) is hosed.

                I've put it on with my shirt off having soaked the strap and wet my chest in the house and watched it go to 140+ (roughly double actual, as the optical HR shows) and then got up and moved and it'll run 160ish (against a "real" heart rate of 80ish.)

                The watch has also returned a number of wonkish lactate threshold readings over the last couple of months, essentially destroying the value of that statistic, and also trashed the VO2Max calculation. I've replaced the physical strap itself (since I have the button style) without change in behavior.

                The bummer is that without a chest strap I can't get the lactate threshold updates and that's quite useful to me as a way to calibrate during training for longer events such as half-marathons, since it gives me a pretty decent idea of what sort of pace I can maintain on longer runs.

                I'm pretty sure it's not the ANT+ antenna or similar in the watch because the other running dynamics statistics still are stable and work perfectly well -- if the strap and watch were having trouble communicating then I'd expect dropouts or screwed up numbers from there, but I don't get 'em -- everything there works as it always has.

                The last (non "Run") Garmin button strap I had back when I had my 310XT failed "quietly" -- it just stopped turning on. About that time I bought a 910XT and the current "Run" button-style strap, so perhaps it's time to shut up and just deal with the fact that it's worn out, although the very nature of these sort of devices would appear to me to not be subject to "wearing out" sort of failures. What I really don't want is to blow the $100 on a new HRM-RUN with the non-replaceable strap (I can't find the button style anymore) only to find out that it really IS the watch firmware and the new one does the exact same thing.