Garmin Instinct Solar Inconsistent Intensity Minutes

Second Garmin Instinct Solar.  First one did not record intensity minutes.  Second one does record SOME intensity minutes but it has a mind of its own.  Daily walks almost carbon copy from day to day, at least 3 each day of about an hour each..  HR very much showing the same daily pattern.  However, the watch recorded one day 68 minutes and the next few days nothing.  It makes absolutely no sense.  To make it even more puzzling, I have a Garmin Vivosport with identical HR settings, zones, etc. and it records intensity minutes without failure (under identical use).  Can anyone bring some light to this matter?  Maybe Chris at Garmin? I have plenty of information on Garmin Connect for them to take a look and see exactly these inconsistencies.

  • The Vivo series and Instinct Solar are using different generations of the OHR sensor. My immediate concerns would be your OHR sensor is reading you poorly and/or you will need to adjust your heart rate thresholds on your Garmin Connect web account to help pickup your Intensity Minutes better. In Garmin Connect web, select the watch icon top right > Device Settings > User Settings to adjust your heart rate ranges.

    Also, make sure you have your Instinct Solar set as your "Preferred Activity Tracker" too. If you are switching between the two, it can be problematic.

    In general, I would not expect for there to be a lot of intensity minutes seen while walking unless you are speed walking, then maybe. Your overall experience difference between both watches may be the perception difference of the OHR sensor and any differences in hardware/software between the Vivosport and Instinct Solar.

    These Support Center articles may be helpful:

    The Heart Rate Sensor on My Garmin Watch Is Not Accurate

    Earning Intensity Minutes

    How Does the Intensity Minutes Feature Work on My Garmin Watch?

  • Different OHR sensor could very well be the explanation.  However, it is hard to comprehend that a sensor which is newer by a good number of years is less sensitive/accurate, namely worse.  My profile activity is setup at 5, heart rate zones set up in EQUAL increments of 10 starting at 50, both as regards BPM & %, moderate intensity zone 3 and vigorous intensity zone 4.  Those settings should pick up a load of intensity minutes. If you look at my account (and you have my permission to do so) you will notice that there are plenty of intervals, significantly in excess of 10 minutes where the BPM are solidly in  or above zones 3 & 4.  I should easily see moderate and vigorous intensity minutes accumulating.  However, today 41 minutes (moderate), Thursday ZERO, Wednesday 68 (moderate), Tuesday ZERO, Monday ZERO, Sunday 82 (moderate).  If you ask me, the heart rate zones both as regards BPM & % are meaningless for the Garmin algorithm.  If the BPM is well above the upper limit (100) I may or may not pick up some minutes but, otherwise it is all a lottery.  I think that the algorithm may work if you start a manual activity based on BPM & % but, if not, it completely ignores the settings.  If true, that is fundamentally wrong.  In the big scheme of things intensity minutes are not essential for me but that function of the watch should work as intended as buyers pay extra for that.  Can you please take a look at my account and correct me if I am wrong and, if not, can you have your engineers come up with a reasonable explanation why the algorithm is so far off (if you do not start a manual activity).  Thank you.

  • I agree that based on what you are experiencing, you should see your intensity minutes if you are seeing 10+ consistent minutes at the upper moderate to vigorous range of your max heartrate. The fact it works some days and not others is odd. If you haven't already, make sure you make your Instinct Solar your Preferred Activity Tracker to see if it clears up your issue. If it doesn't, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Outdoor Product Support. We will be happy to work with you further.

  • Chris, yes, instinct solar is "Preferred Activity Tracker".  The problem is related to Garmin algorithm not observing settings and zones unless manual activity is started.  That works without failure on other older devices as I already mentioned. Today, I got a random 12 minutes and then nothing again for the rest of the day and yes the HR was elevated for a lot more than 10 minutes several times during the day.   It does not make any sense whatsoever and this is the second device with identical problem.  Can you tell me what Outdoor Product support can do because short of going back to the old OHR sensor or fixing the algorithm there is nothing that I see can be done.    I hate to keep sending back a device when I already know that a replacement will do just the same.  Please advise.  Thank you.

  • We are not seeing any pattern of issues for Intensity Minutes being reflected for the Instinct series. Based on that, please do not hesitate to reach out to Outdoor Product Support again.

  • Are there any instinct solar users who monitor intensity minutes and get them consistently WITHOUT starting a manual activity?.  I gave Garmin SOLID proof that my device is erratic at best (as the previous one was) but they do  not see "any pattern"  It would be of great help if anyone else would confirm any such pattern.  Thank you.

  • If you haven't re-contacted Product Support about the issue you are experiencing, please be sure you do. Thank you.

  • I did not re-contact Product Support because short of replacing the device, yet again, I do not see what can be done.  I really think that it is not this unit but either the NEW OHR sensor or the algorithm.  However, since you suggested that a couple of times I will do it, for compliance.  Thank you.

  • If there is a device specific issue and there is a pattern over both of your Instinct Solar watches, then all that data accumulated from both of your Instinct watches will make it clear. The data can then be given to our Instinct engineers to look into further. Even though we may not be receiving consistent other reports worldwide, does not mean there is not an issue. It simply means there is not a lot of obvious evidence to support it. When we create a case for an issue though, more can be learned and an issue can often be resolved.

  • My intensity minutes are some time wrong/off, too. With no hartreat on its working the most time. If i turn heartreading on , then intensity minutes tracking dont count any minutes (daily use in smartwatch mode)