Design flaw: Sensor opening in the wrong place. What now?

Following multiple complaints about elevation inaccuracies (during Trail Run and Cycling activities), I compared the Instinct against my trusty Fenix3 HR in a controlled test. Placed both devices in the car, drove for 60km and found very small acceptable differences in Distance and Total Ascent numbers. Conducted several more tests along the same lines, similar results. All good.

When the Instinct is worn on the wrist, however, with the sensor opening positioned so close to the skin, sweat and dirt block the sensor opening leading to errors. My daughter rides with the Instinct and on two occasions, one (worn on the wrist) logged significantly lower total ascent than her peers while on her second ride (worn over compression arm sleeve) logged elevation accurately. 

Thing is, wearing the watch over an arm sleeve means having to use a chest heart rate monitor instead of the optical one. This appears to be a design flaw that cannot be fixed with firmware!

  • Altitude /Asent is critical information for cycling.

    If the calibration and protecting the pressure port from the wind and from the air flow, and from the sweat does not help, you can always turn on the Elevation Correction in Garmin Connect Web - the topographic data is the used to recalculate the elevation profile. And if you need to see the elevation live, while cycling, you can customize the Cycling Activity screens, adding there the GPS elevation value instead of the barometric elevation.

  • I know this response is 2 years old but it's probably the most useful on the thread (for me).

    I've had my Instinct Solar (V1) for a couple of weeks and the barometric Altimeter data is nonsense (huge over measurement for every ride or run), like everyone else I've tried all the calibration and rinsing/cleaning methods Garmin suggest to no avail, but  I'm not actually too concerned about accurate display of ascent/elevation during an activity. 

    I'm mostly using it for cycling (MTB/Gravel/commuting) and doing a bit of local trail running. 

    I've gone into Connect and can turn on Elevation correction for each individual activity I've done with my Instinct Solar, but how do I set elevation correction as the default for all activities either uploaded by a specific device or simply for all uploads? And ideally get the corrected data passed on to Strava without the need for manual intervention. 

  • I was going to but all it does is put the new port hole where my wrist would still block as it moves when riding (I wear my watch on my left wrist).  so I'd need to model/print my own I think offsettingthe port beather hole further up the side of the watch, which I might still do... 

    But then I noticed the above post about the Elevation Correction fix, which TBH would do all I want/need. 

    My other devices that just use GPS for elevation are fine, as lots of people have said the first gen instinct has a fundamental design flaw but the obvious workaround for lots of users is just using GPS/elevation correction rather than rely on a goosed sensor. I don't really care about seeing climbing data on a ride, if I do I'll use my Edge which actually works...  

    All I want to do right now is make Elevation correction the default for all my uploads from the instinct, for now I think I'm just going to set the Sensor to Barometer only, correct manually in Connect unfortunately this results in zero elevation being captured during an activity, which is still better than wildly incorrect data, but then that gets pushed to Strava by default so I might have to stop auto uploading to Strava from connect. 

  • I was going to but all it does is put the new port hole where my wrist would still block as it moves when riding (I wear my watch on my left wrist). 

    No, it don't.
    You should look at it in more detail.
    But anyway, it's your decision.

  • The current issues are not due to a hardware design flaw. The Instinct's elevation readings used to work great. Garmin broke it by pushing defective firmware to all Instinct watches--you don't get asked if you want to accept the update, they just push it onto all the watches automatically.   What is disappointing is that this happened TWO MONTHS ago and Garmin was not transparent about it and has not fixed it. You probably have thousands of people who gradually became aware that their data was completely out of wack and then wondering if they don done something to break or damage or impair their watch. I know Garmin wasted hours of my time in this, before I eventually stumbled across this forum and learned that it was a firmware update and everyone else was having the same problem.

    Like I said it worked fine before, so it is not a hardware problem.

    At this point, I think we should start insisting that Garmin provide cash refunds or replace our defective Instincts with another model of at least equal or greater capabilities.

  • Have they lost interest since the instinct 2 came out. Will they reapply the FW patch to do elevation "smoothing" do we think?

  • Have they lost interest since the instinct 2 came out. Will they reapply the FW patch to do elevation "smoothing" do we think?

    Did you try v18.10?

  • Oooh no looks like I'm on 17.50, will 18.10 solve things? I shall update it immediately...