Troubleshooting an issue with my heart rate monitors


#1

I’m trying to troubleshoot a recurring problem with heart rate monitors - whether I’m riding inside or out. They’ll generally start out reading fine… and then when the ride starts getting tougher, HR tracking gets really wonky. Attached image shows how it happens… chugging through an effort at 140-145 HR and then I get these big dropouts where it’ll show, say, 100 for a period of minutes.

I’ve wondered if it is bluetooth flaking out for some reason. Doesn’t seem related to battery life and I can replicate the behaviour on two Tickrs that I own. Also doesn’t seem to relate to my connection to the strap… as I’m generally in full-on salty sweat mode by the time problems start.

Posting in case there is something obvious I’m missing! Any suggestions welcome.


#2

What about movement in the strap ?

As you sweat the strap slips down ?

I’ve noticed myself that my ticker strap loosens with use.

Could it also be interference from WiFi or microwave etc…


#3

I’ve had this problem before when the strap is getting to the end of its useful life. I didn’t know until fairly recently that Garmin consider the straps to be ‘consumables’; I think they eventually get gunked up with salt. I’ve had better luck swapping out to a Polar strap (fits the Garmin pod), but next time I might give one of the$5 ebay ones a go.


#4

I had this problem when I first got my tickr, and it resolved itself. I’ve only had a couple of more instances where this has occurred over the past year. I’m not sure what it was, but I suspect a poor connection between my chest and the strap.

Does this occur with other apps in addition to TR also?

I’ve read in other forums that it can be helpful to reset the tickr by installing the battery backwards for 5-10 seconds, so maybe worth a try. Also connect the tickr to the wahoo app - maybe the have a firmware update the app can send to the tickr.


#5

Coincidentally I had the same issue yesterday with my Wahoo Tickr strap. During a steady 140bpm interval the value dropped to around 120bpm for no apparent reason then seemed to return again about 2mins later – all during a steady state interval.

I thought perhaps it was a battery issue but maybe it’s a bug of some type?


#6

How often do you remove the Tickr from the strap and clean both the Tickr and the strap? It’s likely a connectivity thing in the strap/Tickr area - you likely have some salt build up in there and as you sweat it is breaking that salt apart and it is temporarily confusing the unit about the connection.

Also - tighten the strap - solves like 75% of HR monitor problems (changing the battery solves 20% more)


#7

All my Garmin HR monitors work excellent right up to a point when they start acting funny and wonky. I usually put up with it for a few months until I realize it’s getting worse and worse. That’s when I replace it and all is good again. But you say you CAN replicate it on with other straps so to me that eliminates a bad strap. I’d start looking at interference like cell phone to close or the BT device receiving the signal issue?


#8

You aren’t alone, I’ve posted a few times in here about long terms problems I’ve had with heart rate straps.
I now wash my strap (currently using Wahoo Tickr but had similar issues with Polar and Garmin in the past) in the shower after each workout and every few weeks in the washing machine. Battery replacement sometimes seems to help but I also think strap tension is pretty important. I notice more problems if I have mine a bit too tight, even if battery is new. I replaced my battery a few weeks back and still had problems but since slightly loosening strap it appears to be much better. I always ensure strap is wet before putting on, I know others use gel but I find water is usually ok as long as all other factors are also working.


#9

At least you can get new straps for the TICKR for an affordable price.


#10

Great input everyone… thanks! This is an issue for me with indoor & outdoor rides and to be honest, I switched from Garmin to Wahoo a while back looking for something a bit more reliable.

Two things that were new for me in this thread were salt and interference. Too much salt makes sense as my problems almost always kick in during long or hard (sweaty) intervals.

Interference is also interesting… looking at Wahoo’s site just now I see that even large fans can cause issues… but since my fans and other devices are always on (and not with me outside!) I can rule those out.

So… I’ll give the daily shower thing a try and failing that just suck up that I need to buy Wahoo or ebay straps more often. Thanks all :facepunch:t2:


#11

My N=1 anecdote is that heart rate monitors don’t work for everybody. My wife was sent to a GP, and then onto a specialist, due to the data from a chest HRM and the spikes that were occuring. Turned out nothing was wrong, but the specialist essentially told her “if a chest or wrist strap was reliable, why do we bother with all the expensive machines we use here?”. The fix was to ditch the HRM, as there was nothing wrong with her heart!