Garmin Soft Strap Heart Rate Monitor Failures

strap

Heart rate monitors are temperamental things. In the past few months I’ve gone through two Garmin Forerunner 220’s, and in both cases the bundled soft strap HRM began to fail in the same peculiar way after about a month (roughly 24 uses). It’s driving me bonkers! Both straps worked great for the first month, but after that I began to see weird behavior on runs lasting more than an hour. Somewhere during the second hour, the pulse rate would start decaying steadily down, regardless of how hard I was exercising. Sometimes it would jump up again to a normal-looking value, but more often it would continue decaying downward from around 150 all the way to the 40’s, and stay there until the end of my workout. It rendered the HRM nearly useless for long runs.

An hour-long total decay, with eventual recovery:

April28

 

Partial decay at the end of a marathon, with some earlier gaps:

June8

 

Total and permanent decay at the end of a workout:

april25

 

This pattern of failure seems different from the types of HRM trouble I’m more familiar with, which involves bogus (usually too high rather than too low) pulse readings at the beginning of a workout. That problem is normally caused by poor electrical conductivity between the strap and the skin, and can be solved by wiping on some spit or electrode gel, or just waiting until the skin gets sweaty. DC Rainmaker has a good explanation of this and other common HRM problems. But I don’t think that’s the problem here, and I always use electrode gel anyway.

What on earth might cause a problem like this, that only strikes after an hour or more into a long run, and only after a month of use for the heart rate monitor? When the first HRM started malfunctioning a couple of months ago, I tried cleaning the strap, tightening the strap, replacing the battery, and updating the firmware. Nothing worked, and I eventually exchanged the watch and HRM for a replacement. Now just over a month later, the replacement has started to do the same thing. Ack!

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s somehow related to the accumulation of salt from sweat, which builds up over time and shorts out the conductive thread woven into the strap. That would be consistent with a problem that doesn’t appear for a month (it takes a while for enough salt to accumulate), nor until running more than an hour (it takes a while for the strap to become saturated with sweat). The Garmin soft strap does say right on it that it should be machine washed after every seven uses, which I admit I’ve never done. But washing it once this problem appears don’t seem to fix it.

Some Amazon reviewers reached a similar conclusion, though their symptoms sound different from mine. Some found partial success in washing or soaking the strap, and others by cleaning the snap contacts on the transmitter with a deoxidizing cleaner. If I can’t find a reliable answer soon, I’ll probably have to throw the Garmin HRM in the trash and look for a compatible HRM from Polar or another vendor that doesn’t suffer from this strange decay issue. Sad.

 

Update July 13:

I’ve concluded the Garmin soft strap HR monitor is flawed by design, and I can’t recommend it to anyone. After lots more experimentation, I confirmed the problem is at least partly due to sweat and salt build-up in the strap fabric. Unfortunately, washing the strap doesn’t really fix the problem. In my tests, hand washing with soap in a sink of warm water didn’t help at all, and machine washing with other laundry (per Garmin’s instructions) only partially helped. After washing, the problem returned again within a matter of days, if not sooner.

The final straw was a 6-hour endurance race I competed in yesterday. The day before the event, I machine washed the strap and air dried it while lying flat, so it would be ready to go for the race. Despite the washing, the heart rate data started flaking out after the first hour. It recovered twice, but eventually it went completely nuts and gave me totally wrong HR data for the last 2.5 hours of the race. I was not happy.

hr-dirtydozen

Maybe the sweat and salt become so embedded in the strap’s fabric that even a machine washing can’t completely remove them? Or maybe the salt permanently damages the conductive threads in the fabric? Perhaps it’s some kind of mechanical failure unrelated to sweat and salt.

One thing’s for sure: after going through two of these soft straps, both of which worked great for the first month after purchase, I’m confident the problem has nothing to do with how I’m wearing the strap, or moisture on my skin, or the battery. It’s some kind of cumulative failure that’s inherent in the soft strap HRM design. Washing may provide temporary relief, but eventually the HRM will become a useless piece of junk. Stick with the tried-and-true hard strap design – the Garmin soft strap just doesn’t work.

85 thoughts on “Garmin Soft Strap Heart Rate Monitor Failures

  1. Interesting. I have the exact same problem. I called Garmin today and they said its usually caused by not washing the strap as directed (Which I have been doing). After a bit of conversation, they are sending me a new HRM under warranty. They were very nice about it

  2. Makes sense. Garmin’s care instructions even say “The Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor (Soft Strap) is much like any soft fabric. In order to be at its best performance, it must be cleaned. Not washing the heart rate monitor (HRM) on a consistent basis can cause sweat and salt to build up on the strap. An increased build up of either can decrease the ability for the strap to report correct data.” The only trouble is that I’ve washed the strap repeatedly, and the HR decay problem still occurs.

  3. I’ve posted an update after another month of testing: see above. Bottom line, the Garmin soft strap seems to be flawed by design, and I don’t recommend it.

    • I am on my Fourth HR Monitor, and last. All have failed. The last one would not even work fresh out of the box. I’m tired of screwing with these things. switching to a completely different brand.

      • I agree. Switched from Polar because everyone was raving about the Edge 520. Big mistake. HRM is useless, and I’ve tried water, conductive gel, tightening, everything. It lasts about 45 mins and then reads either very low or blank. UGH

  4. Others have successfully repaired these new HRM3-SS “soft straps” by cutting them completely between the two snap-in buttons, then trimming the edges until it looks a bit like: *)(* I’ve done the same on an older HRM2-SS, and it worked. It breaks that permanent or sporadic short circuit caused by bad design – or salt buildup…

    short cir·cuit
    noun
    1.
    in a device, an electrical circuit of lower resistance than that of a normal circuit, typically resulting from the unintended contact of components and consequent accidental diversion of the current.

    • I have a 405CX (already old) and have the issue of spiking . Would like to know if I cut the reader this solution will work. I guess, I’ll be left with no other option very soon, in any case.

      • Sorry, question not clear. I have the original strap, which the soft one, but am not sure what the outcome will be if I cut it between the attaching buttons. Thanks

    • Hello again, cut it and seems to give correct reading, although not tried running yet.

  5. Has anyone tried tried soaking it in a solution of a salt neutralizing agent? I’m not sure what that would be, maybe vinigar.

  6. I have the exact same problem and tried varies of things too. I tested Garmin belt with Polar transmitter pod and it reads fine. So I suspect the design of Garmin HRM3-SS or HRM2-SS also have something to do with not able to read from the Garmin belt. I can’t not believe that a company can sell millions of such a defective product(both belt and transmitter).

  7. I’ve recently been having similar issues with my Garmin strap with 310xt. Thing is, it’s only on the treadmill when I run shirtless, about 40-50 minutes into a workout. This has led me to believe that it’s a sweat issue. Very frustrating when trying to set pace based on a heart rate zone.

  8. I have exactly the same problems as those reported above. I have tried three Garmin cardiofequency transmitters for my Fenix. They all failed after about ten fifteen outings. I think GARMIN should react to this and acknowledge that they are selling a hopeless product!

    • I agree: I stopped wearing the HRM as it was too frustrating to attempt any more. It stopped after two months, so I feel somewhat fortunate compared to others. I cannot recommend this product brand, however as this problem is too persistent and nothing I have tried has been successful.

  9. I have exactly the same problem about my strap apart from it can pick my husbands heart rate up but not mine. I’ve tried fitting it in every position possible and wet all the sensor points. Any help or advice on whst to do

    • Kerry, did you ever get a solution to this, my wife bought me the edge 520 with the HR monitor. The HR monitor picks up everyone else’s heartbeat but not mine!

      I have phoned Garmin and they are sending me another one, I did see a post up above about cutting the strap so might try that!

      Ironically, I tried my fathers WAhoo HR monitor connected to my edge and it picks up my heartbeat.

  10. experiencve experienced exactly the same problems. Bought new Garmin belts three times but problem would occur over and over a gain.
    I now wear a polar strap with the Garmin sender attached to it, that works fine (for the last two months, 4 sessions per week).

  11. The Garmin straps, both the premium and standard versions do not work for me after countless attempts and conversations with Garmin. I had another Ant+ strap from and stationary bike manufacturer (Real Ryder) that worked wonderfully with both my Edge and Vivosmart devises; problem is the battery compartment chipped and now I am waiting on a new strap from the bike folks. If you compare the two straps; i.e. the Garmin Standard and Real Ryder the RR is both more flexible and narrow at the contact points. It is definitely a different design and for me anyway works well.

  12. Garmin soft-strap: I don’t think salt-in-the-fabric is the problem. I say this for 2 reasons: 1) my Polar soft-strap did NOT spike, and 2) I have the ORIGINAL premium Garmin strap now (the one that has a plastic coating over the connections, and specifically says “DO NOT MACHINE WASH”) – and get the spikes. It spikes to over 200 and stays there. I replaced the battery, tried gel, but neither helps. This is my 2nd strap; Garmin replaced it under warranty; still crap. My hunch is interference (poor coding) as it happens more in certain areas. I’ll call for another freebie but after reading comments, I’m doubtful the “new” premium will work any better.

  13. I’ve about had it with mine as well. I’ve gone through three soft straps…all have the same failure mode, as described above. Mine have failed about 4-6months into use. The high dollar special “run” metrics used in the 620 is useless without using it with the soft strap. My garmin hard strap has worked for 5 years, with no issue.

  14. I just received my second strap after my HR data went exactly along the same lines as others posting on this subject. My new one has been working fine since 18 Jan 2015 and now here I am – almost exactly one month later – and the same problem has emerged. Today I was apparently doing hard out hill repeats with a HR of only 64 bpm! I wish. It is so frustrating! I’m almost embarrassed to have to go back to the retailer again and it’s Garmin who should be embarrassed.

  15. Thank you to everyone for these really helpful comments! Same problems here and I did all of the remedial steps and same problems. I’ll buy another brand. Any suggestions?

  16. I Used polar and garmin hrm watches over the years. The garmin been very good , but like the others writing I found after a short period I lose signal hrm show nothing washed etc battery change still the same . Where u go from here Tom Tom cardio ?

    • Thanks Melon. That suggestion worked for me too. I have had polar for years and only seldom had spikes, They are rock solid. Pity they don’t do an ANT+ strap so I had to get a Garmin one. Some problem as reported hear. Changed the strap to the polar and clicked in the transmitter an dowels perfectly now. Polar has a very flexible fabric instead of the crappy plastic Garmin rubbish. Garmin should take note and see if they can license polar’s design as it is FAR superior. Wearing it now as I type and zero problems. Rock solid like al Polar gear..

      • Spoke to soon. After ran hours riding it dropped to zero and hasn’t worked since. Changed battery. etc and still no good. Get a 72 then drops to zero again. Argh

  17. I phoned Garmin after experiencing the very same problems,and just asked for a replacement, but give me the OLD style HRM as I never had a problem with that 1, to be told they couldn’t not do it,as they would be replacing with an “inferior” product. After I asked, surely the customer is always right, and I would be happy taking the “inferior” product, I got my wish. So am back to the old style chest belt, and more than happy 🙂

  18. Same issues for me. I’m not using the device for the same duration, but I do get the problems. Sometimes it starts out okay and then drops off, if I go long enough, it comes back. I bought a Forerunner 305 in 2009, that has the old school chest strap and it still works like a champ! I bought a Forerunner 410 in 2012. it came with a soft strap that started giving me fits after a couple months. So, I had been using the old strap from my 305 with my 410 until I bought a 910 5 months ago. The 910 came with a slightly better looking soft strap. It actually did really good for about 4 months. Same old problems. So, I’m using the 5.5 yr old bulky plastic strap on my 910 to get accurate readings. I changed countless batteries, washed the straps, etc and nothing helps. I’m glad I hung on to that old strap!

  19. I’ve found the strongly synthetic wicking shirt fabrics tend to disrupt the signal. I had wash in a drywall bucket and hang-dry each run. Also, I use conductive gel for electrodes (like for tens treatment). And, I live in cold climate, so I’ve found getting receiver closer to body temperature before dashing out the door helps. But, in agreement with everyone else, it is totally frustrating to fuss with the HRM (and dangerously distractive on uneven terrain when running.)

  20. I had that problem a few years ago and gave up on the soft strap (premium). I went back to the original heavy duty strap (less comfortable across the chest) but the reading are sound and I haven’t cleaned it in ages. I use spit on the “electrode region” for a better connection. To bad that when I upgrade to ether the Fenix3 or 620, I won’t get benefits of running dynamics as I will still used the old strap. I don’t trust the new premiums to work consistently which is needed when training by HR.

  21. I had the same issue with my original, and my warranty-replaced HRM.

    Based on comments from “Mats”, above, I cut one of my straps between the buttons, trimmed to look like this: *)(* . Glad to report this worked!

    My HRM that was effectively dead for >1yr, sprung back to life.

    It would seem that garmin straps have some flaw in the conductive fabric.

    Physically separating the two electrodes has resolved my issues..

    Cutting the strap in two does seem counter-intuitive, but this has indeed worked for me.

    Good luck

    • The cutting also worked for me; after trying all other items the cutting worked well, the system immediately had a normal reading.
      In the meantime also ordered the polar strap; so now I will soon have two solutions.

  22. I’m onto my second 220 and the same problem where after 20 min use there is no heart rate reading. Frustrating and I certainly would not recommend

  23. I can confirm that the heart rate “decay” problem I had, exactly the same as the original post, has been solved by cutting the strap between the electrodes like *)(*
    Thank you – been trying to find a solution for months.

    • Any chance of a photo of the cut – I am having trouble visualising what *)(* looks like…. 🙂

  24. Same problems here. Love garmin, but the soft straps HRM2 & HRM3 both have these problems

    The new strap was the best HRM strap I’d ever had (Polar, Powertap, Timex, Old Garmin) … for the first three months. Now it keeps spiking HR for no rhyme or reason. I called Garmin and the customer support person said she’d never heard of any problems with the strap. Is Garmin instructing its service department to lie / deny this problem exists? Amazing.

  25. The issue I wrote about (and the graphs I posted) describe a specific problem in which the HR measurement slips gradually but consistently lower over a period of 30 minutes or more, eventually falling to about 70 BPM even as you continue to exercise. This only seems to happen during longer workouts, after about an hour when the chest strap becomes soaked with sweat.

    I suspect this decay problem is unrelated to the more common complaint of a HR that spikes *up*, seemingly at random times. Fortunately I never experienced an upward spiking HR problem with my Garmin 220’s soft strap, but I did sometimes see it with an older Garmin strap when the chest electrodes weren’t well-moistened.

    It’s possible these two problems have the same underlying cause, and you could try the *)(* cut solution described above. But from the symptoms, it sounds like upward spiking HR is more likely caused by something different.

    • The same thing happen to me this last Saturday with my HRM3. It is 40 days old been working great. I was on a 10 mile run and at 5 miles my heart rate started going down until it the level reached about 65. Got home clean it again really well and same thing yesterday. About 40 mins into the run heart rate started dropping to 60 and below, then it just kept stopping to display anything. I would move it and it would redisplay 60. Sounds like a major flaw. Time for a recall with a band that works.

  26. I had the same problem and returned the 800 unit back to Garmin twice in a few months. A few weeks later the problem reoccurred yet again. Finally I did some research on the web and then bought as suggested the Polar strap that looks very similar, I have had no problems in nearly 2 years, it was very reasonably priced also. Hope this helps

  27. The algorithm of Garmin ANT+ sensor and the design of Garmin strap are both not optimal. I have 10+ years old Polar sensor that still works perfectly today, from beginning of exercise to end, with lots of sweat.

    Tried ANT+ sensor with various generation/manufacture straps: Garmin HRM2-SS, HRM3-SS, Wahoo TICKR, Wahoo ANT+, CooSpo. They all failed to work properly in their own way.

  28. The one and only time I have ever washed my strap resulted in the plastic strips separating from the fabric.

    I clean it in water after every use but now I am getting strange readings. Mine will be fine for half an hour, then start to read high – my real HR might be 140 and it will be reading 160-170-180. Then just as mysteriously it will go back down and read properly for the rest of my ride.

    This is my third strap in five years. I’m going to try the Polar strap and see if that works any better.

  29. I have been using the Polar soft strap and the Garmin HRM for a few months. I had the decay problem on my last 10 mile run. I was about to try to replace the battery on the Garmin HRM and those tiny screws intimidated me. I was afraid of stripping them and ruining the HRM. So I went to Google and here I am. Well, I guess we are not alone. Ugh. I never used the stiff strap Garmin provided. Those type of straps (used one with a bluetooth sensor) slice into my skin over long distances #girlproblems. So I used my Polar strap with the Garmin HRM pod and it worked! Until the decay problem started. I will give my strap a good soak and see if that helps. You all have been very helpful! Thanks and keep up the good work!!

  30. Started having a problem with mysterious HR readings, especially showing values being extremely low oh rides involving hard hills or serious sprinting or not even recording at all. Having read the above comments I have bought a Polar Wearling strap. Fingers crossed this works.

  31. Try rotating the chest strap to your left so the Garmin logo is almost under your left nipple as opposed to the center of your chest. This has worked well for me. Garmin…..you owe me one.

    • Thanks for this tip, it sorted my Hrm readings as soon as I moved it around. No more high readings!

  32. I have had malfunction problems with the Garmin Soft strap over the last 4 years.
    Strap, I have found, generally last for about a year before they start malfunctioning, and I know why!
    I Have measured the contact pad resistance with an Ohm meter, on new straps (Unused) and obtained readings typically of 1 – 2k ohms.
    On used, malfunctioning, straps the readings can be as high as 2M ohms (almost an insulator rather than an electrical conductor)
    In the past Garmin have sent me replacements, but now they state that because I am not using the chest strap with another Garmin Product, such as a watch, there is nothing they can do.
    I actually use the chest strap interfaced to the Performance Monitor on a Concept 2 rowing machine.
    Like others have in the past used the original old Polar belt which gave10 years of service before non replaceable battery finally expired.
    I have spoken to Garmin today who told me that they don’t get many complaints about their straps failing!

    Finally I have found that even on a new unused belt which I have had for about 15 months the electrical resistance has increased from the original 2k ohm to around 80k ohm!!
    So nothing to do with sweat then.

  33. Iv gone through 3 straps every year for past 3 years. Garmin just keep sending me a replacement under warranty

  34. I too have been experiencing trouble with my Garmin HRM3 premium heart rate monitor. I searched the interwebs and ended up buying the Polar strap which seemed to work for a few weeks, but then it drops heart rate data as well. My Garmin stops reading heart rate data when the efforts are hard, say 170bpm or higher. I contacted Garmin and all I got was their canned responses. No help at all. I will try the indestructables cleaning method, but I am not optimistic. Seems like Garmin is setting itself up for a nice class action lawsuit!

  35. Talked to Garmin on Tuesday about soft strap problems. Total BS canned response. My old hard strap has been sitting on the same door knob for over 2 years. Used it today for the first time in over 2 years…worked like it was brand new. No issues whatsoever. Bought another one from these guys just in case I ever need another one and they don’t make them any more.

    http://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/garmin-hrmtransmitter.html

    $38.21 delivered. Used these guys before, no problems.

  36. My issue is that the HRM gradually climbs above the ‘correct’ reading. When I place a hand over the HRM unit and press to my chest it gradually drops to what I assume is the correct reading, if I then stop pressing it rises again to 30-40 BPM above the ‘correct’ heart rate. Of course, I don’t even know how reliable the ‘correct’ rate is.
    I did a six hour run yesterday, and after the first two miles the HR was as good as useless.
    Garmin do seem to consistently send out stuff that doesn’t work properly. Certainly for HR based training (in my opinion the most useful gadget on your wrist is a HRM and not a GPS) it’s for all intents a useless device. Lots of bells and whistles on these latest Garmin devices (I’m on a 620 and the missus is on Fenix 3), but the bells and whistles are useless unless the basics work properly. I think Garmin have got their product priorities wrong here- in the long run they might make a lot of sales, but their reputation will eventually be a comeuppance unless they sort these basic quality control issues out.
    Thanks for the posters that mention using a Polar strap. I’m going to give that a go, my fingers are crossed!

  37. I had a similar issue and contacted Garmin and after a bit if un around got a whole new HRM Run sent to me. Didn’t need the module but they sent that too. The strap is very different from the original. Has a lot more rubbery/vinyl in it. Not like the old ones but not just cloth.

  38. I used to wear Polar and Garmin for years. In my experiences, both “fabric” straps do not work after a few month of usage as you all commented. Meanwhile Suunto’s strap does not have such issues though it gives the same comfort. I can agree that Suunto’s models are a bit out of date from technological perspectives, the reliability of HR strap is superb…

  39. I have the exact same problem with 3 different Garmin straps. They work OK for the first part of my cycling work out…..then the HR stops working. I have replaced batteries…reversed the polarity….but they stop working again. glad I found this website…..I thought that I was the only one with this problem…..Garmin HR straps are poorly designed…and do not work properly !!

  40. I have the same soft strap issues – mainly spiking, and it seems to get worse if I’ve delayed washing it. I don’t think it’s a salt build up alone, because, like most people I suspect, I rinse mine thoroughly in warm water in the shower with me after every use. I then started washing the shiny bits (electrodes) with soap, suspecting oil buildup in the electrodes was increasing the resistance and making electrical pickup sporadic (not sure why this is coded as a high HR though). It worked for a little while, but soap is fairly lipophilic so I suspected non-dimethicone (silicon) based hair shampoo or even dishwashing detergent might be better. It is, but oxidised oils and proteins buildup on clothes, so I’ve now moved onto hand washing with clothes detergent, and this works considerably better. If buildup of organics on the electrodes is an issue, it probably means eventually, like that weird stuff that builds up on shirt armpits, no amount of washing will remove the accumulated residue. Might be something to do with the choice of plastic in the electrodes? For now I’m following DCRainmaker’s advice and have ordered a polar wearlink strap. Appreciate the forum participants’ comments very much, thanks.

  41. I have the same problem with the hr drops out after sweat build up. Can someone post a real pickoff how to cut out the strap as explain above.

    Here’s an important question, I wonder if the pro cycling team Have the same problem? Any comments on this thought?

  42. I had the same proble, with the soft strap. Cutting it through completely so that its held together by the monitor itself seems to have completely solved the problem

    • I have 2 Garmin soft straps with fabric between the snaps. 100% of the time after 30-45 minutes the data would drop off or just flat-line. With scissors I cut out about 1/4″ of the band between the snaps and have had zero problems on either strap since.

      I assume as sweat builds up in the strap there is some current leakage that messes up the readings. With the break in the band this is stopped.

  43. I am on my 3rd soft strap HRM in 6 months (soon to be on my 4th) — all replaced under warranty by Garmin – I am glad I am not the only one that is having the problem of it working for a few weeks before registering my tempo runs at 63 BPM!!! I too followed all the instructions, have tried turning it around, etc. — After a few runs of low BPM it then stops registering or connecting and disconnecting randomly during my run. I convinced them to let me try the new Tri HRM instead of the soft strap — hoping the redesign to make it work in water is going to fix this issue??? A girl can dream … Stay tuned ….

  44. So DC rainmaker has the solution, ditch the Positively Out Standing (POS) Garmin crap strap and get a polar wearlink + soft strap. It’s about 20 bucks and it fixes the issue. Knew that polar strap would come in handy one day!

  45. I had the problem, not with spikes, but with the pulse dropping out completely. I had been using the belt for about 18 months before it happened the first time, a total of about 5000km indoor and outdoors combined. At first I thought it had to do with my heart medication (beta blocker), but checking my Garmin logs showed that it always happened under hot conditions after a break in riding, e.g. while waiting for slower riders at the top of a climb. It didn’t matter how long the break was. To me, that sounds a lot like sweat build-up and a short circuit through salty conductivity, probably in the lower layers of the material.

    Once the pulse reading was gone, i.e. after the break, it didn’t come back for the rest of the day. Even pressing the knob onto my chest with my hand during the ride only let the reading jump from zero to 72 for a few seconds, and then drop back to zero and lop around occasionally between zero and 10, or so.

    After finding and reading this blog commentary, I started soaking the belt in water and washing the belt in the washing machine with my jerseys and stuff a couple of times a week. It took about six or seven times through the machine (perhaps more, I wasn’t counting), but at the moment the problem has totally disappeared.

  46. Hi there,

    I got a Garmin Vivofit and HRM strap after reading your review, I have also ensured to keep the strap pads moist when in use, however, I think it is overestimating the calories burned. I play beginners badminton and volleyball (casual/social clubs) and it say I burnt 700 calories for 1 hour badminton and 1000 calories for 2 hours volleyball which I am sure is inaccurate.

    How can I know that it is monitoring my calorie burn correctly? I don’t know what I am doing wrong or if the HRM is faulty.

    Appreciate any advice,

    Thanks,
    Laura.

  47. Have had the same problem, after three or four months of satisfactory use. Got a new one. The same story. Sometimes too high and sometimes too low. Listened to dcrainmaker and got a Polar strap. The SAME story. Washed and rewashed…

    Also got a replacement 620. Again, the same story. To be fair, Garmin has taken some responsibility and replaced the watch. BUT it did not solve the problem!

    Currently, I have three straps and two HRMs for my 620. They do NOT work properly. Had to go back to Garmin old HRM for my 110 and 405 which does not provide running dynamics information for my 620.

    Very disappointed, to say the least. Talked multiple times with Garmin. I am surprised that the customer service people have little idea about this problem. Surprised that the engineers at Garmin have NOT publicly presented a solution!

    Is the Garmin FR225 the implicit answer?

    Will get another strap in two days. See what happens.

  48. Sitting in an electrophysiologist office after a month wearing an implant heart monitor. Saw periods of 160-200 bpm with a Mio Link and 920xt during that time. Mio was in reaction to high rates on chest strap. No high rates seen on Medtronics implant. Runs are 4-20 miles. Garmin, you have a problem.

  49. Today’s run I noticed that my heart rate on my Garmin, with chest strap sensor, was 170. Looked at the Mio Alpha on my right wrist. 120BPM.

    Will test my Mio Link against the Alpha, but it looks like the Ant link between sensor and Garmin 920xt may be the problem.

    To review, the Alpha measures pulse from it’s integrated sensor.

  50. Today Mio Link paired with Garmin 920xt showed 167BPM while Mio Alpha showed 112BPM.
    Sigh.

  51. How come the strap gets all the blame and the sensor itself none of it? I have mostly the same problems with my sensor/strap combo as many of you: spikes and more recently it simply doesn’t work. But I find nothing obviously wrong with the strap, physically that is. However, one of the terminals of the sensor looks slightly burnt. I don’t know how that happened but is the only visual clue I have.

    Been trying to clean that part unsuccessfully so far

  52. I’ve had exact same issue as original post. Drop in rate to 72 or so after 30min or so running, esp in hot weather. I just cut strap in two, now held together by monitor, and correct rate returned immediately. So far, looks like a good practical solution. Thx.

  53. Had the same issue described in the original post: after approximately 1 hour of running, the heart rate reported by the device would start dropping and eventually flat-out around the 80bpm mark (I wish!). Followed the procedure described above: cut the band right in the middle, between the two buttons that hold the plastic transmitter, and then trimmed each side to create a gap between them once the transmitters attached. Went for a test run today and it seems to have worked: no HR drop. Thanks for the tip!

  54. Hi, I recently got the Garmin Edge 520, when I put on my HRM it does not pick up my heartbeat but when I put it on my son and my wife it works no problem. I have connected my Edge to my fathers Wahoo TICKR and that picks up my heartbeat no problem.

    The strap on the TICKR is split between the connection point for the sender unit and I am wondering if the idea of cutting the strap would work?

  55. Well, the sensors are not always off. After nothing during the first month, an implanted cardiac monitor has subsequently confirmed some of my high heart rate incidents. Cardiologist says that they are harmless but need follow up. Just an alert here, don’t just discount repeated 2 to 20 minute high HRM rates.

  56. I have had the Garmin for 18 months same problems as described above. After every use, I rinsed it thoroughly. I don’t believe it is salt build up. It could be a design issue. Never had the problem with my polar HR monitor and strap. Will try cutting it as suggested.

  57. Same decay issues with mine. Didn’t start until after a couple of years of constant use. I replaced the battery thinking this was the problem, however to no avail. One thing different to above comments, I virtually never washed it. So obviously the level of care an attention paid to this device has little reflection on how long it lasts.
    Frustration has got the better of me, and I have not used the HR function for a few months now.
    Time to cut mine in half and see the results.

  58. Mine would not communicate with the Fenix 3, but has absolutely no problem to communicate with the Wattbike, so should I conclude the problem lies with the Fenix ??

  59. I had all sorts of issues with my Garmin soft strap, stopped using it for several years, in disgust, kept happening over several devices, then I saw a cheapo Chinese knock-off soft strap on Ebay which works perfectly. Cheaper than chucking away the Garmin Edge 800 which was hell expensive.

  60. I have been using Garmin products for many years and have had similar problems with all my devices Garmin edge 1000, 810,800,705×2, 500×2 305,4. I have tried countless straps and heart rate modules from polar, cycleops power tap power cal. I washed the straps, replaced the batteries and tried different strap and heart rate modules All have the same problem while working for a very short time then getting irratic reading that fix at 40,50 bpm after one hour of use. I have contacted garmin only to get a free new strap that ultimately develops the same problem. I have polar heart rate monitors that never had that problem. I think Garmin should stop skirting the issue and do a thorough investagation of their heart rate technology . It is faulty ! Stop producing new products with same faulty heart rate monitors Is it the strap,module both or the garmin devise itself and its soft wear . If polar can develop a fautless system why can’t you Garmin???

  61. Hi All, same story. I tried using a polar strap, but the distance between the studs is not identical, so the Garmin transmitter keeps popping off from the polar strap when I’m running. I’m a bit gun shy to cut my only Garmin strap, so I’m trying the wash and soak thing. Somebody said I should brush the contact strips with toothpaste to try and remove the salt buildup. I’m not convinced it’s a salt issue, I’ve only used the strap since January and wash it after each use.

  62. My problem is heart rate monitor(the actual little clip on device) and not the strap. My clip on device and my husbands clip on device gives me an elevated HR (example 123 in a resting state with an actual HR of 55) The 3rd one works perfectly well. Which is an OLD one from an old FR70. So it cant be the strap. Its the HRM3-ss. Why???? Anyone else with this problem?

Comments are closed.