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HRM Monitor and Hairy Chest

mugensimugensi Posts: 558
edited October 2019 in Road general
My HRM (garmin premium) doesn't appear to pick up my HR until i'm approx. 5/6km into my cycle and my HR is well elevated. I cant seem to get it to pick up when resting (and not sweaty) I have tried wetting my chest with water and/or putting saliva on the two contacts on the rear of the HRM but nothing works initially and its only when my heart is racing that it eventually picks it up. I have a reasonably hairy chest and was wondering if that was the problem?

Garmin recommends moving the monitor to the side or onto your back. I might try having it on my side but I cant imagine having it on the back would be too comfortable.

Anyone any tips for getting it to read from the start.

On a side note,its really annoying also having to start my garmin 520 so as to see if its reading HRM before I set off. I can see that the unit is connected with the HRM in the sensor settings but I don't know if the HR is showing until I start a ride and so I usually just keep going at that stage knowing that it'll suddenly pick it up once my HR increases. Maybe there is another way of seeing the HR without having to start a ride??

Posts

  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,508
    Check the contact pads. They are prone to cracking and even the smallest crack will cause intermittent readings until it eventually stops altogether.

    If no sign of cracks, try changing the battery, and also definitely try wearing it on your back. It apparently isn't uncomfortable and does help with readings.

    If none of this works you could try replacing the belt (polar belts are compatible with the Garmin sensor) or alternatively just bite the bullet and buy a whole new hrm.
  • mugensimugensi Posts: 558
    redvision wrote:
    Check the contact pads. They are prone to cracking and even the smallest crack will cause intermittent readings until it eventually stops altogether.

    If no sign of cracks, try changing the battery, and also definitely try wearing it on your back. It apparently isn't uncomfortable and does help with readings.

    If none of this works you could try replacing the belt (polar belts are compatible with the Garmin sensor) or alternatively just bite the bullet and buy a whole new hrm.

    The contacts are in perfect condition. I only bought it approx. 14 months ago. I'll try a new battery as come to think of it, I don't think I've ever replaced it.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I believe the Wahoo HRM has a light to show you it's working without having to rely on the head unit.

    Alternatively have you considered joining the millennials' trend for total body depiliation? (Old age is gradually doing this for me...)
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,440
    I'm having issues with my HRM at the moment, intermittent readings mainly. I got a new monitor off a mate and put a new battery in it but still getting the same issues which leads me to thinking it may be the strap.

    What are these cracks you mention?
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  • jlloydjlloyd Posts: 105
    I used to have this problem

    I just stick a dab of hand gel onto my chest under the monitor (think I read about it on here) and it picks up the HR straight away
  • I get this and I also have a hairy chest! I just lick contacts and usually it works OK. Occasionally it is intermittent at start of ride which is annoying, and then gives spuriously high readings. After a couple miles it settles down and works fine. My HRM is a cheapo Ebay one but overall it works fine 95% of time which is good enough for me as I'm not on a training plan, I can use it to monitor HR on climbs as an aid to not blowing up too soon.
  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,508
    I'm having issues with my HRM at the moment, intermittent readings mainly. I got a new monitor off a mate and put a new battery in it but still getting the same issues which leads me to thinking it may be the strap.

    What are these cracks you mention?

    Just look closely at the contact pads and if there is any type of crack the belt will need replacing soon.

    I had an occasional drop in readings last summer and couldn't figure it out. Belt wasn't old, pads were wet, new battery etc. Finally found a tiny crack on the one pad. Contacted Garmin who advised that any cracks will cause reading inaccuracies and the belt needs to be replaced.

    Ordered a polar one from Amazon for a tenner and problem was solved.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Only realised my HRM wasn't working when I noticed the Garmin calorie calculation looked a bit optimistic. Looked back over the past few rides and saw that no HR info had been recorded.

    Replaced the battery but still no HR. Washed and dried the strap just in case. Nada. About to bin the strap and buy another when I stumbled on a youtube vid of a chap 'rebooting' one of the old, hard straps by shorting out the contacts with a safety pin. I achieved the same by briefly inserting the battery backwards. Bingo! Normal service resumed.

    (The strap is a Polar replacement for the original Garmin soft strap which failed after 2 years, and seems to be outlasting the original)
  • mugensimugensi Posts: 558
    keef66 wrote:
    I believe the Wahoo HRM has a light to show you it's working without having to rely on the head unit.

    Alternatively have you considered joining the millennials' trend for total body depiliation? (Old age is gradually doing this for me...)

    Yes considered shaving the area but then i'd look daft when taking the kids to the pool and/or sunbathing with shirt off etc etc
    jlloyd wrote:
    I used to have this problem

    I just stick a dab of hand gel onto my chest under the monitor (think I read about it on here) and it picks up the HR straight away

    Might try this as it wouldn't dry out as quick as water/saliva. Thanks.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,126
    I dont see why having the transmitter on your back would be less comfy than on your front ? My strap goes all the way around and I often forget I have it on.

    There is a strap that transmits from your arm - DC Rainmaker is a big fan of it - that might be the solution if backwards and gels dont work.
  • jlloydjlloyd Posts: 105
    jlloyd wrote:
    I used to have this problem

    I just stick a dab of hand gel onto my chest under the monitor (think I read about it on here) and it picks up the HR straight away

    Might try this as it wouldn't dry out as quick as water/saliva. Thanks.[/quote]

    Think it dries out eventually, but the sweat/heartrate kicks in before then - Never had a problem with it
  • step83step83 Posts: 3,646
    fenix wrote:
    I dont see why having the transmitter on your back would be less comfy than on your front ? My strap goes all the way around and I often forget I have it on.

    There is a strap that transmits from your arm - DC Rainmaker is a big fan of it - that might be the solution if backwards and gels dont work.

    I've been eyeing this up must last few rides have been very intermittent I somehow managed to do a cat 3 climb with a steady heart rate of 67bpm. Im not shaving a strip on my chest for it to work properly.
  • Do you wash it regularly? I think a buildup of salts can interfere with the sensors. I put mine in the wash once or twice a week and rinse after every use. Never had any issues with mine but I don't have a hairy chest.

    I usually wet the sensors with a bit of water beforehand.

    Where on the chest do you wear the strap. I seem to think Garmin recommends below the chest but I always wear mine above the nipples and seems to work fine. It might be worth trying a few different places and see what works best.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 993
    My uncle was incredibly hirsute being half Greek. His beard grew up to just below his eyes and he looked like he was hugging a monkey when his shirt was off!

    With me it's just my legs. Top half not too bad, except I look like Pan when I'm in my trunks on the beach
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,126
    Thanks for that image !
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 8,875
    fenix wrote:
    I dont see why having the transmitter on your back would be less comfy than on your front ? My strap goes all the way around and I often forget I have it on.

    There is a strap that transmits from your arm - DC Rainmaker is a big fan of it - that might be the solution if backwards and gels dont work.

    I've got one of the optical arm ones - Scosche. Works well, and I much prefer it to a chest strap (on the rare occasions when I actually wore it). Very reliable in my experience.
    and then the next thing you know
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    could you wear it as a sweat band around your forehead? that'd be a strong look!
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  • dannbodgedannbodge Posts: 813
    Try a different monitor, The garmins are known for dodgy reading issues iirc.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,827
    Or just a Polar belt which in my experience is far superior to the original Garmin soft strap.

    PP
  • matt_n-2matt_n-2 Posts: 581
    Do you wash it regularly? I think a buildup of salts can interfere with the sensors. I put mine in the wash once or twice a week and rinse after every use. Never had any issues with mine but I don't have a hairy chest.

    I usually wet the sensors with a bit of water beforehand.

    Where on the chest do you wear the strap. I seem to think Garmin recommends below the chest but I always wear mine above the nipples and seems to work fine. It might be worth trying a few different places and see what works best.

    If it’s a Garmin soft strap I’d agree with the above, they (or mine at least) needs to be washed every 2 weeks or the readings start dropping off, start of rides in particular.

    I’ve got a couple of cheap eBay straps and they’re fine!
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  • davebradswmbdavebradswmb Posts: 231
    It does seem that the Garmin soft strap is troublesome, it is the only strap that you regularly read complaints about. I have a hairy chest and when I started having trouble with the Garmin strap I bought a Decathlon HRM and I've had no problems since. And it comes with the added bonus of bluetooth so I can us it with my phone too.
  • motogullmotogull Posts: 308
    Draw a line top and bottom of where the strap goes and shave or wax a band correspondingly. Job done.
  • tyke999tyke999 Posts: 52
    I have a Garmin HRM and find that if I wet the contacts on the band -- it works ok....hairy chest...nope...sorry haven't got one.
  • tyke999tyke999 Posts: 52
    It does seem that the Garmin soft strap is troublesome, it is the only strap that you regularly read complaints about. I have a hairy chest and when I started having trouble with the Garmin strap I bought a Decathlon HRM and I've had no problems since. And it comes with the added bonus of bluetooth so I can us it with my phone too.


    will the decathlon HRM pair with a garmin edge ok?
  • wongataawongataa Posts: 835
    tyke999 wrote:
    It does seem that the Garmin soft strap is troublesome, it is the only strap that you regularly read complaints about. I have a hairy chest and when I started having trouble with the Garmin strap I bought a Decathlon HRM and I've had no problems since. And it comes with the added bonus of bluetooth so I can us it with my phone too.


    will the decathlon HRM pair with a garmin edge ok?
    Any ANT+ HRM device should work just fine with a Garmin.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I've had the decathlon strap and monitor for the last couple of years with my Garmins. No problem at all.
  • parmosparmos Posts: 52
    i had a issue earlier in the year with the garmin HR strap giving spurious results and not giving me accurate readings until a few miles in so i shaved a band across my chest and bingo it worked perfectly so then just shaved it all off and now 6-8 months later i'm back with the full rug bingo my HR strap is playing funny buggers again so time for another shave.
  • +1 for wot PP said.
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  • Edit - posted the wrong link

    Here's the right one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sonogel-GELE10 ... 416&sr=8-5

    Job done.
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