Are HR straps basically consumables...?

I've had several HR straps over the last few years from the usual suspects (Wahoo and Garmin mostly). They always work fine out of the box, but then at some point (usually after about a year of use) they start giving erratic readings, jumping between unrealistic HR figures and "flatlining" on them before jumping to another reading.

The pattern is always the same - to begin with, the erratic readings are usually only while warming up before generating a sweat and are worse indoors, then it gradually becomes worse so that the readings become useless most of the time. This usually prompts a battery change, which usually doesn't fix it but wastes a (probably) perfectly good battery.

The WAHOO TICKR and the Garmin straps seem to be as bad as each other. I've just gone back to Garmin after two failed TICKRs, having switched to the TICKR a couple of years back from Garmin...

Should we just accept that these things wear out and replace them every few months? If so, it would be good to know for certain whether it is the strap itself or the clip-on unit that is at fault and only replace that, if for no other reason than to avoid unnecessary electronics waste. My guess is that it's the fabric straps that wear out. I see that it's possible to buy the Garmin ones separately, although they are not much cheaper than the HR monitor itself. Wahoo also seem to sell the TICKR straps and for quite a decent price, although they are currently out of stock.

I think if these things are expected to wear out this quickly the manufacturers should be more upfront about it and actively encourage the sale of the straps seperately.

Comments

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,026
    Straps are available for much cheapness on the bay.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Dorset_Boy
    Dorset_Boy Posts: 7,006
    Sweat is extremely corrosive so they will wear out.
    With Wahoo, I've just contacted customer support whenever the strap 'dies' and been sent a replacement for free, which has included a new Tickr.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467

    Sweat is extremely corrosive so they will wear out.
    With Wahoo, I've just contacted customer support whenever the strap 'dies' and been sent a replacement for free, which has included a new Tickr.

    Yup, I did that last time too. So an electronic device with its PCBs, rare metals etc is replaced entirely unnecessarily (and Wahoo's packaging is completely OTT too). I tried to engage with customer support to find out exactly what the problem was, but they just wanted to send me a new one and assumed that's all I should care about.
    pblakeney said:

    Straps are available for much cheapness on the bay.

    Just noticed that - will try one of those next time.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    edited April 2022
    pblakeney said:

    Straps are available for much cheapness on the bay.

    These ones? Do they work OK?
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    That's the sort of thing. My Garmin one lasted years before the rubber strips started peeling off. I now have two eBay specials in different colours at about six quid each. First one is maybe two years old and going strong. Second one bought to cater for back to back days with one being washed.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,026
    neeb said:

    pblakeney said:

    Straps are available for much cheapness on the bay.

    These ones? Do they work OK?
    Memory plays tricks. Turns out I got the below from Amazon which worked fine, until the Garmin unit packed in 3 months later. Got a Tickr which came with a strap obs.
    I imagine they are much of a muchness.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06WLMMG7S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • photonic69
    photonic69 Posts: 2,496
    I've had issues in the past with the hard plastic type Garmin HR Straps. The issue is sweat getting in the battery compartment, especially after you have changed a battery. It weakens the seal. I now wrap the whole thing in several overlapping layers of electrical tape. Never had a problem since.


    Sometimes. Maybe. Possibly.

  • wongataa
    wongataa Posts: 1,001
    My Garmin HR soft strap has lasted years. I keep it clean (it goes in the wash with my cycling kit after a ride) and I wipe sweat from the pod when I take it off.
  • I've had the same with Wahoo Tickr and the issue started when the battery was at the point of needing replacing. When the battery was replaced the unit just didn't function correctly. I would do a hard reset as per the instructions and it still wouldn't work.
    I've sent three back now (amazon and wahoo direct) - all the original tickr versions and had replacements.

    The last replacement was a newer generation which has been through two battery changes and I've had zero issues with it. When the erratic readings start it's battery change time.

    My garmin HR strap that came with my Edge 1000 lasted for around 4 years but it was corrosion around the stud fastenings that killed that off.
  • I had 2 Garmin straps fail in 4 years, a bit of googling brings up plenty of complaints about the Garmin strap and the Wahoo strap. I currently use a Decathlon strap which has Ant+ and Bluetooth and this has lasted 5 years now without any sign of degradation. The battery life seems to be significantly better than the Garmin strap too.
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    I've been using a Garmin "premium" HRM for about 4 years. The original band (the "premium" bit) started showing of electrodes de-glueing after about 2y. Got a noname strap from Amazon last year, which has been working fine.

    I wash it from sweat every use, but don't put it into the washing machine all that often (once a month?), as I fear it's what killed the original one.

    The HRM monitor itself is still on its original battery, and reading seems consistent and reliable.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    Now I think about it the Garmin I had until 2 years or so ago did last longer that either of my TICKRS (maybe 2 years). I've just got another one, so fingers crossed. But I've also just ordered an unbranded strap from ebay which I'll try with my old now dodgy TICKR unit.

    Maybe I just have particularly acidic sweat!
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,760
    I've been using a CooSport strap for about 18 months - it's been quite heavily used for turbo training so a lot of sweat.

    I did find it was using batteries quite quickly but I now unpop the little battery pod from the actual strap after use and it seems fine . To be honest I'd be happy to get a couple of years heavy use out of a HRM strap.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • I've had a Garmin softstrap for years, and it's held up to turbo and outdoor use well.

    I did start getting erratic readings a while back, and noticed there was some corrosion on the terminal buttons where the transmitter pops onto the strap. Apparently this is a common cause of false readings. Got some wire wool and IPA (not that type!), and cleaned the terminals. I then put a really small dab of Vaseline on the terminals before clipping back together. Worked fine straight-off, and has done to this day, but it's certainly an area worth checking every now n' then....
  • singleton
    singleton Posts: 2,519
    I chuck my HRM strap in the washer every few weeks and find that helps with longevity.
    Do remember to take the HRM off the strap first though...
  • flycop
    flycop Posts: 20
    I had a Garmin strap last for 7 years before I started getting erratic readings. My current strap is 18 months old and still fine.
    Garmin does say to rinse the strap in clean water after every use and then wash every 7 uses. I wash mine with my cycle gear at 30 deg C sports wash setting using Halo liquid.
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,642
    i've used the garmin hrm 1 for umpteen years, never had any issue with the unit

    for cleaning, i usually just scrub it under running water, ant-only so battery life is 2-3 years, the elastic strap gets tired after about 5-6 years but is replaceable and still available

    unfortunately garmin doesn't make them any more, none of the replacements look like they are anywhere near as reliable
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • de_sisti
    de_sisti Posts: 1,283
    My Suunto hr monitor is recognised by my Garmin 1030 Plus.