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Heart rate issues with Garmin Edge 810 finally solved!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

January
27
2015

This morning I’d like to follow up on my January 10, 2015 blog, “Garmin Firmware v3.40 issues…“. In that blog I discussed some of the problems I experienced after upgrading my Garmin Edge 810 cycling computer from firmware version 3.20 to version 3.40.

I’m happy to report that all but one of the issues I described in that blog have not reoccurred, and the Edge 810 has performed flawlessly since the initial “settling in”.

The only remaining problem is that my displayed heart rate has continued to be very erratic, and much higher than it actually is. The problem seemed to get better for a brief period, but it soon returned and became even worse. Note that I replaced the CR2032 battery in my heart rate sensor early on as a diagnostic measure.

During a solo training ride last week the Edge 810, once again, started reporting an exceptionally high heart rate. At one point I stopped and removed the sensor from the strap and then snapped it back in (doing so had helped, at least for awhile, in the past). This time the problem remained: for the next 15 miles my average heart rate was reported to be 193 BPM, with a maximum heart rate of 210 BPM. My power output average during this period was a very mild 207 watts, with an average speed of 20.6 MPH. That is a mid-endurance level effort for me, and so my reported heart rate was WAY off. Check out the zoomed in section of my ride highlighted in blue (click to enlarge):

Zoomed in section of last Wednesday's solo training ride. Check out the average heart rate compared to the mild effort level of 207 watts. Clearly something is wrong.

Zoomed in section of last Wednesday’s solo training ride. Check out the average heart rate compared to the mild effort level of 207 watts. Clearly something is wrong.

 

I sort of blew off the problem for a few days, but yesterday I finally got off my ass and decided to figure out what was going on once and for all. I took my old Garmin Edge 500 and mounted it to my bike alongside my Edge 810. I paired the heart rate strap to both devices:

Getting ready to roll. Both my Edge 810 and Edge 500 are reporting identical heart rates.

Getting ready to roll. Both my Edge 810 and Edge 500 are reporting identical heart rates.

 

As expected, both monitors displayed the exact same heart rate. The real test, of course, would be whether or not the the Edge 500 would show the same thing as the Edge 810 when the glitch presented itself. Eager to find out, I set off on a ride…

It didn’t take long for me to have my answer. Less than 1 mile into my ride my heart rate started climbing quickly and erroneously (I was soft pedaling). My Edge 500 displayed the exact same heart rate as the Edge 810:

After less than 1 mile of very easy pedaling both computers indicated that my heart rate shot up to 185 BPM.

After less than 1 mile of very easy pedaling both computers indicated that my heart rate shot up to 185 BPM.

 

That test proved that the Edge 810 (and the new firmware) is NOT responsible for the heart rate issue, and that it must be the heart rate strap/sensor causing the problem.

I called Garmin support and, after listening to my quick story, the friendly representative said a replacement premium strap was on the way at no charge. Very nice.

I own quite a few Garmin products (Edge 810 cycling computer, Edge 500 cycling computer, two NUVI 50 GPS Navigation Units and a Virb action camera), and any time I’ve had a problem Garmin has taken care of the issue quickly and with no hassle.

I think Garmin makes excellent products, and their customer support continues to impress me.

John Stone Fitness Comments

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