He’s Dead Jim: An Obituary for My Heart Rate Monitor


I am a dataphile, and one of my favorite things to track is the data from my runs. One if the best purchases I made was the heart rate monitor to pair with my FR210 GPS watch – it let me track my heart rate, set HR zones for training, & calculate caloric expenditure.

But lately my HRM has been flaky. If you look into the Garmin Connect links at the bottom of my training posts, you can see the heart rate graph is very spiky. This means there is a problem with the monitor. This was confirmed by Connect giving me a caloric burn rate of only ~50 calories per mile, a roughly 50% drop for no discernible reason.

Being an ex-IT grunt, I set about troubleshooting. First the easy stuff – I checked the connection posts, I ensured the pads were damp. No joy. Okay… next is to replace the battery.

This is where our story starts to go south.

Garmin, apparently in a bid to save some trivial amount of money, used extremely soft metal in the extremely small screws used to hold the battery cover on the HRM. This means applying the force necessary to remove/replace these miniscule screws strips them quickly & easily.

2014-02-19 13.20.36I managed to get a new battery in my HRM, and then coaxed the O-ring and battery cover back on. I even managed to get all four screws in place, although I realized this meant they were likely never coming off again. I told myself it would be worth it to have my beloved data.

Then, I tried to re-pair my HRM with my FR210. I put my watch into indoor mode, entered the menu & made sure the HRM option was active, and went to pair the two…

… nothing happened.

So, I tried again… and again… and again. No joy.

I am now the owner of a non-functional Garmin HRM. I put a trouble ticket in, and I am keeping hope alive that Garmin can resolve this quickly & painlessly. But for at least the foreseeable future, I am HRM-less and that gives me a sad.


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