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Garmin Premium HR strap errors.

kitttheknightrider's picture

By kitttheknightrider - Posted on 06 January 2015

I have a Garmin 500 with a premium heart rate monitor strap. It sat for about a month and half towards the end of last year without use and so far this year I have errors with my HR every ride. I am getting lots of drop outs, lengthy periods where my HR only varies by one or two BPM even though I go from cruising to puffing like the 3801 climbing out of Lithgow and it tends to be registering lower that would I would expect given my lack of riding over the last couple of months.

I have replaced the battery, twice now. One with a battery that was new but I suspect had been sitting in the drawers for some time and then again with that was brand new.

I have removed the sender unit and rinsed the strap. This is the first time I have done this but rinsed it about half a dozen times to make sure all salt residue was removed.

Neither of the above options seem to have made any difference.

Any sugestions as to what might be going wrong? The unit itself is probably less than 2 years old.

Any recommendations for replacement straps?


Hasbeen Racing's picture

Ditch the Garmin strap and buy this Polar one. The Garmin ANT+ transmitter clips straight in and the Polar strap works really well compared to the Garmin one.

Rob's picture

Sadly that link has a 'Shop Now' button that sends you to an Aussie store that doesn't sell the strap on it's own. Doh!

Wiggle have them, but currently out of stock (in case you want to wait):

How about these guys?

FWIW, I used to have a few problems with my Garmin Premium Strap. I now rinse it after every use and make sure it's really wet before use and it's fine. The only problems occur when the battery is getting low.

The design of the Garmin strap changed a few months back and from what I hear it's much better now. Although no-one has a story of long term use as yet (too new).

kitttheknightrider's picture

I'm reluctant to buy just a strap from somewhere until I can determine that the problem isn't the sender unit itself.

I will try soaking the strap prior to use and see if that makes a difference but given how much I sweat I would have thought the sensors would have had more than enough moisture present to work.

twotommos's picture

Watch out "when you soak the strap" I've just replaced my battery and there was corrosion inside the battery centre. I've put a new battery in and let's what happens. It was perfect until the battery went to heaven.

andyfev's picture

I've been using my Garmin 500 and HR strap for 4yrs now without issues and still on original battery. I 'lightly' rinse the strap pre and post ride and gently dab dry before storing it again... With my riding frequency, or lack thereof, means mine can sit for 4+ weeks at a time.

Have you tried a software update on the 500 itself and a resync of the HR unit to the 500?

kitttheknightrider's picture

I took the sender unit off it first, and yes I put it back on the right way up.

Andy, the first battery was definitiely a problem, it measured 2.2v with no load on it. When I replaced the new battery I thought I might have to sync it to the unit but it picked it up straight away. As for software updates, it checks every time I sync it back to the garmin site, after every ride, and apart from the "time zone map" update that is there every time I sync, it is telling me it is up to date. Not sure how to do a reboot.

Speaking of updates, does anyone else get the time zone map update every time as well? Yes I do update it but it just keeps coming back.

hawkeye's picture

Non=premium strap, no issues for me

bryan7931's picture

I too have a 500 and it wet back to Wiggle 3 times in 6 months, until I gave away using the strap out of frustration more than anything else.

I had tried the Polar Strap option as well (from and had some good results from that, but then that started to drop out. Tried the battery out for a few minutes on the sensor and then reset (flip the battery over and then back again) option. No change.

Stopped using the HRM for about 10 months and then read on a forum about doing a full reset of the Garmin ( i load everything to Strava, Garmin Connect and have written a small script to copy the files from the Garmin to my computer), so my data is saved off the unit.

Had success for quite awhile after than even with the Garmin Premium strap, once you set all your options up again. Did not want to restore from a back of the setting in case it was a setting conflict that was stopping the readings.

Worked for a few months and then started to drop out again. Went to the Polar strap and similar issues after a few months.

Did the wetting of the strap etc, but still had some pick up issues. Even looked at getting some ECG gel to assist, then tried the good old spit/saliva on the strap before putting on, as well as moving the sensor over to my left side a bit more than over the breast bone, as in the manuals. The unit now sits between the my breath bone and nipple line. Being picking up straight away since I did the two combined (Spit and over to the left). Some Garmin forums even say people have had better readings with the sensor on their back.

Rob's picture

I'm really glad I saw this thread again this morning. It reminded me that my HRM needed a new battery. You notice this on a ride but then mostly forget before the next one.

Anyhow - so I pulled out a spare battery and changed it. Cleaned the contacts on the HRM module while I was at it (the left one had a bit of corrosion on it).

Now it doesn't work at all. Doh!

Hoping it's just a dud battery, will find out later.

Edit: Yes - just a dud battery. All good now Smiling

kitttheknightrider's picture

I have been doing a bit of research on this problem, which is obviously more common than I realised, and whilst doing that searching I have also heard of many people that have had the same issue as you, put a new battery in and then nothing.

Garmin have no solution to it, the problem I have that is, and don't even acknowledge it on their own forum pages. The best soltuion does appear to be using a competitors strap with the garmin sender / transmitter. Pretty annoying for a premium priced product. Oh well.

Rob's picture

This does sound a bit odd. I know I've changed the battery in this module numerous times and it's usually fine.

Think if it turns out my strap is now cactus I'll be getting a Wahoo Tikr (or can someone recommend anther Ant+ strap?) because they work with both Ant+ and Bluetooth (so you can use it with an app on a smartphone - not that I do, but my wife would find that useful).

Mentioned this in conversation with a someone else this morning and they said they can't remember changing the battery in their strap and have it work after. OMG!

StanTheMan's picture

I ended up loosing my Garmin HR monitor with a Wahoo Strap.
I got a bluetooth Whaoo unit. Ive had no troubles since.

whaoo product is cheaper and more reliable. And works on your smart phone too.

kitttheknightrider's picture

Tickr recommended to me by someone else. I checked the site and there is lots of mentions of it working with various smart phone platforms but nothing about Garmin. I am seeking clarification at the moment and will let you know what I find out.

JFTR, Rebel no longer sell Polar products, only Suntoo and Garmin.

Here is the correct link for the place hasbeen racing mentioned Obviously if wiggle had it that would be preferrable, being a site affiliate and all.

Rob's picture

I bought another new battery and now it's fine. Phew!

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