Problems with hrm; time to go Polar?
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  1. #1
    hrv
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    Problems with hrm; time to go Polar?

    I have a Sigma PC1600 hrm, in the past I've had a PC-14. The problem is with both of these models I get inconsistent values , sometimes it shows, say, 165, 1 second later it'll show 70. This happens more when I'm in the drops or aerobars. And it sucks since I've yet to get good readings this year and I've done 3 time trials already! That's the main reason I'm using an hrm. I moisten the transmitter, snug it up (not too tight -- I like to breathe), but still have issues. I get the same results whether I put the monitor on the stem, handlebar, or aerobar.
    Time to move on. From what I've gleaned on this board, Polar might be more reliable. Is there a Polar in the $100 range that you are happy with? I can't see spending more than that on an hrm, but then again, it's cheaper than a coach.... Anyone go from Sigma to Polar and notice an improvement?

    thanks,
    hrv

  2. #2
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    I have a very basic Polar HRM - the Target. I bought it about 8 years ago and haven't had any problems with it. I have replaced the watch battery a couple times, but have never had the chest strap battery replaced. It has high and low limits, an alarm clock, displays the current HR and current time. It doesn't keep very good time, but that is not what I bought it for. When it dies, I may upgrade to one that does avg HR for a ride and will buy nothing but Polar.

    Another reason for me to buy Polar is I occassionally use the treadmill at the gym and it is Polar compatible, meaning I can plug in a HR on the treadmill and it will change the elevation or speed to keep me there.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrv
    I have a Sigma PC1600 hrm, in the past I've had a PC-14. The problem is with both of these models I get inconsistent values , sometimes it shows, say, 165, 1 second later it'll show 70. This happens more when I'm in the drops or aerobars. And it sucks since I've yet to get good readings this year and I've done 3 time trials already! That's the main reason I'm using an hrm. I moisten the transmitter, snug it up (not too tight -- I like to breathe), but still have issues. I get the same results whether I put the monitor on the stem, handlebar, or aerobar.
    Time to move on. From what I've gleaned on this board, Polar might be more reliable. Is there a Polar in the $100 range that you are happy with? I can't see spending more than that on an hrm, but then again, it's cheaper than a coach.... Anyone go from Sigma to Polar and notice an improvement?

    thanks,
    hrv
    I had an awful experience with Sports Instrauments HRM. Have used a Sigma once and was not impressed. I think a $40 Polar beats anything out there if all you need is a reliable HRM though the slightly higher priced ones with coded transmitters are nice if you are in close proximity to others using HRMs. Every so often you'll get a spike with a Polar, but usually only around high power lines and then only for just a split second.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  4. #4

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    Check the positioning of the strap

    I have the Sigma 1600 also and I was getting some wacky number untill I pushed chest strap down a little bit so it was under bulk of the muscle of my chest. I must have made a better contact. I have had mostly reliable results from my monitor except for a few times.

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Strange but true...

    I have a similar erratic-reading problem with my HRM and have located the source. It's a single jersey with a light weave fluttering against the sensor. Honest.

  6. #6
    flinty-eyed moderator
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    I am using a Ciclosport HAC4, and have been very pleased with the accuracy of the HRM functions. You may want to consider one of their HRM's as well.

    I have had Polar's before and they have worked pretty well, on the HRM side of things.
    Dr. Cox: Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.

  7. #7
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    Although I'm now using a Polar 810, which I love, for many years I was using a cheap CardioSport like this one on sale for $35:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?SKU=18089

    I think it lasted about 5 years before its readings suddenly became totally erratic. Only reason I went with the Polar is I wanted some features that couldn't be had elsewhere.

    I do notice that the Polar, with its coded transmitter, gives accurate readings in situations where the CardioSport would pick up other monitors. But, the 810 will record every single heartbeat to be displayed on a graph on my computer. Let me tell you, that could be a post-modern painting with heartbeats at 240, then 60, then 120. It's all over the place. When it records every 5 seconds, the problem doesn't exist.

    So, I suppose I'm suggesting that Polars are not necessarily any more accurate than any other HRM's except for their nifty coded transmitter.

    Paul
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.

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  8. #8

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    Polar 720

    Polar 720.

    At first I figured, like most, there's just too much "stuff" on this completely wireless heartrate monitor/cycle computer. Plus, who needs to "hook it up" to your computer?

    Well, for me and many others its become an indispensible training tool and the level of features is just great. So, take the plunge and get one, it's well worth it. Make the choice. I never had the option. My local bike shop guy decided for me and started installing it on my bike before I could say yes. But like I said, I can't live without it now.
    "...makes you strong like Ox!"

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by thr0ttles
    Polar 720.

    At first I figured, like most, there's just too much "stuff" on this completely wireless heartrate monitor/cycle computer. Plus, who needs to "hook it up" to your computer?

    Well, for me and many others its become an indispensible training tool and the level of features is just great. So, take the plunge and get one, it's well worth it. Make the choice. I never had the option. My local bike shop guy decided for me and started installing it on my bike before I could say yes. But like I said, I can't live without it now.
    man thats an EVIL cat picture! ;)
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  10. #10

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    I would totally NOT recommend Polar. I have a 710i (not sure on the model #) and I have had driver issues from day 1 with getting the computer to recognize the stupid IR attachment so I can download data into Windows XP. I did a search on Google and tons of people have the exact same problem. Polar knows about it, but don't have the technical people to update the software.

  11. #11
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    Doesn't surprise me. XP is a nightmare OS. That's why I stick with 2000. No driver issues there. Not that that helps you at all.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky2
    I would totally NOT recommend Polar. I have a 710i (not sure on the model #) and I have had driver issues from day 1 with getting the computer to recognize the stupid IR attachment so I can download data into Windows XP. I did a search on Google and tons of people have the exact same problem. Polar knows about it, but don't have the technical people to update the software.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.

    Charles Darwin

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by purplepaul
    Doesn't surprise me. XP is a nightmare OS. That's why I stick with 2000. No driver issues there. Not that that helps you at all.
    Win2000 driver issues were even worse.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky2
    Win2000 driver issues were even worse.
    works like a charm with my Win 98 setup using the USB IR interface.Do you have the most recent version of the software from Polar? I believe they addressed that XP issue.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  14. #14
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    I've had no problems at all. Perhaps you just need to update the Polar software.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky2
    Win2000 driver issues were even worse.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.

    Charles Darwin

  15. #15

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    Hmmm

    I have XP and a 710i and have not have one problem, have you tried the new version of the polar software?

    Quote Originally Posted by purplepaul
    I've had no problems at all. Perhaps you just need to update the Polar software.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones
    works like a charm with my Win 98 setup using the USB IR interface.Do you have the most recent version of the software from Polar? I believe they addressed that XP issue.

    Really! This is great news if I can get this damn thing working. How do I know if I have the latest version? Sorry to bug you, but can you point me to the internet page where I can download this. Polar's site just has me going in circles.

  17. #17
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    Try this link:

    http://support.polar.fi/PKBSupport.n...F?OpenDocument


    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky2
    Really! This is great news if I can get this damn thing working. How do I know if I have the latest version? Sorry to bug you, but can you point me to the internet page where I can download this. Polar's site just has me going in circles.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.

    Charles Darwin

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I

    Just splurged on a S720i. More functions than I need but definitely cheaper than a coach. I also reckoned that it will be helping me in training by myself and going for that TT..... plus it looks great.

    Anyways, what the other poster said is true. You get strange readings from a few things, jersey flapping against your cheststrap and static from your polyester jersey during dryer months. Try wearing something over it like a cotton singlet and see what happens.

    Regards
    Sean

  19. #19

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    Evil..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones
    man thats an EVIL cat picture! ;)
    That's Jack...and he is evil!
    "...makes you strong like Ox!"

  20. #20

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    Polar 720 and XP

    I've used my Polar 720 on both Windows 2000 and Windows XP with never an issue on either. As others have said, true, update your software.

    Make sure you install the software first, then plug in the USB IR interface. If you plug in the IR first, Windows won't recognize it even after installing the software.

    Also, plug-n-play on Windows "remembers" which ports devices are plugged into. So, if you ever run into an issue afterwards where the IR isn't recognized, you could always reboot but usually plugging the IR into a different USB port does the trick.
    "...makes you strong like Ox!"

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by purplepaul

    Ahh there it is! Thanks! I'll give it a go this weekend.

  22. #22
    Juanmoretime
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    I'm not a fan of Polar.

    I've owned a couple of them and had eradict readings. I do have the same Sigma you do, the 1600 and it works great. What are you moistening the chest strap contact patches with? I find if your using saliva it can dry out and sometimes you don't have enough moisture with sweat. I use the Performance HSE gel and it does'nt dry out and keeps a regular signal. It's cheaper to try this than to go buy Polar. Sorry about the bad pun.

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?SKU=11360
    For my next trick I will now set myself on fire!

  23. #23
    mgp
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    In addition to the Performance HRM gel, cheap generic KY jelly works great. It's about 2 bucks for a tube that will last you a few seasons.

  24. #24
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    I second the Polar 720

    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones
    man thats an EVIL cat picture! ;)
    The cat picture cracks me up. Reminds me of when I was a little kid and used to do that to my sister's cat.
    If two people are in complete agreement, one of them is not necessary...

  25. #25
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    Just buy the serial interface. $30, problem solved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky2
    I would totally NOT recommend Polar. I have a 710i (not sure on the model #) and I have had driver issues from day 1 with getting the computer to recognize the stupid IR attachment so I can download data into Windows XP. I did a search on Google and tons of people have the exact same problem. Polar knows about it, but don't have the technical people to update the software.
    I have WinXp and it has been perfect. Spending an extra thirty bucks is a lot cheaper than spending hours and hours trying to get the USB interface to work. (Assuming you value your time spent trying to fix the problem at more than $30)

    I hope you get the problems solved. The 720 is a great unit, IMO.
    If two people are in complete agreement, one of them is not necessary...

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