Heart rate monitor gels

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,564
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133
Asakadai, Saitama
#1
Not sure if this has been covered before but thought I would share my experiences with my HRM . I changed from a polar HRM device to a garmin around Feb time. It recently I've been getting quite a few incorrect reading. It seems to spike to around 240bmp for a little while then slowly settle down again. It didn't seem to do it with the polar. I decided to get some electrode gel. A small drop of the gel on each electrode really helps with the reliability of the data and it almost never spikes now (only if I move the chest strap around ). If you are having problems with your HRM then I suggest you try some electrode gel (not sure about availability in Japan though, I got mine in the UK).
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#2
Nice one. Yeah, I have yet to get a stable reading from my HR monitor linked to my new 810. I was hitting 254bpm all the way to work the other day, apparently.

Will give that stuff a go, and see if it helps. Was toying with getting a Polar strap, but if this fixes it I will go for this option.

Cheers
 

Musashi13

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
1,779
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42
Ichikawa, Chiba
#3
Great timing on this thread for me, too. Mine is all wrong almost every time I glance at it. Never high always flatlining. I'm a riding corpse.

Been wondering what I can do about it. The instructions suggest a drop or two of water but that has made no difference to me. When it isn't dropping off completely it is giving me readings I'd get if I was relaxing by the fire with my gun dog and pipe.
 

bird

Speeding Up
Nov 30, 2010
322
18
38
Kawasaki
#6
Thanks for the tip Mark, I will try the gels in winter.
For me, unreliable HR reading due to poor contact occasionally happens in dry and cold season.

Regardless of season, the most annoying thing about HR monitor is that the chest belt keeps sliding down to my belly. Tightening the belt makes me feel sick. Perhaps I need shoulder straps like bra...
 
May 22, 2007
3,619
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#8
the most annoying thing about HR monitor is that the chest belt keeps sliding down to my belly. Tightening the belt makes me feel sick. Perhaps I need shoulder straps like bra...
Lots of people have that problem. You definitely don't want to constrict your chest by making the elastic too tight. My friend Brian uses some loops of string to keep his strap in place, exactly like bra shoulder straps. Some matching wide, black elastic (ita-gomu) would feel better, I think.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#9
I started using a Garmin 500 with HRM in January (the regular strap, not the enhanced one). In the winter I usually had to moisten my chest with a few drops of water before the ride, or it would take a couple of minutes before I got stable readings as salty sweat finally starts to provide conductivity.

Recently I found this was no longer necessary. I put on the strap, finish getting dressed and get the bike ready and the readings are fine. I credit the warmer temperatures for that.

I've seen HRM readings around 240 bpm with another rider before. They were also in the first 5 minutes of the ride. Perhaps the unit samples voltage using an A/D converter at some fixed frequency, such as 4 times or 8 times per second and if it gets garbage, ends up with 4 fake pulses per second...

I am curious what the electrode gel provides that natural sweat doesn't? And how often do clean your strap?
 

knownone

Speeding Up
Aug 4, 2011
138
5
38
Tokyo
jeremyscofield.ca
#10
I have never had more than a few seconds of strange readings with my Garmin heart rate strap and find that it just works when I put it on.

I did previously need to use spit (or if I was getting ready to ride with the GF around moisturizer) when I used to use a Polar strap. Of course, once I got going on the ride sweat was definitely a sufficient conductor.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,682
495
103
Japan
#11
Thanks for the tip Mark, I will try the gels in winter.
For me, unreliable HR reading due to poor contact occasionally happens in dry and cold season.

Regardless of season, the most annoying thing about HR monitor is that the chest belt keeps sliding down to my belly. Tightening the belt makes me feel sick. Perhaps I need shoulder straps like bra...
Do what I do, rest it on a belly roll.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#12
I have had no luck with the HR straps from garmin. I'm onto my second one and it took all of 10 days to start rolling out bull$hit reading of 240. Now it is a lottery, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't there is no rhyme or reason to it. it will crap out mid ride, start or end. it's basically a cheap POS, poorly made. Everyone I know who has one has BS results appear at least once a ride. You think a company of that size could get it right. I mean they sell the POS for 50$ right???
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,564
2,259
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#14
I started using a Garmin 500 with HRM in January (the regular strap, not the enhanced one). In the winter I usually had to moisten my chest with a few drops of water before the ride, or it would take a couple of minutes before I got stable readings as salty sweat finally starts to provide conductivity.

Recently I found this was no longer necessary. I put on the strap, finish getting dressed and get the bike ready and the readings are fine. I credit the warmer temperatures for that.

I've seen HRM readings around 240 bpm with another rider before. They were also in the first 5 minutes of the ride. Perhaps the unit samples voltage using an A/D converter at some fixed frequency, such as 4 times or 8 times per second and if it gets garbage, ends up with 4 fake pulses per second...

I am curious what the electrode gel provides that natural sweat doesn't? And how often do clean your strap?
I just wear mine in the shower after I get back from my run or ride. Then take it off while in there and give it a good rinse through. I then let it dry there.

The blob- I know what you mean about garmin HRM. My polar was far more accurate but it doesn't do everything tw garmin forerunner and edge 510 do. Wish it did.
 
May 22, 2007
3,619
1,455
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#15
I wash mine (along with my helmet straps!) every day that I use it. If I fail to do so, I get strange data as described above - either a fraction of what I feel is happening, or a multiple.

That said, I've stopped using it recently as I was getting a rash on my side. Such sensitive skin. From now on I'll probably use it for the sort of rides where I'm in danger of pushing too hard, but leave it at home for commuting and poddling around town.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
650
133
Kanazawa
#16
My yearly physical is on Thursday, I'll try to drag a camera along to snap a pic of the tube of goop that they use when doing the (almost always ineffective) EKG. (Those suction cups don't work on hairy people.)
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#17
Also make sure that it's on the right way up - if its the luxury 'soft' type strap then both the Garmin printed logo should be the right way up and the snap on unit should also face upward so someone facing you can read it.

The hard nasty type is the same - the molded "Garmin" logo on the back should be the right way up.
 
Dec 16, 2012
605
824
113
Tokyo
#18
I've been using this stuff for the past six months and find that it helps to give more accurate readings when the air's dry. However, there are still times when my Garmin HRM just craps out for no apparent reason, especially when running. It's hugely frustrating. I've heard that Polar HRM straps are better, but haven't tried them. Garmin have also released a new HRM strap, but it doesn't seem to be much of an improvement on the old one.
 
Oct 15, 2010
669
10
38
#19
Maybe you need to sweat more. I sweat like nobody's business, and have not had any trouble with my Garmin HRM in the 2 months I have had it.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#20
For those getting HRM issues I would suggest resetting the unit:

Take battery out, place in reverse for 5 sec and then put back in correct position - research for HRM on the Garmin head unit as described in manual.

If problem continue replace battery.

If problems continue - SHAVE, you're a cyclist for gods sake! :D