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Sunday, April 7, 2013

SOLVED: Polar heart rate monitor- Heart rate spikes

UPDATED 04/11/2013

Honestly, I was secretly not looking forward to the warm weather because it meant that I'd have to wear loose-fitting clothing again.  Unless I was wearing a super tight skinsuit, nothing would prevent my heart rate data from spiking and giving me an erratic reading.  I tried using dryer sheets to remove the static and using electrode gel, but they never fixed the problem permanently.  As long as there was wind, it would create enough static on my jersey to throw off my heart rate readings.  Here's a screenshot of a steady state workout I did a few days ago.  There were all sorts of errors...
Below is a screenshot of an interval workout after I covered the transmitter in aluminum foil.  Notice how there are absolutely no heart rate errors!  The elevated heart rate in the center was an actual effort.
After countless hours battling with this issue, I finally have perfect heart rate graphs!  I've thought about using aluminum foil for months, but I never tried it because it seemed too easy to be true.

UPDATE:  The original one-minute-fix didn't last very long because it progressively developed rips and exposed part of the transmitter.  Instead of using aluminum foil and electric or duct tape again, I used Aluminum Foil Tape.  I bought a roll from Walmart.  The Aluminum Foil Tape seems to be more promising since the adhesive creates a better seal and is less likely to rip.  Here are few pictures of my transmitter wrapped in Aluminum Foil Tape.  Looks much better and it should last a lot longer...  though I don't know what I'll do with the rest of the roll!
DUCK Brand Aluminum Foil Tape.
WIND Polar Transmitter front view.
WIND Polar transmitter rear view.
THE PROTOTYPE:  This is what the original one-minute-fix looked like.  It was ugly, but it worked!
STEP 1:  Cut a strip of duct tape or electrical tape.
I'm running out of duct tape.
STEP 2:  If you want to be exact, cut a 2 1/4" (5.7cm) x 3 1/8" (7.9cm) rectangle using aluminum foil.  If you don't care about being neat and clean, you can also rip off a piece of foil and trim as you go.
Aluminum foil
STEP 3:  Carefully wrap the transmitter in aluminum foil and secure it with tape.
Front of Polar WIND transmitter
Back of Polar WIND transmitter
 STEP 4:  Go for a ride and never worry about heart rate errors again!  Smile and enjoy!