To preserve the life span and get the best use out of your Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)
1) DON’T DROP IT.
If you have a HRM with built in GPS e.g. Garmin 310xt, Timex Ironman Global trainer. We are finding on a regular basis we are having the GPS monitors returned due to the GPS not picking up satellites and in most cases the cause of this has been due to them being dropped. The GPS antenna is very sensitive and even small drops can stop the GPS from working.
The heart rate strap is considered a consumerable item and is not covered under the warranty. We find with most strap issues / returns we have is due to people putting the HRM strap in a bag after training and not airing/ drying it out. After 48 hours taking it out and it is still in wet screwed up state this leads to quick deterioration of the strap and it then fails to transmit heart rate. Very slight rust (invisible to see) on the contact points will stop the unit transmitting heart rate almost instantly.
Know the water resistance rating, many are only rated to IPX7 levels which basically means the unit is only rain or sweat resistant and cannot withstand any water pressure, no swimming, showering etc. If you do get some moisture in your HRM, bury it in a jar of rice and put the lid on the jar and leave it over night. This should draw all the moisture out of the unit.
4) PRESSURE TEST AFTER BATTERY REPLACEMENT
Many of today’s HRMs come with user changeable batteries. However if you swim with or use yours in wet conditions make sure you have the watch pressured tested after you have changed the battery. This will ensure that you will not void the warranty and also give you the peace of mind that it is still water resistant to the manufactures specs.
Sound simple, but a lot of people (myself included) when we purchase a product like this the user manual gets left in the box. Read the manual as it will have specific information on how to care for the HRM you have brought. Another benefit of this is that it you will know all the functions your watch has a get more use out of it.
Another common issue we face is a lot of questions around irregular heart rate reading at the beginning of excessive session or going in to winter. Most of these issues are resolved when we advise people that they must either wet the heart rate strap with water or heart rate monitor gel. DC rainmaker has got a blog enter on this subject so for more information see this link *******
7) SCRATCHED SCREEN
With the type of use your HRM will be getting it is possible or even likely that the screen will get scratched from time to time. There is a product from Suunto called Poly Watch. If the scratches are not too deep this is very handy and does a good job of removing light scratching and keeping your watch face presentable.
8) RINSE IN FRESHWATER
If your watch is water resistant to 30m plus and is used to swim in the sea, or is subjected excessive perspiration. After this type of use rinse the salt or sweat of with fresh water. This will reduce the ageing effect that the exposure to salt can have.
9) NOT A DAY TO DAY WATCH
A heart rate monitor is training tool; they were not designed to be a watch that is worn daily. If you can manage to only use your HRM as a training tool, this will increase the life span significantly as it will not have to withstand the day to day exposure to knock, bumps and so on.
This is an important point. We have had a case where a customer advised us they were getting very high heart rate readings (up to and over 240bpm). After exchanging the HRM strap and testing the unit we were unable to find any faults. We ask the customer to come the store so we could try some more testing. When he came in he consistently had a high reading from several monitors. We advised that he should be check by a doctor who diagnosed a medical issue with his heart and the fact that he brought a HRM may have saved his life. If in doubt seek medical advice