Sports watch -Heart rate monitor does not work

deonbasson
deonbasson Registered Users Posts: 4
Neophyte Traveler
edited January 24 in TomTom Sports
Good day
After nonstop battles with the built-in heartrate monitor we as a group have had enough.
5 people .... all have exactly the same problem. All have been in contact with TomTom with no success.
Two devices were even replaced.
PLEASE don't ask for any changes to be made as all have on numerous occasions reset the devices and did nearly everything asked.
5 out of 5 is not a coincidence anymore ... the TomTom sportswatch heartrate monitors DON'T work.
Deon

Comments

  • deonbasson
    deonbasson Registered Users Posts: 4
    Neophyte Traveler
    In addition let me give an example :
    I cycle where I can hardly breath due to the intensity and the heartrate shows 58.
    I play golf with the same watch and while strolling and hardly sweating it shows 210.
    I lie in bed doing nothing and it shows 160. My tested resting heartrate is 45.
    The above is similar for all others.
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,938
    Superuser
    I realize you are not looking for an answer, but there are actual reasons for the behavior you describe and in most case they are the nature of wrist based optical HR. All optical HR struggles in cycling for two reasons. First, when you are riding very intensely you are likely bearing down with the weight on your arms and the hands on the lower part of the handlebar. This is cutting off blood flow to the wrist as you are squeezing the muscles of the forearms, so it will read low (the watch is reading your true pulse, it is just low because the motion is cutting off blood flow to the vessels it reads). Second, when riding over rough roads (cobbles in particular), the vibration of the bike can be read and overrule the HR giving a reading closer to your cadence (it is just looking for a signal in a certain range and the strongest signal wins).

    For golfing, spikes in HR are generally from poor blood flow producing weak pulse strength, so the watch struggles to maintain an accurate reading. This is particularly apparent early in a workout or during a non-intense workout when you are not warmed up. There is not enough blood flow to create a strong constant signal so it can waver. I do find that it generally latches onto a signal within a few minutes.

    The watch is sensitive to positioning and tightness and must be worn much higher up on the wrist than a normal watch and quite snugly. Many people who have reading issues find it is because they are wearing it like a normal watch (particularly at rest when it is more comfortable to wear it loosely). If it is too close to the wrist bone it lets light in under the watch and throws off the readings.

    It probably will not matter to you and I understand your frustration but much of this is the nature of the technology which is still in early days. It is very trendy to have optical HR these days and everyone is rushing to implement it but it is far from perfect. You can read plenty of examples and studies that reiterate what I mentioned above. Ray Maker (dcrainmaker.com) talks about it quite a bit in all of his reviews, which are the gold standard. Again, this does little for you and you may want to switch to a device that uses a chest strap (or simply use a chests strap with the watch) if you want more consistent HR readings (although straps have their own limitations). As to a class action suit, you are welcome to try but I doubt you will get anywhere. They make no assurances of accuracy and sell it as a sporting good, not a medical device so they are pretty well protected. And 5 out of millions sold does not a class make. Again though, it is your option to pursue that route.
  • deonbasson
    deonbasson Registered Users Posts: 4
    Neophyte Traveler
    The following from the tomtom site ...
    "When used properly* during athletic activity the vast majority of heart rate measurements are within a 5% error of a chest strap electrocardiogram.

    We use a heart rate algorithm to measure heart rate. This algorithm allows us to combine motion information and sensor readings to better estimate your heart rate whilst you are doing activities or using continuous 24/7 heart rate monitoring."

    One can therefore deduce that with fair confidence I can use this watch.
    In addition I tested it in the gym, completely inaccurate, I went for a walk in "freestyle" completely incorrect. I went for a run and the same problem.
    I only know 4 other people with a tomtom and they all have this problem ... weird behaviour of the heart rate monitor.

    And 5/5 is not 5 in millions. I typed in heart rate monitor faulty tomtom watch and after 3 pages I stopped counting. Please refrain from making quotes like 5 in millions.

    Maybe you have a reason for everything. Maybe tomtom must acknowledge this problem.
  • deonbasson
    deonbasson Registered Users Posts: 4
    Neophyte Traveler
    tfarabaugh are you an actual independent user of TomTom or planted. I checked all your posts and you end in the same way, and you know too much about too many products of TomTom.
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,938
    Superuser
    I am just a user, but have been using the products for many years on a regular basis (I work out daily in a variety of activities). Having used all of the features and functions of the watch and having kept up with other user's experiences via the forums I have a pretty in-depth knowledge of the technology in general and the devices in particular. I would not say I am particularly pro- or anti- TomTom, I like the devices and feel they serve a certain purpose within the limits of the device and the tech. I do believe TomTom could do more with them and improve upon them, but also understand the business realities (I work in large corporations) and the limits that places on them. Just because it is possible to incorporate a feature doesn't mean it would pay off for a company to do so, particularly on an existing device. Companies grow by constantly introducing new products, not improving ones that already exist (just look at Apple for a prime example of this) and while customer loyalty has a value, it does not pay back shareholders so it gets little focus.

    I try to be a realist with my responses and not editorialize one way or the other. From my perspective, the watch is what it is and you can either make it work for you or not, it is a tool. I do not expect that I can buy a cheap consumer electronic (and while the watch may be relatively expensive for some based on their income it is considered a budget model in the market) and expect it to do everything I want and for the company to change just for me (or even for many people). I believe in doing my homework and research before making a decision (and in particular looking at DCRainmaker.com for in-depth reviews). I do not count on any new features or upgrades coming, I need to make my decision based on the features that are currently offered, and not what may come in the future. I go into it with the assumption that what is in the box is all there is and it will never be updated, to save setting myself up with false expectations.

    In your specific case, I was just trying to shed some light on some known issues with the technology and give some context to your issues. I personally have experienced many of the same issues (perhaps not in the exact same way as you) but it doesn't bother me that much as I do not expect precision from a consumer device or I had no expectation it would work perfectly based on the state of the technology. And for the most part it works fine for me, I have no issues in indoor cycling, using it for cardio workouts, running and most of the activities I engage in. But again, everyone has a different threshold for what their expectations are and will respond to it differently.
  • nivja
    nivja Registered Users Posts: 7
    Master Explorer
    here is another frustrated user (or actually, I now hardly use it because of the faulty measurements). I posted about it two years ago and still no solution.https://en.discussions.tomtom.com/spark-and-spark-3-runner-2-and-runner-3-473/tomtom-spark-heart-rate-too-high-first-10-minutes-of-running-993205