Heart rate shown and increasing when watches not worn

PatientX
PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
Legendary Explorer
edited January 24 in TomTom Sports
hi!
I am just wondering, how heart sensor works on spark 3 cardio ?
I don`t know how should I understand the fact, that sensor showing heart rate values even when my watches are laying on the table.
Besides, when I check heart rate (still watches on the table, not on wrist) in Settings-Sensors-Heart, it starts somewhere around 60 bpm and it keeps increasing to 190.
Can someone please explain to me how it is possible ?
Why is sensor making up the values, when the watches are not on the wrist ?
Thanks!

Comments

  • PatientX
    PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
    Legendary Explorer
    352b9a4b-3cac-4cec-9392-aeb8234b237c.jpg
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
    Superuser
    This is a known issue, as it has no off-wrist detection so it is just picking up random values based on light and shadow movement behind the watch. There has been no indication of a fix coming for it either. Considering TT has left the wearables market altogether and closed the Sports division I am not sure this is a priority to fix.

    I hope this helped answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • PatientX
    PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
    Legendary Explorer
    Thanks a lot for your prompt reply!
    Now it makes sense, even it if it is really shame, that TT didn`t fix this issue for such a long time.
    I have another comment/questions though.
    As I have already noticed, on internet, there are tons of complaints about how inaccurate pedometer is on TT watches. Unfortunately, I didn`t check these comments before I bought the watches.
    And of course, I have found out, that the complaints are in place.
    I was pretty excited about the watches, when I bought them yesterday, but today morning I have noticed, that even when I just went from home to work by car, it counted me more then 1000 additional steps even when I was sitting in the car ;-(
    I know this can`t be precisely accurate, but still, it`s really big aberrance.
    So, in fact, the main ability of watchces and why I bought them actually, is far far away from working properly :-(
    Could this issue be considered as real reason (I think it is) for refunding money ? Does anybody have experiences with returning watches from this reason ?
    Thanks in advance !
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
    Superuser
    If you bought it from TomTom directly they have a 30 day return policy. if you bought it elsewhere that us between you and the store. TT cannot refund you any money as they never got any money from you directly. As to whether it is a real reason or not, there are plenty of disclaimers as to the accuracy and reliability of activity data, that it is not for medical use, etc. so it is not likely.

    The activity tracker is detecting steps based on movement and incidental movement of your arm will be enough to trigger steps. It is not an exact science, it is meant to be directional guidance. For every extra step it picks up from brushing your teeth, or moving your arms while talking or driving, it is missing steps when you are walking pushing a cart or walking with your hands in your pockets. Again, it is meant to give you a directional view if you are active enough, not an exact count. I personally find it directionally accurate, in that during a day I am fairly active it is picking up more steps than on sedentary days. If it is off by a few hundred or a thousand steps I am not concerned, if I am several thousand short it means I need to get up and move around more.

    I hope this helped answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • PatientX
    PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
    Legendary Explorer
    hi tfarabaugh!
    it makes sense, I am not going to discuss here the thing, that even when you are right and I am aware of the fact, that pedometer can`t be totally accurate, the aberrance should NOT be so huge on the product sold not for little money.

    Another 2 things bothering me :
    1.Why notifications from "external" applications don`t work on spark 3 cardio ? (In comparison - I have bracelet from china for 20 euros, which handle that without problems).
    2.I assume this pertains the issue which I have created this topic for (heart bpm counted even when watches not worn), but please confirm - when I go to sleep, I put the watches on the table. When I wake up at morning I look on the statistics and according watches, I made 23 steps and burnt around 600 calories.
    I have never been noctambulant, which would be only logical explanation, that I woke up in the middle of night, took watches and started to run in flat and have burnt 600 calories in night :-D
    Besides, I doubt that it is possible to burn 600 calories in 23 steps :)
    Anyway, I am not comfortable to wear the watches per night and this is really mispresenting the statistics when I look in the tomtom sports application :(

    From all I have read on this forum, I can say, that it`s really embarrasing that company like TT is not able (or simply don`t want to ?) to make pedometer more precise or to fix the basics issues, which count of heart beats when watches not worn, truly is.
    But by meaning, the biggest 'fail' from TT is that they were not able to fix no off-wrist detection issue for such a long time.
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
    Superuser
    If you were alive and breathing, digesting, etc. then you were burning calories and that is what a 24/7 activity tracker is supposed to be tracking. It computes a BMR based on your gender, height, weight, etc. and takes this along with steps and sports activities to come up with calories burned. So between midnight and whenever you woke up you burned 600 calories just being alive (the 23 steps are immaterial). This is exactly what it and all other activity trackers are designed to do. In my experience it is generally pretty accurate (or as accurate as BMR based calculations can be as they are based on averages). It would not make sense to only track daily activity metrics when you are wearing the watch.

    The phone notifications are very basic, you just get notified that there was a call or text, you cannot interact with it in any way or recall missed messages or see beyond what fits on the screen. It is essentially prompting you to look at your phone. There is nothing you can do to fix it, it is just the way it is. I think they were committed to add phone notifications since they had advertised it, so they implemented the most basic system. Since they have now left the wearables market and are no longer producing devices I would not expect any changes on this front unfortunately.

    I imagine this is not what you were hoping to hear but let me know if this answered your question. If it did, please mark it as a solution so other can look for it if they have the same question.
  • PatientX
    PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
    Legendary Explorer
    But the calories burnt depends on what activity I am doing, so what is my heart bpm, correct ?
    So when there is an issue with picking random values when watches not worn and as I could see, it`s still increasing until 180-190 bpm value.
    As this value is blinking for whole night, then the value of calories burnt is totally inacurrate even per night. Is that correct ?
  • PatientX
    PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
    Legendary Explorer
    One more thing which I forgot to ask - you already told me, that measuring heart rate when watches not worn is well-known issue. But why bpm keeps increasing to value 200 even when I am not touching the watches. Is that normal behaviour in this issue, or is it just my piece (wrong ?) of watches experiencing this ?
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
    Superuser
    The calories for daily 24/7 activity tracking are not based on your HR they are based on your BMR which has nothing to do with HR (see my response above). You could not wear the watch at all and it would still give you a caloric burn. It takes the BMR calories and adds any that are calculated separately during sports activities (which may be based on HR depending on the activity selected). The BPM number when off wrist is completely irrelevant and random, it means nothing and can be ignored. If it bothers you go to Tracker>Heart and turn it off.

    I hope this helped answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • PatientX
    PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
    Legendary Explorer
    I am not sure I understand - you are telling me, that no matter what HR I have, calories are still burnt in same amount ? So if HR is not in the formula of calculation for calories burnt, how watches then know that I am for example in gym and doing hard power training ?
    I burn much more calories during hard training in gym then during light walk outside or during sleep, right ?

    Besides I found the fragment from one of your replies here in forum:
    "How accurate the calories are depends on how accurate the HR readings are, and how well the watch is collecting them. When the watch is dithering (the HR metric turns a lighter grey) it stops counting calories based on HR and defaults to your BMR."
    This is in the collision with what you are deemed to me in previous reply, isn`t it ?
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
    Superuser
    You are mixing up two separate systems. The 24/7 daily activity tracking captures your base line caloric burn during the day, which is based on your BMR. This is the calories you burn just being alive, digesting, walking around, etc.. The device separately tracks calories burned during sports activities when you start an activity (by pressing right and selecting the sport, etc.), based on HR (or METs depending on the activity - cycling and running do not base calories on HR). It then adds the two up. So if your BMR calories are 1,500 and you do a gym workout that burns 500, your total calories for the day will be 2,000. If you did not do a workout that day, it would be 1,500 (the base burn).
  • PatientX
    PatientX Registered Users Posts: 16
    Legendary Explorer
    OK, you already explained to me, that watches count of calories burnt also when you sleep, I got it, but you didn`t answer my question :)
    In real life, I burn much more calories during hard training in gym then during light walk outside or during sleep, is that correct ?
    If yes, how it is possible that I burn more calories during sleep, then in gym during hard training ?
  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,943
    Superuser
    PatientX wrote:
    OK, you already explained to me, that watches count of calories burnt also when you sleep, I got it, but you didn`t answer my question :)
    In real life, I burn much more calories during hard training in gym then during light walk outside or during sleep, is that correct ?
    If yes, how it is possible that I burn more calories during sleep, then in gym during hard training ?
    Of course you burn more calories per minute during hard training, but the 600 calories was for many hours of sleep while the workout is for a much shorter time. If you maintained a hard workout for the 8 hours you were asleep you would burn many more calories. Calories burned as calculated by the watch is a rough estimate, based on assumed burn rates at various HRs. It is also very inaccurate for many activities, particularly weight training. Any time you do an activity that squeezes or tenses the forearms (like the pull stroke in rowing, bearing down on your handlebars in cycling, or virtually any weight lifting move) you are squeezing the blood vessels the watch is reading, so it sees this as a reduced pulse. It is not that the watch is having a problem reading your pulse; it is that your pulse at the wrist has actually dropped because you are temporarily cutting off blood flow to the vessels it is reading. I have experienced this with every optical HR I have used, including a Mio and a Scosche unit. For these sorts of activities you are better off using a chest strap synced to the watch if getting a more exact reading is important to you.

    A second consideration is the calories counts during weight lifting are not accurate. The calorie algorithms in this and every sports watch assume it is a cardiovascular activity in which multiple muscle groups are being used, whereas in weight lifting you are generally isolating a single muscle group. The elevated HR is due to pressure from pushing that single muscle, not from increased energy usage throughout the body, so sports watches are going to naturally over count calories during weight lifting because if this.

    I hope this helped answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • Jonwalter
    Jonwalter Registered Users Posts: 6
    Master Traveler
    It seems to suddenly be working. When I click left it shows something simliar to.
    Get started
    Then when I scroll down it shows my steps etc.
    I assume this is the format for the new software as my previous watch just went straight to steps when you clicked lefton.