Troubleshooting an issue with my heart rate monitors

I’m trying to troubleshoot a recurring problem with heart rate monitors - whether I’m riding inside or out. They’ll generally start out reading fine… and then when the ride starts getting tougher, HR tracking gets really wonky. Attached image shows how it happens… chugging through an effort at 140-145 HR and then I get these big dropouts where it’ll show, say, 100 for a period of minutes.

I’ve wondered if it is bluetooth flaking out for some reason. Doesn’t seem related to battery life and I can replicate the behaviour on two Tickrs that I own. Also doesn’t seem to relate to my connection to the strap… as I’m generally in full-on salty sweat mode by the time problems start.

Posting in case there is something obvious I’m missing! Any suggestions welcome.

What about movement in the strap ?

As you sweat the strap slips down ?

I’ve noticed myself that my ticker strap loosens with use.

Could it also be interference from WiFi or microwave etc…

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I’ve had this problem before when the strap is getting to the end of its useful life. I didn’t know until fairly recently that Garmin consider the straps to be ‘consumables’; I think they eventually get gunked up with salt. I’ve had better luck swapping out to a Polar strap (fits the Garmin pod), but next time I might give one of the$5 ebay ones a go.

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I had this problem when I first got my tickr, and it resolved itself. I’ve only had a couple of more instances where this has occurred over the past year. I’m not sure what it was, but I suspect a poor connection between my chest and the strap.

Does this occur with other apps in addition to TR also?

I’ve read in other forums that it can be helpful to reset the tickr by installing the battery backwards for 5-10 seconds, so maybe worth a try. Also connect the tickr to the wahoo app - maybe the have a firmware update the app can send to the tickr.

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Coincidentally I had the same issue yesterday with my Wahoo Tickr strap. During a steady 140bpm interval the value dropped to around 120bpm for no apparent reason then seemed to return again about 2mins later – all during a steady state interval.

I thought perhaps it was a battery issue but maybe it’s a bug of some type?

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How often do you remove the Tickr from the strap and clean both the Tickr and the strap? It’s likely a connectivity thing in the strap/Tickr area - you likely have some salt build up in there and as you sweat it is breaking that salt apart and it is temporarily confusing the unit about the connection.

Also - tighten the strap - solves like 75% of HR monitor problems (changing the battery solves 20% more)

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All my Garmin HR monitors work excellent right up to a point when they start acting funny and wonky. I usually put up with it for a few months until I realize it’s getting worse and worse. That’s when I replace it and all is good again. But you say you CAN replicate it on with other straps so to me that eliminates a bad strap. I’d start looking at interference like cell phone to close or the BT device receiving the signal issue?

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You aren’t alone, I’ve posted a few times in here about long terms problems I’ve had with heart rate straps.
I now wash my strap (currently using Wahoo Tickr but had similar issues with Polar and Garmin in the past) in the shower after each workout and every few weeks in the washing machine. Battery replacement sometimes seems to help but I also think strap tension is pretty important. I notice more problems if I have mine a bit too tight, even if battery is new. I replaced my battery a few weeks back and still had problems but since slightly loosening strap it appears to be much better. I always ensure strap is wet before putting on, I know others use gel but I find water is usually ok as long as all other factors are also working.


At least you can get new straps for the TICKR for an affordable price.

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Great input everyone… thanks! This is an issue for me with indoor & outdoor rides and to be honest, I switched from Garmin to Wahoo a while back looking for something a bit more reliable.

Two things that were new for me in this thread were salt and interference. Too much salt makes sense as my problems almost always kick in during long or hard (sweaty) intervals.

Interference is also interesting… looking at Wahoo’s site just now I see that even large fans can cause issues… but since my fans and other devices are always on (and not with me outside!) I can rule those out.

So… I’ll give the daily shower thing a try and failing that just suck up that I need to buy Wahoo or ebay straps more often. Thanks all :facepunch:t2:

My N=1 anecdote is that heart rate monitors don’t work for everybody. My wife was sent to a GP, and then onto a specialist, due to the data from a chest HRM and the spikes that were occuring. Turned out nothing was wrong, but the specialist essentially told her “if a chest or wrist strap was reliable, why do we bother with all the expensive machines we use here?”. The fix was to ditch the HRM, as there was nothing wrong with her heart!

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Just wondering what the washing machine instructions are for a Wahoo strap?

I normally just rinse off in the shower, and everything is working well, but I’m wondering if the strap needs a bit of TLC (spring clean)?

I’m having the exact same issues.

Although I replaced the original TickR strap with a cheap alternative. I’m expecting my cheap alternative to be the reason of the inaccurate readings.

Any suggestions for a good replacement strap that works with TickR pod thingy?
Not very keen on replacing with the original Wahoo strap since that broke after only 6 months use.

+1 here. I’ve had this same problem for many months with at least two different Wahoo Tickr’s. Tried battery changes, resets, repairing. I do wash them fairly often - though not every ride. I’ve also considered that my fans are maybe causing problem. It does seem to only start when my HR gets into the mid-170s.

@Javano, @RonG, @TrevorNIxon ever find a solid resolution?

This was my Mount Hayes -2 today:

So yes - I solved my issue totally by wearing the strap lower on my chest. Give it a go and let me know.

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Dear all,

As of recently I am experiencing the same issues. For the last rides the strap response was erratic. To be honest I do not get those huge steps from 140 bpm to 100bpm, mine are like from 155 to 145, but still I consider the response could be the same as for a faulty sensor/connection between sensor and strap. My ticker worked fine and I regularly change the straps, once per year more or less. I also wash them in the washing machine in a dedicated clothes sack. I do not understand, as my setup is unchanged, no new ANT+ or BLTE connection, I use the same setup as before, so I would exclude interference connection in this moment.

I will probably change again the strap or wash the current one which is just a few months old. If this does not solve the issue I can only assume the tickr unit( sensor) itself is faulty. I will give the Wahoo Utility app a go to diagnose and also reset the tickr sensor using the mentioned procedure.

Here is a printscreen from Strava on a ride done on Zwift yesterday. It is just part of the ride where I zoomed in to better reflect the behaviour: after the first sprint the heart reaches 158bpm and then for more than a minute it stays there, and there there is a sudden drop. for the second sprint it mildly goes up (when in reality it should have gone up as in the case of the previous sprint) and right before the sprint effort is done it does not bulge anymore and stays there… Finally on the last minutes, even though the power is constant and cadence as well, there as stepwise drops in HR.

What are your thoughts?



I’ve had very similar issues with all of the three Tickr monitors. Every single one of them would start acting up after about 6 month of use.

I have now given up and switched to Garmin. So far so good. I also make sure that I wash the strap in soapy water after each ride, as I sweat a LOT.

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Hey all, I had/have that very issue with the tickr’s. I returned one under warranty, the other hat the same issue (maybe a bit less so). I never had problems with garmin heart straps, so this is what I’m using. Also I don’t think it’s an issue how I wear them, as I wear the garmins exactly the same. Wash the straps in the washing machine every now and then.

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I’ve always had issues with a couple of HR straps/monitors cutting out after 15 mins or so and giving very poor inconsistent readings.

I bought some electrode gel (few quid on amazon) to put on the strap after seeing it recommended a few places but that didn’t help.

HOWEVER I had the brain wave to put a small dot of electrode gel on the press studs that connect the strap to the monitor to improve the connection and FIXED! Totally consistent strong good HR readings every time regardless if running, riding indoors or riding outdoors - works perfect. Whenever I wear the HR monitor, just small dot of electrode gel on the press studs and away I go!

Hope it helps others with any HR monitor issues!