Customer Reviews: Garmin 010-10997-02 Premium Heart Rate Monitor - Soft Strap (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on January 27, 2010
(Please note: the other user's negative review for this item is not accurate. The photo pictured is accurate for the Premium HRM, Product Number 010-10997-02. See below for update to original review.)

I tested out my friend's Premium Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) on the trail this weekend and was extremely impressed and ordered mine yesterday. (My hat is off to Amazon - this is a better deal than dealer's pricing.)

The premium HRM is an excellent accessory to my Forerunner 405, which I initially purchased without a HRM, and the additional data set will be a big help to me when charting my progress and seeing gains over the same terrain over time, not to mention a decent "zone" training aid when road cycling.

A VERY IMPORTANT ITEM OF NOTE that people tend to forget/ignore when using these HRMs is that you need to wet the contacts for an accurate reading. You can use water, or simply rub some spit on in a pinch, but I would recommend swinging by a running store and getting a bottle of gel - it's cheap and it lasts forever, plus in my experience it provides the most accurate data... which is what we're interested in with these toys, right? :)

Enjoy! I know I will - happy trails.
UPDATE, Feb. 11th: Just a brief follow-on update from my original pre-review.

After three runs, this HRM functions beautifully. I have zero data spikes, my 405 picks up the signal immediately, and I haven't even had to use my runner's electrode gel for the contacts; just wet the contacts in the sink and strap it on and go. Simply put, it works PERFECTLY.

It's also great having the training data to see which zone I'm training in or "Why did that run suck so hard?!"... oh, my hr was sky-rocketing and I was pushing too hard for event 'x'.

I would post an image here if I could so you could see the solid data and corresponding Garmin Connect screen capture.

Solid product, five stars.
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on October 7, 2009
Works as advertised, no problems. This is a replacement of my first one that the seal (o-ring type) in the battery compartment failed, causing the battery to corrode due to moisture leaking. Then it never worked again. Be careful changing batteries not to damage the seal.
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on February 4, 2011
Bought the Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor with the hope that it would be more comfortable than the Garmin "Standard" Heart Rate Monitor. I found that it is indeed more comfortable, but have gone back to using the standard monitor.

Used the premium monitor about 4 times per week while walking on my treadmill since December of last year, and it seemed to be operating ok. The heart rate reading it displayed correlated well with that of a finger tip monitor that I also own. During the past week, however, the readings have become very erratic---often showing heart rates >200bpm. I have tried rewetting the electrodes, moving the monitor around on my chest, and changing to shirts that may contain less static electrical charge with no success. Therefore, I have gone back to the standard (buy less comfortable) standard Garmin monitor that is working fine.

I considered returning the monitor to Garmin for repair or exchange, but decided to first check in the Garmin Forums on the Garmin website to see if others were having this problem, and yes indeed people are! Numerous suggestions are made in the forums such as wetting the electrodes with gel instead of water, wearing only cotton shirts, wearing the monitor upside down, and even wearing the monitor on ones back rather than on ones chest. Personally, I refuse to resort to such Mickey Mouse solutions, and will use the standard monitor instead.

Am not sure what I will do about my Premium monitor. I suspect that what we have here is a basic design that is not very robust or reliable, and that my returning the device to Garmin for repair or exchange might not accomplish much other than my paying some shipping charges.

Updated 2/24/11: I contacted Garmin customer service regarding the monitors' erratic operation, and was told that they have an upgraded soft strap that they would send to me free of charge. I received the new strap within about a week, and now the monitor is working perfectly with no more erratic readings. I am very pleased with the response of the Garmin customer representative (whoes initials are J. R.)! I will consider giving the monitor a 5 star rating if it continues to operate well for a few months or so.
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on November 5, 2012
I have worn Polar HRM's for a couple of years now and had a Timex IronMan HRM before that. I switched to the Garmin recently because I wanted Ant+ so that I could move the functionality to my iPhone. The strap does the job from a technical standpoint... Ant+ worked well with the Wahoo Ant+ dongle that I purchased.

After my first run of about 5 miles, I came home and found that the strap had chaffed/cut me on my chest immediately below the sensor. I've used it since then on shorter runs and walks and, although the mark was still there, it didn't aggravate it any further. This past Saturday, I went 7 miles, and it definitely aggravated it that time. It didn't hurt until I got in the shower... The warm water felt like a razor blade! That was 2 days ago and it is still pretty painful.

I don't feel that I should have to tape my skin to "fix" this problem. My other straps never caused anything like this. I've tried putting the Garmin transmitter on the Polar strap, but it comes unsnapped just walking around the house, so I don't think that will be a good solution. I've found on the web a person who cut up an old mouse pad and wove their Garmin strap through that to act as a buffer between the skin and the strap. As ridiculous as it is that one would have to do that, I tried it this morning and it did prevent further injury.

I based my purchase on the relatively high rating here on Amazon, but do a web search on "garmin heart rate strap chafing" and you will see that this is a common issue with Garmin.
review image
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on May 17, 2010
I don't know why Garmin won't package this version with their watches, as the premium heart rate strap actually works. I found the stock strap to be finicky and inaccurate, even with gel. The premium strap works right off the bat without gel and doesn't lose signal through-out the activity. It stays in place running, biking (on and off road), or hiking and is about as comfortable as they get. The snap closure in the front makes putting this on/off very easy. Overall I'd say this is as accurate as my polar strap, and a tad more comfortable. I always found polar to set the benchmark, but this takes it a little further in comparison and is a "no brainer" if you are having problems with the stock Garmin strap.
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on September 7, 2010
But now it's completely unreliable, I mountain and road bike 4 times per week, doing intervals for which I really need the hearth rate monitor. But if it's not tuned in from the beginning of my training it simply keeps it over 200bpm for hours or actually under 100bpm. I have tried creme, I soak it every time and sometimes it works fine but others NOT AT ALL... So I'm trying to find an alternative.
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on January 23, 2013
I have had this particular HRM for about two and a half years. I cycle, and in the time I've been using this HRM I've put in about 750 hours of riding. Here's what I've discovered.

The Good:
- Out of the box was easy to sync with both my Edge 500 and DigiFit (with case) on my iPhone.
- Worked without any spikes or erratic HR readings until about three months ago. Figured the battery was probably getting pretty low, so I went to change it ... then:

The Bad:
- Other people have mentioned it here, but I hadn't seen their advice until today: DO NOT use jeweler's screwdrivers to remove the battery cover screws. I completely stripped out one screw head trying to get it unscrewed. I was able to get the battery replaced, but that didn't solve the problem of putting on the HRM, and having the rate spike straight into the 220s (even though I was sitting still and had a palpable carotid pulse of around 65).
- In addition to the cleaning instructions in the manual, and on the garmin HRM care page, make absolutely sure you disconnect the battery module from the snaps (both snaps) EVERY SINGLE TIME you take it off, and I recommend considering cleaning out the snaps on the battery module, and the snap connectors on the strap proper, with a q-tip soaked in isopropyl alcohol every single time, as well. This will help eliminate any salt buildup. After I cleaned up the snaps and the snap connectors it started working like normal again.

The garmin manual, and HRM cleaning/care instructions, don't talk about the snaps. I suspect that it might be because they encourage rinsing the strap every time, which I had done much of the time but was careful to rinse off the side that touches my body, and was not paying as much attention to the other side. Also, I was hand-washing the strap about every two weeks (which for me was about seven or eight rides), but apparently not getting enough water on the side with the snap connectors to rinse them out.

So, to summarize: this HRM works beautifully from the outset. Make sure you follow the instructions to rinse the strap (with the battery module completely disconnected, of course) after every ride, and then I recommend adding the step of soaking a q-tip in isopropyl alcohol and cleaning out the snap connectors and the snaps every time as well. Leave the battery module disconnected when not in use, air dry the strap,and store it flat-ish. About every couple of weeks, more often if your sweat is heavy in salts, hand-wash with detergent. When the battery gets low, and you need to replace it, use a small phillips head but NOT jeweler's screwdrivers. Pull the old battery out and wait 5 minutes (seen on a different site after allegedly talking with garmin phone tech support) to avoid an over-charge issue. Put in the new battery and close up. Test.

SHOULD work beautifully. I just wish I'd seen the issue about the screwdrivers earlier, and that I'd been paying closer attention to the contacts. Now, it works great again.
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on September 9, 2010
For the first 3 months, the strap worked great. It's much more comfortable than the standard garmin heart rate monitor. Now it consistently gives false, high readings. This morning I averaged 220 bpm on a run that really was around 150 bpm. I've tried wetting the strap contacts and using heart rate gel. The Garmin forum has an extensive discussion of the issue under the topic heading "Heart Rate Monitor gives me erroneous readings" or "Premium heart rate monitor (soft strap)". Basically, the thing is a piece of junk and I would recommend that you stick with the normal garmin monitor and not the premium version. I've used the cheaper model for 2 years with absolutely no problems.
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on April 1, 2012
I just got back from a bike ride and was really annoyed that my new (rubber type) strap did not work! After a couple of miles I expected it to work as I worked up a sweet but nothing. Stopped on the side of the road, when into the accessories setup and tried pairing the strap. Nothing, flipped out and reinserted the battery, nada, crap! Mutter mutter, grumble, as I rode on.

Got home, pulled the battery, measured the voltage, 3.2v, perfect. Soft reset the 305 to see if that helped, nothing.

Next I tried extending the contacts in the strap to make sure there was good contact, nothing.

Next I found this post on a Garmin forum "Take the battery out, flip it over to reverse the polarity, and hold it in there for 5 - 10 seconds. This will reset the HRM strap. Then install the battery properly."

I also gave the contacts a little scratch to ensure that they had a clean contact and put the battery in the correct way, bingo! I LIVE, I HAVE A PULSE!!! So contra to the rumours, I have a heart.
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on April 9, 2012
I recently purchased this item for my Forerunner 110, bought without the HRM. I went to their webpage and they show it works with the following..................
110, 210, 305, 310XT, 405, 405CX, 410, 50, 610, 910XT.
I hope this is of some help for others who are considering purchasing it at this great price, which is much less than at Garmin.
If you bought one of the above, w/o the HRM, you just need to turn on the HRM setting on your model.
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