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  1. DroidUser42's Avatar
    Another theory worth playing with is perhaps we just have it too tight. With too much pressure, the blood may not flow properly. Generally we want to make sure it's snug so it's making good contact, but that might just be the wrong thing to do.
    11-13-2014 11:04 PM
  2. Parasky's Avatar
    From what I've read about other optical heart rate sensors, the biggest enemy to accuracy is outside light. Any light will mess with the light from the sensor. I think that's why wearing the band tighter might help, it prevents any light from coming in.
    11-13-2014 11:26 PM
  3. DroidUser42's Avatar
    From what I've read about other optical heart rate sensors, the biggest enemy to accuracy is outside light. Any light will mess with the light from the sensor. I think that's why wearing the band tighter might help, it prevents any light from coming in.
    True. But I ran a test. I loosened my band and pushed on the display just enough to create a slight gap. If the gap is too big it will say "where did you go?" (I think the electrical contact tips it off.) But if I have just a narrow gap - just enough to see the light, but still have one side of the electrical contact touch the skin - it works. It locks.

    Note that if you take your finger and press in on the skin for for a bit, when you pick it up, you'll see that spot is pale - the blood has been pressed out. Now that may be extreme, but too much pressure is a problem too. It hinders blood flow and makes for a weak signal.

    So for those having problems, this may be worth trying - loosen the band until it's just tight enough to touch the skin in all conditions. If you wear it with display inside, that's going to be so there's no gap when you rest your hand (with normal pressure) on the table. For the folks who wear it display out, it may be even looser than that.

    I'm going to give it a try and see what happens.

    As for the sampling frequently - I was able to catch it on the "bobble" going between 79 and 80 at about one a second. Maybe even faster. So I still have concerns about it's fast sampling.
    11-13-2014 11:49 PM
  4. Stodds1967's Avatar
    I used a simple Polar Heart Rate Strap. I can't emphatically say the strap and Mio Alpha were identical, but I can say they were close enough that I ditched the strap and never brought it back.
    11-14-2014 01:05 AM
  5. Stodds1967's Avatar
    I went for a 6.2 mile run on Saturday. This time I wore my Mio Alpha on my right wrist and my Microsoft Band on my left wrist. I couldn't take pictures comparing the 2 but I can emphatically say that the readings were never more than a few beats different. I was "on the fence" about the band before this run, but after the run I'm "sold out". There's nothing like this on the market for this price, and it does an exceptional job!

    I will also emphatically say...getting an accurate and trustworthy heart rate reading has always been tricky. There are times with my Mio Alpha when it just doesn't read, or it is way off. I've found that adjusting the tightness or location of the Mio Alpha always brings it back to reality. I suspect many of the issues people are experiencing on this forum with the band HR accuracy are related to where the band is being worn (I'd recommend wearing a little higher on the wrist and very snug during a run).
    Meredith43 likes this.
    11-14-2014 01:15 AM
  6. DroidUser42's Avatar
    I suspect many of the issues people are experiencing on this forum with the band HR accuracy are related to where the band is being worn (I'd recommend wearing a little higher on the wrist and very snug during a run).
    I hope that's it. The trick is finding the right spot. When you say "higher", do you mean toward the hand or toward the elbow? If it's toward the elbow, I'll give it a try, but the Band has a rather limited adjustment range.

    I tried my mall-walk experiment again with a looser fit. I can't say it improved. I also tried positioning it display in. I still have wild readings. I see two factors - movement seems to confuse it. It seems to settle in if I stop. It also seems to jump around a lot. For example:

    In 4 secs it went from 108 to 121
    In 3 secs it went from 106 to 114
    In 2 secs it went from 121 to 111
    In 5 secs it went from 140 to 124

    Keep in mind, I'm not running sprints. Just a brisk walk, with pause to take photos. This is just what I was able to document with photos. I may need to try video next time, as I think it's even quicker than that.
    11-14-2014 02:57 AM
  7. agentmikeyd99's Avatar
    Just return it and get a Polar if u want accurate hr monitoring. Band does other phone stuff well, not hr
    greyskytheory likes this.
    11-14-2014 03:05 AM
  8. DroidUser42's Avatar
    I'd recommend wearing a little higher on the wrist and very snug during a run.
    I didn't have my Polar for compairson, and I still got some 10 BPM swings. But my impression is that it's settled down. I expanded the band as far as I could and pushed it as close to the elbow as I could - didn't do more than put it next to my watch tan. I'll have to run more tests. If that's to be the Band's new home, I'm going to have to trade it in for a large.
    11-14-2014 05:49 PM
  9. DroidUser42's Avatar
    I think I'm on to something. In this run I expanded the Band to max and "tilted" it so that the green light didn't fall on my vein. There's a few "off" by as much as 8. But it certainly looks a lot better. I think I can accomplish the same thing by switching to the large band. The size difference places the sensor in a little different spot when tightened to the same size.

    The "start up" error is a little troubling. I've seen that a few times. But it just may be the band needs a bit to "come up to speed". Some of it can probably be attributed to the normal mode that only comes on 1 minute out of every 10. But it still continues a bit after starting in run mode.
    Attached Thumbnails msband2.gif  
    sjjones, swndg86 and Meredith43 like this.
    11-15-2014 04:02 AM
  10. jwpear's Avatar
    I had better results with my Band during my last workout. I wanted to test my hypothesis of hydration impacting Band HR accuracy. I follow low carb, high fat nutrition. I have to work to stay hydrated since the body does not retain fluid like it does on the standard American diet. The day before, I made sure to consume more pure water. I had roughly 90 ounces, which still lower than what nutritionist Maria Emmerich (http://mariabodymindhealth.com) recommends for someone of my height (6'2") and weight (300) following LCHF. But it was more pure water than what I would normally drink. The only other drink I had that day was 12-16 ounces of unsweet tea during lunch.

    I wore the Band and my Cardiosport watch on the same wrist. The Cardiosport was, of course, linked to the chest strap. Wore Band between bone and hand--my arm is too big to wear it on the other side of the bone--toward elbow. I've tried there, but it is too tight. I watched both while alternating between steady cadence and sprints on the bike and also while doing heavy weight lifting. The strap reacts very quickly to changes in HR. The Band has some delay--5-10 seconds--in reacting to sudden changes. But the Band tracked more closely with the strap this time and the delay seemed mostly in the 5 second range. Often, by the time the slow Lumia Camera app on my Lumia Icon had started up, the Band had nearly caught up with the strap.

    Here are the pics:

    It's pretty close after a period of steady warm up on the bike. During this time, I maintain a steady cadence and slowing add resistance.
    wp_20141113_05_38_36_pro.jpg

    After first sprint on the bike. During the sprint, I peddle as fast as I can for a full minute with a full turn of resistance knob before starting. You can see it is taking it a little time to catch up. It probably took me 5-8 seconds to pull the phone out of my pocket and start the Lumia camera app.
    wp_20141113_05_40_04_pro.jpg

    At a roughly a minute after the last sprint, the Band is tracking pretty closely to the strap.
    wp_20141113_05_40_57_pro.jpg

    Doing pretty well during recovery period.
    wp_20141113_05_41_18_pro.jpg

    A little off for a period during recovery for some reason, but this is still within an acceptable range for me.
    wp_20141113_05_41_25_pro.jpg

    After 2nd bike sprint, it's trying to catch up.
    wp_20141113_05_43_01_pro.jpg

    A minute and a half into a period of recovery, it's looking good.
    wp_20141113_05_44_30_pro.jpg

    After 3rd bike sprint, it's trying to catch up again.
    wp_20141113_05_46_13_pro.jpg

    And then at a little over a minute in recovery, it is spot on with the strap.
    wp_20141113_05_47_31_pro.jpg

    After completing a period of steady cadence on the bike, it's off a little.
    wp_20141113_05_49_50_pro.jpg

    I'm done with the bike at this point and moving on to weights.

    I've set up the bench press to begin alternating between it and curls. Strap is showing a significant drop in my HR since the bike. Band still says my HR is up.
    wp_20141113_05_51_24_pro.jpg

    A few seconds later and the Band catches up.
    wp_20141113_05_51_28_pro.jpg

    After a few reps of bench and curls it looks pretty good. I think this was one of those occasions where it took me 8-10 seconds to get the phone out, start the app, and try to focus on my wrist. I definitely noticed a lag in the Band catching up with the strap. But it did catch up instead of staying way off like it has in the past.
    wp_20141113_05_52_25_pro.jpg

    Another checkpoint and it looks good. I don't remember what I was doing prior to this. I move through quite a bit of upper and lower body weights during my workout. All of them are heavy weights.
    wp_20141113_06_00_10_pro.jpg

    Wanted to post one last pic, but the forum has a 15 pic limit. The last one showed the Band my HR 20 bpm above the strap. This was 30 or so seconds after a heavy set of weights.

    So overall, it did a better job of tracking my HR compared to the strap during this workout. I've had workouts where it was very slow to catch up and very slow to show recovery. While it wasn't as quick to show a change as my strap, it tracked more closely this time and the way off readings were fewer and farther between. I couldn't quite catch the delay in the Band catching up with my camera app as it would be close by the time I pulled the phone out, started the app, and snapped the pic. I'm estimating this was 8-10 seconds. If it worked this way all of the time, I'd by happy and feel comfortable leaving my strap at home.

    I'll experiment more with the effects of hydration on it's accuracy and report if I continue to see the same trend or have more days where it is way off, despite the hydration.
    Attached Thumbnails wp_20141113_05_43_06_pro.jpg  
    Last edited by jwpear; 11-15-2014 at 07:19 AM. Reason: Summarized. Tried to add one more pic, but reached forum limit.
    11-15-2014 07:05 AM
  11. DroidUser42's Avatar
    I noticed the Band is only showing "locked" in only 5 out of your 15 photos. I'm not sure if that's due to rapid change or poor signal quality. My last chart was locked 39 out of 46 a big improvement over the 40 out of 61 of my first one.

    I'd think any lag is due to signal issues, since the display updates (changes) quite frequently.
    jwpear likes this.
    11-15-2014 12:55 PM
  12. jwpear's Avatar
    I'd think any lag is due to signal issues, since the display updates (changes) quite frequently.
    I don't know how I would control the signal issues. Does that mean a faulty sensor?

    I've tried wearing it in different ways to improve the HR lock. Snug, very tight, a little lose, top of wrist, under wrist, north of bone (toward elbow), and south of bone. I wish MS would provide better wear guidance than "not too tight and not too lose" that I got in one of their Band owner emails.

    That's assuming a full heart means that it's locked and hollow means that it can't get a good measurement. Full makes sense because that's what it says when you tap the me tile to check your heart rate. It seems hollow means that it isn't getting a good reading, but I haven't seen the actual definition of the hollow heart in any official documentation. It's hollow a lot for me. If anyone has seen an official legend published by MS, please point to it.

    @DroidUser42, thanks for the thoughts on this.
    11-15-2014 03:18 PM
  13. DroidUser42's Avatar
    That's assuming a full heart means that it's locked and hollow means that it can't get a good measurement. Full makes sense because that's what it says when you tap the me tile to check your heart rate. It seems hollow means that it isn't getting a good reading, but I haven't seen the actual definition of the hollow heart in any official documentation. It's hollow a lot for me. If anyone has seen an official legend published by MS, please point to it.
    I'm making the same assumption. I'd also like to see more detail on just what that means. I have seen the reading change even though the heart is hallow, so it's not quite "no signal". And I've noticed that the accuracy improves in about 3-4 seconds after it goes to full heart. So it seems meaningful, but I wish we had better guidance or better tools as to how to find a solid signal for our own situation. It can make the difference between a keeper and a return.
    11-15-2014 05:53 PM
  14. Sublimation7's Avatar
    I can't post links unfortunately, but for anyone curious as to how the Microsoft band checks heart rate please google "this is how the microsoft band checks your heart rate" and click first link.
    11-18-2014 02:50 PM
  15. smurfalarm's Avatar
    I'm making the same assumption. I'd also like to see more detail on just what that means. I have seen the reading change even though the heart is hallow, so it's not quite "no signal". And I've noticed that the accuracy improves in about 3-4 seconds after it goes to full heart. So it seems meaningful, but I wish we had better guidance or better tools as to how to find a solid signal for our own situation. It can make the difference between a keeper and a return.
    Hollow heart means "acquiring", full heart means "locked". My guess is that all it means is that the number it displays while "acquiring" is an uncertain estimate based on data the Band has gathered so far. Heart rate isn't an instantaneous physical measurement, it's a calculated statistic. Imagine if instead of wearing a Band, you have me there measuring your pulse on your wrist. If I measure your pulse for 5 seconds and count 8 beats, I could tell you your heart rate is somewhere around 95 bpm. If I kept on measuring to make it 20 seconds and 37 beats total, then I could tell you your heart rate is about 110 bpm. The 95 bpm isn't "wrong", but I know it is less accurate than the 110 bpm because it is from a much shorter sample.
    rschaefe likes this.
    11-18-2014 03:33 PM
  16. DroidUser42's Avatar
    I can't post links unfortunately, but for anyone curious as to how the Microsoft band checks heart rate please google "this is how the microsoft band checks your heart rate" and click first link.
    I didn't get an exact match. My first link is Track your heart rate which is pretty basic and This is how often the Microsoft Band checks your heart rate which much better, but still leaves some questions unanswered.

    Are you referring to a different link? You can post it by "spelling out" the domain.
    11-18-2014 04:07 PM
  17. dainla's Avatar
    Biking. I live in an area with lots of hills, my ride is pretty up and down after about 13 minutes. Tried to keep my heartrate above 140.

    wp_ss_20141120_0001.jpg
    11-20-2014 11:31 AM
  18. dbregman's Avatar
    Biking. I live in an area with lots of hills, my ride is pretty up and down after about 13 minutes.
    ..
    How accurate do you think it was based upon your perceived effort?
    11-20-2014 12:30 PM
  19. dainla's Avatar
    How accurate do you think it was based upon your perceived effort?
    Pretty accurate. Maybe a little over on the calories but not too much.
    11-20-2014 10:56 PM
  20. RiftPoint's Avatar
    I finally tried comparing my band's heart rate reading with the treadmill's at my gym as I was cooling down from my run this morning, but it was within 2-4bpm. It also seems to recognize my HR fairly accurately during my strength training exercises as well. While I was actually doing the exercises it was constantly fluctuating (upward trend), but then again so was my actual perceived HR... I've never used a chest strap heart rate before (only treadmill ones), so I'll disclaim that I have no prior experience to gauge the accuracy on. I've included my HR graphs, what do you guys think? (By the way, the GPS off Treadmill running definitely IS extremely inaccurate, I was running about a 7'45" pace, almost 2mi total distance according to the treadmill)

    wp_ss_20141121_0002.pngwp_ss_20141121_0003.png
    11-21-2014 12:48 PM
  21. Joe920's Avatar
    Just did another ride with the band while also wearing the HRM strap of my Garmin FR305. The band was on my left wrist, screen down. Something seems to be wrong with my unit, because this time the curves don't even look alike, see below. The red curve is the Garmin data plotted on the runtastic website. I put a marker at 160BPM on both for comparison. One is vs. time and one vs. distance, so you can't compare the horizontal scales, but it's clear that the band thinks I basically never went over 160bpm except for three short spikes.

    ​By the way, I hadn't restarted the band since I got it, so maybe that's the problem. I restarted it once after this ride, and I'll check if that improves things for mine. And otherwise a reset may be in order. :(

    msband-trouble.jpg
    11-28-2014 06:25 PM
  22. Upstate Dunadan's Avatar
    I was at the gym the other day doing an exercise that had my heart rate pegged. I looked down and my HR monitor was showing 70-80, which I know was way off. I've noticed the Band does lag slightly in catching up to actual HR but this was different.

    First thing I did was loosen the Band a touch. I had snugged it up a good bit to keep it from sliding down during my exercise, more actually than normal. As soon as I loosened it, the HR caught up. I'm thinking too tight isn't good for the HR monitoring.

    How tight do you wear it?
    11-28-2014 07:26 PM
  23. solidsnakejv's Avatar
    I've done many workouts, both runs and strength training, and I have compared the band's HR readings with the polar loop and H7 chest strap HR monitor.
    I can definitely say that the band gives and average of 10 beats per minute under what the H7 does.

    For the just part, the band is accurate up until about 150 beats, but it has a hard time when I go over that. The band barely read anything above 180.
    teemulehtinen likes this.
    11-28-2014 09:22 PM
  24. DroidUser42's Avatar
    I've played with the Band some more. At least for my body, arm movement (in my case, arm swing when walking) seems to confuse it. But if I keep my arm still, then I get a solid reading. It makes sense that arm flexing can cause false pulses of blood flow. How much depends on the individual body.

    Where the HR sensor rests on your arm can make a difference, but I can't find any broad statements beyond that. I'm hopeful that MS can work out better software filters for it's sensor. Because an HR sensor that flakes out when you're active isn't all that useful.
    11-29-2014 04:28 AM
  25. teemulehtinen's Avatar
    At gym, I've seen peaks of over 180bpm but they don't get registered as highest heart rate at the end of the day when the data of session is on the phone.

    I have worn the Band as watch, which means that every time I curl our squeeze my forearm, the contract with heart rate sensor loosens. Next week I will try wearing it the other way around, screen inside wrist.

    I think it seriously lacks behind the actual rate when getting 160-180 range, but I have no comparative data to prove it other than my feeling and experience of level of stress, which, after 25 odd years of fitness should be relatively accurate. Our then not...
    11-29-2014 08:19 AM
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