Polar S720i rainbow screens?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by kneighbour, Apr 30, 2003.

  1. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    I have a new Polar S720i, and have been using it on my road bike for a few weeks. The thing works fairly well, although a LOT of interference problems, but that is fairly standard.

    My big problem is that it often has this huge rainbow pattern on the LCD screen behind the digits - ie, in the LCD screen itself. On bad days, this can make the screen almost unreadable. Some days it works just fine. The problem only occurs outside - so it somehow or other does depend on or react to light from the sun.

    Polar says that this is normal, and is a function of the manufacturing process. I frankly completely disbelieved this - they would not sell a single S720i if that was the case - it is unreadable! And no other LCD screen I have has ever had this effect, so it is not a general LCD problem.

    I finally sent the thing back to our local agent here in Australia, and they were truly great. Very professional and super fast. They actually changed the whole LCD screen for me the same day, basically.

    But unfortunately, the rainbow effect is still there. It is a totally different pattern this time, but the problem is still there. So I am beginning to think that Polar might be right after all - it is a manufacturing problem.

    Does any other S720i user have this problem? I did see a post from another user where he noticed the effect, but as it was only minor, he could tolerate it.

    I have used a S710 for a few weeks, and that was perfectly ok - no problems at all.
     
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  2. rek

    rek New Member

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    I've noticed this effect on my S710, albeit it being fairly subtle. I've seen some other electronic equipment with LCDs do something similar in the sun.

    Maybe it depends on the manufacturer of the LCD panel, and what chemicals they use ? Or the kind of adhesive they use to put the protective layer on top of the panel?

    The interference problem is annoying, I agree .. but I have found its severity depends very much on the weather -- on humid days, just about any power line will cause grief; in dryer air sometimes even the big "space invaders monster" type transmission lines won't affect it at all.
     
  3. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    Well, this is certainly not subtle!! It has been so bad I could not read the unit at all.

    This is really not a terrible problem either, I don't think, really. The thing is so hard to read on a bike anyway, I don't really use it all that much when actually on a ride. I sort of put it on the side of the handlebars and forget about it. I simply check that the moving bar at the right is still there - ie the thing is still recording. I do check the HR now and again, but that is all.

    When I download the results at the end of the ride - then I check what I did - various hill gradients, averages, what have you.

    I have always maintained that these things were not designed for cyclists. Many readings update too slowly to be of much use in real time. This is especiially true of things like altitude and temperature. But even speed updates too slowly to make me want to use it. And it does not even show the ride distance, which still amazes me. And since most of the real cycling information (ie cadence) is on the top line, this is almost unreadable at the best of times.

    So I still use "real" cycle computers for my on bike information.

    What gets my goat is the cost of these things, I guess. If it cost $50, I would probably just bear with the terrible interference problems, the hard to read displays, and of course this LCD problem. But my Polar system costs around AUD$1,600 - more than a lot of complete road bikes. So I expect a fairly good system for that much money.
     
  4. big_h

    big_h New Member

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    Just a question...... do you use Polaroid cycling glasses???? Polaroid has a distinct effect on LCD displays.

    Keep those wheels spinning

    Big H
     
  5. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    No. The pattern has nothing to do with that. It is not a lens thing - it is so obvious you can see the effect from 10 feet back in any light. It can even be in dark shade (ie under a big tree). Exactly the same.

    Angle makes little or no difference - ie tilting the watch, head, etc, makes no difference.
     
  6. Leon

    Leon New Member

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    Sound like a serious defect. My 710 does not exhibit any patterns.

    Leon
     
  7. Blimp

    Blimp New Member

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    Probably a stupid question, but have you taken the protective plastic off the screen?
     
  8. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    ha ha. I might be a bit silly, but I am not that bad!

    No - I have also owned a S710, and it was just fine. No problems at all.

    I have now had my first S720i replaced, and it has the same problem with this rainbow artefact. So I am beginning to see that what Polar (Finland) says is correct - it is a manufacturing defect. ie ALL S720i have this problem.

    I did two long rides with the replacement S720i over the weekend, and the same rainbow appeared again. The shape is different, so the watch has been replaced ok.

    My problem now is - if this is a manufacturing defect, what do I do about it? Surely I should not have to put up with a known manufacturing defect?

    I do not want a refend - I have a Power output sensor fitted, and that costs more than the S720i itself.

    Should I change it for a S710i? That does not seem to have the problem, and it looks a lot better to boot.

    I will see what Polar says - they have been pretty good so far.
     
  9. Kristian

    Kristian New Member

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    My screen goes a bit colourful sometimes and it mainly occours outside. I cant find a pattern with it either. I hope mine does not get as bad as yours sounds, sorry, if it was like that I would ask for an exchange. You payed alot of cash for a watch you can read!! Good luck wit hit
     
  10. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    Exactly.

    Actually, with this new one it is not as bad. I can read the digits ok - well, as well as you can any S720/S710. I still find the top line almost unreadable, but there is nothing I can do about that.

    While I could probably live with the current unit - it being generally readable and all, I don't think I should have to. There should be no artefact at all. No other LCD based bit of equipment I have even hints at such a problem. It is not like it is brand new technology or anything.

    I am glad other users are having the same problem though. Well, in so much as it is just not bad luck on my part to get two units both with the same problem.

    Like a lot of things with the S710/S720(i) units, I am amazed that some of the things got past QA and user testing. When I mentioned some of the bad design problems with the S720i to my local bike shop guy, he mentioned the awful trouble they had with the very early S710 units. At least these new S720i units do kind of work, although I do feel very much like I am using a "work in progress".

    Ah well, at least their software is excellent!
     
  11. Kristian

    Kristian New Member

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    The software is good. So are many of thje watch functions. It is super hard to remember all of the ways to access functions etc but over time I will learn. Could you just send the watch back to polar or get your bike shop to swop and they do it? My top line seems to be not too bad. The depth of the LCD to top face of yours could be slightly greater which may make a hugh difference to the shadow effect. Maby you could ride with a dolphin torch. lol
     
  12. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    Most of the "on-bike" functions I find pretty useless. For example, "Ascent". I see no use for that at all. I would like to know my current gradient, but that is not displayed. I first looked at the S710 simply to get a cadence reading. The S720i shows that ok - but only on the top line - very hard to see on the bike, so that verges on being unworkable.

    Temperature and altitude are fairly useless. They change too slowly to be all that accurate on a ride, but are interesting on the PC after the ride. The thing is you can only put Alt/Temp on one screen. It would not be so bad if you had a bit more flexibility with screen layout.

    Power seems fairly useless. Perhaps if I was racing or something, it might be ok - but I never even look at it. The only reason I bought the Power sensor was to hardwire in the speed and cadence sensors.

    That I do like (after the ride) are
    - Calories : I like to see how many calories I burn on a ride
    - the Fitness Test : great stuff, working out VO2max and HRmax
    - lap markers. These are good to "drop" during a ride. This gives you averages over that section, etc. Fairly interesting.

    I really would like to know "ride distance", but that is not provided either. I find this one really weird. What sort of bike computer leaves out ride distance? There is a Trip Distance, but that seems to be made to total rides over several days as it is not reset automatically. And again, that is only shown on the top line (where I want to put cadence).

    In practice, what I really use the S720i system for is a ride diary. It keeps track of the distances I am riding each week. I am sure I could do it a lot cheaper with a simple spreadsheet, but I like gadgets!
     
  13. madmax_2000

    madmax_2000 New Member

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    The problem of the "rainbow screen" to me is introduced on a Polar S510.

    Polar says that this situation is normal! There is in all "S-Bike" Series!
     
  14. zakeen

    zakeen New Member

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    I have it also but not so bad. I guess polar believes your is not so bad and maybe show them how bad it is, I believe it is normal but I am sure if you can not read it then they would be happye to replace it
     
  15. mapsno2

    mapsno2 New Member

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    Hi-

    Two things: First, I have a 720i and I find all lines of the screen (including the top one) easy to read at any point during a ride. Thus, your problem is either with your specific unit, or your eyesight/sunglasses/mount location/etc or some combination of these. To be honest I can't see how you could find the top line of text hard to read. Perhaps it's because your screen is bad. If so, I would take it back (again) and demand they fix it.

    Second, I find the altitude and temperature extremely handy on a ride. I live in a hilly area and when I do any major ascent (>500') I watch the altitude and not the distance because the altitude is a much better indicator of how far you have to go. For example, if I know that a given hill starts out at 400' and tops out at 2000', I will pace myself accordingly using the altitude readout. On rides such as this it updates quite quickly and is very accurate (the summit of various climbs in my area is always within 10-20' as long as I calibrate the altimeter before I leave home).

    CLB


     
  16. madmax_2000

    madmax_2000 New Member

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    hi! :)


    but

    You are speaking about the problem of the rainbow to display or the insufficient vision of some lines of the display?
     
  17. cabbage74

    cabbage74 New Member

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    As you say the trip distance is not automatically reset, however, if you display the trip distance in the top line and then press and hold down the light button (top left) the top line when trip is displayed will begin to flash and after a couple of seconds will reset back to 0.

    I own an S710i, and I have very few problems with the rainbow effect. It occasionally appears, however if usually fine even when wearing polaroid lenses.
     
  18. hstan

    hstan New Member

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    I just got an S725. It has the same rainbow problem, and is pretty significant - in the right light (always outdoors) it is very hard to read.

    I'm in the process of trying to get my unit replaced. I like all the features, and want one that is readable.
     
  19. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    Sure - I know about that. But the problem is that I never remember to do it - or very rarely. So the trip distance feature is not a viable bike ride distance measurement for me.

    It is not a real problem - I have a 'real' bike computer as well, and that does give me ride distance ok.


    You are lucky. I returned my S720i because of this, and eventually asked them to swap the S720i for a S710i. While I am assured the internals are the same in both units, I maintain that the S710i has a better display. Or at least the one I got was better than the two S720i's that I had.

    The S710i is still pretty bad - and I cannot use polaroid sunglasses with it. But at least the case looks a lot better than the S720i, which I found to be very ugly.

    They will have to fix the displays eventually - they are really bad.

    I have given up on trying to read my S710i on a bike ride. I simply display the time now - that is large enough for me to read, and is not really important anyway - so the rainbow effect does not really worry me now . I use my Flight Deck computer for all the bike related stuff. I only use the S710i to display my heart rate on the ride - the other stuff I basically ignore. When I download my ride to the computer, I then check all the details I need to. For that the S710i is great. Although there is the problem that what you see on the S710i is NOT what you see in the PPP4 software, but that is covered in another thread....
     
  20. BadBoyUltra

    BadBoyUltra New Member

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    Yes, I own a Polar S720 and I have noticed this rainbow effect too although it's not bad enough such that it affects the display readout.

    It sounds like a bit of a yarn that the manufacturers are spinning. If it is normal, surely it would mention it in the user's manual?
     
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