Personal and Small Business Technology

Polar ProTrainer on Windows 10 with IrDA Adapter

I have a Polar RS800CX sports heart rate monitor and love it. It uses an IrDA infrared connection to unload data to the Polar Pro Trainer 5 software that logs all of your workouts. It works great but Apple pulled the IrDA drivers from OS X several releases ago, and so did Microsoft in Windows. Fortunately, enough people complained, and Microsoft added the drivers back in during one of the recent service releases. The Polar tech support web site does not have any articles on making this work, and Google does not appear to find any, so I’m writing up my experience here.

Installing the IrDA Drivers

The new Microsoft IrDA drivers don’t work by just plugging the USB adapter in–you have to install the IrDA Infrared optional feature and then plug in the USB adapter. If you did not install the feature first, you will have to use Device Manager to delete the drivers before installing the feature.

Thanks to ScubaPro for the great instructions.

Setting up Polar ProTrainer 5

In Polar ProTrainer 5, you will need to select Options->Preferences->Hardware and then choose “IrDA” instead of the more obvious USB choice.

Why I Still Use a 10 Year Old Device

It still works, and because it does not have built-in GPS, it will run for several months on a user replaceable watch battery. I never have to worry about recharging it, or going for a ride only to realize that I forgot to charge it. It also records the R-R interval, which current generation watches do not, or at least do not advertise that they do. Replacing the batteries in the speed and cadence sensors will be a challenge, but I have seen enough YouTube videos to know that this is not a major problem.

Other Polar Devices

To help people find this article, here are some other Polar devices that may use IrDA:

  • Polar CS400
  • Polar CS600
  • Polar CS600X
  • Polar RS800
  • Polar RS800CX
  • Polar AXN500
  • Polar AXN700
  • Polar RS400
  • Polar S410
  • Polar S510 / S520
  • Polar S610 / S610i
  • Polar S710 / S710i / S720i
  • Polar S625X
  • Polar S725 / S725X
  • Polar S810 / S810i

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