The DIY Dilemma

Disclaimer: I’ve ruined a few watches trying to change the battery.  Tiny, fragile pieces- if you bend the leaf spring or loose a screw you are S.O.L.  Polar Elektro & Polar USA, the manufacturer of the FT1 heart rate monitor, does not recommend changing the battery, for these reasons I’m sure.  For the brave of heart- march on!

The DIY Dilemma is: can I do it better / cheaper / faster than a professional?

My experience has been- sometimes.  Here’s an example.  I’ve had the  Polar FT1 heart rate monitor for a few years.  I’ve replaced the chest strap, 6 months later I started getting the low battery indicator on the watch and it gave up the ghost a few months after that.

I looked into getting the battery changed by a Polar Service Center- the price is pretty reasonable at $19.99.  The problem was, I didn’t want to ship the watch to a regional service center.  I was pretty surprised to find out that in one of the outdoor recreation meccas in the U.S.A. – namely Boulder, Colorado – that we don’t have a service center.  The service centers are predominantly located on the West Coast, in the Great Lakes Region, and on the East Coast.

Not wanting to ship the watch to a service center, wait for it to be repaired and then returned, I decided to tackle it myself.

Problem #1- How to remove the back of the watch? It turns out that the watch back is held in place by very small, specialized screws requiring a fairly uncommon type of screw driver to remove.

Solution #1- A quick search on Amazon and I located a set of tools for changing smartphone screens and batteries.  I’m an Amazon Prime member, so there were no shipping costs.  The tool set was $9.88.

Problem #2 – Getting a replacement battery.

Solution #2 – The watch uses a coin type battery, so it was pretty easy to go to Walgreen’s and pick up a replacement.  I had to buy a pack of 2 batteries- Walgreen’s was sold out of the single packs.  Cost: $7.99.

Cost of tools & materials – $9.88 + $7.99 = $17.87

Did I achieve the DIY goals of better / cheaper / faster than a professional?

Did I do better? No extra pieces and the watch turned on. So, the same.

Did I do it cheaper? A little bit: $19.99 – $17.87 = $2.12

Did I do it faster? Yes! I ordered the tools on 12/21, they arrived 12/24, battery replaced on 12/25.  5 days – no shipping charges.

So, I enjoy the challenge of fixing things.  I saved some time, a hand full of change, and in 2 years I’ll be able to change the battery when it runs out of charge.

I do have the satisfaction of a job well done.

What’s your DIY story?


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