Friday, February 21 2014

Fitbit Force recall

Fitbit has started a voluntary recall of the Force fitness tracker, due to people experiencing allergic reactions. Initially, the reactions were thought to be caused by indifferent cleaning practices leading to sweat and grime buildup, but they’re now thinking it’s a combination of allergies to the nickel content and to the glue used to bond the wristband.

I’m betting on the glue, because while I haven’t had an allergic reaction, mine developed a strong, foul odor that definitely wasn’t due to lack of cleaning. In fact, the Japanese Type Cover 2 that I bought for my Surface Pro 2 arrived with the exact same odor, although not quite as strong.

I started an RMA to have mine exchanged for a new one, but when they said it would take 4+ weeks to process, I decided to see if I could deodorize both the Fitbit and the Type Cover myself. I was successful, so I canceled the RMA a few days ago.

My weapon of choice was a pound of activated carbon, purchased in the fishtank aisle at the local pet shop. I buried them in the stuff for several days. For the Fitbit, I taped over the display and the charging port (being sure to cover the two small holes for the altimeter), and for the Type Cover, I taped a paper towel over it.

Fitbit is working on a new model, and I hope that in addition to switching materials, they come up with a new clasp design that’s less likely to catch on clothing and pop open.