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Polar pulse watch, infrared communication and Ubuntu

December 11, 2012

Polar RS800CX

Got this Polar pulse watch (RS800CX) a while back. With it came the ProTraniner 5 software – not particularly “Linux-friendly” I’m afraid… However, it works fine under wine. To download the data from the watch and sync it with my ProTrainer diary, I had to get the IrDA USB-dongle working. After browsing through various how-to threads, gathering bits and pieces from here and there, I got it working! Since I wasn’t able to find an easy guide out there, I decided to write one myself:


Install Polar ProTrainer 5 under wine.

  1. If you don’t have wine, install by opening the Ubuntu Software Center. Search for wine and winetricks and install them.
  2. Insert the ProTrainer5 installation disk.
  3. Run the ProTrainer5 installation under wine.

Open the program and try connecting your gear (the watch). I use an USB irDA dongle.

Get the IrDA dongle working in Ubuntu

This one has been a bit tricky, but following a couple of Ubuntu threads I landed on this approach

  1. Install irda-utils to be able to manage and handle infrared devices. Either find it and install it via the Ubuntu Software Center or open a terminal window and type
    sudo apt-get install irda-utils # please be careful, as you are now root
  2. Find out what module is used to drive your IrDA adapter (the USB adapter) by opening a terminal window and typing
    lsmod | grep irda
    In my case it’s mcs7780
  3. Edit the irda-utils.conf file by opening a terminal window and typing
    sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/irda-utils.conf # please be careful, as you are now root
    and add mcs7780 (mcs7780 in my case) at the end, after #alias irda0
  4. Edit the irda-utils.conf file by opening a terminal window and typing
    sudo gedit /etc/default/irda-utils # please be careful, as you are now root
    and change the following options:
    ENABLE="true"
    DEVICE="irda0"
    MAX_BAUD_RATE="9600"
  5. Reboot

Problems with the IrDA?

If you’ve disconnected the dongle, and the IrDA doesn’t work when you reconnect it (*red flashes*), you’ll probably get there by opening a terminal window and typing
sudo irattach irda0 -s

You should now be able to connect your watch and sync it with the Polar ProTrainer5 software. Get out there, get your heart racing, and have fun!
;-)