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May 18 2012

Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale and the Cold

Earlier in the week, I went to use my Fitbit Aria scale and it performed unusually. When I stood on the scale, it showed “SENSING” on the display for a bit before telling me to step off followed by “THINKING” being displayed. After a little while, “ERR” showed up briefly before disappearing. I tried taking my weight measurement again but the same sequence of events occurred.

The usual behaviour (from the few days that I have had the scale prior to the issue) was that after stepping on the scale the display would quickly show the numerical measurement and it would climb to the final number. No numbers displayed at all on two separate mornings earlier this week..

I tried removing the batteries for thirty seconds and putting them back in but the problem persisted. I then reset the scales (by inserting a pin in the tiny hole on the underside of the scale), rejoined the Wi-Fi network and tried again but problem persisted.

What seemed to work was moving the scale off the tiles in the bathroom, putting it on the carpet and then stepping on the scale to see what happened. Of course, using a scale on carpet won’t give a proper measurement but I wanted to see if the behaviour of the scale would change. After some thinking, I eventually got a numerical readout which was attributed to a guest measurement. Putting it back on the bathroom tiles worked after that point.

Anyway, the morning after the first incident, I went into the bathroom and the same problem occurred (sensing, thinking, error) and neither my wife or I could use it. I pulled the batteries out again for thirty seconds but that didn’t fix it. So, while my wife had her shower I just put the scale in the bed under the covers. I figured that maybe the cold temperature might have been causing a problem and maybe warming it up might help. After about ten minutes in the bed I put it on the tiles and it seemed to work without complaint and a numerical readout was fairly instant after stepping upon it.

As it is Winter in Australia at the time of writing we do keep the bathroom door shut so the warm air doesn’t escape through the skylight. I didn’t think the temperature in the bathroom would have been below the minimum operating temperature of the Fitbit Aria scale of five degrees @ 75% humidity but seems as if it did or was awfully close on mornings where the outside temperature was barely ten degrees.

I know this device has only been out for a little while but thought I’d write this up just in case others had run into the same issues before logging support tickets with Fitbit. Just don’t let the scale get too cold and it should work fine (however much of an inconvenience it may be in the long run).

Edit: Potentially, the ERR message could be caused by other issues, including:

  • being too far away from the Wi-Fi router/access point (move either closer to the other),
  • interference from other Wi-Fi/Bluetooth devices or devices operating in the 2.4GHz band (either move/deactivate these devices or move your Wi-Fi network to another channel with less interference),
  • router requiring a reboot just in case it has gone stale after running for a while.

88 comments

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  1. Kym

    Hi,
    I also just get the ERR message when it’s trying to obtain an IP address from my router; I have tried the 3 different methods of connection ( application, web and mobile ) many times and followed fitbit procedures to the letter with no success
    They shouldn’t be allowed to sell such a product that doesn’t do what most people purchase it for (logging their weight).
    I’m frustrated and do not know what to do next

    1. Boyd Chan

      Have you set your router to only accept connections from devices that you define (i.e. MAC address filtering)?

      If so, then this may be why it isn’t getting an IP address as it isn’t in the whitelist.

      Another common cause is if you have your Wi-Fi network set to disallow 802.11b connections then that may also cause connection failures. You may need to change from “G only” or “N only” (or even “G/N only” to another setting that includes 802.11b Wi-Fi connections.

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