Fitbit Alta HR with Windows 10

This isn’t what I had expected my first blog post ever to be about, but after spending a couple of hours struggling with this and not finding any solutions online, I figured this one might actually help a few people.

We got my mother-in-law a Fitbit Alta HR for Christmas. She doesn’t have a smart phone, so she’ll be using Windows 10 to synchronize her tracker. We thought this was going to be a simple plug-and-play setup, but things didn’t go according to the on-line directions.

We kept getting messages that there was a problem with the bluetooth setup along with directions for unpairing the fitbit from the laptop. But the device wasn’t showing up in Bluetooth at all!

Next, we tried using the Classic Connection mode, but got a message that the dongle wasn’t found.

I lost count of how many times we tried uninstalling and reinstalling and doing steps in different sequences. We were on the verge of returning it and getting her a new present, but we finally got it working.

Here’s what we had to do:

  1. Charge your fitbit using the Wireless Sync Dongle. We did this using the laptop USB port.
  2. If you haven’t already, attach your Alta HR to your laptop or PC using the wireless sync dongle.
  3. Make sure bluetooth is enabled (In the search box, type bluetooth, and select “Bluetooth and other devices settings” from the menu that pops up. Make sure Bluetooth is set to “On”.)
  4. Add a new bluetooth device (In the same window as step 3, locate and click on “Add Bluetooth or other device”
  5. We saw a device called Atom, and originally thought it was another device in their house. This was actually how her laptop saw the Alta HR. Select and add the Atom device. The directions made it sound as if the fitbit app would pair the tracker with the laptop, but that never worked for us. Doing this step manually made the next steps work as they seemed like the should when reading the directions.
  6. Download the Windows 10 Fitbit app. It automatically installed for us.
  7. Launch the app. (If you accidentally closed the install screen, you can get to the app by typing “fitbit” in the search box. Fitbit will show up in the menu. Click on it.)
  8. The setup will walk you through creating a fitbit account, and as you move through the setup steps, it should discover your fitbit tracker.
  9. Once the device has been discovered and added, the fitbit app will update the firmware on the tracker. This can take a while.

After the firmware update, we thought we were home free, but wait…there was more! We noticed a notification in the app saying that an update was available for the tracker, but the app could no longer communicate with the Alta HR.

As it turns out, that first firmware update renamed the device. Remember how it was showing up at Atom in the Bluetooth pairing? Now, it is called Alta HR.

Here’s what we had to do:

  1. Back in the Bluetooth device settings, remove the connection to the Atom device.
  2. Still in the Bluetooth devices screen, “Add Bluetooth or other device”
  3. This time, look for Alta HR and select it to pair with your laptop or PC.
  4. Go back to the fitbit app, and you should be able to send the new update to your fitbit tracker.

Once that was done, communication between the tracker and the Windows 10 fitbit app worked just fine.

I wish I had screenshots, but we did all this in her laptop and now I’m back home. If I end up getting a fitbit for myself, I’ll update with more visuals.

 

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