2016-08-19

How To Fix A Cracked Microsoft Band 2 Bracelet

I’ve been monitoring the bracelet on my Microsoft Band 2 very closely due to the many reports (here, for example) out there of bracelet failure. My first Microsoft Band 2 broke at the clasp, and I had to fight to get it replaced under warranty. After only about two months of using this new, replacement Band 2, I noticed the bracelet start to crack in a way that was consistent with the experience of other Band 2 users. The prevailing thinking among those users is, for the most part, that once the band cracks, the watch is done for. This is because the Band 2 has a UV sensor and charger connection at the clasp on one side, and a vibrator for pulse alerts on the other side. In other words, the Band 2’s rubber bracelet surrounds important wires which, once exposed or broken, render the Band 2 useless.

Long story short, a cracked Band 2 bracelet is a pretty big deal. My warranty is up, so it’s doubtful that I can get the band replaced a second time. Furthermore, it took so much effort to convince Microsoft to replace my Band 2 the first time, that at this point the effort doesn’t seem worth it to me anymore. This is especially true if my third Band 2 also fails at the bracelet within two months of use. I mean, how fragile are these dumb things, anyway?

Let me take a brief tangent here. One of the reasons this is such a frustrating thing for me, one of the reasons why I have spent so much time talking about my Band 2 and fitness trackers in general, is that the functionality of the Band 2 is so great. I blogged about this before. This is the device that finally “got it all right” for me, and that would still be true today, were it not for the fragility of the bracelet. So there is a little bit of heartbreak happening for me here. It’s not just that my watch broke, it’s that I really loved this fitness watch, and it’s frustrating that it would fail on me in such a way. It really is inexcusable for Microsoft to have succeeded so brilliantly on the core functionality of the watch, but to have failed so totally on basic durability. Even my Nike+ GPS watch from way back in 2012 lasted eighteen months. The Band 2 didn’t even last two months!

Having said all that, let’s get down to business. If you’re like me, then you have a Microsoft Band 2 on your hands that has a cracked bracelet. If you’re lucky, the crack has happened relatively recently and hasn’t opened up the whole bracelet. In other words, hopefully your bracelet is only cracked on the outside, and not all the way across the width of the bracelet. If this describes your problem, then I think I just might have a solution for you that doesn’t involve giving up and throwing your Band 2 in the wastebasket.

I cooked this up as a long-shot way to recoup a few more weeks or months of life out of my Band 2. It’s only been a few days, but all signs seem to indicate that it is working for me. I can’t speak to the longevity of this solution, but I will try to post updates on the blog In the hope that it can help other people.

The Band 2’s bracelet is made out of some kind of rubber polymer, so I started thinking: What is a reliable, DIY way to repair something made of rubber? What can I do cheaply at home that will at least buy me enough time to shop around for a new fitness tracker, and maybe, if I’m lucky, extend the life of my Band 2 for the foreseeable future?

Then it hit me: Why not use a bicycle patch? The benefits seem obvious: inner tube patches are inexpensive, made of rubber, colored black and thus wouldn’t stand out too much visually, easy to affix, can be cut with scissors for precision repairs, and at least on bicycle inner tubes they result in a permanent fix. This doesn’t seem like a crazy solution at all; in fact, it seems like a great solution.

It took all of 2 minutes to rub the patch’s adhesive over the afflicted part of my Band 2’s bracelet and wait for it to dry. Then I peeled off a patch and stuck it onto the bracelet.

As I said: so far so good. I can’t speak to the longevity of this solution, but by all appearances it seems to have worked. It is at least a good enough solution to warrant that users like me give it a try before giving up on their Microsoft Band 2’s completely.


I’ll keep you posted.