View Full Version : Re-engineering the Treadmill

October 24th, 2007, 09:17 PM
Hi folks!

I just uploaded 5 pictures into the gallery under miscellaneous.
I modified my treadmill elevation system a bit. Seems like when I would do multiple elevation changes, the little 1/12 hp motor would overheat, and the thermal overload circuit would trip, and no more elevation changes until it cooled way off. Bummer.

I took the hood off the treadmill guts, and took a look. Being the engineer, a technician, and mechanic I immediately saw the problem. Poor engineering of small component interface.

Now the treadmill is brand new, and under warranty for this type of thing. But it would have meant a big hassle, and they probably would have just replaced the little motor, and the same problem would have still existed. It is a small design flaw. Also would have taken Sears forever to get out here, and more hassle. This was a minor thing, and much less hassle, and only out a few cents for the little delrin washers I used.

So the pictures explain what I did, and that is cool.

Anyway, I also got my new footpod sensor for the Garmin 305, which tracks pace, distance, and speed, with the heartrate curve. Seems like my first treadmill run with the footpod indicated a big difference in mileage. Treadmill said 2.7 miles in 30 minutes, and the Garmin by way of footpod said only 1.85 miles. What the $%^&!!!

So I read the little books, and I need to calibrate the Garmin 305 to my stride, which is quite long. It is adjusted to a small stride apparently from the factory (maybe a Japanese or Chinese persons stride?) Being 6'2" with a little longer legs than average, it is a fair bet that the stride factor needs major adjustment.

So I also got a little calibrated wheel for doing real estate distance surveys from the hardware store, and will measure out exactly 440 yards down the road out here on a fairly level place (not much level out here at all!) Then there is a procedure to manually calibrate the Garmin over this measured distance.

Stay tuned, and we'll see if I can get this all dialed in.

Gotta get the numbers right, or I go nuts!!!! The curse of the engineers obsession with proper function. :H


October 24th, 2007, 09:20 PM
you guys, you just can't help yourselves - you just HAVE to mess with all things mechanical!

October 24th, 2007, 09:25 PM
I've just taken a look at your photos, I am particularly interested in the head of the elevation jackscrew. i could really do with a pinch point at the skin to skin contact - I need it Very bad. My motor would overheat, and shut down if I did several elevation changes because of the friction overload.

October 24th, 2007, 09:30 PM

There are plenty of websites I think, that cater to the type of "engineering" you are referring to.

Do you know what the thing in the toilet is that floats, and shuts off the water when it gets full is called? Hmmmm.

It is called a "ballcock". Another engineering marvel. :H


October 24th, 2007, 09:37 PM
oddly enough Neil, I am familar with ballcocks, having had to jiggle a few in my lifetime, some I've even had to replace as they just weren't up to scratch any more.

October 24th, 2007, 09:58 PM

The wonderful world of engineering terminology. You see the treadmill has a power jackscrew, but there are also manual jackscrews.

Just today, an fellow manager at work was bluing in a section of dieplate steel, and marking in some drill points. I asked him what the deal was, and he said he was going to "bore some f^&#ing jackscrew access holes"!

We also have a pet term for a experimental metal dosing slug, which is used to determine proper production calibration for a computer controlled furnace system. It is called a "donkey dick".

We engineers are a strange lot, are we not?


October 25th, 2007, 06:53 AM
Very!!! lol

Starlight Impress x

October 25th, 2007, 11:36 AM
Hey Neil-

Love the mods to the treadmill. Don't give much creadence to the horsepower rating on any chinese motor. The chinese horse is apparently somewhat smaller than the western horse, besides which, your hungry again a half hour after you use one.

Speaking of great names:
The part of a motor where the power line goes in? pecker head
The smallest unit in a machine shop? an RCH (Tex knows, wouldn't want to offend star's finer sensibilities.


October 25th, 2007, 02:38 PM
Perhaps my resistance is greater than you think........I mean, I even remember all about ohms and farhads, for goodness sake!!! Who`s a clever girl.......not!!! :H

Starlight Impress x

October 25th, 2007, 02:54 PM
Stop speaking in tongues you lot and tell me what this all means!

October 25th, 2007, 02:56 PM
That`s easy, Flip........it`s simply gobbledegook.........sure boys??? :H

October 25th, 2007, 04:38 PM
Dead to rights

Star, you're right on the money. I just bet nobody ever gets the better of you (not that I was trying). Not one to be triffled with.

Accountants, artists and liberal arts types of all sorts, etc have brilliant careers and lingo of their own, but they rarely confuse and confound ousiders the way techies do. It is our downfall. And I normally pride myself on speaking real english to real people - just get carried away some times.When one techie finds another they sometimes run around in circles and sniff each others butts like two dogs getting to know each other, only we keep the butts covered and the exchange is largely veral. My wife has leared to let it go by like the sounds the adults make on Peanuts cartoons. If she's had enough, she announces that the 'shop talk alarm' has just gone off and that signals that the conversation had better return to normal toot-sweet.

Let me try just one more, though. The nuclear guys deal in probability. They know almost nothing for certain, but they know that given enough chances, their is a certain likelyhood for something to happen (and these likelyhoods they know quite well). You got my back here, Star, yes? With a bunch of neutrons flying around in great haste in the midst of a bunch of uranium atoms and hitting them, for instance, their is some probability that the nuetron will be absorbed by the uranium and get spit back out harmlessly and a certain likelyhood that it will cause the uranium atom to fission (kerpow!). So to describe this likelihood of 'will it fission or won't it', they invented a unit called then "barn". Taken I'm sure from the put-down for one shooter to another - 'couldn't hit the broad side of a barn'. Now isn't at least a little charming that some white-coat wearing braniac locked up in a lab somewhere stepped outside himself long enough to add a little humor to what could arguably be described as the most serious of science? Its little bits of obscure human-ness that keeps the world spinning, I think.

Dear Lord, did I babble on like this when I was drunk? This may take some getting used to.

Verbosely yours,

October 25th, 2007, 07:18 PM
That is funny Neil, in the Army the "donkey dick" is the extender tube we use for the gas cans.

October 25th, 2007, 07:32 PM
Neil and 12Many,

Bunch of hardware weenies!!

Know what software is for?

To fix the stuff hardware can't handle. (Lockheed Martin saying.)



Personally, though, I love HARDware. :H

October 25th, 2007, 10:12 PM

you know what Mae West said... A hard man is good to find......

October 26th, 2007, 04:41 AM
Dave..........am right with you........totally relate to every word of your post, so...........bring on the Barn Dance!!! :dancin: :H

October 28th, 2007, 09:07 AM
And there is a little valve used to shut off the water in our travel trailer... It is called ...
get this... a pet cock. Haaa !!! haa !! Tee !! Heee !!! It is gonna be a bummer when we need to go to the local hardware store to buy a new one if this one snaps !!! "Excuse me Mamme, where do you keep your pet cocks " Haaa !! haaaa !!!! Teeee !! Heee !!! :)

October 28th, 2007, 09:52 AM
My Sears treadmill stopped elevating... etc... in calling for repair... they wanted $600.00 to repair it as there were no parts available??? So, my husband, the engineer went to Radio Shack... his home away from home... took it apart, put a new switch on the control panel, and soldered a new switch to the circuit board for less than $2.00. Seven years later it's still running perfectly.

Saint Jude
October 29th, 2007, 02:03 AM
Cpt Bean,
You should have called me!
My Hubby owns the local Radio Shack... I coud've gotten you the "family rate" on that part!:H
(It's also my Hubby's home away from home... or visa versa..:confused: );)

I'll bet I have the best stereo on any kayak in the state! (Or old truck!)