Additional Treadmilldesk Criterion

Before I purchased the treadmill for my treadmill desk, I thought my criteria would yield good results.  For the most part, this is true; I’ve been using my treadmill desk for well over a year without issue.

Recently, my treadmilldesk’s treadmill started making some grinding noises that corresponded to the belt speed.  Technology never heals itself, so I opened up the workings to take a look.  After the usual dust cleaning, I isolated the source of the noise.  An important piece of plastic had warped from heat.

The speed sensor consists of a tiny piece of circuitry that counts how often some teeth pass through it.  The teeth are on a wheel attached to the main treadmill motor.  The sensor is on a plastic housing that sits directly on the metal motor.  Guess what happens as the motor heats up?  Yes, the sensor housing softens and sags, leading to a condition where the teeth rub against the housing as they move.

Under the “normal” usage scenario, which consists of someone buying the treadmill, using it for a week, then putting plants on it until they sell it used, this piece of plastic would never distort.  However, if you actually intend to use your treadmill as a treadmilldesk, as I do, walking at 2.5MPH for 3-8 hours a day, you might want to consider getting a higher-end model that will last.

I will fix the sensor mount problem somehow, but when this treadmill finally does fail, the next one I get will be designed for long-term use.

9 thoughts on “Additional Treadmilldesk Criterion”

  1. It’s basically a cantilever, where the end that hangs free is lower than it should be, because the whole cantilever sagged. Cutting wouldn’t fix that. I’d have to attach something to it that forces it to bend in a way that approximates its un-melted shape. For now, my hack of propping it up a bit seems to be working.

    I emailed the manufacturer and an online treadmill parts dealer to see if I can get a new part. If they’re cheap enough, I’ll just get one. Otherwise, I may have to determine a plan B.

  2. Horizon Fitness got back to me about a replacement part. Still finalizing some details, but I hope to have a replacement part soon. Of course, it’ll still have the same flaw of being plastic that sits on hot metal, but if it gets me another year or two of use, it’s probably going to be worth it.

  3. You can probably also find a way to reinforce the new part so it doesn’t sag. Or take the part to your local machine shop / fabricators and have them make you a copy out of steel/aluminum.

    FYI, this construction (except for the cheapo plastic parts) is how a car’s ABS brakes work. A sensor records teeth flying past (the teeth are connected to the hub). Normally this produces a square wave, but when this pattern disappears (like when the wheels have locked), the ABS computer will start pulsing the brakes.

    1. I was thinking of a way to put an insulator between the motor and the plastic part, but then the motor might overheat. A metal version of the part would rock, but I suspect I could get 10 plastic parts for the cost of one metal one, and I’m not sure this consumer-grade treadmill will last that long.

      I had no idea that my treadmill had ABS brakes! I’ll have to take it on a rally track! 😉

  4. Uh-oh. Here’s a new thing. I noticed recently that my treadmill would emit a smell after extended usage. With the lid off to tweak my RPM sensor fix, I noticed the smell was concentrated on this circuit board with four enormous capacitors. One of them is cracked and leaking its guts. This can’t be good.

  5. Maybe a better idea is just simply to junk your current treadmill and get one secondhand from a gym – my guess is their equipment is designed for continuous use. 🙂

  6. That’s a possibility. I’m still waiting to hear back from Horizon Fitness about the part cost. They asked for my serial number, even though I assured them that the treadmill was out of warranty. It turns out that I have no serial number. The label is there, but it’s blank. Hmm. I hope it didn’t fall off a truck. I bought it used, so I have no way to know.

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