Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Case of the Troublesome Treadmill

I've been having some trouble with my treadmill. Last Friday was the worst. Twice, both times during running portions of my workout, it just quit. The power went off and it stopped. Dead. This is very annoying, especially when I'm in full stride run. Actually it's beyond annoying.

I've suspected I knew the cause of the problem for some time. The safety switch. So Sunday afternoon I got ambitious and took the control panel off the base, brought it upstairs and had a look. What I discovered was the little microswitch on the inside was faulty. When I hooked my volt-ohm meter to the switch I found that it had a partial connection even in the open position. In the closed position, sometimes it was completely on other times off.

It was beginning to get on towards workout time so I had an idea. I'll remove the switch and solder the two wires together. Not the safest thing but it would get me through a workout. So I did it.

What I didn't realize, the EE's that designed the board knew there would be guys like me. When I plugged in the treadmill it displayed 'PO' on the panel. I pushed every button and combination of buttons to try to reset the panel, but to no avail. "Curses, Red Baron!"

I had to unsolder the wires, plug the treadmill back into the power source and reconnect the safety wires to get the panel to display/function correctly. Fortunately, I had a pair of alligator clips attached to a short length of wire that I used to complete the connection. It sufficed for the evening and I was able to complete my workout. I was still somewhat nervous. I had the two safety switch wires protruding out the slot where the plastic safety key normally resides and attached to them was the yellow alligator clip assembly. I could envision the clips coming off, either by becoming entangled in my swinging arm motion or via the vibration produced by my running strides, but they held fast.

Since Sunday, I have taken the microswitch assembly down to my local electronics store, found a replacement and installed it. It has worked perfectly throughout two sessions and I'm regaining confidence in the treadmill again. Treadmill workouts are slightly easier when I'm not so concerned about coming to an abrupt stop.

P.S. I still have my exercise streak going. As of tonight it's 9 official days (since March 1st) or 15 days actual. A couple of days it's been rocky but I've managed to forge ahead. For those participating lets keep moving ahead!


Blogger Rachel said...

I am impressed with your exercise streak! I am convinced that once my husband purchases my "birthday bike", we will both be out riding 3x a week (besides my walking) - he needs it and he knows it. I think biking to him means fewer lows during exercise (than walking or running)...hmmm?

8:26 PM  
Blogger Johnboy said...

Keith...dude, are you an engineer? I could never figure all that stuff out!

Congrats on keeping the streak alive!

3:26 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Same question as JB, or are you just a mechanical genius?

You are dedicated for sure! Why don't you just count the 15 days instead of the 9. So what if you declared March 1st as the starting date. You HAVE been exercising before that. Give yourself credit where it's due.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Keith, You're doing a great job. You've had things come up that would have given you a great excuse to skip a day, but you didn't let them stop you.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Your going to love the bike... some of my best workouts are on mine. I don't know about fewer lows on a bike, maybe if you coast. I try to keep spinning so I can gain maximum benefits. That generally means a temp cutback on the basal rate to avoid a low.

johnboy & shannon--
No, sorry no engineer. I've found that alot of stuff is repairable if I'll just dig into it a little and besides, I can't afford a new treadmill!

I may re-start may count back at Feb 23rd. I originally thought there would be several starting together on March 1st. I can't tell that that has happened so I might as well re-position my count. (My legs know they've been going 15 days and tell me they would definately appreciate the credit!);-)

Yes, I've managed to stay discipled during this streak. There have been a couple of days it would've been very easy to take a day off if it hadn't been for the accountability to this group. Thanks for the encouragement!

7:18 AM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Man - incredible!!!

Not sure of the right words - impressed? Proud? Inspired? In Awe?

I just thought that was so awesome how you dug into it and made it work for you - even before you were able to buy the part you needed.

Very big of you to not let something like this sidetrack you - and yes, you are totally right - it's addicting! Once you get going you don't want to stop.

Have I ever wrote about the snowballing? How once it gets going it just keeps gaining momentum? True of things to the positive as it is of things to the negative. Many of us are snowballing to the positive - with much gratitude to you and JB for helping us get started!

I do think that there are many people that started the 100 days, but just don't write about it daily. I wasn't writing about my streak daily, and there are others, like Shannon who have started a completely separate blog for it. We're all supporting each other - at least virtually!

Once again - great job! Catch you on the next update.

9:04 PM  

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