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Treadmill Motor Hacking

Discussion in 'Other Tools' started by dancom, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    I found a ProForm treadmill at the dump. Mr Dump Guys said he plugged it in and nothing lit up. I dragged it home and found that the wire to the fuse holder had popped off.

    ProForm is made by Icon Health out of Utah. They make a lot of treadmills (including Nordic Track products), so this is the motor and controller to get. Lots of information on them.

    A look at the motor and flywheel.

    [​IMG]

    Motor nameplate.
    [​IMG]

    Note the continuous ratings are less than the treadmill ratings. This is because the manufacturers of the motor know that treadmills get used for say 20 or 30 minutes and are allowed to cool off between uses. Continuous duty means running all day long.

    The additional components that power the system and drive the motor are shown here. Upon closer inspection I see this is an MC-60 motor controller board which is very common.

    [​IMG]

    Luckily, this treadmill has an electrical diagram that handily shows where the speed control wires are. This is important as I am planning on ditching the console and using a very basic speed control. Something like start/stop and one knob for speed.
    [​IMG]
    I found the speed control wires feeding some quick connectors.
    [​IMG]


    0 V is off and 12 V is full speed. So it makes sense to wire in a variable resistor (potentiometer).
    [​IMG]

    It's alive! Man this thing flies!
    [​IMG]

    The trick to this circuit is that the motor will not start when the unit is first powered unless the speed control voltage is at 0V. This is a safety feature which prevents the treadmill from jumping to some fast speed when first powered up. This is a nuisance for most applications.

    I have a start delay relay to add into the speed control circuit.
    [​IMG]
    This will relay will open the speed control line (0V) for a half second or so then the motor will go to the speed that set by the variable resistor. So you won't have to set the speed to 0V and bring it up to desired speed every time you start.

    After spinning the flywheel off, this is what the motor shaft looks like.
    Either this shaft is a weird size or my caliper needs to go to the dump.

    [​IMG]

    I'll post more when I get some more done. Busy time of year of course.

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
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  2. PeterP

    PeterP Active Member

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    Dan, so are you saying that this type of motor would suit a home made belt sander?
     
  3. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Yes for sure. Lots of power and speed. The motor is open frame, so some dust protection will be needed. But the price is right for variable speed!

    Dan
     
  4. PeterP

    PeterP Active Member

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    WElllll guess what ill be doing to my wife's treadmill :whistling....
    she doesn't use it any ways
     
  5. John Noon

    John Noon Active Member

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    Get some gerbils or something so the belt moves and she may never notice, squeaking might be a problem though
     
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  6. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    More experimenting - Option 1: 3/4" finished bore sheave.

    [​IMG]

    I found some thin wall tubing which has an outside diameter of 0.75" and an inside diameter of 0.7". I think this was from a fancy brushed nickel curtain rod.
    With one piece of 0.015" brass shim stock I fitted the a 3/4" bore sheave. It's tight enough to have to coerce it on with a mallet.



    I ran it up and down through the speed range and made sure the motor didn't vibrate off the bench. ;)

    Option 2: will be mounting a drive wheel on the flywheel. Coming soon.

    Dan
     
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  7. zetuskid

    zetuskid New Member

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    Hi Dan, I like your post about using the treadmill motor. I am just about ready to install one on my wood lathe. I have just a few questions you might be able too help me with. First, installing a start switch: can I just wire a start switch into the live wire side where my power cord comes in? Second, heat gouge(thernonetor) I hear these little engines will over heat. How would I attach the end to the motor? Most gauges I have found on ebay elude to a gouge for a car motor that would attach to radiator or block. Thirdly, measuring RPM's. Is there a way to pull 12 volts from the power controller or do I hook up a 12v transformer to a separate power supply. Thanks for any advise and help!
    zetuskid
     
  8. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hi Zetuskid,

    These controllers are a little different in that they require a rising speed signal in order to start the motor. This is by design in treadmills to prevent them from unintentionally jumping to speed when the power is first applied.

    To start the motor, turn the speed potentiometer to zero, turn on the AC power, then bring the potentiometer up to your desired speed. This will start the motor. One reasonable work-around is to install a time delay relay that connects the speed signal shortly after power up. As with a tachometer, this relay may require a power source other than the controller board itself.

    In the motor I have, there is a thermal cutout built in. There are two blue wires that will open the AC supply if the motor gets too hot. My motor has BLK, RED, BLU & BLU wires.

    The shaft is a weird-ass 17 mm diameter. As for coupling to the shaft I was able to shim/bushing it out to fit a smooth more 3/4" sheave, this less than ideal. I have ordered a 17 mm drill bit which should be coming soon. I would prefer to bore some DOM tubing and make a proper coupling. Some guys simply weld a sheave directly on the flywheel, but I am guessing this requires more precision than most hobbyists can used to.

    The 12 V available from the controller is very limited. The total supply is about 30 mA. I would install a small power supply board or adapter to provide additional power to run a tachometer or lights. A non-contact tach like a small magnet and a Hall effect IC would be pretty easy to hook up. I have used a similar approach on my belt grinder.

    I am still messing around with my treadmill motor setup. Here's to the weather warming up and getting back on it one day.

    Hope this helps a little anyway.

    Dan
     
  9. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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  10. zetuskid

    zetuskid New Member

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    Hi Dan, my dc motor has the same two thermal wires. Did you connect these two wires and if so where do they connect to?
    Thanks
    zetuskid
     
  11. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hi,

    The thermo-switch wires are plugged into the mc-60 controller board. Essentially, they are wired in series with the incoming power and will shut the board down if the motor gets too hot. You can run the motor without them, but you wouldn't have that protection.

    Dan
     
  12. zetuskid

    zetuskid New Member

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    Thanks Dan. Is it possible to shot a picture of the connection? I have a mc-60.
     
  13. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    This is how it came out of the treadmill. The circuit breaker and switch are rated for 15 Amperes.


    [​IMG]

    If your setup has a choke (looks like a transformer with two wires) it is wired in the DC - (black) wire going to the motor.

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  14. zetuskid

    zetuskid New Member

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    Hi Don, I apologize for not making my knowledge of electronics clear- NONE!
    I can follow lines but when they drop off to a dead-end I am stooped. I get it that one of the thermal wires goes into a black wire from the choke bit where does the other thermal wire go? I see it goes into the controller and looks like it is spliced into a white wire coming out of the controller. But do you have an actual picture of your controller? That would help more than anything. Sorry to be so dunce with this but I am on the short end of the stick with electronics.
    Thank you for all you have done for me.
    zetuskid
     
  15. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hey no worries. The wires that are over on the right side are the power plug. This is a three prong plug and cord that would come with a treadmill and it has a black, white and green wire. The CB is the little panel mount circuit breaker that comes with the treadmill and the switch also comes with the treadmill. Maybe I should have shown the power plug attached to those wires. ;-)

    Dan
     
  16. zetuskid

    zetuskid New Member

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    Thank you Dan. Even i can follow those directions. You are a good man!!!
     
  17. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Good luck! Let us know how it comes together.
     

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