Friday 22 July 2016

Treadmill motor: maintenance and troubleshooting

There are several engine types. The PMDC (direct current with permanent magnets) is the most often used for home treadmills (home fitness). It works with direct current (DC). Gym treadmills use the alternating current type (VAC), which is more reliable. Ac motors are more durable and resistant. For heavy use (heavy users, long workouts, gyms), you should choose a treadmill with an AC motor.
Recognize the engine of the treadmill

You should open the motor cover to see the engine installed in your treadmill. In almost all of the treadmills, it is located on the front. After removing all the screws and the engine cover, you’ll see the motor and a label with some information:
p/n: part reference, it may be helpful to find it on the website
HP: horsepower or HPP: peak horsepower. Often the hp power information is generic or shows "treadmill duty" or other statements. So the real power of the treadmill is often not very clear. Ask an expert from if you are unsure which model to choose.
Normally in the engine there are 2 cables connected to the controller. The connecting wires are interchangeable, i.e. you can swap black and red. The motor is not polarized, so it cannot be damaged by the swap. However, the rotation of the motor will be opposite, so if you swap the cables you reverse the direction of rotation. Some times the engine has 2 extra cables, these are used for a thermal protection system.
The above does not apply to AC motors that usually work with a three-phase power supply.

Engine damage (for DC)
There are several ways to determine if an engine is damaged:
1. Connect the motor to a voltage (continuous). It must have at least 20 V(DC) and provide at least 700 mA. If the motor doesn’t move at all, definitely needs to be replaced. Even if it runs, however, may still have some other electric problems, such as electrical losses or abnormal consumption. Unfortunately, you can’t see that problem with a low voltage.
2. If you have a meter, you can measure resistance among the red and black cables, which should be low. By turning the engine by hand, if you observe that at some points it becomes very high or the circuit is open, it means the presence of a broken filament or problems to the brushes. The brushes can wear out and need to be replaced to work properly. When replacing the brushes, you may want to go a few hours at full speed on the treadmill, to allow them to settle. If you need to replace the brushes frequently, this suggests electrical losses in the motor or problems to the engine manifold. You should, therefore, replace the motor.
3. If you rotate the engine by hand (disconnected from the belt) and you observe that at some point you have a higher level of resistance, it is clear that the engine has some sort of problem. You should therefore replace the treadmill motor.
4. When there is a short circuit in the engine, the fuse of the controller could melt. Or the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter may switch off, thus avoiding more serious damage.
5. the engine may lose power due to various factors, most frequent are overheating or loss of magnetism. In this case, it must be replaced. In the event of overheating, be careful to avoid the same problem happen on the new engine.

Most of the problems to treadmill motors derive from overloading, and therefore overheating.
In 90% of cases, these problems depend on not lubricated or too old and worn out belts. We always recommend that you replace the belt with a low friction one, if your motor gets hot or if the power consumption of the equipment raises.
In the remaining 10%, engine problems depend on some mechanical problem. As instance damaged rollers bearings, damaged running deck, excessive drive belt tension, improper use (too heavy user or too many consecutive hours of training), and so on.

Need a new motor or motor parts for your treadmill? Buy them here:
  1. Treadmill motor
  2. Treadmill motor parts, brushes, holders, fans
  3. Transformers, chokes, breakers, cables
  4. Other parts for treadmills and fitness equipment

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