Tuesday 31 January 2017

Monday 30 January 2017

How to fix a brake on a spin bike (without fitting a new one!)

I’m going to give you a top tip on how to maintain your spin bikes.

This is the thing you might need to do after using your spin bike for 6 or 12 months. The problem that will occur is that the resistance will change making it difficult for you to work on a pedal with only a small amount of adjustment on the wheel.

As a result, it becomes quite difficult to adjust the resolution to the resistance you want. The reason for this is very simple. The brake, which is this device here, can just get dirty over time, it picks up dust from the house and the more dust and dirt that you get under there, the more grippy it becomes.
However, there’s an easy way to fix this problem, without changing the brake itself, so I show you how to do that.

All you need is just some silicon lubricant, this is the kind of thing that you might use on a treadmill running belt for example, and a couple of tissues just to clean up the remains.
All you have to do is to pour a little bit onto your fingers and just apply it to the outside of the wheel and turn it around putting some silicon oil onto the outside and we just go all the way around like that.
You might also put a little bit underneath the brake itself onto the pad and then use your cloths just to wipe out the remains of the oil and then get back on the bike.

Give it a quick pedal and the brake will then automatically pick up that lubricant. It will soak into the brake pad and it would just provide a little bit of slip between the brake and the wheel. As a result, you will get back that nice control you the bike was new.

So it means you’ve got much more control, if you give the adjuster a quarter of turn here you can feel the difference, but the difference doesn’t appear suddenly.
The bike becomes much more controllable and pleasant to use. There’s a top tip, hope that helps.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Where to keep your machine

In this post, I am going to tell you where to keep your machine and I will do it using the example of a cross-trainer. I will try to explain to you why it is not a good idea to keep your machine in a place like a cold garage, a shed, an outhouse or some similar places.

Firstly, it’s because LCD displays can start working slowly. When this happens people may think that the problem is with the console. When the actual problem is the temperature. The liquid crystal in the display won’t react quickly enough until certain temperate. When it’s too low it affects the performance and you start having these problems. 
Secondly, in low temperature metal parts of the machine will be at the same temperature as the surroundings. If that temperature happens to be, let’s say, zero degrees or minus five degrees and you go into the garage or shed and start working out. Or even worse you turn on a heater on and suddenly heat the room, then all of the moisture and humidity which is in the air is going to start to build up water drops on the cold metal parts of your machine.

The same as when you’re having a cold pint of beer and you can see the condensation forming on the glass, the same happens with the machine.
The same reaction will happen to electronics.

 Every machine has electronic parts, electronic switches. All these things will be affected by that moisture what will cause a short circuit and you will start having some problems in the work. This is the very least what can happen. 
Otherwise, in some cases, it can cause a catastrophic failure and cause circuit board failure and things like that are not particularly cheap to replace. So, you need to watch out for that.
There is an easy way to get rounded. I mean that I appreciate that sometimes you have to keep it in a shed or garage, because that’s the only space you’ve got and, if that’s the case, then it’s worth investing in the products such as a treadmill heater, which it’s effectively a low wattage heater which you position near the machine.

I get that in some cases you don’t have other choice and have to keep your machine in a garage or a shed, for example, if it’s the only space you have. In such cases, there is a way to avoid those problems. Think about buying a treadmill heater. It’s a small heater which you can place near your machine.
It works perfectly with cross trainers, bikes, vibration plates and so on. This heater will provide the machine with a temperature that is just high enough to stop the condensation process on the frame and electronics. So that would be one way to solve the problem, unfortunately, things like putting a blanket over the machine are not going to make any difference other than keeping the dust off.

Other aspects if, let’s imagine, you were to keep this in a conservatory where you’ve got bright sunshine, conservatives are generally south-facing so they get a lot of bright sunshine, and the direct sunshine on the machines can start to affect the glue on the membrane keypads.

So the membranes might peel off and the buttons may start to fail. And you could also get fading on the plastic and on some of the buttons here. So before placing your machine somewhere, you need to think about the direct sunlight as well.
So it isn’t much about you, it’s about the machine. But from an engineer’s point of view hopefully, those aspects give you some insight into where to place your machine in order to avoid possible problems!

Sunday 8 January 2017

Live testing of treadmill controller board, motor and display

Live testing of treadmill controller board, motor and display. All working fine

Thursday 5 January 2017

How to look after your rowing machine

This is a rower and I’m just going to take you through some of the basics that you can do to look after the machine.
Generally, make sure that you get the best life out of this product, so a lot of rowing machines are very similar. You’ve got a fan and the resistance assembly in the front, you’ve got a handle which is attached to a cord or a chain and you’ve got a seat and foot straps here and then some kind of console.
So with a console sometimes it’s a mains-powered so in which case make sure your mains cords plugged in and rooted in such a way that you’re not going to trip over the cord, because that can snag the wire and damage the adapter and lead to all sort of problems.
And some machines also have batteries in the back of the console, so, if that’s the case, periodically check those and check that they’re not leaking and, when needed, replace them.
Normally they’re the D cells, which is the large round batteries, so they’re quite easy to get hold of, just replace them.
On the foot straps here you’ve got adjusters, so you need to just check these periodically. Check that the foot strap themselves aren’t damaged and that the adjusters here are in a good shape and if there’s any wear to the straps around, particularly around these edges, it is usually where they start to fray, just replace them.
They’re relatively low cost items and the last thing you want to do is be tumbling over backwards when your foot inadvertently pulls through a fray footstrap.
So check those both sides. When it comes to the handle, you always have some kind of interface, a connection between the handle and the rower. In this case it’s a chain, sometimes it is a cord like a rope, other times that is a belt. But they all want to be checked, so pull them out and give them a visual inspection to make sure that they’re straight and that they’re not damaged and particularly check the connection here where it goes onto the handle and also the handle grips themselves. They should be in good shape.
You really need to have grips on there because, if you don’t, you’ll be on the bare metal of the handle which can be quite slippy, especially when you start to perspire, so it’s always worth checking that.
On the final assembly at the front, this is always worth given a quick vacuum out, you don’t need to take anything apart, just get the vacuum and vacuum around the vents here and also on the air intake here, that will ensure that runs smoothly.
Finally on the seat the same mechanism here should be free and easy to slide back. Sometimes you can get deposits spilled up on the surface or in the end where the tracks where the wheels go and they’re quite easy to clean.
If you can, get some wipes. Such as gym wipes, which are these, antibacterial pre-lubricated wipes, which are designed to remove fatty deposits and dirt and that kind of things. Just give it a wipe over and that will take away any kind of mess and dirt that builds up and you’ll feel it yourself as the wheel runs in that roller. If you’ve got dirty buildups in there you actually feel it come through the seat so it’s always worth cleaning out the tracks. Give the wheels a little clean.

Just drop the cloth on there, just like that and that will make sure everything is really nice and smoothly and then your machine is in good shape it means you’re going to be in a good shape and is going to give you the best life it can. If you get the machine right for the job and look after it, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t give you 10/15 years of good service.

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How to fix a loose seat on an exercise bike

I have an exercise bike here. Today I am going to show you how to get rid of one very common problem for this kind of machines. This is a wobbly seat. And this problem is very easy to fix.

First, let’s check the seat itself. I am going to take it off and show you what’s underneath it. In this particular seat we have three fixings here. In this case, the whole cushion sits on this plate. So make sure that all the fixings are nice and tight.
Just use the spanner to tighten the loose fixings. You may use the spanner that came with your machine or one from your own toolkit. Either one will do the job well. One fixing here needs tightening. 
The others are nice and tight. So I can place the seat back in its place.
This is actually a slide to adjust the seat forward and back and it’s held in position with this tag here, which is a screw. Make sure that’s nice and tight.

Once you place it in the position you want you can tighten it up.
It’s also got a ratchet on this, which is quite handy. Because if you wanted it in the forward position, for example there, you won’t be able to tighten it up. Because the seat stem gets in the way. In this case, pull down on the lever and you can rotate it back and then it latches backup and engages. And then you can tighten it just like that makes the top bit nice and tight.

However, it’s still a little bit wobbly so there are other places we need to look. Let’s take a look at the height adjuster. We have the instruction where to turn to loosen it . A couple of turns to loosen it, pull it that withdraws a pin and I can set the height to what I want to set it. Like this, for example, and just make sure that the pin goes in. Just listen to the clicking sound. You know that the pin is in the hole, so tighten it up. Now everything is nice and tight.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

How to reset (re-calibrate) your treadmill

I’ve got a treadmill here and I’m just going to explain to you about recalibrating treadmills, because it’s something that’s quite useful to overcome problems.
If you have a fault for example, then quite often recalibrating the machine is one of the first things you can try and it’s something you can do yourself and it usually involves pressing certain buttons whilst inserting the safety key.
So, for example, some manufacturers might say “well, press the start button and speed up button hold them pressed and put the safety key on”. Then, that gets you into an end, what they call an engineering mode or a recalibration mode and then you can page through the various aspects of that and set “press start” or “press enter”, those kind of things, to actually initiate a recalibration sequence.
Basically, the recalibration sequence is the machine resetting itself so it re-measures things like speed parameters and the incline or the elevation heights and it sort of measures and resets that data and store that data into memory.
Because it’s basically a computer in there, the data that’s stored in there can sometimes get corrupt. There’s nothing you can do about that. It’s the way computers are, so sometimes for example if you were to inadvertently switch the machine off whilst the computer here is trying to write the data to a particular memory location and all of a sudden the power goes, well, that can give you corrupt data which can lead to a problem, which a recalibration will solve.
Also, things like lightning strikes nearby or power surges. Those kind of things can also disrupt the electronics and cause data corruption which can lead to this becoming and, you know, something that’s worth trying.

So, if you get anything like that, if it gets issues with speed, or the inclines perhaps not working, or not going fully up, or the machine is suggesting that you need to call an engineer or do something like that, it is always worth looking in the instruction book to see whether there is a recalibration sequence, or indeed talking to the retailer or the manufacturer to say “look on my particular model, is there a recalibration sequence I can do ?”. This will avoid me having an engineer to come out and quite often you’ll find that it’s always worth a go because, you know, you might get lucky and that might fix the problem.

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