Fitness equipment malfunctions
In this article we intend to address the main malfunctions in fitness equipment, as well as their causes and possible solutions.
Treadmills, although they are resistant equipment, are by far the equipment with the highest incidence of malfunctions, as their main malfunctions come from several components. It is important to understand that a treadmill is a piece of equipment with wear and tear and as such requires maintenance and various care in its use. For more information about maintenance and care, see the following articles: Maintaining your treadmill and Increase the durability of your treadmill.
The components with the highest incidence of malfunctions are running belts, decks, controller boards, belts, sensors (magnetic or optical) and motors.
The running belt is the component that is directly in contact with the user, so it is the one that shows the most wear and tear of all the components. Of course, you can increase the lifespan of the running belt if you wear shoes suitable for exercise, if you clean and lubricate them regularly, and if you tune them if necessary.
It is important to regularly check the running belt for cracks, as well as to ensure that the part that is in contact with the deck remains smooth and soft. If you notice that the running belt begins to deform or is no longer smooth, then it is preferable to replace it, as it can become dangerous to continue using it, as well as much more effort is required from the motor, which can overheat and burn.
If you need to change the running belt on your treadmill, we advise you to read the following article: How to measure the treadmill running belt.
The deck usually break or deform due to high stress, or poor conditioning of the treadmill.
The issue of high effort is easy to understand, because if the user has a weight higher than the recommended maximum, the deck will break quickly.
As for poor packaging, some treadmills use materials that do not resist humidity very well, and as such keeping the treadmill in humid places is to ensure that in a short time the deck will deform and possibly break.
If you need to change the deck of your treadmill, we advise you to read the following article: How to take the measurements of your treadmill deck.
Controller Boards usually do not break down “on their own”. Most of the time the boards break down as a consequence of another cause, that is, something external to the board causes it to burn. Examples of this are electrical overloads in the power grid; the excess load on the treadmill that causes an overload on the motor and consequently on the electronic boards; Another common cause is the accumulation of debris inside the treadmill that can short-circuit the boards. Some of the most common boards on treadmills are the MC2100 and DCMD67.
Treadmill motors are incredibly “strong” for their size and composition. Although they are “strong” they are not proof against everything, and unfortunately they break down very often. The main causes of motors malfunctions are:
- Lack of maintenance;
- Excess weight of the user;
- Inadequate work regime (time and speed).
A treadmill bought 5 years ago was used a few times and then was stored in the storage room. Today the family decided it was the ideal time to exercise on the treadmill. After a superficial cleaning to remove the dust, they decide to start using the equipment.
At 08:00 in the morning the husband with 100 Kg, walks at 6 Km/h for 1 hour. Around 09:00 in the morning, the 60 kg wife decides to go for a run at 12 km/h for 30 minutes. Right after 9:30 a.m. one of the children weighing 80 kg runs for 45 minutes at 8 km/h…
Most likely the treadmill will not resist that day, as it will have the motor blown out and probably the electronic board as well.
What could have been done to prevent the malfunction?
First of all, the treadmill should have been carefully maintained, as it had been stopped for years, and as such the running belt was dry, with a huge friction between the running belt and the deck – so an “intense” cleaning and lubrication was necessary to start.
Then they should have made a training plan, so that they didn’t do the training sessions in a row, because then the motor and the electronic board didn’t have time to cool down from one training session to the next.
Another important help would be to consult the treadmill manual to remember the recommended time/speed of daily use for the equipment, as well as the maximum weight of the user.
Certainly, if they had taken these factors into account, the treadmill would have lasted much longer.
As the treadmill broke down, but they enjoyed that day of training, they decided to repair the treadmill. They call a friend who notices that the motor is blown out and that they need a new motor. They buy the new motor, the friend installs it and the treadmill starts working again.
Joyfully the next day they start training at 08:00, but around 10:00 they feel a burning smell, however they think it’s normal, as the motor is new and will be releasing some smell in the first few days. Two days later, in this regime, the treadmill stops and again it is found that the motor is damaged.
As the motor is only a few days old, they decide to return the damaged motor, alleging a manufacturing defect. The motor supplier, after analysis, verifies that the motor has been overheated, and as such this is a situation of misuse, which is not covered by the warranty. After some confusion, they decide to buy a new motor.
How could they have misused the motor?
Treadmill motors with permanent magnets can have two main types of failures, regardless of the cause:
- The winder or collector is burnt out;
- The magnets lose their strength;
The winding or collector being burnt out is the most common and the easiest to evaluate. Certainly, any technician who knows how to measure continuity with an ohmmeter will check for this fault. It is usually caused by excessive force at starting and/or continued exertion.
The magnets lose their strength, although common in some brands, it is not easy to evaluate and it is very difficult to explain how the problem is in the motor if it runs well and without any failure. This phenomenon occurs due to the increase in the internal temperature in the motor, which causes the permanent magnets to demagnetize. For more information on this subject you can consult this article: Curie temperature. The cause of this overheating is usually a continuous effort on the part of the motor.
As long as they don’t solve the treadmill problem, all the motors they put in there will burn out. It should be noted that the controller board was probably also damaged due to the motor being burnt out.
Ellipticals record the main malfunctions, in the breakage of the belts and in the natural wear and tear of the moving parts. The pedals can also wear out or even break. Any of the situations is easy to solve, however it requires some skill, as disassembling an elliptical is a task that may not be easy at all. Wear components must be replaced by equivalent components with the same characteristics.
The pedals (mixed or platform) are the element that suffers the most wear and tear and on which it is important to pay special attention, because when they break they can be dangerous. In this sense, it is important to periodically check that they do not have cracks or evident wear. If this happens, it’s always best to swap in a new pair of pedals. If you want to buy a new pair of pedals you can find our mixed or platform pedals .
Weight machines can last for years without any kind of malfunction, however when the first cable breaks or becomes unsheathed, it’s time to think about replacing all the cables on the machine. This is because they all have the same time and workload and what gave way was only the weakest link. From that moment on, everyone else will start to have problems.
It is advisable to regularly check the PVC of the cables to ensure that they all remain undamaged. Similarly, another useful check is to analyze the condition of the pulleys to see if they show wear internally and externally. Internally: check if the bearings are still well “round”, externally: check that there are no breaks or chips on the outside of the pulleys.
If any anomaly is detected, it is advisable to replace them with other cables, belts and pulleys with the same characteristics. If you put a new steel cable or belt on a pulley that is damaged, in a short time the PVC of the steel cable or the belt jacket will separate from the steel, as the irregularities in the pulley will wear them out prematurely.
Sometimes it happens that the coatings separate not only in the area of the pulleys, but also in other areas that are not even in contact with the pulleys, this happens because when they lose consistency in the area of the pulleys, they begin to lose their original torsion, forcing them to separate in other areas.
When replacing the cables it is important to ensure that the cable is not twisted, because it is enough not to distort the cable well before putting it in the machine, that when the cable becomes in tension, the excess cable existing in some areas due to twisting, will burst the PVC in those areas, this is a problem that can happen in any part of the cable.
Another issue to take into consideration is the proper use of the machines. Sometimes our technical assistance comes across really “strange” situations. Some machine users perform exercises that are not suitable for the machines, sometimes forcing the cables to draw angles for which the machines are not prepared, thus causing the steel cables and belts to break due to misuse.
When you have doubts about an exercise, you should consult the manual or the builder to understand if it is possible or not.
Finally, we remember the terminals. Terminals are parts that must be regularly observed and replaced – in the case of terminals that are not crimped. The crimped terminals are automatically replaced when the cables are replaced.
For more information, we advise you to read the following article: Advantages of installing coated steel cable in your equipment – pvc
We certainly haven’t covered all the malfunctions in fitness equipments, however a large part of them or at least the most common ones have been described here.
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