Sportsmith Blog
7Jul/16Off

Why Your Treadmill Belt Maybe Slipping

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With a treadmill, one of the most common issues people experience is a belt that's slipping. There are a few reasons this might happen. Luckily, there are also a number of fairly simple ways to fix this issue that you can do on your own, without calling anyone to service the machine.

Why Your Belt Might Be Slipping

There are actually two belts on a treadmill - there's the belt most commonly talked about which is the walking / running surface of your treadmill. And then there's the drive belt which connects from the motor to the front rollers. In this case, we're discussing the walking surface of your treadmill.

There may be a few reasons why your belt is slipping. Before trying to figure it out on your own, or even with general instructions like these, you want to check the manual produced by the manufacturer of your machine.

This is especially important if your machine is newer or still under warranty because the warranty may limit what repairs you can do yourself. Many warranties specify that only a repair service authorized by the manufacturer can perform certain repairs, so that's something to keep in mind before moving forward.

  • Too Much Friction. In some cases, the belt may need to be lubricated because the friction may be causing the belt to slip. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for the compatible lubrication.
  • Tension. Most often this is just a case of needing to adjust the tension of the belt. With use and age, the belt can naturally stretch, losing some of the tension and causing the belt to slip. There are a number of methods to correct this which we'll discuss in detail below.
  • Drive Belt. In some cases, the running belt may be stopping because the drive belt needs to be tightened on some models. This can be performed at home, though you'll want to check your manual. This type of repair will usually void the warranty if there is one.

Adjusting the Tension in Your Running Belt

If your belt is slipping, it's usually a matter of adjusting the tension. There are three different methods to repair this issue, which work on new belt installations as well as repairing existing running belts.

Stomp Test on Front Roller

The stomp test is a great way to test the retention on your running belt and repair an existing belt that's slipping.

  1. Check the rollers and underneath the belt to make sure there is no debris or wax buildup.
  2. Verify that belt centering is correct or true.
  3. Stand on machine and set to 3 mph.
  4. Attempt to stop the running belt from moving by bracing your feet on the running belt and your hands on the bar.
  5. If the belt slows or slips and the rollers are still moving, your tension needs to be adjusted. To do this, turn the adjustment tools on both sides of the rear roller to tighten, about a quarter of a turn to start.
  6. Repeat test and adjust until the rollers stop moving when you stop the belt.

Using Belt Gauges

For most belt replacements, using calipers would be a preferred method. It can be done without gauges, though this does make the process slightly simpler. Gauges can also be used to adjust machines with existing belts.

  1. Using belt gauges or calipers, you're going to stretch the belt according to the manufacturer's specifications.
  2. This method is usually used on  a new belt but can be performed on a machine where the tension just needs to be adjusted. In the case of an existing belt, you need to release the current tension before applying the gauges.

Without Using Calipers

  1. In the case of an existing belt, release the current tension before proceeding.
  2. Using a tape measure, put two marks on each side of the belt, 36 inches apart in the length.
  3. Then adjust the side bolts on both sides to 36 and 3/16 inches.
  4. Test the machine and adjust if needed.

There are a few reasons that your treadmill belt might start slipping. It could be a simple matter of age and use. A lot of activity on the machine or heavy running can also cause the belt to stretch faster than moderate use might. Armed with this information, you should be able to diagnose the issue. Some repairs may be more advanced than what we've detailed here and it's always advisable to check the manufacturer's manual before attempting any repairs.

Additional Resources:

Treadmill Running Belts

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3Jun/15Off

Treadmill Desks Are Fueling the Next Fitness Boom

treadmill deskImage Courtesy of Daniel Rothamel

A sedentary lifestyle dramatically increases the risk of developing lifelong obesity, heart disease, mental health problems and certain cancers. With jobs moving from labor-intensive manufacturing positions to all-day office work while sitting at a desk, more people are facing health effects from limited physical activity than ever before. Luckily, the innovative treadmill desk has caught the eyes of office managers everywhere. Treadmill desks drastically limit sitting time by keeping people moving throughout the day. The effects go beyond improving public health to benefiting office-based companies, fitness centers and fitness equipment service providers.

Participant Benefits
The main benefit of using a treadmill desk center is improvement in the health and lives of workers. Daily physical activity not only provides incredibly dramatic physical health improvements but also has lasting effects on mood and well-being. The health effects further inspire workers to head into the gym to build their strength and endurance on additional fitness machines. Companies benefit from a decrease in sick days and medical insurance claims alongside a boost in production numbers.

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Improved Health Status
The health effects of sitting for hours each day are devastating to people in all demographics. The effects tend to multiply several times over as the hours of sitting drag on throughout the day, week and year. In fact, the risk of dying in a three-year period increases more than 40 percent for people who stay seated for at least 11 hours each day. Health problems contributing to that increased risk of premature death include coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, anxiety and obesity.

Motivation to Work Out
As workers start to feel healthy and energized from leaving seated work behind, the newfound feelings of well-being often encourage them to head to the gym for additional rounds of fitness training. Workers might want to round out the cardio benefits of their treadmill desks with lunchtime lifting programs to build strength. Gym owners near office complexes will likely see an increase in visits, especially before work, during the lunch hour and toward the evening, as treadmill desks take over office spaces.

Boost in Productivity
Workers who feel well and energized will naturally have more effort to put into tasks throughout the work day. As a result, productivity levels for each worker will quickly rise as workers adapt to using their treadmill desks. Constant movement encourages workers to keep their minds on their daily goals, which reduces the amount of downtime between smaller tasks. Since workers will spend the work day walking on the treadmill, the frequent need to leave their desks to stretch their legs may dramatically decrease. Workers may even favor a collaborative treadmill desk layout that keeps everyone in close proximity to encourage sharing without delaying completion of daily tasks.

Workers will naturally call in sick less often, leading to more productive days with the full roster of staff members on hand. Office managers may even see fewer high-value insurance claims as staff member health problems naturally decrease over time.

Industry Benefits
The integration of treadmill desks into office environments definitely benefit fitness equipment manufacturers and repair technicians worldwide. As office managers adopt this potentially lifesaving and business-boosting workplace setup, treadmills will be in high demand.

Increased Repair Requests
With so many treadmills running at a time, service technicians will constantly have a full queue of maintenance and repair appointments. Friction between the constantly moving parts necessitates regular maintenance to keep treadmill components in good shape throughout the machine's life.

Since most treadmills only consist of components vital to the main operation of the moving walking surface, any worn or broken parts will require immediate repair to return the equipment to service. With the increase in repair requests, skilled technicians may start to consider the use of desk treadmills a boon to the fitness equipment service industry.

Keeping Equipment Maintained to Facilitate Workers' Needs
After full adoption of the fitness desk configuration, service technicians will be running between office environments on a regular basis to keep equipment in good shape over the years. Keeping the treadmills running for even half of the work day will constantly wear down the belts and decks. Cleaning the equipment, inside and out, will consistently remain a vital part of service technicians' callout requests to keep appearances up throughout the office space.

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11Dec/140

How to replace the treadmill belt and deck on the Matrix T3X

Tools Needed: 4MM, 5MM, 6MM, and 8 MM Hex wrench and a Phillips screwdriver.

This video will demonstrate how to replace a belt and deck on a Matrix T3X treadmill. Though the video is specific to this treadmill it is very similar to most treadmills in the market.

1. Using a Phillips Screwdriver, remove the lower shroud and both end caps as seen in the video.

2. Next, using an 8MM hex wrench, remove the two rear roller bolts then remove the roller.

3. With a pair of pliers disconnect the drive belt tension assembly spring as shown in the video.

4. Use a 6mm Hex wrench to remove the two front roller bolts, and then remove the roller.

5. Now, with a 4MM hex wrench remove the side rail frames. There are two bolts on each of them.

6. Next remove the side rails. To do so you will need to move the rail back and forth until it is orientated over the mounts shown in the video. Once you do so, the rail will lift straight up off the unit.

7. Remove the deck bolts using a 5MM hex wrench. There are four on each side of the deck.

8. Slide the front roller out of the unit.

9. Grab the deck on each side and remove it and the running belt together.

10. Thoroughly clean the entire unit and both rollers. This step can dramatically extend or the life of a belt and deck. Not doing this can shorten the life significantly.

11. Install the belt onto the deck as shown in the video and then slide them in place on the unit and align the belt and deck with the holes in the frame.

12. Install the front roller. Make sure you install the drive belt. Center the belt on the front roller then start both of the front roller bolts. Once you have started both bolts, tighten them.

13. Install the drive belt tension spring.

14. Install the eight Deck bolts.

15. Install the rear roller and make sure that the end of the bolts goes through the hole in the frame for the roller alignment as shown in the video.

16. Now tension the rear roller. For more information on the belt tension process click HERE.

17. Re-install the side rails and rear roller cover frames.

18. Install the rear roller covers and lower shroud.

Additional Resources:

Matrix treadmill parts

Fitness Equipment Tech Support Center

25Aug/140

How to Align a Treadmill Walking Belt

 

One of the most commonly reported issues that treadmill owners run into is that of the walking belt gradually slipping off of one side of the track. This may lead to the belt feeling loose under your feet while running or walking. The dislodged belt may also be visibly set off to one side while the treadmill is in motion.

It's important to keep treadmill walking belts properly aligned for a number of reasons. For starters, if a belt becomes poorly aligned, it could actually pose a danger to the person using the treadmill. After all, a belt that's not properly aligned won't have the right amount of tension, which could lead to loosening and make walkers/runners more prone to slipping. Furthermore, if the belt isn't re-aligned, this could also lead to premature wear and tear on the machine itself. Fortunately, aligning a walking belt on a treadmill may be easier than you think; read on to find out how to perform this repair.

For Rear-Roller Adjusting Belts

Many treadmills have belts that can be adjusted using the rear roller, or the one furthest away from the controls of the machine itself. Therefore, it's important to note that this tutorial will focus only on rear-roller adjusting treadmills.

If the Belt Slides to the Right

If the walking belt has begun to slide off to the right side of the roller, use an Allen wrench to either tighten the bolt on the right side of the roller or loosen the bolt on the left side. Be careful, though. When tightening and loosening bolts, less is more. Perform only a quarter-inch turn at a time. Test your work by turning the treadmill on to its lowest possible setting. If the belt seems to be properly aligned, your work is done. If not, you may need to adjust further; just be sure to do so in small increments.

If the Belt Slides to the Left

If you find that the belt slides to the left of the roller while the treadmill is turned on, then you'll need to follow the same instructions above with one exception. Instead of loosening the bolt on the left and tightening the one on the right, you'll need to loosen the one on the right and tighten the one on the left. Maintain the same gradual, quarter-inch turns and check your work carefully.

Additional Resources:

Treadmill Walking Belts

 

12Jun/140

How to Install The Schwinn Airdyne Wedge Pin


Installing the Schwinn Airdyne Wedge Pin

The following instructions for installing and removing wedge pins are applicable to Airdyne bike models AD3, AD4 and some Pro/Comp models. Each wedge pin has a flat edge that mates with a corresponding part. All parts that require a wedge pin will have a flat edge in one location. This allows the wedge pin to slide into position. To assemble the eccentric arm and cartridge, slide the eccentric onto the post of the cartridge, install the wedge pin and put the washer and nut on the back side.

Removing the Wedge Pin

To remove the wedge pin, use a wrench to loosen the nut at the top until there is a bit of play behind it. Use a rubber mallet to tap the top until the wedge pin begins to move down through the opening. Once the wedge pin slides easily, take the nut completely off the wedge pin and push the wedge pin out of the assembly. If the wedge pin has been installed on a machine for an extended length of time, it may be somewhat difficult to remove.

Installing Wedge Pins in the Proper Direction

When installing wedge pins during the crank arm assembly on Airdyne bikes it is important to be aware of the direction in which the wedge pins are installed. The crank arms on each side of the assembly should be at exactly a 180 degree angle from one another. It’s essential that the wedge pins on each side of the assembly are installed in opposite directions to ensure the crank arms are positioned correctly. If the wedge pin on the eccentric side has the nut up and the stud down, the wedge pin on the opposite side should be reversed.

Tightening the Assembly

Inside the nut, there is a nylon insert. The nut must be tightened sufficiently for the threads to grasp the nylon insert for it to hold properly. Proper tightening is accomplished by pushing the wedge pin in and starting the nut manually. Use a wrench to ensure it is thoroughly tightened. There should be no play in it at all. As a precaution, check the part after it has been installed for a while to verify that the nuts remain tight. If they are not seated properly, once the machine is in operation, they will begin to move. Even though the wedge pin may be seated correctly, if the nut isn’t tightened properly, there will be play between the moving parts that will cause the system to wear out prematurely.

Additional Resources:

Schwinn Airdyne Parts

7May/140

How To Lubricate A Treadmill Deck Using Liquid Lube in 4 Easy Steps

Video about How to Lubricate a Treadmill using Liquid Lube

  1. To begin, clean the deck and belt by loosening the rear roller bolts 10 turns as seen in the video. It is best to loosen each side five turns and then repeat the process. Now that the belt is loose you can take an old towel and place it under the belt as shown in the video. Move the towel up and down the deck, then using your hands pull the belt around half way to ensure you have completely cleaned the back of the belt. Then remove the towel.
  2. Open your lube packet and use half of the package to make a half circle on the deck, from the front outer portion of the deck toward the center and then back to the outer edge. Use about half the package for this arc. Now repeat the process on the opposite side. Be sure to wipe up any excess oil as it is very slick!
  3. Use your hand to move the belt around some more to begin spreading the lubricant out.Now tighten the rear roller bolts back to the exact amount of turns they were loosened previously.
  4. Power on and start the machine and let it run slowly for a few seconds to make sure the belt is staying aligned in the center of the deck area. If it is not centered correctly, make minor adjustments to correct the issue. Tighten the left bolt to move the belt to the right and tighten the right bolt to move the belt to the left. Now walk on the belt for a minute or so to fully distribute the lubricant.

All liquid and powdered treadmill wax is available here

12Mar/130

Bowflex Parts

bowflex xtremeFor all of you Bowflex lovers out there we have some great news for you!!

Sportsmith is proud to announce that we are now carrying Bowflex Replacement Parts. Did you think Sportsmith would let you get away with not working out because a rod cable was broken on your Bowflex? We don’t think so!! Dust off those machines because we have some great new parts in stock for Bowflex. They are at a great low price too! The parts we have in stock are for the following models:

We have several different ways to help you get the right Bowflex parts you need. You can check out the manual or parts diagram for your specific Bowflex home gym by clicking the links above. Call us directly at 888-713-2880 for customer support and we would love to help you find your part!

11Mar/110

Red Pedal Tool

Are you an indoor cycle instructor or a spin enthusiast that is tired of wrestling with the removal of the toe cage found on the popular Schwinn Triple Link pedals? You know what kind of headache it is to remove the shoe clip before a class so the pedals are ready for LOOK or SPD shoe cleats.

Now there’s an easier way with the Red Pedal Tool. No more delayed classes, bruised knuckles, or broken pride. With the Red Pedal Tool, Triple Link pedals can be removed safer and easier from your indoor spin bike.

The Red Pedal Tool eliminates the hassle instructors or members face when removing the toe cage used for regular running shoes to make pedals SPD or LOOK compatible.

19Oct/100

CONCEPT 2 ROWING MACHINE PARTS

SPORTSMITH™ is always looking at ways to get new parts and products to its customers, and we pride ourselves on carrying parts for the best exercise equipment in the world. Currently, Concept2 makes some of the best indoor rowing machines in the business, and we are proud to carry the parts that make these machines go!

SPORTSMITH™ has recently begun carrying parts for Concept 2 rowers to all 5 models in the Concept2 line (models A-E). We currently carry over 100 different parts for all Concept2 lines. This includes everything from foot straps and seats to bolts and pulleys.  Just go to www.sportsmith.net and use our easy to understand interface to see all the items we carry for your Concept2 indoor rower.

11Aug/100

StairMaster Stepper Resistance Troubleshooting

About This Video

This video covers general resistance troubleshooting for the Stairmaster 4400CL, 4600CL, and SC916 Steppers

Tools Needed: Volt Meter, Jumper Wire

Resistance problems could be either mechanical or electrical in nature.

Mechanical problems are easily identified by noise. If a grinding noise is heard while pedaling, this is an indicator the drive hub assembly is having a problem. If a ratcheting sound is heard while pedaling, this is an indicator of a loose belt or a belt that could be coming off.

Once you’ve eliminated the possible mechanical causes for resistance problems, then it is time to investigate the electrical system.

The easiest test of the electrical system when investigating a resistance problem is to step onto the pedals and access Diagnostics. This is done by pressing Level ^, 6, ENTER. (DIAGNOSTICS will appear in the upper display window.) Press Level Down twice to get to the alternator test. (ALT TEST will appear in the upper display window.) Press ENTER to begin the test. As the video shows, resistance drops out when the test begins. So, if this occurs, press the Level ^ one time. This will turn the field ON. This verifies that voltage is passing from the display through the display cable to the lower control board. This confirms there is good communication between the console and the lower control board and that the voltage is being supplied to the alternator. If resistance is lost during this portion of the test, inspecting the cable should be the first step of action. Look for bent pins, loose connection or crimped wire.

Other components of the electrical system to inspect for resistance problems are the battery, load resistor, speed sensor and alternator.

We’ll discuss the battery first. In order to get a proper reading, testing the battery should be done with the pedals in motion. There are 3 different battery readings a person may encounter. A reading of 6 VDC or greater indicates a good battery. A reading below 6 VDC but higher than 4.8 VDC indicates the battery needs charged for 24 hours. A reading below 4.8 VDC indicates your battery is bad and needs replaced. For more information, watch our battery testing video.

If your battery is good, the next item to check is the speed sensor. The speed sensor should be spaced a business card thickness away from the speed disc. If the speed sensor is spaced properly, the function of the speed sensor can be verified by confirming that proper voltage is present. For more speed sensor troubleshooting, watch our video on speed sensor testing and adjustment.

Next to inspect is the load resistor. Load resistor testing is pretty simple. Load resistors are ohm rated, and you want to verify the proper ohms for the load resistor being tested. Load resistors can cause the resistance to come and go. This means you may pedal a few steps and then the pedals will drop or loose resistance. Then, as the load resistor cools down a bit, you may get resistance again for a few steps. If the resistance goes back and forth like this, the load resistor likely needs replaced. For more information, see our load resistor testing video.

The last electrical component to inspect when investigating a resistance problem is the alternator. The alternator can be easily tested by performing the B+ to Field jumper test. For details on how to perform this test, watch our alternator testing video.

For more information about this video click here.