Playing Mr. FixIt

With the weather cooling off, dark in the morning, and soon dark in the evening, it was time to brush off the treadmill for wintertime basement running. Stepping onto the belt and turning it on, I was greeted with a low hum that sounded like the motor was trying to lower the platform. Problem was, the platform was already at the lowest point. Pushing the ‘up’ rocker switch produced nothing.

I flipped the unit on its’ side, and removed the protective covers from the bottom. I found a pleasant surprise on the underside of the covers: Full schematics for the electronics! Wheee!

The schematics clearly showed the up/down motor controlled by the ‘lift board’, so I started tracing wires to locate the board. The location of the board again confirmed the nth corollary to Murphy’s Law, in that the probability of a component failing is inversely proportional to its accessibility.

After disconnecting the all the lines (and noticing the board was ‘floating’, i.e., no ground line or grounding points), I was able to take a close look at the board.

Fortunately, it clearly said ‘Lift Board’. (If it had said Heisenberg compensator I’d have to go back and start pulling other boards.)

After testing the board with my volt-ohm meter, I found one of the triacs (one of the two black boxes with three legs in the top picture) had failed. After getting another one in through Amazon (and a two week wait), I was able to desolder the old one, and solder in the new unit.

Using a Sears multi-meter, and a Radio Shack soldering iron, to make repairs on an old-school electronics board. Says something. What I don’t want to hear.

After getting the new triac soldered in,  replacing the board, and putting everything back together again (with no extra parts left over!), the treadmill is back running smoothly again.

Another nice try…

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Oh Really?

I see where representatives of Google, Amazon, Apple,  AT&T,  and others testified before congress today to implement federal legislation to “… protect consumer privacy.”

Nonsense.

The only reason companies like the above clamor for federal legislation is to protect their own positions. While they made it clear they believe federal legislation should override state legislation (thus only having to lobby Washington rather than 50 state capitals), the overriding objective for such companies  has always been to inhibit the creation and growth of competition. Guaranteed any new federal rules and laws will do nothing more than to make it more difficult to create and launch new companies, potentially competing against the big ones. Big companies are never taken down by another big company, but by the little startup that figures out how to provide a product or service that negates the established guys position. Inhibiting new companies, new ideas, and new business models, only serves to protect the entrenched interests.