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.

Go Me!

Did my swim yesterday morning (30 laps, 1,500 yards), and entered it into Garmin Connect where I keep track of my training, races and other fun activities. Found that since Joyce gave me my 305, and along with the 405, I’ve recorded 2,000 activities for training, racing, and just out having fun:

Lifetime Totals:
Activities 2,000
Distance 14,172.19 mi
Time 1,756:11:17 hrs
Calories 1,088,086 C
Elev Gain 274,570 ft

Or in other words, since starting keeping track of my miles, I’ve gone, under my own power, between Boston and Los Angeles four times, and now about 3/4 of the way there on the fifth trip. I’ve climbed 52 miles, and 10 feet. Burned enough calories to offset 514 lbs of brownies. Go Me!


Was riding to work this morning on my bike. I had just crossed into Lowell along Pawtucket Blvd, where the road is relatively wide, with a wide shoulder good for cycling. I must have hit something in the road, or some¬† broken pavement, because my front wheel twisted and I went down on my right shoulder. After getting up, and getting myself brushed off (and thanking the Lowell Police offer who stopped to ask if I was OK), I realized that my right shoulder was sore, and I wasn’t going to make it to work on my bike.

I rode home, and after taking off my reflective vest, jacket and other cool weather gear, I went up and had to wake Joyce. Joyce took one look at my right shoulder, and said “… you’re going to the emergency room.” After checking to ensure the kids knew we were leaving and they were to get themselves ready and out the door for school, off we went.

After x-rays confirming my collarbone was broken, the doctor said no exercise for the next four weeks. Baystate Marathon is out this year. With luck, I will be able to run Tyngsboro Trot and get myself ready for Mill Cities Relay.

The goal for 4,000 miles under my own power for the year is probably out as well. I did make it (to date) to 3,157 miles, perhaps I can add a few miles more after this all heals in November and December.