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Use a Treadmill DC Drive Motor and PWM Speed Controller for powering tools

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Picture of Use a Treadmill DC Drive Motor and PWM Speed Controller for powering tools
Power tools such as Metal cutting mills and lathes, Drill presses, bandsaws, sanders and more may require .5HP to 2HP motors with the ability to fine tune the speed while maintaining torque.

Coincidentally most Treadmills use a 80-260 VDC motor with a suitable HP rating and a PWM motor speed controller to allow the user to change the belt speed and keep a good constant speed and torque while running on it.

There are Commercial DC Motor/PWM controllers available or you can build the PWM circuit from scratch and buy all the components seperately but you will spend a lot of time and money either way. All the parts you need are on the treadmill.

Tear your own apart or get one on Ebay.
(shameless self-promotion below)

Motor/controller combos on Ebay

Safety and Disclaimers- You should have some knowledge of electricity and the dangers of household current and know your abilities/inabilities. Serious injury may occur to you or others from use/misuse of these motor set-up. If you are in doubt DO NOT ATTEMPT. IT CAN KILL YOU. Any Crazy Ideas found here REQUIRE your testing. Your appliction and use of any ideas here are all on you and you agree I cannot be held liable. You equipment should have On/Off safety switches, Fuse protection, ground wires on your machine as required and your power source should have ground fault interupters, circuit breakers,properly grounded sockets and cords and always unplug equipment before tinkering and any other safety practise I am forgetting to mention.
 
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Step 1: Motor Vid

Picture of Motor Vid

Testing the motor/controller

Step 2: The PWM circuit board

Picture of The PWM circuit board
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For a complicated description of a treadmill PWM (Pulse-Width-Modulation) controller you can visit
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6731082.html
or
You can visit wikipedia for a better definition of PWM.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pulse-width_modulation&oldid=71190555/

But basically (as best I can understand) it's an efficient speed controlling circuit that pulses the Voltage and the width of the signal to the motor off and on thousands of times per second. This transfers more power to the load and wastes less power to heat than a resistive type speed controller.

PWM style controller Trim Pots- located near one of the edges of the board.Each Set for specific motor

MIN (Minimum speed-Touch if you dare) adjusting MIN Trimpot may affect MAX, may be necessary to adjust both until desired levels are achieved

MAX (Maximum speed-Touch if you dare) Note that MAX adjustment may affect MIN

IR COMP (Inrush compensation-Don't touch)Improves load regulation by providing minimal speed fluctuation due to changing loads. If the load presented to the motor does not vary substantially,the IR adjustment set at a minimum level. Excessive IR comp will cause control to become
unstable causing motor cogging.

CL (Current Limiting-Don't touch)The CL Trimpot sets the current which limits the maximum current to the motor. Also limits the AC line inrush current to a safe level during startup.

ACCEL (Acceleration Time Period, 0-full speed in seconds)I've never seen one on a treadmill circuit card, only on commercial PWM DC motor controllers. There must be something on the treadmill board that sets the time value..resistor perhaps?

Step 3: The speed Pot

Picture of The speed Pot
PWM circuits uses a Pot (Potentiometer)to adjust the speed from 0 RPM to Max RPM . The Potentiometer can be of the rotary type or linear sliding type. The potentiometer is usually rated 5 or 10K Ohms. Typically 0 Ohms is no movement and 10K Ohms is full speed (unless you have your Pot High and Low wires swapped...then it's visa versa). Keep in mind the motor may not even begin moving till 2 or 3 K Ohms (actual value varies) and you can't really start the pot at 2 or 3K Ohm position either because the treadmill motor controller requires 0 Ohms on start-up (Kind of annoying).

The Pot talks to the circuit board through 3 terminals usually marked High,Wiper and Low (or H,W,L).

Some controllers use a digital console to change the motor speed. You dont want to scroll through programmable selections, excercise routines and heart beat monitors just to change the motor speed on your lathe.
Solution: Throw it away and replace it with an appropriate Pot(usually 5 or 10K Ohm Pot). The digital console interfaces the PWM Circuit board the same way that The speed Pot does. through those 3 terminals (on some marked G O H or L W H and colored black, white and red or S1,S2,S3, colored Blue, Grey, Orange.

You should also use a switch for ON and OFF. The Pot is for speed control once the machine is running.

Step 4: Types of Treadmill Motors

Picture of Types of Treadmill Motors
I have seen 3 types of motors.

DC Permanent Magnet with PWM controller (Great for torque at all speeds).2 wires to the motor (Usually).

DC motor with Armature-voltage DC Motor Control. (Great for torque at all speeds).4 wires to the motor. 2 run to the shunt-field current , 2 run to the armature. Vary the voltage applied to the armature, vary the speed. Not all 4 wire motors are Armature Voltage controlled. Some have 2 wires that are part of a thermal protective circuit. The ones I have seen are usually both blue.

AC motors. (Probably not any better than the AC motor your'e thinking of replacing).Motors are running at a constant. Incorporates a special sliding pulley.Changing the belt speed is done manually-controlled with a cable that changes the size of the pulley's diameter. Larger motor pulley diameter faster belt speed, smaller pulley slower belt speed (I think).

The DC motors vary in size but most are Permanent Magnet,have brushes, a flywheel,and have either tapped holes or a bracket or flange welded to the case for mouting. They typically can range from 80-120VDC but as high as 260VDC. The HP's 1/2 to 3.5HP (treadmill duty rating), Upper end RPM 2500-6000, 5-20 Amps.

The Max RPM isn't as critical when you can adjust to any RPM within the range and keep a near constant torque.

You can reverse the direction on the DC motors by reversing the polarity. Simply swap the 2 motor wires (usually Black & White or Black & Red)at the terminals on the PWM circuit card. Remember if you reverse the direction of the motor you can't use the flywheel as it is. Because of left hand threads it could come off. Drill tap and set-screw the flywheel to the shaft

Step 5: Drive Pulleys and Belts

Picture of Drive Pulleys and Belts
Most treadmill motor flywheels serve also as the pulley. They fit a fancy flat belt with 5-10 "v" grooves. The driven pulley that mates with this belt originally drove the large roller that the treadmill belt rode on. Reusing the plastic roller pulley is near impossible. Very few motors actually come with the common Automotive 4L style belt pulley. Solution: Remove flywheel and replace with normal V-belt pulley. *If the flywheel you take off had fins for cooling the motor, replace it with either a blade mounted to the shaft or an externally powered fan*

Taking the flywheel off can be a pain. The flywheel are left-hand 4m thread and can really be cinched down or corroded onto the shaft. Chuck the flywheel end in a vise and turn the shaft on the opposing end Clock-wise and the flywheel may come off.

Some Motors don't have 2 shafts. The shaft on the brush side is usually hidden under the bearing housing. For the stubborn or single shaft motors I use a hacksaw and run the motor on low speed and use it like a metal lathe and saw the pulley through once or twice. It always comes off easily when you turn the nut into 3 thinner nuts rather than one wide nut. Just make sure you don't cut into the motor shaft. Eyeball it close and then test it by turning it with a pair of vise grips until you are through the threaded portion.

Or.... If you don't mind the flywheel...
You can use the motor(at a very low speed) as a metal lathe and carve a suitable groove to fit the belt of your choice. It can be a bit tricky (dangerous) as your cutting tool is not fixed. ** USE eye protection, gloves, faceshield etc.**
A rat tail file will work for a round belt or a small bastard file can carve a v shaped groove for the common automotive style belt.

Remember again- If you reverse the direction of the motor you can't use the flywheel as it is. Because of left hand threads it could come off. Drill tap and set-screw it.

Step 6: More Idiosyncrasies

Picture of More Idiosyncrasies
There are some small but solveable problems using these set-ups. I think a lot of these issues could be fixed with trim pot settings but the exact amount of adjustment and the values for each vary too much, are vague and unpublished or unknown to the average person. If you come up with better solutions PLEASE let me know so I can update them.

problem 1) Treadmill motors have a 3-4 pound fywheel. Engineers calculate the energy stored by spinning this heavy flywheel to obtain Horsepower ratings referred to as "Treadmill Duty Horsepower". Any quick changes in speed aren't noticed because of the kinetic energy still stored in the flywheel. Sometimes you can hear the motor totally turn off till the flywheel spools down and balances the motors RPM with the respective setting on the rheostat. If the load is restored or the speed setting raised above the motor's present speed, the motor turns right back on. Solution: remove the flywheel. Some of that kinetic energy will be stored in the piece of equipment you are powering but if not then some horsepower could be lost.

problem 2) When starting up a treadmill you wouldn't want it to start up at full speed while you are on it. If the rheostat is not set to the lower end of the resistance value the circuit will not start. Now you have the Motor/controller combo on your drill press or mill and it won't start because the rheostat is not set in the start position.
Solution: Turn the rheostat to the start position before turning on.

Step 7: My Treadmill Powered Tools

Picture of My Treadmill Powered Tools
This is my Drill press converted to a mill. I got it at the junkyard for $10. It had a bad AC motor. The Crossfeed table is from Enco and the new motor is off of a treadmill also from the junkyard. The motor and belts drive it just like the original motor did. It drills and mills fine. The treadmill motor mount was identical to the original AC motor mount. I experimented with the original 2 belts but quickly got rid of the extra belt and step pulley and went with one belt. There was no need for moving belts up and down the step pulley anymore. The motor keeps good torque at all speeds.

[http://www.faireandfoundry.com//robs%20hobbies/treadmill_tools.html My Treadmill powered Mill/Drill]

(Future pics of Sewing machine mod will be here)
The machine is the 1940 style heavy duty leather machine and had its own 4 ft bench and a 50 LB friction clutch motor hooked up to a treadle. The machine and bench just would not fit in my garage. am fitting it with one of these set-ups and have tested it enough to know it will work. The foot control is off of a newer sewing machine that used an AC motor speed control circuit also utilizing a Pot. I tore out the rest of the circuit and replaced the Pot with the 10K Ohm Pot my treadmill motor speed control needed. Now I can operate the sewing machine in my living room like a normal portable machine. It has as much torque as the original clutch motor and will sew right up your arm.

Step 8: Motor Mount Styles

Picture of Motor Mount Styles
This is 4 of the styles I have found. All pictured are DC motors. All except the last one are the permanent magnet type. The lower left motor image has a mount almost identical to the mounts on the AC motors found on drillpresses and such.

Step 9: Foot Speed Control

Picture of Foot Speed Control
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This is a sewing machine foot control that I modified to run a motor set-up I plan on powering an old industrial sewing machine with. The circuit inside was originally for controlling an AC motor so it is only good for mounting your potentiometer. Remove all the circuitry of the original controller (i.e. resistors, pot SCR's and such)and mount your speed Pot. It takes some adjustment of the placement but it can be done. I can now control the treadmill motor with my foot from a few RPM to full 4000 RPM.

Step 10: Schematics/Pics

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This is some Schematics and Pics I have collected. Most Treadmills have one taped to the plastic belly panel. If you have a schematic you would like to contribute email me. The PDF's download very slow but the detail is worth the wait so be patient. Just right click it and open in another window and check out the rest of the instructable while it downloads.
unknown.pdf(702x381) 1 MB
VITAMASTER8711BP.pdf(610x698) 21 MB
PROFORM,PFTL2146.pdf(792x612) 24 MB
SportsArt TR32.pdf(557x414) 1 MB

Step 11: Reader Submitted Contraptions

Picture of Reader Submitted Contraptions
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1-40 of 71Next »
arthorn24 days ago

This looks exactly what I have except that the circuit board is fried. Where can I find a design to replace the board?

Alex001825 days ago

Hey, I could use some expertise here. My treadmills digital consol died and I want to use the treadmill but not spend $100+ on a new consol. I am able to increase and decrease the incline but can't get the tread to move. I will attach the voltage diagram, I made a pwm circuit and tried putting the output on the blue wire hoping it would start the motor but it did nothing. How can I make my Nordic track c2200 work again?

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LivT29 days ago

Hello there! Great material, thank you for posting this.

Would I be able to adjust the potentiometer to a very slow speed (for the purpose of a conveyor belt) or will I face electrical/mechanical issues with the other components in the treadmill's circuit?

I appreciate any help!

LivT LivT29 days ago

One more thing, I'm assuming that it would be better to find an older treadmill because it would be easier to take apart. Do you have any other recommendations in regards to other things I should keep in mind while shopping around?

Thanks!

Soki DaB1 month ago
Soki DaB1 month ago
matas14 months ago
well, for rpm, you want it on the spindle or on the chuck, anyways

so, you might want to use something like this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Digital-Blue-LED-Tachometer-RPM-Speed-Meter-Hall-Proximity-Switch-Sensor-NPN-/181299070299?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a3644455b

position the sensor in the right spot, and thats that :)

I have a 2.5hp treadmill motor that I will be using to power my lathe/mill combo (the motor burned out last weekend in the middle of a project). Anyway, I would like to combine the lathe's capability of fwd/rev and the treadmill's speed controller. Here's what the wires look like coming from the switch to the motor through a junction box. I'm pretty sure that this is where the splicing is going to need to happen.

I don't want to run reverse polarity through the speed controller and fry something.

I want to do what this guy did (almost the same exact machine as mine but I have the older model with a mechanical chickenhead knob switch), but for the life of me can't figure out how he wired it up. If you could help me out with a simple hand drawn schematic or a link to someones page who has already managed it that would be great.




lathewiring.png

Well, is your treadmill motor a DC motor? if so, you'll need to wire a switch between controller and a motor. there is a good instructable here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/SIMPLE-Polarity-Reversing-switch/

I figured out the wiring. I was over thinking it.

Now I have to figure out how to convert the original treadmill board's reading of MPH to RPM.

gfreed3 years ago
Any idea where to get a pulley to fit on a 17mm shaft? I guess I could drill out the center of 5/8 inch bore but I would think it would be difficult to keep it perfectly centered.
HughL gfreed4 months ago
old,I know, but just in case... 17mm shaft is very common for USA car alternator pulleys, only it is often referred to as .67 inch. I just put one on my 17mm motor shaft and it was a great fit. I had to drill and tap for a set screw and fields flat on the shaft for the set screw to engage. runs great! marked as 2hp, so something less. ran a jointer and a planer with no problems.

needs to be bored on a lathe, after being carefully centered in a 4 jaw chuck.

I suggest you get a .040 thick shim and us a 3/4" bore pully, find some aluminum sheet that thick and form a little ring so that it fit snugly between the parts. some similar diameter tubing might work, 035"wall is common and might be close enough. Good luck. If you can make your project work with a 16mm it is almost identical to 5/8"
tpetersen311 months ago

So are these DC motors actually servos or not?
I am assuming there must be some kind of signal coming out of the motor to the control board if the motors turn on and off to maintain a set seed. At least with the 4-wire units, and the two wire I guess would have an internal circuit to adjust to speed.
Anybody know for sure?
I am trying to find an fordable servo to power a bench-top lathe and I require spindle feedback to the control software for treading.

Thanks for any guidance!!

These are not servos, and they do not have any sort of position or velocity feedback. It could be possible to add an encoder, resolver, tachometer, etc in order to get the feedback you want, but you would have to work that out to fit your specific system and needs.

mrbreezeet18 months ago

Can I wire some type of spdt switch in this set up, so I can reverse the drive motor.

I want to use it to power my metal lathe lead screw, but I need it to go in both derections.

Efis79938 months ago

anyone know if the mc-68 controller can take dc input voltage? i have 120vdc system and am looking to control speed of ironworker with it. . will it work?

aliragaie1 year ago

I HAVE TREAD MILL EVERY STAT UP ITS TRIPPING AFTER 50 SECOND AND SYSTEM WILL NORMAL TO START I DO NO WHY?

aliragaie1 year ago

I HAVE TREAD MILL EVERY STAT UP ITS TRIPPING AFTER 50 SECOND AND SYSTEM WILL NORMAL TO START I DO NO WHY?

Alextread61 year ago
kaighn801 year ago
Hi, wonder if you have the pcb schematics for a motor controller, I found a 180v dc treadmill motor but I can't seem to locate a controller for one, I've decided that I'd be better off just building one. Any help would be greatly appreciated. My email address is kaighn80@hotmail.com
Thanks in advance.
kernbigo4 years ago
I have a threadmill board 4f33 nordic track, reebock, sears bought on ebay trying to figuire where to wire the 5k potentometer? help Kernbigo
put it between either the input or uot put wire to the motor. an thier u go
DanW131 year ago
Thank's For these PDF's the 1 for the VitaMaster really save my Bacon, I retrieved the motor, PWD an Control Panel but the idot tht I was/am I forgot to take pics to remind me how to wire everything back after tearing all the parts from the TreadMill. After stumbing upon your Thread I was lost, as I'm not an electrical engineer when it comes to figuring out how these things work outside wiring household wiring & 220/240 Machinery….Thank's for the wiring Diagrams !!!

P.S I wired everything up lastnight & did a Test run hoping nothing would burn up and all is good so far, I adjusted the Min/Max Speed adjustment & Torque alittle bit lastnight as well & if your willing to do so it won't hurt anything but I guess it all depends on what your Min/Max need for speed is & the amount of Torque is required.

The 1 item I'm going to test out this am. is removing tht Transformer between the Motor (Yellow Wire) in/Out of the Transformer into the PWD, I'm going to by pass this & see how the motor/PWD work if nothing goes wrong….I'm thinking this Transformer is merely a safety feature not sure….?
Cacho5091 year ago
I do not know what to do with 4 wires red black white and green , i want to put a cord to the wall what wires should i connect, this is a tread mill motor, i want to use it to roast a pork
hmagdi2 years ago
Thanks a lot, I just have a question, are the field windings of treadmill motors connected in series, parallel or separate from the armature? How can I identify the connection of my motor?
ncblu3 years ago
add an elbow and a length of 3"pvc and you have a machine gun for tennis balls
Use 1-1/2" PVC 1120 instead of 3", and use golf balls instead of tennis balls, and you've got an undead-mulching emplacement gun for the Zombiepocalypse.
ncblu3 years ago
is that what i think it it is - that is sweet. i could use one to launch tennis balls for my dog to chase
...your dog, and all the others at the dog park. Simultaneously. ;-)
anectine2 years ago
Your unknown PDF comes from the Horizon t64 repair manual. I have this motor and controler. Can you advise me how to use it?
akatsuki_922 years ago
Hi, can you tell me what was the model of your treadmill which you opened? I looked at some but none of them had a sliding pot control, dont want to decode the protocol for the menu selction.
Lokisgodhi2 years ago
I'm looking for something to power a tricycle or a rickshaw/pedicab for personal use. Would a motor and controls from a treadmill be powerful enough to get the job done?
anibioman5 years ago
 can you use a dimmer switch for lights as a speed control
No, not likely. A dimmer switch is a rheostat which controls the voltage.
mkoziol23 years ago
I don't have any of the nomenclature you mentioned on my board, it has a digital display as mentioned above. From the schematic attached I only see the one wire which mentions PWM. I have read that i might need a 555 timer?? I havent been able to find a clear answer anywhere. Can anyone guide me in the right direction as to what I need to do to have manual control of my treadmill motor?
gfreed3 years ago
Any photos of the sewing machine project?
dblahnik3 years ago
Type O, its a Lifestyle 2808 treadmill sorry :(
dblahnik3 years ago
I have a motor and control from a Lifestyle 2802 treadmill.
It has a delayed start feature,does any one no how to adjust or disable the delay start . I am going to use the motor for a pig roaster (spit) and I dont want my Piggy to burn before this thing kicks in. I havent timed it but it seems to take 30 seconds to 1 minute before it kick on ?
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