Fix Your NordicTrack Exercise Bike

Introduction: Fix Your NordicTrack Exercise Bike

About: Software Developer, like to work with electronics, embedded systems, robots etc.

The other night I was riding my Nordictrack exercise bike and all of a sudden the display quit and the tension on the peddles went slack. The wife has been on me for quite some time to start exercising as I sit behind the computer the major part of the day.

So I decided to take the thing apart and see If I could trouble-shoot what was causing the control and display not to function. I will get into showing you the tear down shots later.

Right off of the bat I thought, cool if the controller is shot I could replace it with a micro-controller solution.

This would be a cool project.

But then reality set in and I realized that this project would take some time and I am currently working on some other micro-controller projects. So back to tearing the thing down and see if I could fix the darn thing.

The display has two sets of connectors coming out of it. I had no clue to what they were connected to. So I decided I had to tear the plastic off the bike and take a look at how the bike was wired.

Grabbed the multimeter and some tools. Stripped the bike down to the frame and started taking a peek how this bike works.

Lets take a look at the key sections of the bike.

Step 1: AC Adapter

We will start at the front of the bike. Notice the ac adapter, 12 volts, 1 amp DC adapter.

Step 2: The Pedal Assembly

A bit further back, The pedal assembly, Notice the Hall Effect sensor and the magnet mounted to the pedal assembly.

The Hall Effect sensor is used to count the number of wheel rotations and calculate things like speed and distance traveled. Along with the hall effect sensor and the weighted wheel potentiometer, calories burned can be calculated.

Step 3: Rear Weighted Wheel

At the rear is the business end of the exercise bike, there is a weighted wheel with a tension adjuster and a motor.

In a minute we will look at how the motor and wheel works.

Step 4: Motor Assembly

Lets take a closer look at the motor assembly.

On the motor we have a lever and a gear wheel no unlike a RC servo motor. So this motor my be controlled like an RC servo motor? maybe, lets troubleshoot some more.

So we flip the motor over and notice how the motor is wired:

The motor has two wires connected, a yellow wire and a blue wire, no this motor is not an RC servo, it is just a DC motor.

Also on the motor control casing there is a label.
On the label it indicates “6V tension motor P/N 241949″

I did some web searching and found that many exercise bike use this same motor.

But I could not find any specifications on the motor. Just a few posts where other people have had some issues and one article on a vague description on how to test the motor by applying some current to the motor to see if the motor gear turned or not.

I flipped the motor to the other side and had a look:

Interesting, There is a 5000 ohm potentiometer on attached to the gear of the motor.

This would mean that when the motor is adjusted to increase the tension of the skid closer to the motor the resistance would increase and likewise when the motor reduced the tension against the wheel the resistance would decrease.

At least that is what I guessed. Lets do some testing.

So I installed the motor back into the exercise bike and put some batteries together for some testing. I applied some voltage to the yellow and blue wires and sure enough the motor started to turn to move the skid closer to the wheel. Just like a servo though there is a stop and you have to be careful not to keep the motor running against the stop.

So then the question is if I reversed the wiring on the motor would the motor reverse direction and turn pull the skip away from the wheel.

I tried it and sure enough the motor changed direction and moved the skid away from the wheel.

I then attached my ohm meter to two of the terminals of the potentiometer and ran the motor forward and backward and the ohm meter read from 0 – 477 K ohms.

The potentiometer readings along with the hall effect sensor are used to calculate calories burned, speed and distance traveled.

I traced the wires back from all connections to the 10 pin wire connector and found out which wires applied power to the display and controller. I also noted where all of the wires from the potentiometer and halls effects sensor came into the wire harness.

Step 5: The Display/Controller

It is time to take a look at the controller/display.

I removed the connectors and display unit from the exercise bike and took it to my work bench.

I opened up the display/control unit and took a peek inside, not a good sign, other than a few capacitors there were no discrete parts, just a bunch of chips.

So I disconnected the keypad and speakers and the iphone dock connectors and applied power to the unit. Instant current overload on the adjustable power supply.

I tried to check a few connections but not much else could be tested. It appears to be a chip issue. There were no burn marks on the pcb traces.

So it looked like the controller was fried.I looked on line and a new controller was over $300.00. No freaking way was I going to pay that much for a replacement controller.

So I did some thinking and came up with a quick and dirty way to get the exercise bike working for around $15.00. Really all I needed was a way to increase and decrease the wheel tension on the exercise bike. I really do not need the fancy data that comes off the bike for the time being.

I could get the bike working and then when I had some time I could come up with a replacement controller using an inexpensive micro-controller solution with a LCD display.

Step 6: The Fix

Did a bit of web searching and drew up a wiring diagram, after a quick trip to radio shack I started to put together a workable solution.

Here is the wiring diagram I came up with:

I picked up a DPDT switch, a DC adapter voltage connector and a momentary push button and a project case that I had laying around on my desk and some wiring.

After wiring up the new controller box I mounted the box to the exercise bike and connected the yellow and blue wires to the new control box:

Notice I connected the output leads to the wire connector using some female jumper connectors. That way when I come up with a micro-controller solution it will be an easy fix to use the existing wire connector.
If you decide to wire up one of you own, you may have to swap the yellow and blue wires in order to have the DPDT switch increase the tension when the switch is pressed in the forward position and pressed rearward to decrease the tension.

There you have it, a working quick and dirty exercise controller. Now I can keep my wife off of my back and get back to my other micro-controller projects.

Enjoy

3 People Made This Project!

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75 Comments

0
wmh96801
wmh96801

10 months ago on Step 6

Well it was working with a 9v battery but when it pulled it started slipping so I guess the tension motor was getting weak so i used an old choke cable that ran up to where the console used to be from where the cable attatched to the magnetic wheel to adjust the tension to whatever I want and it works great. Hope this helps Thanks, Mike

Nordictrac 490le1.jpgNordictrac 490le2.jpgNordictrac 490le3.jpgNordictrac 490le5.jpgNordictrac 490le4.jpgNordictrac 490le.jpg
0
Ryan_Hops
Ryan_Hops

Reply 5 months ago

Nice! I have the same Proform 440 ES and thought about converting it to a manual tensioner.

0
vin_ct
vin_ct

3 years ago

In one of the comments
below someone was asking for a source to purchase replacement plastic gears for
the ICON resistance motor. It seems that failure of one of the gears is the
common fault. Has anyone found a source?


Thanks,


Vin

1
MladenS4
MladenS4

Reply 2 years ago

Problem is in potentiometer, it gives false readings to servo controller so motor spins until gears broke.

0
ScottB401
ScottB401

Reply 7 months ago

Do you happen to know if the same mosfet motor controller chip referenced above (BD6210) also is responsible for reading the potentiometer feedback? Or is that part of another circuit? Just trying to determine if one chip on the board can be depended on to resolve any resistance circuit failures that are not due to a faulty motor or potentiometer.

0
MladenS4
MladenS4

Reply 7 months ago

Yes, chip is responsible for potentiometer readings.

1
RaK6
RaK6

2 years ago

OK.
Stand corrected to a reply sent me from earlier. I have now fixed mine just by replacing the chip that controls the tension motor. They were correct in saying the chip is a BD6210. It is U3 on the main board. I ordered it, and received a BD6210F-E2 as in image attached. Small SOP chip. My tension motor is now working. No need for a mod, as this was easier to do. Plus you get tension feedback from the motor as to what position it is in. Compared to the mod. So if you suspect the motor is not working in yours. Order the chip. I do have extras if anyone needs one. Order 2 if you are not sure the motor is bad or not. Or you will cook a new chip. So to have an extra. They are very cheap anyways. Throw away prices. Or to be better safe. Order the new motor, and chip. Chips is about a buck anyways. If you want a couple chips, I will send 2 with postage for $5 bucks. Now back to using it more and more. Thanks guys for the help!

BD6210F-E2.jpg
0
bombich1
bombich1

Reply 2 years ago

Hello RaK6, I have a NordicTrack VR Commercial Recumbent Bike (Model no. NTEX13808.0). The resistance motor is not working. I replaced the motor and it was not the problem. It apparently is a problem with the controller board. A guy from a local shop suggested a fix similar to what jpitz31 had presented, but if a chip swap is possible to restore full capability that is better. I took the controller board out, (sort of) and took a few photos. One is of the whole board and two show about half each. They are not close-ups because I was not sure which part of the board to enlarge. I am not sure I would be able to replace any of these chips as they are soldered in and I have no experience with replacing a chip. Can you suggest what is the controller chip for the resistance motor or how I can find a circuit board layout and how to do the replacement? Thanks a lot. I am not happy that a $650+ bike is down for a low-cost controller chip.

whole board_IMG_7496.JPGOther portion of board_IMG_7498 (2).JPGPartial board_IMG_7497.JPG
0
ScottB401
ScottB401

Reply 7 months ago

Its been awhile so you have probably tossed that machine long ago, but if by some strange reason you still have it, the chip you are looking for will have 4 legs on each side, its generically called a "Mosfet" and in the case of the resistance circuit, it acts as an "H" bridge to control the movement of the resistance motor servo forward and backward (and If I'm not mistaken to read the position and send that to the main computer chip, but I'm still looking to verify that)

0
ScottB401
ScottB401

Reply 7 months ago

The motor can be tested with a standard 9 volt battery, just touch the battery terminals to the yellow and blue leads where they exit the tension motor and see if it turns. You can rotate the battery to test reverse. If the motor turns when you apply the 9v battery leads to the wires, the motor is good (there is still a chance the potentiometer is faulty or worn but that's less likely than a bad motor). If you have a good motor, then your issue can be resolved with the chip replacement described by Ray above.

0
the_felipeal
the_felipeal

Reply 2 years ago

Do you still have spare ones to sell?

0
RaK6
RaK6

Reply 2 years ago

Yes.
Have a few of them. I can send one in a letter envelope. $5 seem ok?

1
RaK6
RaK6

Reply 2 years ago

Also if you decide to want one or 2 or more. I suggest 2 in case of an accident in soldering.
I can do 2 for like 7 bucks. Send payment to paypal. Account chipmaster86@hotmail.com or you can mail me direct if need be, and discuss address and more. thanks Much.
Also my webiste notebooksquad.com has my mail info. Notebooksquad@gmail.com But that is not part of my paypal account. only my chipmaster86 email is. thanks Bud! ---Ray

0
ScottB401
ScottB401

Reply 7 months ago

Hey Rak6, are you still around? It looks like the website you referenced is no longer active. I hope I can get in touch with you. You have cracked the code I've been after for some time now. I buy, repair and sell these machines and most of the ones I find at thrift stores have this issue. Its crazy, regardless of brand, they all use this same style 6v resistance motor and console up/down level control. More than I'd like to count have resistance issues at the console level, despite everything else working flawlessly, so people end up trashing them or if I'm lucky, donating them. Anyway, I'm reaching out to you to thank you for your work and contribution here.

1
RaK6
RaK6

Reply 2 years ago

Also we have now fixed 3 of these tension motor issues with this one chip.

0
ScottB401
ScottB401

Reply 7 months ago

How in the world does this post only get a single UPVOTE! If I could upvote 100 times I would. This guy needs to make an instruct-able. It is exactly what people who land here are looking for, a complete fix. The hack here is fine and will get you by, but this chip replacement is a FULL FIX. Kudos to you and I hope you are still around here.

1
techsoman
techsoman

Reply 2 years ago

Hi Rak6 I have nordictruck elliptical e 4.0 I plugged wrong adapter i saw one IC burned MU1 as in picture is it same IC as you mentioned in post please let me know

20200731_212949.jpg
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draghisdeni
draghisdeni

Reply 2 years ago

Is it? I have the same "UM1" fried

0
techsoman
techsoman

Reply 2 years ago

Sorry its UM1