Simple Variable Speed Treadmill Motor Electrical Conversion

Simple Variable Speed Treadmill Motor Electrical Conversion

Hi, this is Barry. Welcome back to the workshop. In this video I am going to show you how I
took these electronic components from a used treadmill and converted them for use as a
variable speed drive on a power tool. Ok, so here are all the parts that I removed
from the treadmill. You have the input and display, the speed
controller for the motor, the motor itself, this circuit board which is a control circuit,
and the motor for the incline, which is a linear actuator. I am going to, at the end, I don’t want to
use this input because it’s too big and bulky, and I don’t need it. I’m certainly not going to use the incline
motor. And since I’m not using this input, I also
don’t need this circuit. So I’m going to show you how I am going to remove those. But before I get into that, I’ll just plug
everything in to make sure that everything is working. If you are using this off a treadmill, there’s
this little clip thing that you clip to your body and then if you fall off or trip, it
pulls this thing out, so you need to have something in there for this safety switch. I’m using the cord that came with the treadmill,
and I’ll go ahead and plug it in. While it boots up, this little incline motor
does a little dance. I’m mostly concerned with the motor and the
variable speed, so I’m going to manually set the speed and make sure that the motor spins
up. And it does. I can adjust the speed…there’s a lag, but
it seems to work. So I know everything is working. At least when I start. So hopefully it will still be working when
I’m finished. I’m going to go ahead and start removing the
parts that I don’t need. I’m going to do those one at a time so you
can see that. I’m going to unplug the power just for safety. The first thing I’m going to remove is the
incline motor. There is a sensor which it looks like I already
disconnected that sends the position of the incline to the control circuit, which we don’t
need. And also, there is a white, red, and black
wire on this. And it says, “white – neutral, red – down,
and black – up”. I’m going to make a note of those because
I may want to use this motor for something later. So we’ll get that out of the way… Alright… so that shouldn’t affect anything. The next thing I need to do is this board
has a Pulse Width Modulator based on the inputs from the input board. It sends a pulsed signal to this speed controller
and that’s what determines the speed of the motor. And it send that through these three wires. There’s a red, white, and black here. And I need to.. I want to take those out of the circuit, I
need a way of controlling it. The way I’m going to do that is with a potentiometer. In this case I have a 10K potentiometer. I’ve certainly seen other people use different
values and I believe that would probably affect the speed but this is what I have today. I may change it later. I soldered a white, red, and black lead. The white is the wiper, and the red and black
are the other two. If you get the polarity switched, then your
knob will turn left to go faster. You can just flip those around, which I actually
had to do. So what this is going to do is replace that
PWM circuit. I’m going to disconnect the three wires from
the speed controller input, and get those out of the way. And connect those red, white, and black. So if everything is working correctly, then
I should be able to control the speed of the motor using this potentiometer instead of
this big clunky board. So let’s plug that in right now and make sure
that it’s still working. …plug that in… Now there are live wires here, so you have
to be careful what you’re touching. I’m just going to hold the case for this potentiometer
and turn that knob clockwise. So I can turn it on and off and adjust the
speed with the potentiometer. So that’s exactly what I was looking for. And that also means that I don’t need this
big clunky board, and I don’t need this circuit, So I’m going to remove those. This input is connected with this wiring harness,
so I’m going to go ahead and get that out of the way. So the last thing I need to do is get this
circuit board out of the way. Both of these boards, the speed controller
and this board are powered by 120 volt AC. There’s a white, and in this case a blue wire
for the hot. This has two terminals, it say’s it’s an IN
and an OUT, but it’s really just a parallel… So I should be able to disconnect the hot
and neutral from this board, instead of jumpering, and then just connect them straight into that. So I’ll go ahead and disconnect the HOT…
again, this is unplugged. And the neutral. This is straight from the power cord. And I can hook the neutral straight into this
board. It’s marked white. Now for the HOT, there’s a pair of blue wires
that go to the motor. And I understand that there is a thermal switch
in the motor, and if the motor overheats, it will shut off the power to it. So you can either run it with or without that. I like the idea of having the protection circuit,
and I don’t think it will affect the power, so I’m going to leave it in. So I’m going to run the hot from the power
cord, through the motor, and fortunately there’s a terminal connector here, and I’ll just plug
that in. At this point, this board is disconnected
so I can get that out of the way. So again, the power… the neutral goes straight
to this board, and the hot goes through that thermal switch on the motor and then into
this board. I could take that out, but I’m going to leave
it in. There is a power switch here on the cord that
says “reset” so I assume there is some kind of a breaker in there. I’m going to leave it in the circuit. At this point, I should have everything I
need to mount this motor and set up the drive, and be able to control it with this potentiometer
and the speed controller. So let’s test that and make sure that we’re
working. I plugged it in. I’m being careful not to touch anything live
but there is a red light here so I do have power. And if I turn the potentiometer… [motor
turns on] So everything is working. If I wanted to right now I could run it in
this configuration. There are a couple of details that I want
to show you, though. I’m going to zoom in first… OK, at this point I have everything that I
need to use this as a variable speed drive. I have the motor, the speed controller, the
potentiometer, there’s a main power switch, and the power cord. That’s really all you NEED to use this. Of course, you’re going to have to set up
the pulleys however you’re going to use it to drive the tool, but this is all you need
to get started. There a couple of enhancements that you might
want to consider, and I’ll show you those. One of them… this is a DC motor, and DC
works on polarity. So if I reverse the polarity of the inputs
to this motor, I should get reversed direction. I’m going to show you that it does indeed
work. So, unplug the power. The red and the black wires are the drive
for the motor. There is a pair of blue wires here that I
mentioned earlier are the thermal switch. So if I switch the polarity of the red and
the black, then I should get reverse direction on the motor. So let’s plug that in and I’ll test it to
be sure it works. And turn the potentiometer. And it does spin in the reverse direction. So if I want to have a reversable motor, I
can install a double pole-double throw switch on these two leads, in between the speed controller
and the drive motor. And there’s a basic circuit, I’m not going
to show it right now, that you can use to flip the polarity. You need a double pole, double throw switch
and there’s a couple jumpers that you use… I’m going to switch this back for right now. You do need to know that the flywheel on the
motor is screwed on to the motor with reverse threads. So if you run it backward, there is a chance
that this flywheel could come loose. On my motor, it’s REALLY on there, I don’t
think it’s going to go anywhere, and I’m not going to run it in reverse very much. Just something you want to consider. So the other think that I wanted to show you
besides being able to reverse the polarity and change the direction of the motor is there
is a soft start feature on this speed controller that… it’s basically a safety for a treadmill. You don’t want a treadmill to just ramp up
and go straight to full speed. The way this controller works is that you
have to start slow and ramp up slowly. That’s kind of an issue with a power tool
where you’re turning it on and off and you want it to come back up to the same speed,
and not have to keep fiddling with the potentiometer every time. And I’ll show you what I’m talking about. I”ll plug it in. I have the potentiometer all the way off… I’m going to turn it up and get the motor
going. So the motor is spinning, I’m going to leave
it low so that you can hear me, but imagine this is on a wood lathe and I need to change
tools, I want to turn it off for a moment. I turn the switch, the power to the unit,
off. And then when I turn it back on, nothing happens. In order to get it to spin back up, as it
is right now, I have to turn the potentiometer all the way down, then back up. And chances are that I’m not going to bring
it back to the exact same speed that it was. So every time that I stop and start the motor,
I have to adjust he speed. That’s going to make the control of the speed
a little bit more difficult. Especially for things like a wood lathe where
you’re stopping and starting pretty often. So what I found, and this is a little research
and a little trial-and-error on this unit, if you disconnect the red lead, it has the
same effect as turning the potentiometer down. And you can control the “on” and “off” of
the motor by disconnecting the red lead. I’ll show you. These are live wires, so you have to be carefull… I’m not touching any of the 120 volt wires
while this is on. So if I turn the motor on, and it’s running,
again I showed you that if I turn it off and on here, I cannot get it to start. I have to use the potentiometer. But I’m going to leave the potentiometer on,
and turn that down so you can hear me. If I disconnect the red wire, it removes the
input signal so there is no longer current going to the motor. When I reconnect the red wire, it turns back
on, and since the potentiometer hasn’t moved, it’s the same speed. So I can turn the motor off and on by removing
the red wire from that circuit. So if I want to have an on / off switch that
doesn’t require modifying the potentiometer, I can put a switch on that red lead on this
potentiometer, and turn the motor on and off without having to change the potentiometer
setting. Now I’ll still have the main power switch
which will turn off the power to everything but I’ll be able to control the motor on and
off without changing the potentiometer. And that’s probably what I’m going to end
up doing. You may or may not want to, if you care about
that speed controller, or not. But that’s a common issue that I’ve read about
and I believe that’s going to be the solution I go with. So everything I have shown you is just for
the treadmill that I found. This is one example. Your motor and your controller, your circuits
may be different, so exercise caution. But I just wanted to show you, for this treadmill,
what I was able to get working as far as the electronics. And hopefully you’ll find that useful if you’re
trying to reuse a treadmill motor as a variable speed controller. So I hope you enjoyed this video, and I hope
you found it useful to see how I reused the electronics from a treadmill to later use
as a variable speed drive on a power tool. If you have any questions or comments, please
put those in the section below. And if you haven’t already done so, please
subscribe to the channel. I really appreciate it. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next time.

100 Replies to “Simple Variable Speed Treadmill Motor Electrical Conversion”

  1. Thank you for the blue tape on the motor pulley. I've watched a lot of videos where you can't tell if the motor is even turning.

  2. I have the same components and am in the process of removing what is not needed. I only have a 5k pot so I will have to order another one I think. Are you satisfied with the 10k pot that you have or would you use another value? Thank you

  3. Great video to help others make a positive change rather than a band aide to face the same issues at a later date. I turn large wood for bowls Maple, Walnut, Pecan, Hickory. I used the old bed to mount my fishing rod turning machine I made. Perfect to sit wrap rod eyes and apply the finish. Thanks.

  4. hi
    sir I am having problem with my theardmill when I on the machine all electricity go off
    from curcuit bracker
    there is one speed sensor in side the motor with 2 blue wires
    u can call it speed sensor or overload cut out sensor
    when I remove the blue wire electricity doesn't cut off
    can u guide me plz where is the problem .
    and how to check speed sensor or overload cut out sensor

  5. Excellent, presentation Innoway I can understand completely, you now have a new subscriber. .Wish I would've found this stuff before I ordered my converter for three phase. I'm going to search for a three horse treadmill motor and put it on my Bridgeport M head on my brown and sharp model #0. You're awesome my friend thank you.

  6. Thanks so much…been looking for a cheap or free treadmill for future projects…what horse power one needs for a little wood lathe…what is the lowest and max RPM on most of these…should I look for a specific treadmill?

  7. Thanks for the reply…when doing some reading I found that flywheel seems a problem when shutting down your machine, [idling too long] or whatever you use it for, can this flywheel been take off when you're not straining the motor…say a light duty drill press?

  8. Im in the process of building a 2×72 belt grinder. I just bought a MC-60. Do I need the transformer to be hooked up. I just watched another video and seen someone show the assembly without the transformer. I'm confused.

  9. Hi, I have an important question. We want to know the specifications of this motor in terms of voltages, current and torque. Secondly, we want to know whether we can use this motor in making carpet washing or making scooter for children..?????

  10. Great vid.ive got a motor and board but the display and controls were broken.could u tell me which wires to connect the potentiometer to.thks

  11. I have a treadmill that wants me to replace the console. Everything works, but the safety is stopping tread from working due to a bad switch. How can I close or bypass this. It's the switch that is identifying the magnet is not on when it is on the treadmill.

  12. You made it very clear on what you were doing. Not sure if it is allowed but would have been nice if you could have mentioned the make and model of the unit you were dealing with. Not even sure what the Hp rating the motor is .

  13. Thank you, super simple straight forward explanation of how to use a treadmill motor and speed controller. I'm going to look on craigslist for a cheap treadmill. Any suggestions on what I should be looking for?

  14. Hot damn! I just picked up a FREE treadmill at a yard sale and tore it open today. I did exactly what you did to get the motor working on its own, but my source treadmill was a lot simpler than yours. I had only the control panel with a potentiometer already installed and no incline adjustments. I'm looking forward to adding this motor to any cheap or non-working drill press I might find (love a good yard sale). Thanks for the tip on getting it to restart at the same RPM after a shutoff.

  15. Thanks for sharing. I have noticed that different makers of treadmills use different circuits to make them work. What brand i yours, so if i find one like it. Great video!!!

  16. still not clear where to connect the two blue wires from the motor, mine is surging and blue wires are not connected to anything

  17. Awesome I like the way you explain hope more from you ! I am having lots of problems with treadmill motors how can I get it easily in Nepal please suggest me ! Thanks ! +977019841202008 is my cell number .

  18. I have this set up but no potentiometer. Is it possible to do without one and just use a dc router controller from harbor freight?

  19. Best vid I have seen on treadmill motors and how to control them. Perhaps a mention about the ground wire though?

  20. Hey Barry I have this exact set up with a 10k pot and 2.75 hp motor. Right now at its lowest setting it’s at about 530 rpm but I want to get it lower. Do I go higher with the pot or lower?

  21. I am starting a project with a treadmill motor but I am nervous about bending the axle. How do I get it off without damaging it? Thank you.

  22. Thanks very much for the video. Best one explaining the work and connections of these components. I set up my 72" sander and is working very well. Regards from Panama City, Panama

  23. Thank you very much for this video it has answered all the questions I had, and a few I never thought about, I’ll be using all the options you explained.

    Here comes the motor for my boat.

  24. Thanks for the useful video. If I may make one constructive criticism……the volume of your voice tends to start out loud, and then trail off to a much lower volume, barely loud enough to hear. Then this cycle repeats. It makes it hard to hear everything you are saying. Please consider this when you make your next video. Thanks!

  25. Paul Drakos. Thank you for the video. I have a 3.5 HP treadmill motor. I want to disconnected from all computer panels and boards. I want to use a variable speed transformer and of course a bridge. How big the transformer should be and the bridge. There is anything else I should use? I was looking at a Varian Transformer by it says that it outputs AC curent. Do I need another transformer to bring it down to DC?

  26. Very, Very good video, Sir. I've managed to salvage or acquire 2 or 3 of these motors. I believe 2 that I salvaged, I also saved the boards for them. My organizing practices aren't the best so I'm going to have do some digging around to find them. Should the boards be in working order (hopefully), is there a way to ID the correct boards for the proper motor? I may find the info. on the boards & motors to be able to properly match them (hopefully). Also in the comments below, a Mr. Heyward Mattox asked what the rating on the POT was. I'm guessing he was referring to what the current rating of what the POT is. I have the same question as well. By it's size, it's obviously a fairly high wattage POT. I've got an idea for a multi-tool I'm planning to build, and having a powerful, variable speed motor to operate it would be great. It will have a fixed saber saw, a, I believe, a 1/2 inch chuck flex shaft to connect to it & possibly a disc sander. Again, having a powerful, variable speed motor to operate this is what I need, but to achieve the variable speed, knowing the wattage of the POT is an important detail. If you could help me out with this issue, it would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work with these very informative videos. Thank you, and take care.

  27. THANKS, Barry!!! I did Not know about the red wire trick to get around the on-off-on quirk. I'll still make a microcontroller do the work for me, as it can track RPM and make for a nicer display layout (and I'm just geeky that way…), but now I don't need a separate high power MOSFET to turn power on and off! Great video!

  28. Thanks Barry.
    I'm just doing my lathe conversion and this is the best video that I've seen for a treadmill motor conversion. Very well explained and some of the other comments will prove useful too.
    Thanks for posting this.

  29. Nice write up. Probably not worth noting, but that setup isn't ideal for motor life. You can get treadmills cheaply around here, so it's likely not worth caring about.

  30. Have you found any good way to remove the startup delay? Obviously it takes time for the motor to come up to speed, but it looks like it waits a second or two after getting go signal before actually starting the motor.

  31. Hey Berry😎, it's my first time to your channel. Very educational and informational I like that. But why didn't you show the way you would change your speed settings? That would have been good to show? Cause alot of people including myself would like to know? That's is a big problem here. So maybe you can show that in your next video? I really do like your channel and videos.
    Thanks, hit me up sometime.

  32. I'm wondering if i need to keep the fly wheel…mine is on opposite end of the drive pulley….also wondering if i should have/keep the fan on the motor? The pulley I want to put on the motor is a six step with a 4" depth…only have 2" of shaft on the motor…should be ok if I remove the fan. There will be limited gaps for air to flow around the pulley end of motor…will this cause a problem? Thinking of installing a fan from a microwave but difficult to get the air to flow through the motor. Putting it on a milling machine.
    Thanks for your video.

  33. Excellent! Precisely the info I needed, in a format that makes it easy to do step-by-step following your instructions. You've created another Barry's Workshop fan here in Florida!!

  34. Just what I needed.
    I was about to purchase a big old UGLY box to fit all that crap into, and I had even cut down the control board as much as possible.
    So, the variable resistor you said was 10K?

  35. Thanks Barry! Just watched your video after picking up a free treadmill with a 2.5hp motor and was having trouble getting it to work on the bench with everything hooked up. Must have been a stray sensor or ground wire but when I disconnected the motor controller, sensors, rewired the power to the pwm board and hooked up a potentiometer, everything worked like a charm. Now I need to get a 10k pot from work for better speed range. My next big challenge is fitting a v-belt pulley where the grooved pulley is now next to the counterweight . The threaded shaft is very thin so I'm thinking of just filing down the existing grooves until I get either a 5/8 or 1/2" shaft. Drill and pin what's left so I can use in reverse and attach the new pulley. Any advice on this plan?

  36. Needed to know about how to reverse my treadmill motor and you explained it beautifully. Thanks. And the other info was a bonus thanks

  37. There maybe so ok info in the video but due to your voice witch sounds like a fatter and taller Richard Simmons. But just like his voiCe it's an ear Peacing painful sound. Even thousand times worse then nails on a caulk board for
    Some people.

  38. how about if my motor is 3 phase bldc what kind of controller should i use as simple as mc-60 or mc-80 please reply thanks

  39. I have the same gear that I salvaged from a treadmill. Thanks for clearing up the “on”, “off” quandary. Now if we can just deal with the annoying delay before it initiates the stupid “soft start.”

  40. Very good video. Well explained. I have another treadmill I took apart for a project and it has an MC2100 controller board that does not have the 3 leads to replace the PMW. Or high low and wiper. Is there another way to connect a potentiometer to this type of control board? Thanks

  41. Thanks for the great video! How can I close the circuit that the treadmill's red safety chip interrupts? One wire connects directly to the motor and the other to the copper coils…

  42. I watched this three days ago.
    I bought a $40 Nordic track two days ago.
    I tore it apart yesterday.
    I hooked it up to an old atlas 618 today.
    Now I’m makin chip!

  43. Awesome video and details…..I got a donor treadmill tonight and just pulled all the equipment. I will be watching your vid thru my build!!! Hopefully my video inspires others as your did me. Thanks. New Sub!!!!

  44. If you are eliminating the Pulse Width Modulation, (PWM), is there any chance the power supply were provide more voltage to the motor than the motor's spec?

    Most of these treadmill motors are permanent magnet motors. If you put too much voltage into a perm mag motor, it will eventually demagnatize the magnets, making them not permanently magnetized, and kill the motor.

    It should be easy enough to check the voltage going to the motor at 'full speed', to make certain. I would encourage anyone re-purposing a treadmill perm mag motor, to double check this.

    This is one of the first things I learned about using treadmill motors. In thr early days of industrial DC motor use, they controlled the voltage, and made up for lack of low RPM torque with gearing/pulley setups.

    PWM has replaced that, in the age of electronics.


  45. I am doing this conversion right now to my late 50's Rockwell Delta 20" wood cutting bandsaw. I am converting it to be able to cut metal. That red wire tip is great!!! Without the red wire tip, I would of bought a 6k SCR. The soft start I don't mind so much on such a big bandsaw. Thanks for the vid.

  46. I found a free Treadmill and everything that I needed worked. The parts were all very similar to those in this video so after purchasing a potentiometer I was able to do the same as Barry did. So for the price of a small burger I now have the motor I need for my belt grinder project. Thanks for the tutorial! Now to get a drive wheel put on the motor….

  47. Another way to stop and start the motor without fiddling with the pot is to use a forward/ off/ reverse switch on the motor wiring. Going from forward or reverse and off will start and stop the motor.

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