Tag Archive: treadmill


Some friends of my wife and I are getting rid of an elliptical/stairmaster combo machine. My wife wants it. She says I can have her current treadmill when we pick up the elliptical! This will give us not only a bigger motor (2 HP to the current 1.25), but I’m pretty sure that it’s got a PWM controller. We’ve been having issues coming up with the $350 for parts for the controller we’ll be building, so we’ve kind of been stuck in the doldrums for a little while. I’ll take pics/vid of the disassembly and testing of components once we get time to tear into it.

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So while I had the garage open today to get some toys out for the girls to play with while we enjoyed the sun (and shade) in the back yard, I took a closer look at the treadmill. Found the motor controller! It’s mounted to an aluminium plate that is attached to the steel frame with two Phillips screws. I’ll unplug it once I have time to trace back all the wires that plug into it so that I can label everything. That’ll make it a LOT easier to get the right parts when it’s pulled out and put into/on the go-kart.

The Treadmill Motor

So I had a moment to get a photo of the motor. According to this, it’s capable of 1.0 horsepower when used with an SCR type controller and fed 90 Volts DC. However, if you have a PWM type controller, you can feed it 115 Volts DC and its maximum continuous output is 1.25 horsepower. The general rule of thumb when comparing electric HP to gas HP is a 5:1 ratio (5 gas HP = 1 electric HP). The reason for this is that gas engines are rated by PEAK power, whereas electric motor are rated by CONTINUOUS power. So, the 1.25 HP with PWM comes out to *roughly* 6.25 gas HP. The go-kart originally had a 6.5 HP engine on it – should be perfect!

I hope this is enough to get started with...

The label on the motor from my "freecycled" treadmill.

Found a Treadmill!

So I had an ad out on our local Freecycle group asking if anyone had a treadmill they wanted to get rid of.  Normally, treadmills have DC motors between 1 and 3 HP in size. It’d be real easy to start with one of those just to get a feel for the project. Got a hit back! I have to go pick it up on my way home from work.

FreeCycle is a great project. The one for my rural area is pretty active – both on the giving side, and the receiving side.