Sunday, July 28, 2013

Treadmill Desk Update: 1 Year, 7 Months

Trying to slide an update in relatively on time for once.


Starting to turn the corner.  Events keep conspiring against me, but I'm coming off a good, solid week of walking and a reasonable amount of dietary discipline.

  • Hours: 2503
  • Hours/Day: 5.3
  • Steps: 8,826,874
  • Steps/Day: 18,661
  • Calories: 551,338
  • Calories/Day: 1,166
  • Calories/Hr: 220
  • Miles: 2935.5
  • Miles/Day: 6.2
I should crack 9 million steps and 3000 miles pretty soon.  I continue to find that amazing.

The Joys Of (insert expensive item) Ownership

Well, after roughly a year and a half of heavy usage, it's only natural that things start breaking down.  And break down they have.  A while back I started hearing a ticking noise while I was walking.  It sounded a lot like a spark, so I disconnected everything and removed the cover for inspection.  (Side note: the amount of hair and fur this thing deposits under the hood is disturbing)  As I probed around - you know, they way one does when they have no idea what they are doing - I discovered that the source of the noise was the motor belt.  The interior of the belt has ridges - cords? - and one of them had broken and a couple inches were flapping about.  The smart thing to do would have been to get it replaced right then and there, and I don't honestly know why I didn't.  Deciding it wasn't really a safety issue, I resumed walking, and eventually the ticking went away.  I figured the piece just broke off, so didn't think too much more about it.

Over time - and I truly didn't make a connection between these events - the treadmill developed a lumpy behavior as I walked.  Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa.  I couldn't really feel it as I walked, but it was enough to rattle my keyboard.  My assumption was I had a build-up of some grime or something on the main belt roller.  I figured I was about due for some regular maintenance anyway.  I was beyond the labor warranty, so I contacted a local company (Fitness Equipment Assembly & Repair) to get something scheduled.  This prompted me to revisit my warranty terms, and it turned out I am still under parts warranty, so I contacted LifeSpan who promptly sent out a replacement belt.  They suggested the belt was skipping, and this was causing the thumping.  This was shortly before the July 4th holiday, and the repair folks weren't going to be available until after the holiday.

So I had replacement belt in hand, just waiting on the scheduled repair work, when suddenly the walking belt stuttered.  It threw me off balance just enough to cause me to step on the side rails, which was fortunate because the engine belt tore itself apart seconds later.  It's good that I was walking at slower speeds at the moment - I had been toying with higher speeds recently - otherwise that could have ended very badly for me.  I verified that the walking belt was no longer moving, popped the cover and confirmed that the belt was indeed broken.  Unfortunately the repair date was still a week away.  Admittedly, this was over the holiday weekend so I probably wouldn't have been walking that much, but still, I would have walked some, so that was an unfortunate amount of downtime.

The folks at F.E.A.R. arrived and did a wonderful job of cleaning the entire treadmill from stem to stern.  They said the belt blowout was about the worst that they'd seen.  Also commented that there was lubricant all over the place, and that I was probably over-lubing.  This surprised me, as I had already reduced my lubing frequency far below the recommended interval.  They replaced the belt, buttoned everything back up, and said I should probably have them visit on an annual basis.  I was quite happy with their service, and the price was reasonable.  After they were done, my treadmill was again quiet and smooth (and clean!), and everything was great.

…for about 4 days.  Then I turned my treadmill on, and got a sound that was rather like a large frog.  As far as I could tell, it was coming directly from the motor.  With additional experimentation, I found that if I increased the speed even more, a metallic scraping sound joined the cacophony as well.  I decided that this time I would deal the problem sooner rather than later, so I stopped using the treadmill and scheduled the repair folks again.  Unfortunately they schedule roughly a week in advance, so that wound up being another week of treadmill downtime.  They confirmed that the motor needed to be replaced, however they said I could continue to use the treadmill if I wanted to, I would just need to deal with the sound.  I again contacted LifeSpan, and they shipped out a replacement under warranty, which I'm currently waiting for.  I hope to have F.E.A.R. back out in the next few days to replace it.

I have resumed walking in the meantime, and just deal with the frog sound (it is a quieter sound than the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa was).  I would like to be walking faster, but the scraping sound is seriously annoying.  Oh yeah, and in the middle of this, I stubbed my toe badly, and that motivated me to take a couple days break from walking as well.  So my attempts at getting my weight to stabilize and even possibly go back down again have been stymied several times over the last month.  But the past week was good, as shown in the graph above.  Once I get the motor replaced, I hope to explore higher speeds than I normally have been able to walk so that I can burn more calories.

In summary:

  • It is disappointing that the belt and motor needed to be replaced, and also unfortunate that it happened after the labor warranty ran out.  They lasted roughly a year and half.  But LifeSpan was quick to respond to my inquiries, and did not hassle me at all before sending replacements for free under the parts warranty.
  • F.E.A.R. has been great.  If you live in the northern Virginia area and have fitness equipment in need of repair, do not hesitate to contact them.
  • Walking burns more calories than not walking.

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1 comment:

The Cat's Meow said...

Thank you for writing about your experience with using a treadmill setup for working. Your account of mishaps with your treadmill had me chortling. It sounds like both you and your treadmill have had your share of "injuries." So far, everything I've been reading indicates that people are satisfied with the experience of walking while working on a computer. Very cool.