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How to use a potentiometer with this treadmill motor and speed controller?

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  • How to use a potentiometer with this treadmill motor and speed controller?

    Hi everyone

    I found this forum after doing a lot of searching on controlling the speed on a treadmill motor without using the big bulky digital display unit that sits on top of the treadmill. I bought a really nice Nordic Track for 10 dollars on Craigslist and I thought I would be able to figure out how to do this but apparently I was wrong.

    I have seen a lot of material regarding the MC-60 speed controller unit but nothing about the speed controller that came on the treadmill that I bought which was the MC-2100 Rev B.

    I will attach a couple of pictures of the board and specifically the wires coming from the display unit that go into the board. I have a 5k pot but I really dont know what to do with it and I am afraid to just start experimenting because I dont want to burn up the motor or the board. I would be happy to post any other pictures or add any other information that might be of help if anyone asks for it.

    Of course I would like to turn this little project into a lathe if I can ever get everything sorted out. btw the motor is a 2.25 hp cont duty.

    If the potentiometer wont work, I would love to hear about other ideas to be able to control the speed using this board and motor.

    Thanks everyone

  • #2
    these drives require a PWM speed command.
    refer to:
    I'm looking at re-purposing a PWM controller and motor from a treadmill to drive a mini-lathe. The MC-2100 board which was originally designed for this motor lacks the PWM circuitry to drive the mosfet, as this originally seems to come from the console. Is there a good spot to connect a 555 used...

    Data Sheet:
    Last edited by Bmyers; 09-16-2011, 02:18 PM. Reason: more information


    • #3
      A google brings up this discussion at cnczone
      There are oodles of "how tos" on adding manual speed control to an MC-60 motor controller board. I'm trying to find something similar on the

      This suggests the controller wants a variable pulse width square wave
      to control speed. Click on the other link:

      gives a spec sheet explanation from which this opinion was derived.


      • #4
        That is over my head unfortunately. Would it be simpler to find another clunker treadmill from Craigslist that has a simpler speed control unit?


        btw you guys are fast! I expected to wait a day or two for a reply ha.


        • #5
          Originally posted by wilsocn
          Would it be simpler to find another clunker treadmill from Craigslist that has a simpler speed control unit?
          this is a pretty common treadmill drive.


          • #6
            Yeah but common != simpler. I dont really care to learn Electronics 101 just to get a shaft to spin at a desired rate. Ill check out other treadmills for simpler boards that have instructions floating around on the web that can be used with a inexpensive and easy potentiometer.


            • #7
              Common means most treadmills use this drive or a variant of it. You will have to find a piece of exercise equipment that uses a speed pot to get a drive that uses a speed pot. exercise equipment that has a consule typically use this type of drive.

              cheap doesnt always = easy


              • #8
                Any drive you get will only be a variation of the one you have there, so at some point youre gonna have to get an understanding of what it is youre attempting to do - and its really not that complicated. You dont need anything off the control panel of the TM, all you need is a plug in wire to get the 110v, a potentiometer, and 2 common toggle switches - 1 to turn power on/off and one to reverse the motor (if thats what you want)

                Take a picture of the board from directly overhead showing the connection points with the writing next to them and I - or one of us can -point out where to hook up to.

                The white box on this lathe controls my treadmill motor with fwd/rev and speed control - I have anothe toggle on the back side to control the ac power

                If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........


                • #9
                  If you don't want to mess with making a PWM circuit up such as the 555 in the link, you can get KB or Baldor SCR drives with analogue pot control on ebay fairly cheap.


                  • #10
                    I am new to this forum I found it looking for the answer to basically this identical problem. I have an MC-2100 REV B with the same colored wire harness up to the digital display as the first post. This is out of the treadmill I am looking to utilize the motor but have manual speed control from a knob not the digital board, I also if possible would like to still be able to plug it into a wall outlet(AC) as the speed control board uses now.

                    Bill you mentioned that this should be something that can be worked through, I have searched numerous things and still come up with not much other than a smattering of ideas about potentiometers, 555 timers, rectifiers and so-on. You showed a picture of yours I am hoping you or someone else can guide me to where I need to be. I am not super-well versed application-wise electronically, but do know some theoretical from ME undergrad. I appreciate any guidance from anyone.


                    • #11
                      Either go the KB/Baldor route or make a PWM control there was a recent post on PWM control using the TL494 ic designed for PWM applications.

                      Use the IC for your board, or build the one shown in the link and replace everything?.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mkoziol2
                        ...I am not super-well versed application-wise electronically...
                        Ditto that mkoziol2, not to mention time to putz about with it. I know if it's your goal, you can do it cheaper... but, this is much easier and faster in my case. I went ahead and got the heatsink and reverse switch too, works like a dream! 2¢


                        • #13
                          This is the first I heard of the TL494 from my searching, from what I can tell this looks similar to the 555? I could use some clarification if possible. As the treadmill works now, the wall voltage goes into a board( I thought Speed controller) and the motor is wired to this and from this board a harness runs up to where you would set a speed and incline.

                          Do these TL494/555 type ic replace the board I have now? I was hoping for a way to just alter the user input where I wire into the harness and now have manual control over the motor vs the digital. Some clarification would be greatly appreciated so I can better understand what I need to change. I have pictures of the board and a copy of the wire schematic if this would help.


                          • #14
                            Look at this post -

                            You could use an Arduino to send the PWM signal - on connector HD2 - Ground to the black wires and a PWM signal on the blue wire.

                            Arduino could have a potentiometer for an input, and the PWN for the output.

                            $35 at Radio Shack, software free online. And could add bells and whistles as required...


                            • #15
                              Here is the complete how-to guide, all you need is a pot:

                              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 …

                              One thing to bear in mind, is that since this is a treadmill controller with safety features, every time you turn it on it needs to be zeroed (otherwise it will not enable) and run back up to speed. I'm using a treadmill drive to run a variable speed conveyor belt. I spliced in a switch in place of the safety key, and flip that off to stop and then back on to start it.