Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to disable the buzzer on a treadmill in 8 steps

I bought a treadmill to use at my standing desk at work. It's just a cheap one, the Exerpeutic TF1000 Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill. Given that it's not a, uh, deluxe model, there is no way to control the volume of the beep it makes, nor a way to disable it.

And wow does it like to beep. It makes two beeps when you first power it on, to say that it's boot-up test completed. Then it beeps when you press the Start button, and it does a 3-beep countdown as it's about to start, and it beeps every time you modify the speed — which you have to do a lot, since it changes in only 0.1–mile increments.

Since I'm using this treadmill in an open office plan, that beep had to go. Even if I were using it the treadmill at home, I want that beep to go! So here is what I did to kill the annoying beep (do at your own risk, unplug the treadmill & ground yourself, etc etc):

Step 1: open the console

Get a Phillips screwdriver and unscrew the back of the console.

Step 2: unscrew the circuit board

Set aside the back of the console and unscrew the circuit board too.

Step 3: identify the buzzer

See the little black cylinder in the top center of the circuit board? That is the buzzer that makes the terrible beeping!

Step 4: flip the circuit board over

Be careful when flipping over the circuit board — the LCD screen is just taped onto the board, not soldered, and it will fall off if you bump the board around too much. (If that happens, just put it back in place. The circuit board screws hold it in place.

Step 5: identify the trace to cut

On the back side of buzzer, identify the copper traces that connect to it. Those are the traces that need to be cut to shut up the buzzer. (See the next step, showing the trace cut, if you're not sure which ones I mean.)

Step 6: cut the trace

Use an exacto knife or similar to cut the copper trace to the buzzer. (I didn't have an exacto knife handy, so I made do with a puship and a pair of scissors. I don't really recommend those tools, but they got the job done.)

Step 7: confirm the trace is cut

Get some good light in there to verify that the copper is no longer continuous.

Step 8: make sure the buttons are "loose"

When I first put the console back together, I realized that my Start button was stuck down on the left side, and pushed up on the right side. So I had to open the console up again, unscrew the circuit board to un-stick the button, jiggle things around until the button was "loose" again, and the re-close the console.

So! Make sure your button is not stuck before closing up the console.

Success! No more annoying beeps!


Friday, April 12, 2013

CrossFit Seattle: not a "cult" gym

So @PhDinParenting on Twitter shared a post their personal trainer wrote about CrossFit.

And I have to say whoa, that is not my CrossFit gym at all! Thankfully!

"Everybody does the same exercise, with the same load, for the same reps with absolutely no respect to form and technique. Get it up with any means necessary."

This is so opposite of my gym, CrossFit Seattle! My gym won't even let you join the group classes until you've done three 1:1 sessions with a trainer to focus exclusively on form, because they don't want you to just jump into classes, not know what you're doing, push yourself too hard, and hurt yourself.

Then, once you're in the group classes, each individual is lifting different weights, depending on ability. And the trainers absolutely modify exercises for newbies or people with medical conditions. Because I'm a weak newbie myself (everybody's gotta start somewhere), the trainers have lowered my weights, reps, or changed the exercise entirely to something more appropriate for where I'm at as an individual. The other members are equally supportive of starting at where you're at, which is great.

I've also seen no evidence of other cult-like aspects I've heard ascribed to CrossFit. Namely, I've seen no one encouraged to "work until they puke"(!), pressured into adopting toe-shoes, or converted to a Paleo diet. Everyone looks like they're working with high intensity, but in a sustainable manner, not a crazed manner. People wear a variety of things, and no one seems judgmental or even caring about what you're wearing. I've overheard two members talking after a workout about how they eat, but it seems like a normal conversation about health, not anything evangelical.

In short, I'm thankful that I chose my CrossFit gym based on coworkers' specific recommendations of it as a "non-cult-ish" CrossFit place. I think I'm getting a challenging yet safe workout from CrossFit Seattle.