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Thread: Extension cord for treadmill, ok?

  1. #16
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedL View Post
    Most instructions I've read in the last ten or twenty years appear to have been written by the legal department, not the engineering department.

    Go read your car warranty. Most manufacturers specifically disclaim any warranty of "merchantabilty or suitability for a particular purpose". So, no warranty that your car is suitable for transporting a few human beings on paved roads. That's something to put your blind faith in!

    I think what codeone was addressing was the code issues of the manufacturing instructions such as this.

    110.3(B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.

    If the manufacturer said don't use a cord then don't use a cord plain and simple. This also means that a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory has tested the piece of equipment without the use of a cord therefore the manufacturer of the equipment must include the verbiage to not use a cord in their instructions.

    There has been a bunch of talk in this thread about wire size and all but not one of these geniuses has said a word about this treadmill being a motor driven piece of equipment and the current draw being more than the end cap of a cord can handle. Now instead of having one place where the connections are made with spring metal and blade he has two. Each will give a little more resistance to the circuit and this resistance is in series with an inductor (the motor). Anyone here smart enough to do a RL calculation?

    But then again some of the people who have responded to this poor soul just don’t have any experience dealing with electricity except what they have read on a web site so I wouldn’t listen to someone who has worked in the electrical field for more years than most in here are old either.

  2. #17

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    What are the variables?

  3. #18
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    The main point would be how much power the treadmill pulls, size of the motor

    You know the screw in adapters?
    Screw it in & you can plug 2 items in right?
    But how many people check the engraving on the item that states its only good for about 660 watts ??

    Last edited by Scuba_Dave; 02-08-2009 at 06:37 PM.
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  4. #19
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    What are the variables?

    The variables will be proportionate to the time and use to the equipment.

    The more the cord cap is inserted and pulled out the more the spring of the device will weaken and the more resistance it will have. The more resistance it has the more arcing will occur thus the more resistance. This resistance is additive and will grow each and every time the equipment is used.

    In an RL circuit or a circuit that has an inductor in series with a resistor the total impedance of the circuit will be the square root of the resistance squared plus the inductance squared.

    In any series circuit the current is the same throughout the circuit. This added current will be added to the windings of the motor which will at some point in time burn out the motor.

    Should the piece of equipment have digital components such as speed, time, distance ect…. this will see the effects of the added current draw first.

    It will happen and this you can rest assured on.

  5. #20
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
    The main point would be how much power the treadmill pulls, size of the motor

    The current draw of the treadmill will change with the size of the person using it as well as the speed that it is running.

    Couple this with the resistance of a dying cord cap and receptacle and watch that piece of equipment slowly die.

  6. #21
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
    You know the screw in adapters?
    Screw it in & you can plug 2 items in right?
    But how many people check the engraving on the item that states its only good for about 660 watts ??

    Can you find a UL mark on that?

  7. #22

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    My tread has various sensors, a pulse, a fan, motor, and a few other extras which are nice to have but all add up. My tread is capable of high speeds and can carry a weight of 275 lbs, I made sure of that because of my 2 big sons. I use a single-outlet surge suppressor that is UL 1449 (TVSS) and also, a UL suppressed voltage rating of 400 volts and a minimum surge dissipation of 450 joules. The surge suppressor must be electrically rated for 120 volts AC and 15 amps. I do not use anything else on that circuit no other appliances. I=E/R = 1 volt / 1 Ohm = 1 amp

    The treadmill must be grounded. If it should malfunction or break down, grounding provides a path of least resistance for electric current to reduce the risk of electric shock. My treadmill is equipped with a cord having an equipment-grounding conductor and a grounding plug. My treadmill is not compatible with GFCI-equipped outlets; for use on a nominal 120-circuit.

    I knew once of a treadmill which was left plugged in and caught on fire and burned down an apt building. There was one fatality.
    Last edited by Cookie; 02-08-2009 at 07:52 PM.

  8. #23
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Can you find a UL mark on that?
    I know I had 2 of them, I think one broke & I tossed it out
    Looked in my drawer of electrical odds & ends & & they aren't there
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  9. #24
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    I have at least one of these that is also rated at around 650 watts



    Triple taps that I have are rated at 15a

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  10. #25
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post

    If the manufacturer said don't use a cord then don't use a cord plain and simple. This also means that a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory has tested the piece of equipment without the use of a cord therefore the manufacturer of the equipment must include the verbiage to not use a cord in their instructions.
    So, plugging directly into a receptacle at the end of a daisy chain of 7 or 8 (or more) receptacles, wired in series using 14 ga. in the push-in holes in the back, is OK. Using a new 12 ga. 9 ft. extension cord, plugged into the first receptacle on a circuit wired with 12 ga., using screw terminals, is not OK because it introduces an extra spring tension connection. According to the manufacturer's installation & use instructions.

    Personally, rather than attempt the calculations, I'd plug in my Kill-a-watt and monitor the voltage during a use cycle. And feel the temp of the connections at the end of use.

    I'm all for safety and durability measures, based on reality and actual conditions. I retrofitted GFI and AFI, notwithstanding my homes were grandfathered. I've gone through and redone all the receptacles that the builder pushed the wires into (code acceptable). I use 20 amp spec grade receptacles for things like the laundry, refrig, freezer, microwave, for the safety & durability margin they give.

    (I also toss tires at 4/32 and change oil at 3 mo/3 k miles. I change tranny fluid at 15k and fuel filters at 60k, even though the manufacturer doesn't specify any interval.)

    I'm curious about one technical point: Does the quoted statement mean that any listed equipment which does not contain the "no extension cords" warning has been tested with extension cords?

  11. #26
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; The more the cord cap is inserted and pulled out the more the spring of the device will weaken and the more resistance it will have.

    What makes you think it will be plugged and unplugged more often with a cord than if it were directly into the socket. The reason for not recommending an extension cord is that some unenlightened people consider ALL cords equal as long as a device can plug into them, and has nothing to do with loss of tension and impedence.

  12. #27
    DIY Senior Member mrmichaeljmoore's Avatar
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    ummmm....wow, i didn't expect such a discussion over a treadmill and an extension cord....
    wow, and it has gotten a lot more scientific and techincal for my head.....

    anyway...........

    I used the treadmill this morning.
    I used an extension cord...no apparent problems.

    Here are the specs for the cord:
    6' long
    14 gauge
    15 Amp, 125V
    1875 Maximum Watts

    I plugged the cord into the washing machine outlet, which has a dedicated 20 amp circuit in my panel. (I unplugged the washer cord).

    thanks.
    mike

  13. #28
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    That should be OK...but find the rating plate on the treadmill that gives all the electrical specs and post what it says on there...

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    I knew once of a treadmill which was left plugged in and caught on fire and burned down an apt building. There was one fatality.
    I worked in R&D in the cardiovascular division of a large fitness company for a number of years and I've witnessed a number of treadmills go up, plugged in or not. I've had a treadmill shipped back to us after a fire marshall investigation and had it start smoking again as it sat (fault in the electronics and still-charged buss capacitors had something to do with this).

    I can also tell you the #1 cause for treadmill fires - not cleaning it. Think of your dryer vent, same idea. Underneath the treadmill, dust, dirt, ect all collect. Circuit boards, motors, bad connections, etc.. all run hot in a treadmill and the flash point of dust is low, especially in winter when everything is so dry.

  15. #30
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    quote; The more the cord cap is inserted and pulled out the more the spring of the device will weaken and the more resistance it will have.

    What makes you think it will be plugged and unplugged more often with a cord than if it were directly into the socket. The reason for not recommending an extension cord is that some unenlightened people consider ALL cords equal as long as a device can plug into them, and has nothing to do with loss of tension and impedence.
    May have something to do what what was said here

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmichaeljmoore View Post
    When the treadmill is not in use, it will be unplugged....so there are no issues of someone falling over the cord....

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