Electrical limit on treadmill selection


Old 04-18-07, 12:06 PM
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Location: Florida
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Electrical limit on treadmill selection

I want to buy a running treadmill. Good ones need 240V. Those are out of my scope. Decent ones still require 20A according to their web site. I only have 15A in the living room. In terms of motor hp, what is my limit?

EDIT: By the way, I just remembered that the main is right on the exterior of living room wall. This feeds to the main distribution panel located in the garage. The main on the exterior of living room has one 200A main cb and one 2 pole cb for 240V sprinkler pump. How difficult is it to tap from this circuit breaker? The wall is stucco (plywood+steel mesh sheath+cement cover).
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Old 04-18-07, 02:17 PM
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The best way to answer the question is to look at the nameplate rating of the treadmill. It will state the requirements (Amps or Watts). Most home-style treadmills will run just fine on a lightly loaded 15A circuit (without much else on it). I haven't seen one that requires 20A - at least until you get into the professional style ones.

If the circuit breaker box is nearby, you should be able to run a dedicated 20A circuit to the location of the treadmill. I'd recommend reading a good book or two about electrical wiring though if you want to do this.

DON'T try to tap off an existing breaker, whether it's 120v or 240v. You will most likely overload the circuit and cause more problems.

Hope this points you in the right direction.

Old 04-18-07, 02:24 PM
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You need a dedicated circuit for this treadmill.

Design the circuit for the treadmill. Either a 20 amp 120 volt circuit, or a 240 volt circuit per the manufacturers specs.

Last edited by racraft; 04-19-07 at 05:18 AM.
Old 04-18-07, 08:35 PM
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We have a runner in my family. If I buy a walking treadmill from WalMart, she will ruin it in no time. I am going to buy a used commercial grade. All commercial grade treadmills have 2 HP (continuous duty rating) or higher HP motor.

2 HP = 1500 W = 120 V x 12.5A.

Can a 15A circuit breaker take 12.5A continuous duty motor? When the motor starts, does it draw a current high enough to trip the circuit breaker?
Old 04-18-07, 09:33 PM
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Most, if not all, commercial grade treadmills have DC motors and an AC to DC speed control. If you start the treadmill at its lowest speed and ramp up to the higher speeds there should be no problem of starting surge currents.

A 15 ampere circuit will run at 15 amperes. Code requires that a circuit that carries a "continuous load" be operated at no more than 80% of its rating. Continuous load is defined as more than three hours.

If there is nothing else on the particular circuit that the treadmill is plugged into then it is unlikely to cause any problem. Even if a smaller load, a lamp or two, is on this same circuit it will probably be okay as long as the treadmill is not in "continuous" usage.
Old 04-19-07, 10:02 PM
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Thank you for answering all my questions.
Old 04-20-07, 05:36 AM
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I am hard on treadmills. My wife owns one and I got on it a few times after 2 years because I thought I would take it easy. Get caught up in the moment and 19 minites later the motor shuts down on thermal overload and wont start for 15 minites.
I worked at our local college gym as well as the YMCA and even their treadmills go down.
What I am saying is... I think you should get the commercial grade treadmill.
Old 04-20-07, 07:00 AM
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Frankiee wrote: "Get caught up in the moment and 19 minites later the motor shuts down on thermal overload and wont start for 15 minites."

Not an expert but that sounds like poor design to me. It would be absurd not to use a motor that can't handle the expected load with out over heating. Can you imagine if you needed to stop your car after fifty or sixty miles to let it cool down. Guesss though the manufactuer figures they can get away with it why not.

If I remember correctly what I learned on motors you can make them cheap and achieve horsepower by using a smaller amount of smaller gage wire or you can make them better and more reliable by using large gage wire but that requires more windings and more copper and of course higher cost. The heavy gage wire of course will handle the heat and current better.

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