Extension cord for treadmill, ok?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by mrmichaeljmoore, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I just got a new Reebok treadmill.
    The manual says that I should not use an extension cord.

    But the only location that I can put the treadmill is out of reach of the outlet.

    Can I use some sort of heavy duty extension cord? Anyone have any recommendations?
    I have an appliance extension cord (12 gauge, 9 ft long)....will that work?

    I realize I can have an electrician come in a put in another outlet....but I would rather not do that.

    Thanks for the help.
    mike
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Using a sufficiently-heavy extension cord is not going to cause any damage to the treadmill, but it still could be a safety issue in more ways than one ... with pets, children, people stepping on and off or getting to and from ...

    I will use a cord when I need one, but I also try to never need one.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,814
    Location:
    New England
    If the cord has large enough conductors, you should be okay. Your situation is one reason why current building codes require so many outlets in a house...there would be an outlet close enough where you didn't need and extension cord!

    The problem comes where some people would put in an extension cord designed for a lamp...maybe something like 18g wire, and it could overheat and cause a fire...the voltage drop on a high current device would also potentially overheat things like the motor windings.
  4. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
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    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    I wouldn't cut the cord if it's new, that would probably void the warranty. I use heavy duty short extension cords when needed
    One on a double hot plate, another on a heater
    Never permanent
    Don't run it under a rug
  5. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I would add a new outlet. Extension cords just aren't safe for things like that at all. You might be running for your life.
  6. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    Short heavy duty extension cord - no problem. But what about your house wiring? If your treadmill is rated at 1500 watts or more you should go with a new dedicated circuit just for the treadmill.
    -rick
  7. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    NO wonder people die early. They want to refuse to use mfg instructions.
    Cars give out early. Why do people want to go aganist mfg. instructions for safety all the time? Do they just not care?
    Things break. Warranty's voided! Why ask for others opinions when you already have the info you need from the mfg? Just to get away with something for convience. Dont touch that hot burner. Oh I didnt know I would get burned.

    Yes you may never have a problem with doing what you are wanting. But you never know. Best to follow Mfg. guidelines!
  8. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    You can be 100% sure that a new outlet costs $***.
    Maybe you are 5% sure that your voided warranty will be discovered over the life of the warranty. How much does 5% of a warranty on a new treadmill cost?

    Decision Theory 101:D
  9. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Thanks for all the responses....

    I am going to use a 12 gauge, 9 ft cord. That is the heaviest gauge (and shortest) I could find at the local stores.

    I am going to plug it in to the washing machine outlet, so it will be on a dedicated 20amp breaker by itself. Obviously, I will use the treadmill when the washer is NOT in use. Plus, I will unplug the washer when using the treadmill.

    When the treadmill is not in use, it will be unplugged....so there are no issues of someone falling over the cord.

    I don't have the expertise to cut the wire and add length....plus, it would definitely affect the warranty I am sure.

    Thanks for the help. now it's time to get running...
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    ?

    quote; Splice a longer cord of the same or larger AWG # into the existing cord. It's cheaper to buy an extension cord of the right gauge and cut the ends off, than to buy cable.
    You can probably double the length this way, but you'll compromise its tensile strength somewhat.
    You'll need solder, an iron, heat shrink tubing and a candle or gas flame to shrink the tubing.


    That may be the most useless advice in a long time.
    1. Cutting the cord might void the warranty, it would in most cases.
    2. He was intending to buy the correct gauge extension. If he has the correct cord, he also has the connections to plug it into the wall and treadmill.
    3. Why do something that might "compromise its tensile strength", needlessly.
    4. What if does not have an iron, solder, tubing, or a gas flame? I suppose he could find a candle somewhere. And what about some matching color electrical tape to wrap around the shring tubing?
  11. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    OK. . .not a fan of Decision Theory. . .!

    My problem is the contact impedance of using an extension cord, but if all the plugs grip the sockets firmly, I guess it'll be OK.
    Besides, maybe this thing only pulls about 1hp; that is not a lot of current at 120v so impedance may not be that important.

    I've lengthened many cords over years and not had a problem, but not cords designed for outdoor use because splicing this way compromises weatherproofness. Didn't match the colors, though. . .

    If there are awards for bad movies, bad books, etc., I don't see why I shouldn't be nominated for a "bad post award." :)

    And, speaking of decisions, if my bad posts outweigh my good posts by some unacceptable margin, throw me off this forum.
    It is not my place to make that decision, but it might be yours.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  12. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    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!
  13. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    Mr. HJ, I should thank you forcing me to question how much importance I should place on a post like yours.

    Regards, and good luck to Cookie!:)
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    ?

    Well, I read a report by emergency room doctors last week and one of them said, "Avoid anyone called Dude, or Some Fella", probably Some Guy also, because they are the ones who shoot you or start beating up on you. One good post can cover for a lot of bad ones. Just be sure you do have a good one now and then.
  15. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina

    You miss the whole purpose of the post!
    The manufacture does know the best way to maintain your equiptment.
    Also to tell someone to do something that the MFG specs and the UL listing espically in writing leaves you open to liabel yourself if something happens.
    Do what you want but when it blows up in your face ( Metaphorically ) Who do you want to blame?
  16. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,529
    Location:
    North Carolina

    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.
  17. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
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    What are the variables?
  18. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    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 ??

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  19. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,529
    Location:
    North Carolina

    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.
  20. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,529
    Location:
    North Carolina

    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.
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