NordicTrack Incline Treadmill Accuracy Issue

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  • #46224
    bbarlin10
    Participant

    The attached article details my experience using Runn with Heartbeatz to obtain more accuracy from my NordicTrack X22i Incline Treadmill. I present a complete solution to fixing the inherent inaccuracy in my NordicTrack (could apply to any treadmill though) and getting the more accurate results into TrainingPeaks.

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  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #46280

    Thanks so much for doing all this research. I too use a Runn on my NT incline trainer. Your solutions will make my trainer even more useful. I’ve been measuring the angle and adjusting manually for each workout while using Runn to report the speed more accurately.

    The real question we should asking is why NT can build a $1500 device that is consistent in speed and angle. Mine has so so many problems I can’t begin to list them all here.

    Scott

    Participant
    bbarlin10 on #46288

    Scott, happy to be a very small part of your amazing creation, Uphill Athlete. I am electrical engineer by training so I tend to geek out on this stuff. I believe I understand why a the speed is a problem but not the angle. NT builds the incline trainer series treadmill for home consumption. As such they put the money into the fancy display and content (their iFit). Most people using it just don’t care. They want to be led through a workout and not think about it. They are not Training, the are exercising, a distinction I have heard you make in your podcast. The design problem is that the treadmill is household voltage. As such the motor is nowhere near as strong as a commercial 220V machine. So when you incline, the motor is not as strong as your legs, especially if you have a pack on. From a practical side you can feel it, as you incline you work harder and the machine speeds up, even though you never touch the speed controls. There could be a compensation circuit but as I stated it is not a priority for them. Why the incline does not work is beyond me. They even have a calibration mode for the machine, but as far as I can tell it doesn’t do anything. As far as it goes though, it is a great piece of equipment for a reasonable price, especially on the used market (pre COVID).

    Participant
    Brett on #46345

    Thanks for this. I wasn’t aware of this Runn device until now…definitely considering getting one for my NT Incline Trainer after reading your doc. I always assumed the speed and incline readings were inaccurate (moreso the speed), but didn’t realize how far off they could be. I always put my Incline Trainer at minimum incline (-3% on mine) to zero it out before starting my workouts, as I’ve found that if I start from any other % it is inaccurate and sometimes doesn’t even move when pressing the incline/decline buttons. I also never use the quick buttons to jump to a specific incline %, as I don’t trust them. I always increment .5% at a time and make sure I feel/hear it move after each press.

    Participant
    briguy on #46354

    Neat, thanks for sharing.

    I don’t have a Runn but I’m familiar having read some reviews. I use a Stryd to keep my treadmill “in check” as far as pace goes so roughly the same principle.

    Participant
    bbarlin10 on #46358

    Glad I could help. My problem with Stryd is that I really gauge my progress by vertical feet per hour with a pack on and that is not a real function of Stryd. It is generating power. I don’t run, I walk uphill slowly (in my case very slowly) so I really need a way to accurately track my vertical. I need every foot of credit on my training as I can get so that I don’t get too depressed with my slow progress (lol). I’m working on a solution for my Stairmaster next.

    Participant
    Brett on #52189

    I finally purchased one of these Runn devices. My NordicTrack incline trainer seems to be pretty spot on with the reported speed at 0% grade, but as noted, it definitely drifts more and more as the incline increases. I’m not confident yet in the incline reading for the device. Despite my treadmill being completely level as seen with a bubble level at 0%, the device reports +-3% consistently, even after calibrating. I believe it’s just due to small size of the device and the fact that a very small movement/tilt of the device can skew the data. It’s also frustrating that the company’s own Android app (GymTrakr) doesn’t even report elevation.

    Participant
    dagahdcom on #52227

    hi

    Participant
    bbarlin10 on #52231

    Unfortunately the real app you want is Heartbeatz which is only for Apple. It has all the data you want and appears to be where NPE is putting their S/W development. The GymTrakr is a POS and does not work reliably. NPE lists a number of apps that I have not tried as compatible. “Compatible with fitness apps and watches that track a footpod.” is their claim. So if you have a Polar or a Garmin watch you should be able to see the data being produced. Have you tried either of these units?

    As to accuracy, the NT calibration is a joke, don’t trust it. You are on the right track with a bubble level. As to what you are seeing, it depends on where you measure your baseline. Is it on the decking or the plastic frame? It is all relative to where you are mounting the unit. Not saying you didn’t measure properly but a picture like the ones I posted would help.

    At the end of the day, as long as you use the same metrics each day, your progress will be trackable over time on Training Peaks. However if you are like me I want credit for every foot I climb!

    Participant
    Brett on #52254

    I did find that GymTrakr does actually track elevation. I didn’t realize you could change the data display properties. I haven’t tried pairing it with my Garmin, as my HR monitor is already paired via ANT+. GymTrakr allows tethering the HR monitor through the app, which is really nice and allows having all the data in one spot. I’m not sure if possible to have Garmin track both devices, one via ANT+ and one via Bluetooth, but I do know that the Bluetooth on my watch is pretty unreliable.

    My biggest problem now is getting the reflective stickers to stay on the treadmill. Going to try supergluing them.

    Participant
    bbarlin10 on #52258

    Good to know. As to sticker, I put gorilla tape on the deck and then the sticker on the gorilla tape.

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