By Simon Gould
The key of a treadmill is usually referred to, as the safety key. This is the key that should be attached to the treadmill and yourself. When you come off the treadmill then the key becomes detached and the equipment stops. Nearly all treadmills have a safety key and are an important safety feature. A treadmill shouldn’t work without the key.
A treadmill can work without the key
There are times you may want your treadmill to work without a key. If you have lost your key or it is broken, then there are ways you can bypass the wiring so your treadmill thinks the key is in. This takes quite a lot of expertise and knowledge of electrical circuits and wiring. Plus you need the tools to uncover part of the treadmill and bypass the safety switch.
An electrician will typically have everything you need to undertake this task. This will include eletrical, wire, electrical tape, crimp connectors and a wire stripper. What you will need is the Allen wrench that came with the treadmill when it was bought and installed. This wil help remove the covers around the console. Any electrician should be very familar with the way a safety key works.
Know that if you open the cover of the treadmill and start doing electrical work on it. You will almost certainly void the warranty, if it still has time remaining. If you don’t know anything to do with electrics, then perhaps you know someone who does. This is especially the case with insertion safety keys, this is because they are specific to the treadmill manufacturer.
For those treadmills that use a magnet as part of the key, you can use any magnet to form the circuit and make the machine usable. If the key is broken then you may have the magnet intact. For those treadmills that have an insertion key then that maybe a bit more difficult. Your manufacturer should sell them so it may be wise to reach out to them.
If you’ve simply lost your key or it doesn’t work anymore then treadmill safety keys really are quite cheap. Amazon has a range* of keys and they are all less than $10. If you have children or pets around then the key is quite important for safety. It’s also possible to make a replacement key which requires a few tools and won’t void a warranty.
So in summary, no, a treadmill won’t work without a safety key. But as you can see there are many work arounds to get over this problem. I run on a treadmill at my local gym and I don’t see anyone ever using the key. It’s a bit like a safety feature that’s never used. You might be like this with your treadmill.
It seems strange that such a small device can render the whole treadmill inoperable. But that’s the way they’re made today. Perhaps these treadmill manufacturers want to protect themselves from possible lawsuits from injured users. A lost safety key doesn’t mean you have to go without your treadmill for long. As above, there are many things you can do and you’ll be back exercising very soon.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*