I never really thought of a treadmill as a Van der Graph generator but when you think of it, that is what it is: a horizontal Van der Graph genrator. I would have thought that manufacturers would of put some sort of grounder idler roller to drain the static charge incorporate some sort of conductive treatment on the belt. But marketing and cost reductions have probably overruled engineering. I'll be the PCBs in the treadmill probably has good shielding and grounding to reduce warranty costs.
Some decades ago we computerized the admissions department at a series of entertainment venues. The initial installations were in coastal Florida, where the humidity was high and we had no problems.
At a newer site in New Jersey the installation was in the cold weather and the terminals were resetting at random. We eventually figured out that the tellers' uniforms were rubbing up a static charge as they shifted on their stools, then the terminal would get zapped as they touched it to process the next patron. The fix was to install a conductive plastic cover over the seat cushion. We also removed the rubber tips from the stools' metal legs so that the stool would ground itself to the masonry floor.
In retrospect, attaching a length of sash chain to the bottom rung of the stool might have worked as well to ground the legs. But it might have created a tripping hazard.
That was most likely due to the static charge built up on the skin of your aircraft just from airflow. Rotary wing aircraft are particularly susceptible to this issue. Don't they always have you ground the skin before you put fuel in your plane? I'm not a pilot, but I have spent more than a few hours coming and going off of vaious flight lines, usually hauling a ruck.
I had a Medical instrument the was reported to reboot in a Swedish operating room that had very bad static charge issues. We could not duplicate the problem with a local unit, so the aquired the Swedish unit. I could not get it to fail with my sparky stick. The only clue was it happened when it was set for full volume. The volume control was for a anoying vacume level warbler sound. (so I always set it to minimun) I finnaly tried it at full volume. As it turns out the volume control pot set at maximum allowed a spark into the A/D which latched up the CPU, While a low volume setting sent the spark into ground.
Good idea to pull the batteries. Didn't work, though. Not sure what the right way would be to discharge the alleged capacitor. I might try to remove the batteries and then short the DC + and - together. Otherwise, I'll have to take a look inside.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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