Hacking the Treadmill

I’ve been wanting to get back to posting more tech stuff on here, despite most of my time and energy seeming to get consumed with the fitness stuff, so the other night at the gym the thought struck me that the opportunity was right there in front of me the whole time.

The gym has some pretty nice treadmills, and you can either go free-form and adjust all the settings as you go, or choose from a variety of predefined programs to run through. You can also program out your own workout routine (once you figure it out), but the drawback is that it takes a while to punch in everything, and you can’t save it, so going through all that trouble to do a custom one usually isn’t worth it.

As I was experiementing with this feature the other night, I noticed that there was a part of the interface that does actually let you save custom programs: the personal trainer menus. The only drawback to that is that you need a personal trainer PIN code to access them. While I suppose I could have asked someone who worked there about it, and either been told that I would have to pay for a trainer (not interested) or that they had no idea how to do it themselves anyway (much more likely), I figured that the most probable situation was that they never use this functionality, so they would probably never mind or even know if I decided to.

If you’ve ever played with things like this before, one of the first things you learn is that devices requiring short numeric codes like this often have some sort of factory default “master code” that will unlock everything and get you started. Since most people probably never use the programming features, I suspected that they would not have bothered to ever even type this in, much less change it to something else. With some quick internet research via my phone, I was shortly in possesion of the master PIN code, which of course worked.

From that main menu, I was then able to create myself a “personal trainer” PIN (no need to use the master one all the time), which would then allow me to log in any time in the future to enter and later recall my own programs. The only downside is that the machines are not networked in any way, so I’d have to repeat this procedure once for each one that I want to use this way. Usually getting a particular treadmill is no problem though, except on the weekend days when all ~20 are full.

So, whenever you’re faced with a consumer electronic device that isn’t quite behaving the way you’d like it to, just remember that everything is always on default.

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One Response to Hacking the Treadmill

  1. Dave Z says:

    oh wow! have you ever hacked a coke machine?

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