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electric shock from headphones on treadmill


Nov 15, 05 7:36

Views: 6618
electric shock from headphones on treadmill

does anyone else get shocked by their headphones (earbuds actually) when they run on the treadmill?

the treadmills at my gym have little tv's, and you can plug in your headphones to listen to the audio. But every few minutes, I get a nasty shock.

Any ideas how to prevent this?


Nov 15, 05 7:41

Views: 6603
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [OWEN_MEANY]

Sounds like static electricity as a result of the friction between the belt and your shoes. I build it up on my treadmill and get shocked when I touch the frame. Sounds like in your case it builds up, and discharges through the ear buds since they are likely grounded to the frame. Touch the frame every so often to discharge yourself.

I wanna go fast!


Nov 15, 05 7:44

Views: 6596
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [OWEN_MEANY]

that's funny. our gym also recently upgraded to similar treadmills (the new Life Fitness models with LCD touch screens) and I had the same thing happen. it's most likely static build-up from the spinning rubber belt and every so often when your head phone cord hits the metal frame...zapp.....i found it to be more of an annoying zapp than a nasty shock.

run your headphone cord through your shirt or holding it so that it doesn't touch the metal should prevent this.

actually I'm surprised the machines don't have better grounding.


(This post was edited by seejimrow on Nov 15, 05 7:46)


Nov 15, 05 8:21

Views: 6545
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [OWEN_MEANY]

This used to happen to me a lot - but not every time.

The first time it happened was with new buds so I took them back.

The next ones I got worked fine, then one day, zap zap zap! So I put them away, the next time I used them everything was ok, then another time, zap zap zap. WTF?

The only thing I can figure out is that it starts to happen when I am on treadmill for a while and someone new comes in my vicinity - maybe they are carrying a lot of static electricity. It happens now very infrequently, but if I get that first zap, I am done for the day.


Nov 15, 05 8:21

Views: 6543
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [OWEN_MEANY]

Yes! I am a big head sweater, and after a few nasty zzzaps I never put those things on again. Don't want my brain to be a ground. The static electricity idea might be correct. Those jolts I felt were substantial. I still continued to use the treadmills until two of us were doing an interval on adjacent machines and overloaded the shared circuit, causing both treadmills to stop simultaneously. Now I know that you can fly off the back AND the front of a treadmill.


Nov 15, 05 8:25

Views: 6537
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [seejimrow]

I've tried running while holding the cord in the air so it wouldn't touch anything, but I still got zapped. So i don't think it's a matter of the chord hitting the frame. I DO think it's static, though. I just can't figure out how to stop it. Sometimes, the shock is substantial.

last tri in 83

Nov 15, 05 8:36

Views: 6520
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [OWEN_MEANY]

2014 LR poster of the year nominee. Moderate IQ category.


Nov 15, 05 8:37

Views: 6517
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [OWEN_MEANY]

If there is an emergency stop cord on the treadmill,try clipping it to yourself and see if that acts as a ground. The other way would be to make a jumper wire with some light gage wire and aligator clips from Radio Shack (or somewhere like it) and grounding yourself to the machine. Look dorky but it would end your shocks. People would only laugh until they realized you were the only one left with earbuds in.



Nov 15, 05 8:38

Views: 6513
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [OWEN_MEANY]

Its a new feature. You have to run faster to not get shocked. Just don't try to end your session early or you will be sorry...


Nov 15, 05 8:40

Views: 6506
Re: electric shock from headphones on treadmill [JohnG]

interesting. So where would I clip the wires? One set to my clothes and one the machine?