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Inexpensive Alternative to TreadDesk Treadmill

Hey all, I've been walking/working on my treadmill desk for over 2 weeks and I'm lovin' it.  I'm so glad I took the plunge!

Here's my setup: I got an IKEA Fredrik desk off of Craigslist for free (lucky for me, it still looks brand new) and I configured it for standing height.  Then, after standing for a week, I realized my feet actually feel BETTER moving and shifting weight, so a week later, I purchased a treadmill that I've had my eye on at Amazon for a while - the Confidence Power Plus Treadmill.  I gravitated toward it because: A) It was a really inexpensive NEW electric treadmill ($239) and none of the Craigslist options looked appealing to me, B) The footprint of it is really small and would fit under my desk nicely, C) It was advertised as lightweight (I hate bulky equipment) and C) The handlebars APPEARED to be easy to disassemble completely.  The only problem was, there wasn't that much information about it, especially for treadmill desk users.  Luckily, I was confident in Amazon's return policy so I thought I'd be the guinea pig for the treadmill desk community. :)

Verdict: I couldn't be happier!  The treadmill is super light yet sturdy, very quiet, and the console is small and was easy to disassemble from the handlebars.  Check out my photo to see it - I believe it's comparable to the $820 Tread Desk treadmill, yet the speed goes as high as 10mph.  The only downside is that it automatically stops after 30 minutes, but I don't mind this " feature" and I've grown to like it very much.  It reminds me to take a little break, stretch, and tally up all of the 30 minute sessions I've done for the day.  It goes as slow as 1mph, but I've gone as fast as 3.4mph when I'm doing less intensive tasks such as surfing the web or replying to casual emails. :)

 

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Amy is 5'2", I don't think her setup will work for you. One of the obstacles to this project if to find your keyboard and monitor height. Use boxes, books, or whatever you can find and do the experiment to find your correct height. Plus the height when you're sitting down on a stool for example. That's why an adjustable height desk is an excellent choice if you can afford it.

Yes, that's what I was wondering.  It seems you can set the desktop and cross-brace as high as you want (I'd like my desktop at 49-52"), but how would that affect the sturdiness of the desk?  Would it be prong to tip over?  Could I mount the monitor shelf in the opposite direction to help balance it?

Would not recommend the cheaper alternative to the treaddesk. We have 4 treaddesks in our offices (the oldest one is 4 years old)and one of my partners read the post by Amy about this cheaper option and purchased one of the Confidence Power Plus treadmills to try and save money, but we had problems right from the start. First of all it was much louder than the Treaddesk and after only 2 weeks it became so loud we could not use it while on the phone so we returned it for another one. It too was much louder and after 28 days, the motor completely stopped so we returned it for a full refund. It was obviously not built for walking at slow speeds which the Treaddesk was. This is the case with most treadmills, in that they are built to be used at faster speeds for only 30-60 minutes. Using a treadmill at 1-2mph is hard on them if they are not designed properly like the treaddesk is for this specific use. I guess its another case of you get what you pay for.  

I would recommend buying a treadmill that is both quiet AND can adjust for incline.  After all, there's nothing magical or exclusive about Treaddesk's quietness.  It's just a matter of treadmill quality.

Hi Amy,

I had to problem solve to get Confidence Treadmill to Hawai'i - they wouldn't ship - but it is here now and I have a question.  I would like to start slower than 1 mph and then increase.  Do you know if there is any way to set the speed slower?  And have any other desks turned out to work well?  I have one that might work if on books, but it is glass and metal and I suspect not a good choice.

Thanks,

Carol

Carol, I haven't seen Amy's reply to anyone since I got on board months ago. Here is my 2 cents. No, you can not lower the speed than 1 mph. Any desk should do well since you can take the console out of the handle bars. With you being in Hawaii and sounds like it's hard to get the Confidence, I would advice you to put a cooling fan on the motor. I would drill holes in the lower cover with the idea of using a small fan to blow the air through these hole for a natural convection by aiming it sideways to upward. But be careful when you open up the cover as you could get capacitor shock if you had the machine plugged in. Read my posts on this thread about these things. I've discussed both cooling fan and capacitor shock. Since you're light, you might be able to get away with using the Confidence for long hours like Amy. But the ambient temp in Hawaii is probably higher than where Amy lives. And if you look at her pic, you'll see lots of space and she could have a good air circulation in her room which helps with the cooling of the motor. Many people have their motor burned out including Ted Cowan whom I discussed with on this thread. I know for a fact that the motor gets very hot after 1 hour. And without extra cooling, it's a matter of time before it will die if you continue to use for long hours. Hope this helps.

I did the same thing! Have you noticed that the treadmill has a slight incline though? I used it for about 6 hours today and it seemed to be bothering my ankle to walk "slightly" uphill. I put a book to prop up the back and it seemed to help. Is that an ergonomic problem, or do I personally just have a weak ankle...? 

http://www.brainlings.com/treadmill-desk-diary/

Fabulous Idea!  What is the height from floor to bottom of treadmill at the front?  I was thinking of using a hospital "over the bed table" for my keyboard and mouse at work.  Wondering if it would fit underneath the front of the machine without using the treadmill handlebars.  What do you think?  Thanks, Frances

I purchased one of these mainly because I didn't want to spend the money for a tread desk until I was sure I would keep it up. I weigh around 190 and tried to walk 5+ hours a day at 2 MPH on the confidence. To get 2MPH I had to set up around 3.5. I ended up leaving using the bolts for the handles as supports and just placed short 2x4 under each of them. In the course of trying to use this I

1) removed the really annoying buzzer.

2) replaced the whole control panel with a simple home brew thing so it would not stop every 30 minutes

3) cutting a rather large hole in the plastic above the motor to try and keep it from getting hot and smelling.

It took me a while to work through all this, but once this was done I did start using it for 5+ hours a day. This lasted about 3 weeks and then one of the side frame rails broke where the tab that mounts the
 wood board connects to it.

Even though I wish I'd just bought the tread desk to begin I have no complains about the confidence. It did its job in convincing me that walking wasn't going to be an issue.  I knew the unit was very light duty when I bought it. A smaller person might not have the structural failure I had.

I noticed that the fix for turning off the sound wasn't mentioned. I really hated that annoying beeping sound (and so did everyone else in my apartment complex) so I figured out how to disable it. I made a little tutorial for it on my blog, hope it helps someone! http://www.treadmilldeskdiary.com/setting-up-my-confidence-power-pl...

Hello all. People still look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them about my Walking Desk...

I assume I am not alone...

I am moving up in the world from a DIY walking desk;

To a Ikea Fredrik desk/Confidence Treadmill...

I have read everything there is to ready about this solution and I am just hoping that I don't get a dud. It seems like the Amazon seller is very professional and responsive which goes a long way in calming my fears.

I am also a FitBit convert. I like that I can see what goes into my mouth and what I work off during the day on and off my Walking Desk. I have lost something in the range of 8-10 pounds and well on my way to hitting my goal by early April (according to FitBit).

The biggest take-away for me from this whole experience is the "reprogramming" that I am under going; learning to eat what I burn off and that everything is an opportunity to burn a calorie. I also really like working while walking.

So far I been able to sucessfully do the following while walking; general computing productivity, writing/deep thinking, photo editing, video editing, website (WordPress) construction and reading. Some of the stuff I do requires a delicate hand on the trackpad/Wacom tablet all of which I have been able to achieve.

I have enjoyed and appreciated hearing other people's stories, so please keep sharing.

Happy walking.

Paul.

So after three years of regular use, my Confidence treadmill has just expired beyond any hope of repair, and I figured I’d share what I’ve learned from the experience.  First of all, I think it’s best not to remove the handles completely and rest the treadmill on its plastic base.  I recommend taking the handles to a metal shop and getting them cut off an inch or two above the point where they support the treadmill.

The reason for this is that there’s a circuit board mounted directly on the inside of the base, on four plastic posts which are part of the base itself.  The board handles mains power, converting it to the right level to run the motor at the selected speed, so there’s an electrical and fire hazard if it’s damaged.  The problem is that the plastic base isn’t designed to take your weight; it flexes a little with every step on the treadmill, and that flexing puts strain on both the plastic posts and the circuit board itself.  In my case, one of the posts snapped, damaging the board in the process.  The result was a treadmill which suddenly went from 1kph to top speed and which couldn’t be stopped except by switching the mains power off.  

Keeping the handles in place will also keep the treadmill at the angle it was designed for, which will reduce both power consumption and wear on the motor.

Second, I recommend you all make sure the mains power switch on your treadmill, or better yet a separate switch which will physically cut power to the treadmill, is easily reachable without getting things like fingers and hair near the running belt.  Here in the UK every wall outlet has a switch for exactly this reason.  I didn’t suffer much aside from a slightly bruised dignity, but it could easily have been worse.

Hope this is useful.  I’ve been happy with the Confidence Power Plus so far, expecially given its price, so I’m ordering another to replace it.

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