# connect computer to magnetic exercise bike

I recently bought a york 3350 exercise bike.

I would like to get more information out of the system than is currently displayed in the console (totals etc, so info that can be obtained from the current system).

The online manual is here (poor images, sorry).

I was hoping it might be possible to use the cable connections that are current on the bike. I.e. where it connects from the front post to the console there is a connection, could I get a cable that would go into that, split into two, one for the computer and one for the console. This would hopefully mean I would still be able to use the console to use the bike at all times, just as before. I would also be able to, (in a read only fashion, at least), get the information into the computer to read out the results as they are created.

As I side note, I am a C# (.net) developer, not sure what other language I would need, assembly / c / C++?

Regards

back of console where it connects.

back of console where it connects.

cable that goes into back of console

join in cable between base unit and front stem to console

join in cable between base unit and front stem to console opened.

-
I can't believe that they actually posted a faxed manual on their website! –  AndrejaKo Apr 7 '12 at 18:38
Anyway the manual is useless. Post nice, focused, clear and sharp image of the connector. Also if you can, post images of the what the cable goes into on the bike itself. We might be able to determine how the signal is sent from that. –  AndrejaKo Apr 7 '12 at 18:41
Also most likely, you'll need to do some work with C and assembly. The usual solution here is once you determine what exactly is being sent over the cable, get a microcontroller to monitor the signals and connect it to the PC in some way (usually serial port or USB) and then process the data on PC from that point on. Today most microcontrollers can be programmed their own variant of C, so you probably won't need to learn the assembly for the microcontroller you'll use. –  AndrejaKo Apr 7 '12 at 18:45
sorry if the images are not good enough... could not find the decent camera so used mobile. if they need improving will be able to do that tomorrow. Thanks –  Jon Apr 7 '12 at 19:31
@Jon - I would suggest you take the bike apart, and get a look at the sensors themselves. That's by far the easiest way to figure out what the wires are doing. You could try to guess by analysing the signals on the wires, but that's orders of magnitude harder then just taking things apart until you can get to the sensor's and then just looking their part numbers up/tracing the circuit boards out. –  Connor Wolf Apr 8 '12 at 6:06

# Physical Connector

Parts list in the manual shows part 18 - middle wire. If you had spare 1x or 2x of those, you would have enough material to build the bifurcated cable to connect to a computer. You may be able to buy it from York Fitness, pretending that you need it for repairs. (In fact, there is a parts order form in the end of the manual.)

# Raw Sensor Signals

Parts list in the manual shows parts 17 and 28 and mentions sensors. It's possible that the console takes raw sensor inputs. These may be analog signals.

In this case, you would need a data acquisition (DAQ) device for the PC. There are lots of small USB-based DAQ boxes on the market. To name a few: National Instruments USB-6008, LabJack, DATAQ. Some of them have API for .NET.

Obviously, you may have to do some reverse-engineering. Get to the sensors, try to identify what they are, look-up datasheets for them. Observe the signals at the connector pins with an oscilloscope.

# CSAFE

A more remote possibility is that your exercise bike supports CSAFE (Communications Specification for Fitness Equipment). It's an RS232-based protocol. The specification is public.

-
Commercial data-acquisition systems are expensive. I would recommend determing what the sensors are, and then building whatever signal conditioning is required to feed them into a cheap DIY proto system, like a arduino, or a netduino, if you want .net. –  Connor Wolf Apr 8 '12 at 6:09
@FakeName Small commercial DAQ cost between $30 and$150. I would argue that commercial DAQ approach would take less time and engineering risk. A benefit of commercial DAQ (at least to me) is that it usually requires just one piece of software - that on PC side. –  Nick Alexeev Apr 8 '12 at 15:48