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I've recently started getting shocked from the treadmills at the gym whenever I touched the buttons on their console. It's getting seriously hard to use them because the shock is not mild it's rather harsh. Now apart from talking to the manager and having them look at them is there something else I can do to avoid it?

I was thinking of taking a wooden stick like a wooden toy or whatever and touch the buttons using that stick. Will that still shock me?

Update 1:

So I tried using a wooden pencil that had a rubber eraser on one end. I was tapping the console buttons with the eraser and I could hear a 'zap' sound but I didn't feel the shock except once although not sure why. Maybe I should remove the lead from the pencil.

Update 2:

So what I ended up doing that seems to work is I got a pencil and wrapped it in electrical tape. I tap the buttons of the treadmill using the rubber end of the pencil and today at least I never got shocked. I am curious about wearing an antistatic wrist bracelet but it seems I have to order it online as I can't find one in a store here and then again I'm also kinda scared to use it to be honest :D Thank you all for your answers they were very helpful.

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It's your shoes rubbing the surface of the treadmill that are the problem, try different ones. You could try putting cotton socks over them, or wearing leather soled shoes, rather than rubber soles. Then you won't need wooden sticks, although that is a solution, but you may still get a discharge shock later.

The best way is to avoid static buildup in the first place.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well the funny thing is that this started happening only the last couple of weeks. I haven't changed anything but maybe the weather got colder which I guess helps produce more static electricity? $\endgroup$ – sirival Nov 4 '15 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ It's the humidity more than the temperature, have a read of this short article: electrostaticsolutions.blogspot.ie/2006/02/… anyway, you are getting the exercise, good for you:) $\endgroup$ – user81619 Nov 4 '15 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ Also, look at the last line on the link: The main factors contributing to static electricity indoors are floor covering and shoe sole materials, and furniture covers materials, and dry air conditions. There might be an anti-static spray for the treadmill or your shoes. $\endgroup$ – user81619 Nov 4 '15 at 14:35
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Here's a surefire solution: Get one of these, and fasten it to something conducting on the treadmill and around your wrist.

If you mind the cord very much, there are cordless one that work by ionizing the air. However, most ESD wriststraps advertised as "cordless" are a complete sham, so buyers beware. You can order one and open it up. If it has a piece of copper wool inside, it should make your shocks a lot less severe. Even the good ones don't help you with handling electronics. They just reduce the charge to a non-painful level. They don't reduce it enough to work with electronics.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskElectronics/comments/2gtegs/wireless_anti_static_wrist_strap_does_it_even_work/ckmr4tg

Then again, others argue, that these cordless wrist straps are all completely ineffective.

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One of the reasons that these types of shocks feel so bad is that you are touching the treadmill/doorknob/whatever with one of the most sensitive parts of your skin (viz. your fingertips). You can reduce the shock considerably by touching part of the display first with the back of your hand, so that the same energy is dissipated over a slightly larger and much less nerve-dense region. In addition you can reduce the pain entirely to zero if you are wearing something conductive like a metal bracelet or watch; touch the watch to the object while it remains in contact with your skin and you won't feel the spark at all until it's a strong enough DC current to, like, numb your muscles and such. (If it ever gets this bad, then the problem is probably not static electricity, but even if it is, stop using the treadmills: powerful currents, even DC ones, are a real health hazard you do not want to mess with.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Would a stainless steel watch work? From what I read stainless steel is not a very good conductor, but my watch is made of that $\endgroup$ – sirival Nov 6 '15 at 6:34
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Notice, insulators (like dry wood, rubber, leather, neutal latex etc. ) are bad conductors of electricity i.e. they don't allow the current to pass through. So if you use wooden stick then can avoid shock.

It's better if you use shoes with insulated soles (like leather) to avoid electric shocks at moderate voltage because they avoid body contact with the Earth surface.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is this true about the soles? My nike soles are rubber. I read that since they are insulators then rubbing them on other insulators like treadmill floors creates static electricity on the body. $\endgroup$ – sirival Nov 5 '15 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ Because the charge is developed on the surface by friction. But insulators don't allow the current to pass through them $\endgroup$ – Harish Chandra Rajpoot Nov 5 '15 at 6:56

protected by Qmechanic Nov 6 '15 at 11:13

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