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> Odd iFit Boot Loop Fix
Posted by prox, from Seattle, on April 03, 2018 at 22:47 local (server) time

tl;dr I ran into a boot loop issue with my NordicTrak treadmill.  Turning off NTP solved the problem.

My wife and I purchased a NordicTrak C 990 treadmill in late 2016.  It doesn't get all that much use (I still prefer going to the pool and swimming) but we both periodically use it.  I have an iFit membership that's mostly a waste of money but allows the machine to report and track my workouts online.

The control plane of the machine runs Android 2.x and has always felt pretty brittle outside of the iFit application.  Connecting to Wi-Fi, for example, is done through the Android system dialog screens rather than through an iFit-branded screen.

Anyway, the whole system was working fine until I decided to use it today.  I put the key in and Android indicated it couldn't connect to Wi-Fi.  So, I power cycled the system (naturally).  Upon reboot the iFit screen would load but then after 10-15 seconds trigger a reboot of Android.  I searched around and found instructions like this that described how to reinstall the iFit application.  However, these instructions didn't work for me because even if I could draw the "figure 8" on the screen to exit the iFit application's splash page, the OS would still reboot seconds later.

I took a guess that something Wi-Fi-related was causing the reboot so I shut the 2.4GHz radios on my two Cisco WAPs (the treadmill is one of two devices that still use 2.4GHz only).  The reboots stopped.  Something network-related was definitely causing it.  Maybe it's some update check that is returning a value that is triggering a bug in Android?  So, I ran tcpdump(8) on my local router.  I started a continuous ping and the last packets transferred before the system rebooted were NTP queries.  Thinking that something time-related was killing the OS I went into Android settings and disabled network-provided time.  The system was still stable after boot even when Wi-Fi is on, now.

The system date was 2012-01-01 so I tried setting it to 2018-04-03.  Instantly, the system locked up and after a few seconds rebooted.  I even tried setting it to a last known good date earlier in the year when I knew the treadmill was still working - same thing, triggered a reboot.  It would appear that either something in the OS can't handle the date changing too drastically or there's something that can't handle a 2018 date.

So, the treadmill is functional but I now can't login to my iFit account.  I'm guessing that somehow the date is passed as one of the login parameters and the iFit platform rejects the login attempt.  I'll play more with it later and will not be renewing my iFit membership if I still can't login.

Hopefully this post will be useful to someone who's given up and about to buy a new treadmill..

Update: I played around with setting the date a bit more.  Even setting it to 2012-01-02 triggers a reboot.  It would appear the date can't actually be set, now.

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