7 Common Causes of a Concept2 Rower Not Turning On and How to Troubleshoot Them

Concept2 Rower Not Turning On
Concept2 Rower Not Turning On

My concept2 rowing machine has been a great addition to my home.

Using it regularly has allowed me to feel and experience all of the predictable physical and mental improvements I could have hoped for.

However, using any machine regularly will mean that one will encounter some issues and breakdowns expected with heavy usage.

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Most concerningly is always that it fails to turn on when I go to use it as normal. In this case, it can feel like disaster has struck.

However, there are some processes that I now follow to get the machine back up and running as quickly as possible.

Tips: Concept2 rowing machine needs regular maintenance like cleaning and lubricating the chain to work optimally

Related: PM5 Monitor Not Working on Concept2 Rower

Concept2 Rower Not Turning On

1. Try Row it first!

The PM5 monitor of the Concept2 rowing machine will automatically turn on when it detects someone is rowing the machine.

Make sure you row it hard enough to wake the PM5 monitor up!

Sometimes if you feel like there is no resistance, the might be dislodgement and hence won’t trigger the PM5 monitor to wake up.

In this case, the won’t be any counting starts and you will need to check the next solution in this guide.

2. Battery Power

This amazing rowing machine is an amazingly tough and dependable apparatus.

The concept2 brand is renowned for its ability to go literally millions of miles without any serious issues ever arising.

However, I have found that it does have somewhat of an Achilles heel.

Using the machine is effectively an entirely manual process, where the resistance and the moving mechanisms can all be controlled manually.

However, we are all dependent on the display unit for it to function as we expect.

This monitor is powered by two D-Cell LR20 batteries, which are the powerhouse of the whole system.

If the screen fails to turn on as usual, then the first step is for me to check the current battery level of the PM5 monitor.

More Options > Utilities > Battery

concept2 pm5 monitor battery life

If the battery is low, replace the battery as below.

concept2 pm5 monitor remove back cover screw

By removing the back plate the battery is very obvious and easily replaced.

concept2 pm5 monitor change battery

However, before the screen goes dead, there will be some symptoms that I will watch out for first.

This includes a less bright screen, slow controls, and incorrect information being displayed on the screen.

3. LCD Contrast Setting

These are all signs of a low battery voltage, but you should check the LCD contrast setting on your rowing machine first.

Please select the correct LCD contrast setting, sometimes the “less bright” screen problem is due to the LCD contrast setting you selected, not because of the low battery level.

Here’s how you can navigate to the LCD contrast screen on the PM5 monitor.

More Options > Utilities > More Utilities > LCD Contrast

concept2 rowing machine lcd contrast

4. Internal Issues

If the battery is replaced and the screen will not turn on then I know there is a more serious issue going on.

The battery is the primary point of failure on my Concept2 Rowing machine, therefore, when replacing it fails I can be sure to look for more technical issues.

Firstly, I will notice if there is any corrosion on the battery that I have taken out of the machine.

concept2 pm5 monitor check battery corrosion

This is a common issue I have experienced as I am using the machine in a humid climate, and I store the rower in the garage.

Therefore, continual exposure to moisture can cause the electrical components to develop rust spots.

More significantly, the hotter weather during summer means that I am often leaving my Concept2 Rower in conditions that are probably above a safe working environment.

In this case, hotter temperature exposure for a longer period can cause the battery to overheat and burst which will seep its fluid over into the internal cavity.

In either case, I always make sure to inspect the internal battery compartment during a swap.

concept2 pm5 monitor battery compartment

If there are any rust spots of battery fluid I make sure I clean them up safely and thoroughly each time.

They can easily falter connections and power making them one of the sneakier issues I have had to contend with.

5. Inspect the Cable connection

Sometimes the problem is due to loosen cable connection. The easiest way is to reconnect the cable to the PM5 monitor.

concept2 pm5 monitor check cable connection

Don’t forget to remove the cover of the IC board and make sure the cable is connected and secured to the IC board as shown below.

concept2 pm5 monitor check cable connection ic board

6. Check the Electronic Board

You may inspect the condition of the electronic board if there is any sign of burning or electrical components malfunctioning.

This electronic board is a crucial part of the rowing machine as it transmits the signal received from our rowing to the PM5 monitor.

If you are suspecting this electronic board is not functioning as it should be, I would suggest you to contact the official Concept2 support.

concept2 pm5 monitor ic board

7. Faulty Monitor

Before you are 100% sure that your PM5 monitor is faulty, you should check this guide explaining and troubleshooting the reasons why the PM5 monitor is not working.

concept2 pm5 monitor not working
concept2 pm5 monitor not working

If there is no solution and you are confident that your PM5 monitor is broken, the only easiest solution left is to replace the PM5 monitor.

On one occasion I experienced a faulty monitor even after completing the steps above.

In this case, due to the limited sources of the problem, I inevitably ordered a new monitor for my Concept 2 Rower.

If I cannot identify an obvious internal issue then there is likely to be a more catastrophic computer fault that I have no means of fixing.

In this case, I ordered the new monitor directly from Concept 2’s webpage which was relatively straightforward.

The component comes with detailed fitting instructions which meant I could replace the monitor in minutes.


A failure has only happened to me once before, and considering how much I use it it is quite impressive.

Please make sure the PM5 monitor will automatically turn off as some might face the issue where the PM5 monitor won’t turn off automatically after the reset.

Generally speaking, I know that when my monitor fails to turn on it is due to a battery connection issue due to how isolated it is as a component.

Otherwise, any more major issues mean that I will simply replace it and get back to my training for that week.


  • Hadwin Blair

    Hi, I am Hadwin, a Gym lover and have set up my own home Gym for daily use. Empower Gym Equipment! I share my real personalized experiences on the Gym equipment!

Leave a Comment