by Andrew Copley
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It is important to check the tension of all your V-belts. Too much tension and the belt will stretch and start to break. Insufficient tension causes the belt to slip and the pulleys to scratch the belt. For every device, be it a car or a washing machine, there is a specific amount of pressure that the belt must be subjected to in order for it to function efficiently.
There are two measurements used in belt tension. Belt length and amount of pressure for deflection. Knowing these measurements helps you set up and use your strain gauge.
Make sure the unit is off and the pulleys you are working with are not moving.
Do a visual check on the V-belt to see if it is cracked or worn somewhere. Look for shiny spots along the part of the belt that contacts the pulleys. This indicates a belt slippage. A damaged or excessively worn belt needs to be replaced.
Measure the distance from the center of one pulley to the center of the second pulley. If there are more than two pulleys on the belt, take your measurement using the two pulleys with the longest length of the belt.
Multiply that measurement by one sixty-four of an inch. If your belt is 16 inches, the equation is 1/64 x 16 = 16/64 or 1/4 inch. Attach the “O” ring to the handle of your strain gauge to fit your calculation. Place the second plunger O-ring against the body of the strain gauge at the zero mark.
Place your piece of wood against the two pulleys and align it with the top edge of the pulley you are testing. Hold the wood in that position without moving it. Place the plunger end of the tension gauge on top of the belt. Keeping the tension gauge vertical to the belt, press down until the bottom of the plunger o-ring is level with the top of the wood.
Lift the plunger from the belt and read the pounds of force measured on the plunger o-ring. This is the measurement that should match the specifications listed in the device manual.
- Take the measurement when the belt is at room temperature.
- Make sure it is the correct type of belt. Belts made of different materials require different tension.
Articles will need
- V-belt tension meter
- Measuring tape
- Straight flat board