Belts break every month

Re: Belts break every month

Postby Wal » Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:47 am

Thanks for the feedback, YoungDave and theeng.

YongDave: will be learn more about your user experience with the belts from McMaster-Carr. I may do an ozone reading myself.

theeng: Interesting to hear that the old belts could be silicon. I can’t tell whether this is true but I do notice quite a bit of difference from the look of it. However, Jose of VPI told me that there have been no change to the specification for their belts. Both the old and new belts were from VPI or VPI’s authorised dealer. It will be strange if there is indeed a change of material.

My turntable is not under direct sun light. It is in the shadow (more than 10 feet from the windows). So the issue of UV is probably not that Important. I don’t know about ozone and I will find way to get a reading.

However, unless the ozone content or UV level at my table is beyond ordinary, the belt should be able to withstand that like they have always been. Otherwise, I think the material used is not fit for purpose. The old belts have been great for so many years in the exact same location, probably similar UV or Ozone exposures. I took a look at the old belt that is sitting side by side with the new belts (subject to the same UV and Ozone). The old one is smooth.
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby J_knievel » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:38 am

FYI, back in the early days I believe silicone was the standard belt (they were clear so I’m assuming that was the material). At some point the black nitrile belts were offered as an upgrade. That being said, I’ve been using the black nitrile belts for years on my Aries MK 1 with no issues.

I’m sure Brf will correct me if my memory is wrong ;)
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby Brf » Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:18 pm

Chances are that you just had a bad run of luck with replacement belts that were old and not stored properly. HRX rim drive pulley belts are not that common nor are they a high turn over item which can lead to stale stock.
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby Pevo » Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:06 pm

I’m a little surprised no one has mentioned that room air cleaners frequently produce ozone as a part of the cleaning effect. If you have a room air cleaner or an electronic air cleaner on your furnace you should check the owners manual to see if it produces ozone.
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby Stringreen » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:08 pm

My belts last more than a year....Superscoutmaster/rim drive
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby Wal » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:43 am

Thanks everyone for the replies. I obtained quite a lot of information.

Brf: bad run or old stock was my initial thinking but I can’t say it for sure.
Pevo: no air cleaner used. Just air con but did not use much in winter time. Anyway, I will try to take an ozone measurement just to address all questions about ozone.

My prior belts all lasted for more than a year. I replaced them every year not because they were broken but just to ensure consistent speed and sound quality. At this point, I will seriously look for aftermarket belts as an alternatives. Not accusing Any quality issue with the original belts, but still good to see if different materials have different behaviour under the same condition (like the old VPI belts that I used).
Cheers!
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby theeng » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:31 am

Wal,

Nitrile rubber can be very sensitive to very low levels of ozone. ASTM 1149, tests with ozone at 50 parts per hundred-million (pphm/same as 0.50 ppm) for about 72-hrs to test for resistance. To put this in perspective, The human ozone exposure limits are "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires ozone output of indoor medical devices to be no more than 0.05 ppm (parts per million). The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends an upper limit of 0.10 ppm, not to be exceeded at any time.".

There is red-Nitrile rubber, so that could explain the color of your prior O-ring - assuming it was an VPI OEM product. They have used Nitrile rubber for many years with mostly good success, and they may have stocks that they would want to use. However, if you search this forum, you will see where EPDM rubber is used by some of us. Will VPI switch to EPDM in the future - TBD.

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Re: Belts break every month

Postby BillK » Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:24 am

Stringreen wrote:My belts last more than a year....Superscoutmaster/rim drive


I replaced belts on my SSM after a decade.
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby Votan » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:12 am

Wal wrote:Agree this is unusual. No, they didn’t break at start up. Like I said in the first post, they were okay when I was playing, they broke after the playing session and I only found out the next time before I played again. No, the turntable is not in direct sunlight. It is in a corner deep in the room. Humidity averaged around 70%. Both the platter and rim drive spin smoothly without problem. The contact between the rim drive and the platter is much much the same as before. Not too tight, not too loose. Again, the same set up, in the same place, been running for years without problem. The old belts, albeit losing consistency and elasticity, never broke.

I still don’t understand why those tiny cracks appear on the newer belts. It seems to be a sign of ageing which is strange as those are supposed to be new belts. Also, it seems that the materials used is not the same as those in the past but I am not sure.

Given that both the platter and rim drive spin smoothly without problem, and the belts were purchased directly from VPI, it is obvious that you bought belts that either had poor storage (remained exposed to sunlight for a long time) or their date of manufacture is older than 4-5 years (This is also the case with car tires).
In my opinion you should report it to the VPI and ask for a replacement, although I feel that the VPI should already have intervened on its own, since it is assumed that someone there is monitoring the forum.
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Re: Belts break every month

Postby Wal » Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:36 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.
I original got my belts from Music Direct. I got two sets and they broke one after another. I then got another two replacement sets directly from VPI. They too were all broken within a short period time. Four sets over a period of roughly four months. Jose of VPI has kindly agreed to send me two more replacement sets and he will ensure that they are fresh and in good condition. I will report back after I got the belts and tried out. Given today's pandemic situation, however, I will not chase them for sending out the replacement as I believe they have more important things to do (which I totally support).

I'm also trying to get an ozone meter. This pandemic has basically stalled everything and I probably won't be able to get a meter anytime soon. Will see!
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