If you’re a proud owner of a belt-driven turntable, you may have noticed that the rubber belt loses its elasticity over time.
This can lead to issues with the sound quality and overall performance of your turntable.
So, how do you measure a turntable belt to ensure that it’s tight enough and functioning properly?
In this article, we’ll explore various methods for measuring your turntable belt, including measuring the motor, full platter decks, or split platter decks.
We’ll also discuss the importance of deducting a few millimeters from your final measurements to ensure that the belt is tight enough.
Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a beginner in the world of vinyl, this guide will help you keep your turntable running smoothly and sounding great.
How To Measure A Turntable Belt
There are several methods for measuring a turntable belt, and the one you choose will depend on your specific turntable model and personal preference. Here are some of the most common methods:
1. Measure the circumference of the hub: Turn the platter over and measure the circumference of the hub. Deduct 5-10mm from the circumference to calculate the right length. This method ensures that the belt is tight enough to hold on the inner hub with minimal stretching.
2. Measure the old belt: While this method may not deliver accurate results, it can still be useful if you don’t have any other options. Simply measure the old belt and use those measurements as a guide for purchasing a new one.
3. Lay the belt flat against a ruler: Lay your existing belt flat against a ruler and measure its length. Double that measurement to get the circumference of the belt.
4. Use a piece of string: If you don’t have an old belt to measure, you can use a piece of string to tightly follow the belt’s path. Measure the length of the string and use that measurement as a guide for purchasing a new belt.
Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to deduct a few millimeters from your final measurements to ensure that the belt is tight enough. A loose belt can cause issues with sound quality and overall performance, so it’s important to get it right.
Why Measuring Your Turntable Belt Is Important
Measuring your turntable belt is crucial for maintaining the quality of your sound and ensuring that your turntable operates at its best. Over time, rubber belts can lose their elasticity and become stretched out, causing issues with speed and accuracy. By measuring your belt and replacing it when necessary, you can avoid these issues and keep your turntable running smoothly.
A loose belt can cause the platter to slip or slide, resulting in inconsistencies in speed and timing. This can lead to a distorted sound or even damage to your records. On the other hand, a belt that is too tight can put too much pressure on the motor bearings, causing excessive wear and tear over time. This can lead to a shorter lifespan for your turntable.
By measuring your belt and ensuring that it is the correct length, you can avoid these issues and maintain optimal performance from your turntable. A properly fitting belt will provide consistent tension and grip, allowing the platter to rotate smoothly and accurately. This will result in a clean, clear sound that is true to the original recording.
Measuring The Motor For Belt Length
When measuring the motor for belt length, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, determine the type of belt your turntable uses: flat, round, or square. If you have the old belt, this information should be easy to find. If not, you can use a piece of string to follow the belt’s path around the pulleys and determine its shape.
For flat belts, measure the width of the belt. For round or square belts, measure the thickness. Then, use a piece of string to tightly follow the belt’s path around the motor pulley and measure the length of the string. Multiply this measurement by two to get the total circumference of the belt.
It’s important to note that when measuring the motor for belt length, you should also include the make and model of your turntable. This will help ensure that you get the correct replacement belt for your specific turntable model.
By following these steps and taking accurate measurements, you can easily find the right replacement belt for your turntable and ensure optimal sound quality and performance.
Measuring Full Platter Decks For Belt Length
One of the methods for measuring a turntable belt is to measure the full platter deck. This method is useful for turntables that have a full platter deck rather than a split platter deck. To measure the belt using this method, you will need to turn the platter over and measure the circumference of the hub. Deduct 5-10mm from the circumference to calculate the right length for the belt.
It’s important to ensure that the belt is tight enough to hold on the inner hub with minimal stretching. A loose belt can cause issues with sound quality and overall performance. So, make sure to deduct a few millimeters from your final measurements to ensure that the belt is tight enough.
When purchasing a new belt, it’s recommended to get them from a known supplier in good quality. Cheap belts may stretch over time, which can cause issues with sound quality and overall performance. For an upgrade over conventional flat neoprene belts, you can use a special material that produces superior results in producing noticeably better sound, especially in deeper and more precise bass. These belts also eliminate static problems that sometimes occur on decks.
Measuring Split Platter Decks For Belt Length
If you have a split platter deck, measuring the belt length can be a bit more complicated than with a full platter deck. Here’s how to do it:
1. Remove the outer section of the platter: Lift off the outer section of the platter to expose the drive hub and motor.
2. Measure the circumference of the drive hub: Use a tape measure or ruler to measure the circumference of the drive hub. Deduct 5% from this measurement to determine the correct belt length.
3. Measure the distance between the motor and drive hub: If you prefer, you can also measure the distance between the motor and drive hub instead of measuring the circumference of the hub. Deduct 5% from this measurement as well to determine the correct belt length.
4. Install the new belt: Once you have determined the correct belt length, install the new belt onto the drive hub and replace the outer section of the platter. Hook the belt over the drive pulley through the inspection hole in the platter before replacing the mat.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your split platter deck has a properly fitting belt that will provide optimal sound quality and performance. Remember to deduct a few millimeters from your final measurements to ensure that the belt is tight enough.
Troubleshooting Common Turntable Belt Issues
While measuring your turntable belt is important, it’s also important to troubleshoot any common issues that may arise. Here are some common problems and solutions:
1. Slipping Belt: If your belt is slipping, it may be too loose. Try tightening the belt by adjusting the motor pulley or using talcum powder on the belt and motor pulley. If these methods don’t work, it may be time to replace the belt.
2. Unmoving Record: If your record isn’t moving, it’s likely a problem with the drive belt. Check to see if the belt is in good condition and not too loose or too tight. If it’s in good condition but still not working, try cleaning your turntable and checking for any blockages.
3. Slow Record Player: If your record player is playing slowly, it could be due to a stretched or cracked belt. Try boiling the belt for a few minutes to shrink it back down to size. Alternatively, adjust the speed screws if your turntable has them. If none of these methods work, it may be time to replace the belt.
Remember, if you’re unsure about how to troubleshoot or replace your turntable belt, it’s always best to seek professional help. A professional can provide a thorough cleaning and ensure that your turntable is working at its best.