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  Upgrade for users of 1/2" mylar belt
This thread will be of interest to Galibier, Redpoint and Teres belt drive TT owners, or anyone using or thinking of using a drive belt made from 1/2" mylar. The belt material of choice on these tables for several years has been the silver holographic mylar streamers from sources linked on the Teres and Galibier websites. This outperforms everything else we've tried but like anything it's not perfect - and we've now found something better.

One of the silver holographic mylar's assets can also become a liability. That metallic layer, when new, gives the belt exceptional "grip" on the platter and motor capstan. Minimal slippage on transients is one reason the material works so well. Unfortunately, that layer can wear over time, leaving a silvery gray residue and allowing performance to deteriorate. The only solution has been a good cleaning and a new belt. No big deal, but if there was a better or more stable belt Paul and I wanted to find it.

I'll spare you a recounting of our many experiments and jump to the good news: thanks to (yet another) brainstorm by my resident genius/partner, we've developed a belt that both performs better and lasts longer. I've held off posting until we were sure, but after 4 months of steady use Paul’s idea is still working perfectly. The only negative is that making this new belt takes an hour or more of work spread over two days, but to us it's worth the effort.

HOW TO MAKE ONE

1. Cut a length of the silver holographic mylar tape sufficient for your TT, plus 3-4" extra.

2. Remove the silver metallic coating off the backside of the mylar. Paul used an acid etching cream popular with stained glass hobbyists to dissolve the metal - safe, quick and easy (use skin and eye protection).

3. Rinse thoroughly under running water, inspect to make sure you got all the silver off, wipe and hang to dry overnight.

4. Splice as normal to make a TT belt, making sure you tape on the OUTSIDE (which will be smoother than the now bare inside).

5. As always, the best splicing technique is to overlap the ends and cut on a 30-40 degree angle. Apply 1” video splicing tape (*not* tabs) across the belt at the *same* angle and trim away the excess.


WHY IT PERFORMS BETTER

Unlike any plain mylar ribbon you could easily buy, the silver holographic streamer has an ultra fine texture embossed on the back side of the *mylar* during manufacturing (*before* the metallic backing is applied). Once the silver layer is applied you can't see this texture, but that's what diffracts light like a million tiny prisms to produce the shimmery rainbow effect. Stripping the metal backing away exposes this texture, which becomes the contact surface of your new belt.

Paul realized this texture must exist and then hypothesized that using it for the working side of a TT belt might provide more “grip” on the platter rim and motor capstan than either plain mylar (which is extremely smooth) or the metallic backing. He was right. This belt produces more lifelike dynamics, both macro- and micro-, than even a brand new silver holographic belt - which heretofore was the best.

WHY IT LASTS LONGER

Removing the metallic backing exposes bare mylar, which is much sturdier than that fine layer of metal. Under normal use and assuming no accidents, one of these belts should last many, many months, perhaps years, while delivering consistent performance. Ours is going into its fifth month with few visible and no audible signs of wear.

Different motor capstan materials might interact with this belt differently, but I urge anyone with a compatible table to give this a try. Like all our favorite little tweaks, we'd find it hard to go back.

A FEW TIPS

1. Clean any silver/grey residue from your old belt off the motor capstan and platter before mounting the new belt.

2. As many of us have learned, the more inelastic the belt, the more critical motor leveling becomes. That is truer than ever with this new belt. Getting the motor set just right is touchy. Take care that your new belt is riding level in the center of the capstan before you start to play. You don't want it sliding up or down and mangling itself.

3. Motor distancing is also more critical than ever. Since this belt will not slip *or* stretch, tension must be perfect. The right amount is just shy of the tension that would tilt the motor off its feet.

4. Depending on your climate, the belt can build up static potential during use. Not enough to spark, but more than enough to attract airborne dust. I dust the belt's inside with my CF brush after each side before stopping the platter.

5. With this or any belt, always start your platter spinning with a helping push. Just pressing the motor's ON button creates lots of belt-wearing friction as the rapidly spinning motor tries to drag that heavy platter up to speed.

It all sounds like a pain, and it is! But the sonic and longevity results are worth the effort.

Cheers,
Doug
Dougdeacon  (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

07-06-08
  Responses (1-50 of 138)
Click title to read one, or click date to read all below it.

07-06-08   Can't help but think that beeswax would help with traction; ...   Piedpiper

07-06-08   You know doug, i always keep an eye out for the things you a ...   Jphii

07-06-08   Thanks doug. i'll check the website for where to get the si ...   Peter_s

07-07-08   Piedpiper, one of our reasons for trying this experiment was ...   Dougdeacon

07-07-08   Doug thanks for the update on mylar belts. i just made my se ...   Stltrains

07-07-08   . nice post doug, . illuminating and helpful as always. . th ...   Cello

07-07-08   Doug, i'm going to send my 100' roll of mylar down to you so ...   Dan_ed

07-07-08   Dan, we did consider filling the bathtub with sulfuric acid, ...   Dougdeacon

07-07-08   Whut?!? no cryo treatment? btw, i did find an etching cream ...   Dan_ed

07-14-08   Hi, i have tried doug's belt for a few days now on my galib ...   Mothra

07-15-08   Thanks for the update, mothra. my etching cream is on the wa ...   Dan_ed

07-16-08   They are bold men to fabricate this as well as smart men for ...   Mothra

07-17-08   Dan, i only wear my hazmat suit for posting on public forums ...   Dougdeacon

07-18-08   Do you guys have a recomendation for a vpi scoutmaster tt, i ...   Jsman

07-18-08   I've read some good reports about various kinds of thread, s ...   Dougdeacon

07-19-08   Dougdeacon thanks for your response and advice.   Jsman

07-19-08   What sort of concentration etching gel do you use? google s ...   Ducatirider

07-19-08   Seems like all the sources are for 1" or 1/2". do ...   Ducatirider

07-20-08   Hey doug. this sounds like a worthwhile tweak. i'll try to ...   Td160

07-20-08   Ducatrider, i'll have to ask paul if he remembers the concen ...   Dougdeacon

07-20-08   Hey doug, i'm sure you and paul did quite a bit of experimen ...   Dan_ed

07-20-08   Dan, the etching cream was mostly gone long before paul tho ...   Dougdeacon

07-20-08   Interesting re: verus upgrade and your experience with it. ...   Td160

07-20-08   Update: the cream paul used is "armour etch". paul ...   Dougdeacon

07-21-08   Anyone have a source for 1/4" mylar strips?   Ducatirider

07-21-08   How can you go wrong with a name like bigcrank! ;-) so far i ...   Dan_ed

07-21-08   Dan, we tried our big car recharger (similar to what thom su ...   Dougdeacon

08-22-08: Livemusic
Doug, thanks a lot for sharing your worthwhile experience!
I've tried it on my TT with huge success. Your belt replaced McCormic's black mylar tape and profound improvement accross the board was a revelation for me: my playback became better in each and every aspect. That was very educative experience indeed; now I convinced the interaction between platter, belt and motor is critical.
Next thing I want to try is battery power. I have earlier Teres Signature II motor (short case) with no battery power option. Can you recommend any battery/charger combination I can hook up without messing with electronics (my weakest point)? Thanks again.

Livemusic  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)


08-22-08   Hi livemusic, thanks for sharing your results, and glad you ...   Dougdeacon

08-24-08   Well i finally opened last night my new bottle of etchall to ...   Jfd01

08-25-08   Thanks for the report jfd01. :-) good job hearing through ...   Dougdeacon

08-25-08   I finally got around to trying this over the weekend. this i ...   Dan_ed

08-25-08   Doug, no problem with the splice so far. it hasn't moved. li ...   Jfd01

08-25-08   I've always had problems with the belt "stretching" ...   Frank_sm

08-25-08   Frank sm, are you using video splicing tape? the silver tab ...   Dougdeacon

08-25-08   I'm using the silver tabs. can you offer a link to the splic ...   Frank_sm

08-27-08   Frank, these guys have good splicing tape: http://usrecordin ...   Jfd01

08-27-08   Thanks for finding that link, jfd01. i've got it at home, bu ...   Dougdeacon

08-27-08   Oh, but it's white tape. ;-) too bad they don't carry clear ...   Dan_ed

08-27-08   Hi doug, thanks jfd01 for the link. i'd like to make one of ...   Frank_sm

08-27-08   Splicing tape is always white so engineers can more easily f ...   Piedpiper

08-27-08   I just ordered the etching creme. i reread the thread and fo ...   Frank_sm

08-27-08   they sure won't have any trouble seeing that splice come ar ...   Dan_ed

08-27-08   For those looking for another color in splicing tape i got s ...   Dmailer

08-27-08   Here's another source for splicing tape: http://www.tapecent ...   Jfd01

08-27-08   Hello doug you sent me a link to mccormicks for mylar stream ...   Stltrains

08-28-08   Great description of the stripping process by dan_ed above a ...   Dougdeacon

08-28-08   Doug thanks for the info going to place an order today.   Stltrains

08-28-08   Stltrains, the mccormick's item number is 6033665, 1/2" ...   Dan_ed

08-29-08   Dan thanks for the number. with the threat of a hurricane vi ...   Stltrains


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