What fluid are you using? I've never had any problems w/ my 3 year old machine. I use Disc Doctor and RR Labs fluids
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I think that the tubes crack because of exposure to alcohol.I have just been looking at mine last night with a view to replacing due to wear of the velvet pads and I noticed some light lines of cracks on the parts of the plastic tube.
I have been using about 10% alcohol with the VPI fluid. Maybe I should stop adding the alcohol...
You might also want to check the "ring stop" on the vacuum post and make sure the wand is going down flat on the LP and with just sufficient force to allow the vacuum to suction. If set too low, or if the ring is skewed "ass end down", you might be putting too much pressure on the wand as the vacuum pulls it down.
I've gone through 6 tubes with mine so far and haven't seen a hint of cracking. I do not use alcohol based products, though.
Bottom line: If the tubes are cracking, you've either got a problem with physical stress to the tubes or the chemical cleaning agent that you are using is eating them up / breaking down the plasticizers which keep the tubes flexible.
The physical stress part should be easy to verify and correct. As to whether the chemicals that you are using are eating up the tubes, i would try replacing the tubes and at the same time, try a different cleaning solution. What would scare me is that, if the tubes are getting eaten up, what is it doing to your vinyl ? While it is true that the tubes see a LOT more chemical solution than what any individual piece of vinyl would ever see, the initial and residual effects are probably not good to begin with. Sean
Mine has never developed any cracking. I don't use alcohol-based solutions, nor do I add any to the VPI solution. VPI actually suggests that adding alcohol is OK (up to 25%, I think)! So, they don't see it as a problem, but it might be worth asking them.
While I have the floor: I use the VPI cleaning solution. Are there real merits to using a different one or a homebrew?
I think Albert may have been the one who conducted the test regarding RRL solutions, Bob. In any event, I have done the same, comparing the RRL solutions (Deep Cleaner and Super Vinyl Wash) to VPI, Disc Doctor, and two home brews for which I found recipes. The RRL products were the winners hands-down, at least for me using my VPI 16.5.