V-belt and Timing belt tensioning method (force, deflection, vibration frequency) and tools

Measuring the tension of a transmission belt

belt deflection diagram

Gates Belt Tension Testers

Belt Tension testers are for checking tensions on your synchronous belt drives and V-Belt.

Tensioning belts on a drive is an easy procedure. Simple rules will answer most requirements.

How to tension a belt correctly?

  1. The best tension is the lowest at which belts will not slip or ratchet under the most loaded conditions. You can gradually tighten the tooth by making sure that there is no tooth gap.
  2. Caution: Excessive tension generates noise and premature wear.
  3. For V-Belts, check frequently the tension the first day of running. Synchronous belts currently not require re-tensioning or over-checking
  4. Concerning V-Belts continue checking periodically
  5. High tension curtails belt and bearing lifetime
  6. Keep pulleys and belts free of foreign items
  7. If a V-Belt slides, tighten it.

Sonic tension Meter for power transmission belts

Thanks to the Gates Sonic Tension Meter you can easier get consistent and accurate tension readings. It analyzes the harmonic distinctive of a vibrating belt and gives tension measure.

Just strum the belt like a guitar cord and the Sonic Tension Meter does the rest.

The force and deflection method is the only faithful way to test tension. Of course, it needs a tester, some muscle, a piece of cord and at least three hands.

A belt, like cords, emits a natural frequency vibration based on span length and mass. The Gates Sonic Tension Meter converts the frequency to a measurement of belt tension. 

Belt tension frequencyHow it works:
First, inform span length, mass constant and width into the meter by using the keypad. Then, hold meter sensor to belt span and slowly strum belt to vibrate it. Push “measure” button to get the reading and the meter rapidly converts vibrations into tension.. Readings are displayed on a liquid-crystal screen.

* Belt mass constants are listed on a data card that comes with the Sonic Tension Meter.



Video of Sonic Tension Meter Gates®

Belt tension testing for the 21st Century

Compact, Light and Easy to Use

Belt tension adjustment with Gates toolSimilar to the size of a mobile phone, the Sonic Tension Meter can be operated by a unique person for a fast and accurate reading on all types of belt drive systems.* Operate the standard cord sensor to reach inside tighten areas where traditional measurements are impossible.

A flexible sensor can be used and repositioned for practical use, one-hand operation (optional). An optional inductive sensor to measure tensions in windy or high-noise environments can be used.

This version of the meter features:

  1. Output readings measurable in kilograms, hertz, Newton and pounds
  2. Improved frequency range from 10 to 5000 Hz
  3. Variable frequency range filters 
  4. Auto gain control automatically adjusts meter sensitivity 
  5. 20 memory registers 
  6. LCD screen with back light


*Recommended for Gates belt drive systems only.

Gates Sonic tension Meter accessories

Measuring the tension of a toothed conveyor belt and method of pre-tensioning it

If the belt is sufficiently short and free (not leaning on a glide floor), you can use the Gates Sonic tension meter as you would for a drive belt. Otherwise, there is no device for measuring the laying tension.

If you do not have a calculation note or information from the supplier, you can keep these two basic rules :

- The default tension can be a maximum of 30% of the admissible load

- In general, the maximum tension generates 1 per mile of elongation.

How do I tension a timing belt?

1. The best tension is a low tension at which the belts do not slip under the most loaded conditions. You can tighten the tension gradually, making sure that there is no tooth jump.

2. Caution, excessive tension generates noise and premature wear.

You can draw a mark on the belt (e.g. at 5000mm), and measure its elongation.
For 5000mm length, the elongation should be max. 5mm. If you don't have heavy loads, stay at 3mm...

Tension of synchronous timing belts