Cleaning turntable belts

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by nelamvr6, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. nelamvr6

    nelamvr6 High End Headphoniac

    Location:
    New London, CT USA
    What's the best way to clean the nitrile bels that come with our turntables?

    I ask because I had a bit of a scare today, my Scoutmaster all of a sudden wouldn't spinn with the ring clamp on. :eek:

    Then I remembered I had used my bare hand to change to the 45RPM pulley. I cleaned the pulley and belt with tech grade isopropyl alcohol, and all was well again. But it occurred to me, iso can dry rubber over time.

    Is there a better way?

    Oh, and I already know: no more bare fingers on the belt! :tsk:
  2. semidetached

    semidetached Monkees Mixographist

    Location:
    Bucks County, PA
    Gonna bump this for Nat, because I am curious too. :)
  3. I only have to do this maybe once a year but I just wipe mine down with a damp rag, dry it, then dust it with pure talc. Don't use the kind with cornstarch in it.
  4. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    I did a lot of reading/research the last few days on this because I was having a few speed issues with my Aries TT. The older rubber VPI belt (which I have) can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol (amazing the difference), boiled for 30 seconds (helps shrink it), and then lightly coated with talc (prevents pulley/platter slippage). The newer belts can be cleaned, boiled yet apparently do not need the talc (not recommended/new belts do not have slippage issues).

    Todd
  5. nelamvr6

    nelamvr6 High End Headphoniac

    Location:
    New London, CT USA
    Huh. I had never heard about the boiling.

    How often do you guys replace your belts?
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I've heard some clean them with Windex but in my experience detailing cars Windex is always the wrong product. Maybe it works well with nitrile...
  7. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    My suggestion is to call VPI and talk to Mike. He will give you the latest best practice.

    Todd
  8. Derek Gee

    Derek Gee Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    How about using pinch roller cleaner on your belt? It's designed for rubber...

    Derek
  9. nelamvr6

    nelamvr6 High End Headphoniac

    Location:
    New London, CT USA
    Well I e-mailed VPI using the "Contact Us" link from their web site. That way I can copy and paste their response here.
  10. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Pinch roller cleaner tends to be too close to 'rubber solvent'.

    My Sondek is reasonably sensitive to belt issues; it doesn't slip or start up slowly, but there's a different start-up sound when it's not clean. I clean it about once a month, as part of regular dusting. I find a new belt every two years results in a better sound than the cleaned old belt - so they do change in size and texture over that time.

    If you really want to go mad, check each of the four 'running ways' for a flat belt (inside in, inside out, clock and anti clock) for sound quality.

    Cleaning is simple; I use a solvent on a kitchen cloth, and pass the belt through until it leaves no black mark. The fact that it leaves another black mark the following month tells me something... don't forget to clean the pulley and sub-platter. Contrary to some, I don't like a wax or silicone polish on the belt and drive parts.
  11. hifisoup

    hifisoup Active Member

    Any hints on where to purchase a new Linn LP12 belt online? Thanks.
  12. vinyl anachronist

    vinyl anachronist Well-Known Member

    I was always told never to use anything kind of cleaning solvent on a rubber belt, since they can affect the elasticity. Indeed, rubbing alcohol can dry out the rubber and cause the belt to become brittle and break.

    A clean dry cloth is your best bet, followed with a light dusting of talcum powder.
  13. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    In that case, a good microfiber is probably the right way to go.
  14. vinyl anachronist

    vinyl anachronist Well-Known Member

    Definitely. The talc will soak up any extra moisture or goo, and help the belt to "grab" the platter (or subplatter).

    And, of course, you should be replacing belts regularly anyway, so if you have a belt that gets dipped in chocolate pudding, or accidentally dropped in the toilet, then it might be a good idea just to get a new one.
  15. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    True, and belts are cheap.
  16. vinyl anachronist

    vinyl anachronist Well-Known Member

    Relatively. I've seen some that are more pricey, such as the ones made out of mylar ribbons and other exotic materials.

    Even so, it's still weird to pay $25 or $30 for a big rubber band.
  17. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Marc,

    I read recently that some of the newer high end table makers think a flat belt is less susceptible to speed inaccuracy than the round ones on many tables. Does that make sense to you?
  18. vinyl anachronist

    vinyl anachronist Well-Known Member

    I think the material used for the belt would have a greater effect. And the first thing I think about is that a flat belt would have a greater area of contact with the 'table, and therefore be able to transmit more vibration from the motor.

    But I bet these differences are infinitesimal at best.
  19. nelamvr6

    nelamvr6 High End Headphoniac

    Location:
    New London, CT USA
    Can you recommend a brand of talcum powder? I've heard that some contain corn starch and that one should avoid corn starch.
  20. nelamvr6

    nelamvr6 High End Headphoniac

    Location:
    New London, CT USA
    Well, I got an e-mail back from VPI:

    My e-mail to them:


    Their reply:


    Ok advice on the belt cleaning part, not exactly as helpful as I had hoped concerning belt replacement periodicity! :p

    She didn't mention talcum powder at all, so I guess we can assume that the VPI belts don't require that.
  21. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    I've been cleaning my LP12 belt with Rubber Renue (MG Chemicals) for several years now with no issues.
    I would advise caution using this product on Buna or Nitrile belts, I've no experience with these, so try it on a spare belt.

    Jeff
  22. scotto

    scotto Well-Known Member

    Their reply:
    when the belt is worn out, it needs to be replaced.

    That's priceless.
  23. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Hmmmmm? I would right back and ask for Mike.

    Todd

  24. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    That seems like a good solution. :)

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