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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 7th Feb 2021, 4:04 pm   #1
RT 1006
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Default Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

I'm currently restoring a number of 1970's and 80's radio cassette players and tape decks that have been on the to do list for a long time. Unfortunately the hardest part has been sourcing suitable replacement drive belts.

I've got a couple of units that despite endless hours searching the net I just cannot find suitable belts for.

CPC have a reasonably good selection of belts listed but it's a bit hit or miss whether they have the ones required or not.

Previously places like JJ Components, Grandata, Sendz, CHS, Willow Vale etc would have been good for these sort of things but sadly these companies all seem to have gone.

In an attempt to hopefully get lucky I've bought a number of packs of mixed square section drive belts from Ebay sellers mostly in China. Unfortunately these belts all turn out to be of generally very poor quality and seem more likely to be just packs of rejects. They're just about OK for non critical applications such as tape counters but for anything else such as capstan drive they're rubbish.

There is a company on the net going by several different names one of which is GB Audio. This company appear to have a good comprehensive selection but I refuse to pay 10 per belt!

I'm just wondering if anyone can recommend a supplier with a good range of flat section and square section AV belts at sensible prices? I'm thinking I'm probably going to be looking outside of the UK.

Any help gratefully received.
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Old 7th Feb 2021, 4:17 pm   #2
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

I've bought a few of the belt packs from Chinese eBayers and they've been OK, but I know others have had similar experiences to you. There seems to be a lot of variability, so it's a bit of a lottery.

I'm planning to try this supplier next time I need capstan belts: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cassette-...s/324324012299

(No discussion of the seller please)
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Old 7th Feb 2021, 5:16 pm   #3
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

Thanks for the above link Paul. That seller did come up in one of my many searches but for some reason I had overlooked their selection of flat belts.

They do have a good range at reasonable prices so it's all going to come down to quality. I've just this minute ordered some 5mm ones and will report back once I receive them.

Now I just need to find a good range of 1.5/1.65mm square belts.
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Old 7th Feb 2021, 5:37 pm   #4
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

You could also try www.donberg.ie
They have some belts.


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Old 7th Feb 2021, 6:36 pm   #5
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

Thanks for that link Frank.

I'm now going to have to own up to being a complete numpty. I had looked at Donberg a while back and didn't see the belt sizes that I wanted. What I also didn't notice was the 'show next 100 items' option at the bottom of the page and the choice of around 850 other belts listed!

I've just been through the complete list and it covers just about everything that I need and all very realistic prices as well. So much so that I think a few other restorations will be brought forward.

The only drawback is there's a 30 euro minimum order value and a 10 euro shipping charge plus probably vat on top so I'll just order up a few miscellaneous sizes to make up. With all the other random belts I've ordered from various places recently I'm soon going to be tripping over the things!
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Old 7th Feb 2021, 6:55 pm   #6
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

I don't believe you will have to pay VAT as you are outside the EU but you may have to pay import duty.


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Old 7th Feb 2021, 7:21 pm   #7
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

Quote:
Originally Posted by FRANK.C View Post
I don't believe you will have to pay VAT as you are outside the EU but you may have to pay import duty.


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Yes I think you may be right there, I think goods have to be above a certain value before becoming liable for import duty but I'll have a check first just to see what any additional charges may be.
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Old 7th Feb 2021, 8:29 pm   #8
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

If I were you I'd order a few more of the Chinese packs from different suppliers. As I've said, the quality seems very variable, but they only cost a couple of quid so it's worth taking a chance. Anything that uses a thin square section belt to drive the capstan is likely to be pretty low end anyway, so the belt won't be critical so long as it doesn't snap.

In most cases, belt cross sections aren't critical.
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Old 8th Feb 2021, 1:38 pm   #9
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

I have a similar problem, but this time it is reel to reel. I have two different ones on the pile where the capstan belt is a flat type, which is also about 2mm or more thick! Thinner ones just aren't man enough for the job.

On a recent low-end turntable requiring a long flat belt I didn't have, I ended up using an o- ring which are more robust, far easier to get hold of and likely to last much longer. I may consider machining a groove into the capstan flywheel on one of the reel to reels and try that out.
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Old 8th Feb 2021, 2:32 pm   #10
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

The only problem with using a larger diameter belt for capstan drive with V pulleys is that it can affect the velocity ratio. Possibly not a problem if the motor speed is adjustable enough to compensate.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 10:14 pm   #11
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Default Re: Sourcing square section and flat section AV belts

An update on my AV belt sourcing saga.

Through the week I received the two belts I ordered from the Ebay seller in the link at post 2 above and the verdict is not good. Quite simply the belts are rubbish. They are of poor quality and so distorted that they are of no use as capstan belts, even when stretched out they remain distorted.

So far belts sourced from CPC have been by far the best quality and at around 1 each the most reasonably priced, the down side is their range is limited especially with regards to flat section belts.

My plan now is to order a number of belts from Donberg in the Republic of Ireland as they seem to have a quite extensive range and all the various sizes I need. I will report back in due course with regards to the quality of the products and also what additional charges I'll have to pay in relation to vat/tax/import fees etc, if any.

Stay tuned for further updates.
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