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Old Aug 28, 2011, 07:29 AM
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rogerflies's Avatar
Thomasville, GA 31792
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Winch drums..V-belt or flat belt brake...Which is better

I've been making winches since the early '90s, and I switched to flat belt brakes long ago. I've sold some winches and a bunch of drums with flat belt brakes over the years.

Which is better? Anyone have enough experience with both types to offer an informed opinion?
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 09:34 AM
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United States, NY, Lewiston
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If they work it doesn't matter....I have used both and never noticed any significant difference. Flat belts are probably easier to build with; v-belt drums might be cheaper/easier to obtain. To me , the decision would be driven by the drum design, not belt choice. Once you have a drum you like, use the belt that fits....if you have a free hand in the drum choice, I would use flat only because it's easier to put rivets in the end.
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 12:18 PM
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Fresno CA
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I saw a winch that had a V-belt that was adjusted a little to aggressive. The drum would stop violently. He quite using it that day when the belt got ripped from its retainers.

Which brings up the second point of why I like flat belts better. Retainers are more reliable with flat belts. YMMV!

BTW : You make very nice winches! A friend and I were drooling over the pictures you posted last night! He called to discuss his first winch build and he appreciated you pictures!

Blue Skies................Tim
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 03:09 PM
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United States, MA, Waltham
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Would old timing belts work? They're free. We used to use them as landing skids.
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 04:29 PM
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Thomasville, GA 31792
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Timing belts have cogs to transmit torque, so the rubber compound might not be as grippy. I've never tried one, but I suspect it would probably work fine, though.

I have tried cutting the ribs down on a serpentine belt to get more rubber in contact with the aluminum. It didn't seem to make much difference.

How well the brake works is mostly a matter of adjustment. I try to have the part of the belt closest to the brake arm touch the drum first. That helps generate the force needed to pull the rest of the belt into contact. Having multiple attachment points on the arm helps in getting the adjustment right.

Thanks for the kind words about my winches.
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 08:27 AM
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I've used both for years and am currently using the flat belt on my personal winch. The difference in the two for me at least is when the time comes to replace them. With the V belt you need to find a belt that fits the V groove in depth and width and unless you know exactly which belt you want (part #) the search can be frustrating. With the flat belt I only need to go to the local automotive repair facility and pick up a free one that is the proper width. Both properly adjusted work equally well.
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 09:19 AM
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V belt makes more friction surface than flat belt with the same width. More friction surface => more braking power. So if you will take wider flat belt, it will be easier (for construction and replace as IBWALT said) and will make the same braking power.
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 12:28 PM
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Fresno CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pazi View Post
V belt makes more friction surface than flat belt with the same width. More friction surface => more braking power. So if you will take wider flat belt, it will be easier (for construction and replace as IBWALT said) and will make the same braking power.
First we need to understand the V-belt. The groves of the pulley are made a slightly different angle then the belt. As the belt is pulled in the grove it grips the pulley with more force, great for driving something! But for braking it becomes more difficult to adjust to get a nice smooth breaking action. It is possible to get to aggressive of a breaking action causing all sorts of problems

Kind of like waiting until the last possible second to apply breaks when coming to a stop sign. You wear out tires and breaks! Spill your coffee and the cake you were bringing for the office party hits the floor upside down.

Flat belts lend themselves to easier adjustments and get the cake to the party in one piece!

Blue Skies................Tim
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IBWALT View Post
I've used both for years and am currently using the flat belt on my personal winch. The difference in the two for me at least is when the time comes to replace them. With the V belt you need to find a belt that fits the V groove in depth and width and unless you know exactly which belt you want (part #) the search can be frustrating. With the flat belt I only need to go to the local automotive repair facility and pick up a free one that is the proper width. Both properly adjusted work equally well.
Standard V belts are easy to find. My local hardware store stocks many lengths in the standard "A" size. I use these with a Chicago Die Cast pulley.

Louis
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 03:02 PM
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Thomasville, GA 31792
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Thanks for all the replies. I've decided to make them all with flat belts from now on, unless someone wants to pay in advance for one with a V-belt groove. I'll continue to throw in a section of flat belt with the drums to make things easy for the buyers.
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Old Sep 02, 2011, 12:23 PM
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LI, New York, USA
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I have never built a winch but my observation is that the V belts tend to be very grabby. I think they lead to more line breaks. When you are pulling back they tend to grab hard making the line very jerky.

The flat belts seem to provide a good drag that meets the need without being grabby.

Just my observation from my limited experience.
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