Belt(s) won’t run? I’ll bet it’s not the pump.

Belt(s) won’t run?  I’ll bet it’s not the pump.

2 of 3 – Hydraulic

This is the second of three articles about Telebelt belt-related problems.

From time to time, I get calls involving a belt that won’t run, or runs very slowly.  The call I like the least is, “My feeder (or main) belt quit running.  I replaced the pump, but it still won’t run.”

With over 800 Telebelts in the field, we are looking at more than 2,100 piston pumps.  We don’t hear of pump failures very often.

So, again, I’ll bet it’s not the pump.

Rule # 1 – Check to see if it will run with manual control.  If it will, the problem is probably electrical or in the radio.  If not, it’s mechanical or hydraulic.

Things that stop belts:

  •  Mechanical problems
  • Electrical problems
  • Hydraulic problems
  • Truck or engine failure (this is beyond the scope of this series)


Let’s deal with hydraulic problems.  By now you should have observed Rule #1 and you know the problem is not electrical and you cannot run manually.


Is there any pressure on the belt circuit, main or feeder?

If one belt is working, but one is not, connect a 400 bar gauge to the “M” test port for the belt that is not working.  This is explained in your manuals in the maintenance section.

  • Always hook up the 400 bar gauge first.  If there is over 60 bar you will blow your 60 bar gauge.
  • If neither belt is working, double check that the driver-side PTO shaft is turning.  This is just about the only thing that could cause both belt pumps to quit together.
  • If the belt works under normal load but stalls under a very heavy load, a larger displacement motor might be required.  Example: Feeders have motors that deliver optimum output under normal conditions.  Extreme loads, i.e. paving, might require larger motors with more torque.  Use a pressure gauge to see if the belt stalls at full pressure (280 bar) or if it has no pressure when it quits.


Is there pressure below 60 bar?

  • If it is below 60 bar, connect your 60 bar gauge.
  • Disconnect the square plug on the motor control valve for the pump you are working.  Another way would be to pull the belt card or belt card fuse for the pump you are working on.  This will insure you are not getting a false reading from belt card zero.
  • You will now be able to read standby (low) pressure.


Is there pressure above 60 bar?

  • Disconnect the square plug on the motor control valve for the pump you are working.  Another way would be to pull the belt card or belt card fuse for the pump you are working on.  This will insure you are not getting a false reading from belt card zero.
  • When the pressure drops below 60 bar, connect your 60 bar gauge.
  • You will now be able to read standby (low) pressure.

Location of Valves and Power Plugs





Belt Card Location

Belt Card Fuse Location


Is the pressure below 20 bar?

Using the prssure setting procedure in the manual, set standby to:

  • All feeder belts – 20 bar
  • Main belts except TB and TBS 130/600 – 20 bar
  • Main belts TB and TBS 130/600 – 25 bar
  • Boom/Outrigger pumps – 22 bar


Are the standby pressures low or erratic?

  •  This could indicate broken springs or a stuck standby spool.  Lightly tap the control valve (compensator) with a hammer – this often frees stuck spools.
  • Screw the pressure adjusting screw all the way in – this will override broken springs.
  • If these steps don’t work, shut the machine off.  Release air pressure on pressurized tank units.  Remove the low pressure spool and check for contamination or scoring.
  • If you think you have a bad compensator, swap it with the other belt pump and see if the problem changes to the other circuit.  (This can’t be done with the 140CC main belt pumps on a TB-130)

Note:  Compensator (control valve) problems are often the cause of pump “failures.”  A pump with low or no standby pressure will not come on stroke.  Repairing or replacing the compensator often does the trick.


If the standby pressure can be set:
Using the procedure in the manuals, check and set high pressure.  All pumps are set to 280 bar for high pressure.

  • If high pressure cannot be reached, eliminate problems that can cause this:
    • Motor leakage
    • Piston packing leaks
    • Valve spool leakage
    • Counterbalance or relief valve leakage


If you get this far, it might actually be the pump
The only way to truly test a pump is with a flow meter.  Even a bad pump delivers flow until back pressure is applied. You can also get a rough idea of pump condition by checking function times.

  • Time your belts to determine belt speed
  • Compare this to the times recorded on the pump test page, in the front of your manual
  • Rule of thumb; Main belts usually run 900 feet/min when delivered.  Feeders usually run 1,000 feet/minute.  If you get a low reading, check the motor(s) to make sure they haven’t been changed to a higher displacement.
  • You can also use function times to determine changes in the boom/outrigger pump.
  • A flow meter can also be used to check leakage rates from the pump case drain.

Last minute update:


A problem, with a customer’s TB-130, has been plaguing all involved for the last month.  They shelled the boom/outrigger circuit pump.  This was a true pump failure; what we call “grenading itself.”

After cleaning the system and installing a new pump, the circuit would work for a short time, and then the pressure would drop off.  Pushing and releasing the clutch would bring the pressure back, and then it would drop off, again.  Compensators, inlet modules, WBV valves and a second pump were tried, without any change.  The customer even took parts off a working TB-110 and the problem remained.  Three of us, at Putzmeister, with over 100 years of combined experience were convinced it was a problem in the boom control valves.

In desperation, Alan went back to the schematic.  Something we had not considered jumped out at him; the contingency pump circuit.  This is the small electric motor and pump that allow the boom to be raised, so the cab can be tipped, if the engine won’t start.  It feeds the boom circuit through a check valve.  The check valve poppet had hammered itself out of shape and it was allowing circuit flow back through the small pump.

This reinforces: 1) the value of the schematic, 2) the K.I.S.S. theory and 3) the “I’ll bet it’s not the pump” statement.

Telebelt Belt Tracking Troubles? Wearing out your rollers?

A few questions recently came in from a customer concerning belt tracking and wearing out of rollers on their TBS 130. These issues and resolutions apply to all ”active feeder” model Telebelts - TB 80, TB 110, TB 130, TB 600, TBS 130 and TBS 600. Let’s go over their issues, and how to fix them.

Issue 1: On the feeder belt, there are 2 gangs of 3 roller sets,  and for some reason, we are having to change out 2 of the three sets every 2 weeks (the belt is wearing on the shafts that the rollers are on). We checked our other two belts and they are not having this issue.

Resolution: The feeder triple rollers are directional.  Each side roller is set at a slightly different angle. Make sure the end with the widest (lowest) offset faces the hinge.  In other words, the wide offsets face each other (see left).  If mounted in reverse, only the narrow set contacts the belt, and I can see the possibility of the belt being pulled down to the shaft, especially with this thinner type of belt. The photo looks like the belt flattens out, going left to right. If that is the case, the triple roller is in  backwards.


Issue 2: On the main belt, when you have the boom extended, the belt tracks with no problems (stays centered on the roller). When you retract the boom, upon getting to the last two sections, the belt tracks to one side of the roller and rides there until you extend it back  out. We checked the belt tension and its sitting at 1,200 psi.

Resolution: Don’t over-tension the belt. The manual calls for 1,500 – 1,800 psi on the feeder. I instruct operators to go to the low end; 1,500 psi. Training (belt alignment) of the pulleys, with the boom extended, is very difficult. In this position, the head pulley of one section is very close to the tail pulley of the next. A centered belt can mean the pulleys are working against each other, or adjustment is correct – There is no way of telling.

DO NOT ATTEMPT ADJUSTING A BELT, OR CLEANING OF ROLLERS AND PULLEYS, WHILE THE BELT IS MOVING. Shut the belt off and push the E-Stop to make the adjustments or do the cleaning.

Never train pulleys unless the belt tension is first confirmed. A loose belt wanders on the pulleys, and attempts to train it will not succeed. Again, I suggest 1,000 psi, which is the low end of the 1,000 – 1,200 specification for the main belt (the slightly reduced tension yields longer splice life). Train the pulleys with the boom retracted as far as possible. Telebelts use crowned (tapered) pulleys. They are self-training, since each half of the belt is trying to run off the end of the pulley. This allows us to go without side idlers, which we have no room for . When the belt gets loose, the side that contacts harder pills the belt to that side.  Again, tension the belt first. This will take care of training problems.

A properly tensions and trained belt will not go out of alignment. Training is usually only required if a pulley is replaced. Grout buildup on the pulleys can also cause alignment problems, so keep them clean.

Issue 3: After adjusting the tension in all of our belt, the belt tracks fine when you extend the boom past the first section (it stays centered on the rollers without any problems), but if we have the belt rolling without extending anything, the belt seems to run on the one side of the pulley. Also, when you bring the boom back in and reach the second section, it moves over.

Resolution: When extending and retracting with the belt stopped, the belt can wander on the pulleys, When running, it should stay centered. Extend arm 2 partially and check the adjustment of the heel of arm 2 and the head of arm 1. If they are ok, extend arm 2  enough to gain access to the heel pulleys of 3, 4, and 5 since they are still bundled together. Check them and then check the remaining head pulleys.

DO NOT attempt to train the 12″ main drive pulley with the large adjustment bolts. This is a straight pulley, not crowned. Adjustment is made on the 5″  roller at the heel of arm 1. If the belt is centered on it it will be centered on the drive pulley.


Telebelt Belt Card Adjustments

Putzmeister Telebelts give the operator the means to adjust the speeds of the main and feeder conveyors.  When adjustments are made to the belt speed knobs (potentiometers), a variable signal (4 to 10 mA) is sent to the 14A20 amplifiers. Depending on the input signal, these amplifiers supply 0 to 10 volts to the belt on/off relays, then to the 14A24 proportional amplifiers, known as belt cards.

The belt cards supply voltage to the motor control valves 14B36.  Feedback sensors on the motor control valves report valve position back to the belt cards.

Note: Older Telebelts have the belt circuits on schematic page 10. The components are 10Axx, instead of 14Axx.

All of the components in the belt card circuits operate on 24 volts.  The 12/24 converter is on the inside of the cabinet door.  The belt cards are protected by 24v fuses. All 24v conductors are purple.

There are two completely separate circuits (refer to A370160K, pages 6 and 14 shown here):



Main belt:  A43.1,  14A20.1, 6K360, 14A24.1, 14B36.1

Feeder belt: A43.2, 14A20.2, 6K361, 14A24.2, 14B36.2

Older TB-105’s using schematic A383009 have the same components on pages 6 and 10. The component numbers are 10A20.1,2, 10A24.1,2 and 10B36.1,2

The belt cards have indicator LED’s and adjustment screws as shown.




Belt card adjustment may be required for component wear or replacement.  If the belt cards were swapped for troubleshooting, and not put back where they came from, adjustments could be off.


The following outlines the adjustment of the four adjustable values of the belt cards.  All values INCREASE by turning CLOCKWISE.

Ramp Adjustments

“Ramp Up” controls the time it takes the belt to accelerate to its set speed, and “Ramp Down” controls the time it takes the belt to decelerate to a stop. Adjustment is from 0 –5 seconds.  Care must be taken if adjustment is made, since it is possible to have the feeder in a ramp cycle while the main is not running.

Factory setting:

1. Decrease all ramp screws (counterclockwise) to zero

2. Set ramp down on both cards to two full turns open (clockwise)

3. Set main ramp up to four full turns open (clockwise)

4.Set feeder ramp up to six full turns open (clockwise)

To be sure which way to turn the screws, remove a card and look at the adjustable resistor connected to the screws.  Turn the screws counterclockwise so the sliding “slugs” in the resistors move to the end away from the black face plate of the card. There are no stops, so there is no way to turn too far.  This is the zero point in step 1.


The gain “MAX” screw adjusts the gain of the belt speed knobs.  To check these adjustments, time the belts while running them at full speed with the manual by-pass.  Next, run the belts with the remote to see if the same speed is reached.  If the belt is slower, increasing the gain will speed the belt up.

STOP increasing the setting when the belt doesn’t go any faster.  You can determine this by timing the belt, or just go by the sound of the belt.  Turning the gain screw up too far narrows the adjustment “window” on the belt speed knobs.  Therefore, if you have a belt that doesn’t run until “3” or “4,” and full speed is reached at “6” or “7,” set the knob at “10” and decrease the gain setting until the belt starts to slow down.  This will open the “window” back up.


The zero screw calibrates the position of the feedback sensor.  Whenever the e-stop circuit is reset, the LED’s on the belt motor controllers will be on.  The ZERO setting positions the valves so that the belts are not running.

If the ZERO is too high, the belts can “creep” or run slowly when the belt switches are off.  Pushing an e-stop will stop the belts.  With the e-stop reset, adjust by turning the ZERO screw counterclockwise toward “-“, 1/8 turn at a time, until the belt stops.

If the ZERO is too low, a speed setting of “2” or “3” might be required to get the belt to move.  Increase the ZERO setting until the belt just starts, then back off until it stops again.  Subsequent adjustments might be necessary, due to change in resistance from the rollers, scrapers or skirts.


Telebelt Low Clearance Applications

How Do I Replace My Telescope Cable?

The telescope cable on the main belt won’t last forever. Two to three years is about it, depending on your cleanliness, maintenance and location (winter chemicals can speed the aging process). Equalizer cables last much longer and do not require the tension a main cable needs to effectively do its job.

Cables are fairly easy to replace, unless they have broken. For complete instructions on the TB 105 and TB 130 telescope cable, download the Summer 2003 PDF, Tips on Replacing the Telescopic Drive Cable (PMA-0010-6 TB). Use ONLY Putzmeister authorized cables. Some types of cable (i.e., non-rotating) are unsuitable.

When replacing the main cable, inspect all sheaves. The eight-inch (203mm) sheaves mounted horizontally will wear out on their lower edge first, so check your Operator’s Manual as some can be turned over before replacement is necessary. If the effective diameter has been reduced, cables will contact end frames. Best practices indicate having two sets of eight-inch (203mm) sheaves and bearings, as well as one set of 10-inch (254mm) sheaves and bearings, available when replacing cables, just in case.

TB 105, TB 110, TB 130, TB 600

Visually inspect cables as part of your daily operational routine. First, fully extend the boom. Then, lock out the machine and walk along under the cables.

Lubricate the cables with a penetrating chain and cable lube. The cable has a wire rope core, and penetration is critical. DO NOT use any products with graphite, as it softens plastic slides on the boom.

• Assess the wraps on the telescope drive with care. Also check the cable running from the anchor point (Dead Head) of the telescope drive, out to the tip section end frame and back to the drive sheaves.

Maintain telescope cables at 2,500 psi (172 bar) with the tensioning jacks. If you are between holes at 2,500 psi (172 bar), go to the next higher hole.

Watch for signs of a loose main cable during operation. This could mean that there is too much sag in a fully extended cable, or drive sheaves spinning in the cable wraps. Spinning drives create heat, which shortens the life of the cables.

Replace the cable as soon as possible if ANY broken strands are observed. Cable failure occurs shortly after broken strands are observed.