Gates Belts & Applications - Tips and guidelines written by Gates Industrial Engineers

Easy Fixes For Obtaining Readings From Gates 508C Sonic Tension Meter

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

posted by Dan at 11:54 AM

The new Gates 508C Sonic Tension Meter is an excellent tool, and is very easy to use.  Occasional user difficulties often result from some common issues.  Solutions to a couple of common issues follow.

If readings can’t be obtained, first check to see that the meter is set in the standard frequency mode.  Look for an “S” in the upper left hand corner of the screen.  If an "H" is displayed instead, the meter is set in the high frequency mode (500 hz to 5000 hz) and normal belt span frequencies cannot be detected.  

Change the frequency mode by holding the “Range” key down (zero button) until the screen changes. Then toggle to select the “Standard” range with the “up” (8 button) and “down” (2 button) keys.  Press “Measure” afterward to return to the main screen and look for the “S” in the upper left hand corner of the screen.

When using the meter to measure belt tension in terms of lb., kg. or N, “Mass”, “Width” and “Span” constants need to be entered.  These constants are available in the tensioning section of drive design reports from our Design Flexibility software.  Correct constants are necessary to obtain correct belt tension readings.


Many users prefer the simplicity of span frequency, but don’t know whether the “Mass”, “Width” and “Span” constants need to be entered.  The constants do not effect belt span frequency measurements, but incorrect constants can result in a meter display overflow, or “Error Re-Measure” message. 

If the meter is to be used to measure belt span frequencies only, here’s a really handy trick.  Enter values of 1.0 for all three constants.  Now the meter will display zero tension, but press the “Hz” button for the frequency display mode.  Now the meter will display accurate belt span frequency values, not display belt tension, and not display an error message from incorrect constants.

Contact Product Application Engineering at 303-744-5800 or at ptpasupport@gates.com for further assistance with Gates Sonic Tension Meters. 

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