Troubleshooting Widebelt Sander Tracking Problems

You have to keep the tracking sensor clean. May 6, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I'm having some intermittent tracking problems with my wide-belt sander. I'm using cloth backed sanding belts that are dark brown. I've forgotten who it was told me that the tracking sensor couldn't pick that up, and to paint the inside of the belt white so the sensor could pick it up. I'm wondering if that's really the problem since I've never seen a sanding belt that wasn't made of dark material. Do some manufacturers make their belts out of lighter material?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor T:
I would first check to see that no dust is covering up your sensor. Then check your sensors connection to make sure nothings worked its way loose. If dark colored belts were to blame we'd all have problems.

From Contributor J:
Our problem (on a Ramco 52" circa 88) was the automatic oilier though necessary, allowed a fine mist of oil to be blown on the sensor and collect dust. The air used was from the tracking piston, and when it decompressed to track back and forth, the exhaust was blown onto the sensors. We just had to keep it clean. Light or dark shouldn’t matter at all.

From Contributor W:
Use the mechanical tracking adjustment to get the belt running back and forth at the same speed both ways. Next time it tracks off and the brakes kick in I want you check something. Does it go away from the eye and run off the other side? Does it run over the eye? If it goes off the side opposite the eye, leave the belt tensioned and in the same position. Put your hand in front of the eye and see if it is still failing to respond. Blow it off and try again.