DIY drive belt

I just got a nice VCR (one with the time delay loops for professional recordings) for $2. I think it works except for one small problem. All the drive belts had disintegrated. Getting parts for the thing will be difficult and I can’t order online anyway. I want to make some for it that might be a little better. What is the best way to make new ones. I know rubber bands don’t work and I am not sure about thread.

Maybe some pictures and size specifications would help?


Good luck! might find some O rings that will work at an auto parts store or plumbing supply, but it’s not very likely.

Best bet is to find a belt kit for that VCR online and have someone order it for you

Only a few inches long. I would try to order some. This VCR is old enought I am not sure where to go for parts. I will not be able to get specs until tomorrow night. Grometts might work. I have used them in the past, but they are a little tight.

Too bad you can’t order online; O-rings or urethane round belting from McMaster would work perfectly here. Urethane round belting can be made to any length with just a knife and a lighter.

MCM has some VCR belts as well:

MCM is the place to go for parts but you better hurry. VCR’s are using less and less of these parts and they get harder to find everyday. Only use an equivalent part. O-rings and other substitutes produce too much of a side load on the fragile bearings and plastic pulleys. Many of the belts are square to produce two flat sides to the pulleys. Before you replace the belt be sure to clean the pulley with some alcohol. If the belts have disintegrated, then the lubricant in some of the sintered bearings has likely dried out as well. Light synthetic oil will help there. Also look for the black grease on sliding parts and see if it is caked. MCM also sells a little jar of that stuff too.
Before you put any money into the repair, check the video heads. First look at them with a bright light. If there is a trailing black smear on the video head surface, then the video heads are worn to the point that they can’t self clean. If the drum surface is clean, check for tip projection. Gently slide you finger sideways over the tip of the video heads (the little point inside the recess of the drum). You should feel a slight “bump” if there is sufficient tip. If the tip is barely perceptible, the machine is not worth adding anything to.
Can you give us the model and manufacturer?

The VCR is a JCPenny 5061 Two Head (an ancient beast). I was able to make a couple of the belts using surgical hose I cut into 8ths. It works for all but one belt. My parents suggested I use hair ties. I will try that as soon as I can get a few. They should hold up much better than rubber bands. I agree MCMaster would be better, but ordering online is a real pain for me.

MCM is not McMaster if that was your thought. It is a great electronic house and a place I do a lot of professional business. I would check around in your area and see if you don’t have an electronic supply house that has a retail storefront. They should be able to help if nothing else works.
A quick search brought up

Just got the MCM electronics catalog today: They Sell Belts

The problem with things like surgical tubing and such is that they stretch, causing wow and flutter in the signal, degrading its fidelity. Real urethane belts don’t stretch.

SMC electronics looks to have a better selection, as posted by gburlison