We had some wear on our drivetrain belts (160T Vex 15MM), was wondering what better options were out there.
Are you sure the limiting factor causing the wear is an inferior product rather than a design or implementation issue?
We have noticed essentially no differences in performace, wear, etc. Perhaps you over tensioned, or used a pulley too small?
The few timing belts we have purchased from McMaster have been Goodyear branded (5mm HTD). I would look at the setup (c-c distance/tension/alignment/load) before looking to blame the belts.
We’ve been running 9mm (in reality 8.5mm) VexPro belts for two tournaments this season and they have not visibly worn in the slightest. My bet would be your issues are with alignment or tensioning.
Frankly the only differences I’ve noticed have been in the branding. We used SDP-SI 5mm GT2 belts last year and the difference this year wasn’t noticeable.
What does the wear look like? Often time that can help you figure out what the problem is. If the teeth are stripping off, you are lundertensioned. If the belt snaps or the core fibers are breaking, you are either over tensioned or out of spec. You should be fine with 15mm. I know that 192 runs 15mm wide and doesn’t have an issue. I was going to comment that a high CG also plays into how the belts wear, but then I remembered how ridiculously low your CG is.
If you want, you can run GT2 belts on HTD pulleys and have more strength than HTD belts on HTD pulleys (but less than GT2 on GT2). This won’t fix the problem of if you are undertensioned.
We run 5mm pitch 15mm wide GT2 belts on 5mm pitch 22T GT2 pulleys with a fixed center to center and, as you said, haven’t had any issues with them. We have a couple bases that have been running this same set up for 2 years and haven’t needed any belt replacement.
This document is very helpful with diagnosing belt wear.
I think, almost more important than the belt tension is the number of teeth on your drive/driven pulleys. Smaller pulleys means more torque/tooth, and thus more wear. Larger pulleys distribute the load better and wear much slower.
You are probably not going to see much of a performance difference between pulley manufacturers provided they are making the tooth profile to spec. (I would guess that any reputable supplier will be) As others have mentioned, larger pulleys are better for higher working loads than smaller pulleys. The biggest factor in belt life is tension, unfortunately this is also the hardest thing to measure.
If you want a particular brand of belt or an odd width, instead of Mc-Master Carr, try looking up a local Gates dealer. I have found that they will generally get you the same or better product in a similar time frame for less. I have a few that I go to, if you are interested, send me a PM and I can send you their info.
Our team has used chains forever and will never switch imaa chain lover.