Gates Belt Tensioning - Phone App vs Sonic Tension Meter

May 16, 2024

Proper belt tension is essential to good quality 3D prints and avoiding excessive wear or noise. However, phone apps commonly used for tensioning such as guitar tuner apps or Gates' own Carbon Drive app, are known to be unreliable. As an alternative, we have sourced several used, genuine Gates Sonic Tension Meters and made them available for purchase or rental.

With the help of PFMakes, we have tested a Gates Sonic Tension Meter against the Gates Carbon Drive app, using a force gauge as ground truth:

Test setup details:

Belt span: 390mm
6mm belt width (2GT RF, 1.4gm/m mass constant)
Force Gauge: MMF-12LB
Gates Sonic Tension Meter: U-507
Phone app: Gates Carbon Drive v2.7.6
Phone is an iphone 14pro, used internal bottom microphone with freshly cleaned ports
Microphones were placed equidistant to the area of belt being plucked



The Gates Sonic Tension Meter shows reliable results, with 6% of ground truth (force gauge). On the other hand, the Gates Carbon Drive phone app varies wildly, as much as 90% error (reporting a tension of 2.9 newtons with actual was 29.9 newtons).

Interested in taking a $600+ industrial tool for a spin but not looking to fork over the cash? Consider renting once from us.

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