Belt tracking problem – 37" AEM wide belt sander

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Forum topic by WellMade posted 03-31-2016 04:04 PM 692 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 207 days

03-31-2016 04:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: aem timesaver wide belt sander optical sensor belt tracking

Hello All, sorry for the long explanation, but we’ve tried a LOT of things to get this to work.

My shop runs a 1989 AEM 37” single head wide belt sander. We purchased the machine used from NC and the belt tracking has never worked. I spoke with Timesaver (who purchased AEM years ago) and they walked me through the system. Basically, there are 3 parts; Optical eye/sensor, electronic solenoid and the pneumatic solenoid – one of which is not working.

We disconnected the optical eye and limped in a grounded 110v circuit straight into the electronic solenoid. Powering this on and off fired the solenoid and the upper pneumatic solenoid connected to the drum, this isolating the optical eye as the problem.

The “eye” is a Banner Multi-Beam and inside the eye are three components; Logic module, Power Block and the Sensor block itself. What is supposed to happen is that when the belt crosses over the eye, it blocks the light from reflecting and triggers 110v circuit to fire both solenoids, in turn, dipping the drum back in the opposite direction.

We replaced the entire 3-part assembly. Prior to replacing the assembly, when we blocked and unblocked the eye we had no current. NOW, when we do the same blocking/unblocking of the eye we have CONSTANT current.

We’re thinking it could be a sensitivity adjustment on the eye itself or maybe we have some wires swapped. We’re at a loss and could use LJ expertise! Thanks in advance.

5 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile


22677 posts in 2287 days

#1 posted 03-31-2016 05:06 PM

We had a similar Timesaver wide belt sander in our molding plant and a similar AEM. I was the one who maintained all of our equipment. I had an engineering background but I was not formally trained as a machinery technician. However, over the years I had become a pretty good self taught machinist and electrical control technician and usually could solve most of our machinery problems without bringing in the high priced technicians. It was fairly common to have trouble with both of these wide belt sanders. I always used the electrical blueprints of the control systems in our machines in order to trouble shoot them. There’s no really good way to do it otherwise. Also, I found mistakes in the blueprints on both of these machines and corrected the blueprints. Do you not have a decent technician in your area? A technician should be able to get you going pretty quickly or at least tell you which parts you need.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View HokieKen's profile


1523 posts in 559 days

#2 posted 03-31-2016 05:20 PM

From the datasheet for the Multi-Beam optical edge guide, it looks like it has jumpers to switch which side is light and which side is dark. I’d make sure they’re correct on the emitter and reciever. Looks like there is a sensitivity adjustment as well.

Here is the datasheet I’m referencing. I imagine you have it but it may help you troubleshoot if not.

Good Luck!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View WellMade's profile


2 posts in 207 days

#3 posted 04-05-2016 01:08 PM

Now we’re having trouble with the safety system shutting down the sander so nothing is getting power. Boo… I think we may have popped a relay or something. I’m sure I’ll have more questions shortly.

View bigblockyeti's profile


3573 posts in 1141 days

#4 posted 04-05-2016 01:17 PM

Process of elimination is how I usually diagnose such problems, also, it’s much, much easier if you have the wiring diagram and any other associated manuals. I wish I could be of more help, but as hands on as much of this kind of work is, it’s difficult (for me any way) to try to fix something that complicated without being able to lay hands on it.

View serviceengineer's profile


1 post in 111 days

#5 posted 07-06-2016 12:12 AM

I was a service engineer for aem in the early 90’s. There is a light activate dark activate setting on Banner photo eyes .Also you can adjust the sensitivity on the eyes. They switched the electronics from ttl to cmos in the early nineties and it caused they photo eyes to fail due to voltage spikes from the solenoid to the photo eye. I remedied this by adding an isolating relay and installing a 1000 joule 120 vac metal oxide varisistor across the coil of the valve and isolating relay. You can buy an mov at any electronics store. The tracking system is fairly easy to repair but sometimes difficult to adjust usually just takes a little practice.For the safety system if its a tape switch replace it they are a nice feature but get damaged easily there is a relay and a dropping resistor in the circuit. They started using a simple mushroom head estop pushbutton as a replacement. ABB makes a nice estop kit that is resonable to buy. Good luck aem made a good machine. Time Savers makes good equipment too.

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