Adjusting bale tightness on a round baler

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dirtdoctor

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I'm getting ready to look at a Hestton 5500, at a fair price. I'd like to be able to stack them for tarping since i have no inside storage for them. My brother baled for me last year. The bales looked great in the field but when i tried to stack them they just slumped down. Any body ever tried stacking them like that? Is it possible to adjust how tight a round balers bales, besides tractor speed?
Thanks,
 

kenny thomas

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A couple of things to try. Resize the belts, they may have stretched, the springs on the side may have gotten week, drive slower and let the baler do its work. Many people with the older Heston balers try to bale too fast and the baler does not have time to pack the hay. The heston 5500 I think is an older baler so check it out good. Look at bearings and belts, the two things that usually gives problems.
From someone who has used Heston since the late 1970's.
 

dun

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I have a Vicon that has adjustable belt tension. It makes a bale that is almost too tight to get a spike into. Those bales have been stored outside and are still tight and round. The stuff put up with a JD all slump. Part of it could also be the moisture of the bale when it's made. The more moisture when baled the more shrinkage you'll get when it dries.
 

SFFarms

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dun":1yp3wfy5 said:
I have a Vicon that has adjustable belt tension. It makes a bale that is almost too tight to get a spike into. Those bales have been stored outside and are still tight and round. The stuff put up with a JD all slump. Part of it could also be the moisture of the bale when it's made. The more moisture when baled the more shrinkage you'll get when it dries.

Our biggest problem with bales "slumping" is exactly like dun said when there was too much moisture in the bales. We baled some bales this summer early in the morning with some moisture in the hay trying to beat three days of rain. We stacked the hay in the hay barn and thought nothing of it. We came back a week later and looked like a tornado or bomb had blew through the barn bales were everywhere. :mad: :roll:
 
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dirtdoctor

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kenny thomas":14kgpwkv said:
A couple of things to try. Resize the belts, they may have stretched, the springs on the side may have gotten week, drive slower and let the baler do its work. Many people with the older Heston balers try to bale too fast and the baler does not have time to pack the hay. The heston 5500 I think is an older baler so check it out good. Look at bearings and belts, the two things that usually gives problems.
From someone who has used Heston since the late 1970's.

I was hopeing for something like an adjustment on the springs. I'm pretty sure it's an older baler but it would be a upgrade to the 24t sq.baler we have now or at least a lot easier. I'd like to roll my first cutting and sq. bale the second, that's how I did it last year and it worked pretty well for us. I've found this Hesston for $1800 and with us just rolling 50-70 bales per yr I can't justify spending a lot of money at this time. I'd like to believe i'd never be in a hurry, but it always seems that they call for rain just about the time the hay dries out.

dun":14kgpwkv said:
I have a Vicon that has adjustable belt tension. It makes a bale that is almost too tight to get a spike into. Those bales have been stored outside and are still tight and round. The stuff put up with a JD all slump. Part of it could also be the moisture of the bale when it's made. The more moisture when baled the more shrinkage you'll get when it dries.

I was looking at a Veemeer today that had hyd belt tension, seems to me the tighter they are the better they'd shed water so that would be a plus thing. Last years hay was kinda thin and it cured for three and 1/2 pretty days so it was pretty dry, but that could be part of it. My wifes learning to feed, she set a bale down to move the feeder by hooking the feeder to move it but couldn't get the spear back in the bale of course she was trying to stab the side!

SFF, did you get that barned cleaned out yet??
 

1982vett

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Dirtdoctor, I've never seen a one in person and it is hard to tell from just a picture, but this looks like it could be a threaded rod thru a bracket where the springs attach. I'd be willing to bet most all machines with springs for tension like this will already be set at maximum tension.

As far as shortening the belts to increase tension, I'm not sure that works unless they are so loose they "stop out" before reaching "home position". I think shortening them will only change "home position".
 

Angus Cowman

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1982vett":3trgdctr said:
Dirtdoctor, I've never seen a one in person and it is hard to tell from just a picture, but this looks like it could be a threaded rod thru a bracket where the springs attach. I'd be willing to bet most all machines with springs for tension like this will already be set at maximum tension.

As far as shortening the belts to increase tension, I'm not sure that works unless they are so loose they "stop out" before reaching "home position". I think shortening them will only change "home position".
the belts being at the factory specified lengths make a big difference in bale uniformity and also tension because if the belts have stretched and they all do, then you have to adjust the tension more to make the same bale as one with belts at the proper length
I resize my belts every 5000 bales and they have usually stretched from 3-5"
 

1982vett

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I agree with bale uniformity of mismatched belts. I'm just wondering if it actually effects tension a huge amount? Now I can agree that if they start to go slack before the gate latches tension would be reduced at the beginning of a bale making a loose core. but as long as the springs are taught when the door latches I just don't know for sure if tension would be reduced enough to make a big difference. I've been wrong once this evening already, might as well go for twice. :lol2:
 
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dirtdoctor

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Angus Cowman":1v09euch said:
1982vett":1v09euch said:
Dirtdoctor, I've never seen a one in person and it is hard to tell from just a picture, but this looks like it could be a threaded rod thru a bracket where the springs attach. I'd be willing to bet most all machines with springs for tension like this will already be set at maximum tension. ".

Makes since that an older baler would probably have the adjustments "bottomed out", also I've read this is a soft core baler

the belts being at the factory specified lengths make a big difference in bale uniformity and also tension because if the belts have stretched and they all do, then you have to adjust the tension more to make the same bale as one with belts at the proper length
I resize my belts every 5000 bales and they have usually stretched from 3-5"

Can you explain resizing the belts, please?
 

kenny thomas

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to resize the belts you take them off the baler and measure them. after some use they will usually be longer than the factory specs. They will have to be cut to the specs and re-laced. Good thing to have them re-laced anyway if it is very old. The lace is usually where the belt breaks or pulls out. if it has set outside the belt will deteriate at the lace first. Also taking the tension off the belts when parking will make them last longer.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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I had a 5510 Rounder for a couple years (the most miserable couple years of my baling life, lol). Anyway, from what I can recall, those bale tensioning springs were non-adjustable. However, I _think_ I still have the owners manual for that miserable old belt breaking SOB around here somewhere, and will look it up as soon as I can.

Rod
 

fitz

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DiamondSCattleCo":2zmulkse said:
I had a 5510 Rounder for a couple years (the most miserable couple years of my baling life, lol). Anyway, from what I can recall, those bale tensioning springs were non-adjustable. However, I _think_ I still have the owners manual for that miserable old belt breaking SOB around here somewhere, and will look it up as soon as I can.

Rod

The Case International I have is a generic Hesston. I'm pretty sure the springs don't adjust. I just shorten the belts.
fitz
 

Angus Cowman

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1982vett":2dmgn97h said:
I agree with bale uniformity of mismatched belts. I'm just wondering if it actually effects tension a huge amount? Now I can agree that if they start to go slack before the gate latches tension would be reduced at the beginning of a bale making a loose core. but as long as the springs are taught when the door latches I just don't know for sure if tension would be reduced enough to make a big difference. I've been wrong once this evening already, might as well go for twice. :lol2:
Lets say when the gate is shut and the factory specs say you should have a 100lb of pressure on the belts and the belts have stretched and you now only have 80 lbs pressure then your bale will not be as tight as it would be at 100lb of pressure on the belts

the #s are just hypothetical

on my NH I have hydraulic tension on my bales so it is easiy to adjust only takes turning a valve and the seting on it are from 900psi to 2200psi with mine set at 1650psi I can make a 4x5 bale that weighs 1100lbs fresh out of the field actually the bale is 62" tall
 

hayray

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Lots of good advice here, you should be able to use these tips and get that baler running correctly. To answer the initial question, yes you should be able to stack those bales no problem and expect them to hold shape fairly well. After a whole winter you can expect the bales on the bottom to flatten out a bit but not too badly. I bale 4x4s with a NH roller belt baler and I don't make the bales very tight and that works fine for me. I stack in pyramid type stacks and tarp.
 

1982vett

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Angus Cowman":1cvlss2x said:
1982vett":1cvlss2x said:
I agree with bale uniformity of mismatched belts. I'm just wondering if it actually effects tension a huge amount? Now I can agree that if they start to go slack before the gate latches tension would be reduced at the beginning of a bale making a loose core. but as long as the springs are taught when the door latches I just don't know for sure if tension would be reduced enough to make a big difference. I've been wrong once this evening already, might as well go for twice. :lol2:
Lets say when the gate is shut and the factory specs say you should have a 100lb of pressure on the belts and the belts have stretched and you now only have 80 lbs pressure then your bale will not be as tight as it would be at 100lb of pressure on the belts

the #s are just hypothetical

on my NH I have hydraulic tension on my bales so it is easily to adjust only takes turning a valve and the seting on it are from 900psi to 2200psi with mine set at 1650psi I can make a 4x5 bale that weighs 1100lbs fresh out of the field actually the bale is 62" tall

AC, I just want to be clear. I'm not trying to be argumentative while putting forth my questions, they are real questions on a thought process.

Looked up belt lenghts for a 510 John Deere (I'd use Heston numbers if I had access to some). They are supposed to be 484 inches or 40.33 feet. Is 3 - 5 inches really going to make a big difference in bale tightness or starting tension on the springs?

Lets talk about the springs, this may be where my theory fails. Once tension is applied (home position with the door locked) as core is formed and the bale grows the spring is stretched as the bale grows. Is their more pounds of tension extracted if the spring is stretched say 12" as opposed to being stretched only 11 1/2"? Remembering that taking 3 - 5" of belt off a 40 ft. belt isn't very much. Spring fatigue may be more of a factor than belt lengths.

Looking thru the Operators Manual for my 410 JD Baler- says the belts may be shortend several times without effecting baler operation. Just states a full size bale might not be able to be formed if they are shortened to much. Resize all belts if one has been shortened more that 2 inches. Ok, if all the belts start out at the same length and one has been shortend for whatever reason greater than 2 inches, its circumference is smaller, probably is under greater tension and stress because all the other belts are larger. (Picture a trailer with 3 tires the same size and one smaller tire. The smaller tire will be making more rpm's than the other 3 but in this situation it is unhindered by the others because it is working independent so no problem.) Now if a single belt on the baler that is shorter than the rest squeezes that portion of the bale a little tighter (making the bale less uniform or out of shape). It is trying to make more rpm's but is restricted by the other belts because they are larger (more apt to pull the lacings on the shorter belt in my opinion). So you could say that shorting the belt applies more tension but is it really because this one belt is trying to work independently but it can't. Let's go back to our trailer. Hypothetical if their were a mechanism that limited each tire to rotate only rate of the larger tires number of rpm's, that smaller tire will be under greater stresses and will have to slide along the ground a bit for every rpm the other tires make freely simply because it has to make more rpm's to travel the same distance. Resize the tires to match and these stresses go away. Seems simple and I believe everyone can grasp this example. I think resizing all the belts to match does much the same, relieves all the forces exerted by having mismatched belts so we are back to; Can an old belt be stretched long enough to put a tension spring out of it's operating range to a significant degree?

I'm still in the: not to a great degree camp. Will accept the fact that I might be wrong. Not to proud to say that.
 

Train

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Hey Dirtdoctor, I don't have it with me at the moment but later this afternoon I'll grab the manual for the 5500, look through it and find a way to get you a copy of the proper pages. Pretty much all of my equipment is junk, I mean used, and from auctions and such. What I do is contact the appropriatte dealer and order an operaters manual. Seems there's always some trick, hidden grease nipple, or adjustment you won't find otherwise. I know you'd like the info before the purchase though so we'll get that for you.
 

ChrisB

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I had a Heston 5540 and if I remember correctly the book stated that resizing the belts to the factory size would have very little impact on the tightness of the bale. I may be mistaken on that, but I recall the book stating that tightening the springs on each side was the way to get a tighter bale. Not sure if the 5500 would be the same or not. Mine made pretty decent bales when I got it and I never made any adjustments to it, but I did replace the belts once and didn't notice a difference; but like I said it made a decent bale before. Ground speed seemed to make the biggest difference.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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A couple notes on belts:

1) Belts that are too long will not allow the core to be properly pressurized and will make starting the bale more difficult. This really only applies if the belts are so stretched they won't turn with an empty chamber, although I have seen loose cores when the belts were turning with an empty chamber. I never let my NH belts vary by more than a couple inches from recommended length.

2) Belts that are too short will tend to break when the bale gets close to the end. If you're going to shorten the belts, make sure you "break them in" again and roll some smaller bales before going to full size bales. If you get the belts too short, you'll never be able to roll a full size bale. How much you can shorten the belts varies from baler to baler.

3) Belts of varying lengths are also bad news, as the shorter belts tend to have to hold more tension than the longer belts, so you'll find yourself breaking the short belts.

Haven't had a chance to check for the 5510 manual, but I should have some spare time this weekend.

Rod
 

Angus Cowman

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1982vett":1mq7rjnm said:
Angus Cowman":1mq7rjnm said:
1982vett":1mq7rjnm said:
I agree with bale uniformity of mismatched belts. I'm just wondering if it actually effects tension a huge amount? Now I can agree that if they start to go slack before the gate latches tension would be reduced at the beginning of a bale making a loose core. but as long as the springs are taught when the door latches I just don't know for sure if tension would be reduced enough to make a big difference. I've been wrong once this evening already, might as well go for twice. :lol2:
Lets say when the gate is shut and the factory specs say you should have a 100lb of pressure on the belts and the belts have stretched and you now only have 80 lbs pressure then your bale will not be as tight as it would be at 100lb of pressure on the belts

the #s are just hypothetical

on my NH I have hydraulic tension on my bales so it is easily to adjust only takes turning a valve and the seting on it are from 900psi to 2200psi with mine set at 1650psi I can make a 4x5 bale that weighs 1100lbs fresh out of the field actually the bale is 62" tall

AC, I just want to be clear. I'm not trying to be argumentative while putting forth my questions, they are real questions on a thought process.

Looked up belt lenghts for a 510 John Deere (I'd use Heston numbers if I had access to some). They are supposed to be 484 inches or 40.33 feet. Is 3 - 5 inches really going to make a big difference in bale tightness or starting tension on the springs?

Lets talk about the springs, this may be where my theory fails. Once tension is applied (home position with the door locked) as core is formed and the bale grows the spring is stretched as the bale grows. Is their more pounds of tension extracted if the spring is stretched say 12" as opposed to being stretched only 11 1/2"? Remembering that taking 3 - 5" of belt off a 40 ft. belt isn't very much. Spring fatigue may be more of a factor than belt lengths.

Looking thru the Operators Manual for my 410 JD Baler- says the belts may be shortend several times without effecting baler operation. Just states a full size bale might not be able to be formed if they are shortened to much. Resize all belts if one has been shortened more that 2 inches. Ok, if all the belts start out at the same length and one has been shortend for whatever reason greater than 2 inches, its circumference is smaller, probably is under greater tension and stress because all the other belts are larger. (Picture a trailer with 3 tires the same size and one smaller tire. The smaller tire will be making more rpm's than the other 3 but in this situation it is unhindered by the others because it is working independent so no problem.) Now if a single belt on the baler that is shorter than the rest squeezes that portion of the bale a little tighter (making the bale less uniform or out of shape). It is trying to make more rpm's but is restricted by the other belts because they are larger (more apt to pull the lacings on the shorter belt in my opinion). So you could say that shorting the belt applies more tension but is it really because this one belt is trying to work independently but it can't. Let's go back to our trailer. Hypothetical if their were a mechanism that limited each tire to rotate only rate of the larger tires number of rpm's, that smaller tire will be under greater stresses and will have to slide along the ground a bit for every rpm the other tires make freely simply because it has to make more rpm's to travel the same distance. Resize the tires to match and these stresses go away. Seems simple and I believe everyone can grasp this example. I think resizing all the belts to match does much the same, relieves all the forces exerted by having mismatched belts so we are back to; Can an old belt be stretched long enough to put a tension spring out of it's operating range to a significant degree?

I'm still in the: not to a great degree camp. Will accept the fact that I might be wrong. Not to proud to say that.
Vett
To answer your ? to the best of my knowledge on my NH baler if the belts are stretched 5" I have to add about 150-200lbs more hyd pressure (bale tension) to the baler than I do if the belts are at factory specs to get the same density of bale
 

rusty

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From my very limited experiance the belts do need to be the same length.If one is shorter it will be tighter, longer looser.Now I do know a few inches don't seem to hurt it much but they will have more stress on them.One thing I have found out is with my baler (hestton 830 4 by 4 bales) is that if I think bale is to loose before I dump it build up rpm's and it seems to tighten. I guess the faster it spins it tightens it and then I activate the tier after it ties I kick off the pto to dump it.Something else i'l noticed is that if windrows are narrow or high and low I may have to weave the hay into the pickup otherwise the bale will be lopsided or thick an thin.
 

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