Cotton picking has evolved over the years. Cotton picking was originally done by hand and in some countries, it is still done that way. The conventional cotton pickers were only capable of harvesting cotton one row at a time. The modern-day cotton pickers are self-propelled and can collect cotton from up to 6 rows at a time. There are different parts to a modern cotton picker. One of the common components to several parts of the cotton picker is a belt. It is one of the most critical components of the machine. With age and use it needs to get replaced to avoid severe damage to the cotton picker.

Parts of a Cotton Picker that Require Belts

Water Pump: The water pump requires a drive belt to function. The water fan is engaged when the cotton fan is active. It is critical to not let the water pump go dry. If the drive belt breaks, that could severely damage the water pump. There are different types of water pumps but generally, most types require two types of belt: the serpentine belt and the V-belt. The serpentine belt is a single continuous belt used to drive multiple parts. The V-belt is used as a mechanical adjuster that needs to be calibrated over time.

A/C Compressor: Similar to the water pump, there are two different types of belts in an AC compressor. There is the serpentine belt, which needs to be removed first, and another AC belt such as V-belt. The AC belts connect the compressor clutch to the engine crankshaft allowing the compressor to be turned by the power provided by the engine.

Engine Fan: To keep the engine cool, a fan is located in front of the engine just behind the radiator. The engine fan has a fan belt which is critical to the function of the entire engine. The fan belts help cool and circulate the coolant throughout the engine. The engine fan is particularly useful when the cotton picker is stationary or moving at very slow speeds not allowing enough air to come through the grill.

Alternator: The alternator belt keeps the battery charged while the engine is running. The belt is directly connected related to the health of the battery. The alternator is most critical to the start or ignition process of the cotton picker. The battery is used to provide instantaneous power required to start the engine, while the alternator keeps the voltage regulated.

Fan Rotor: A fan rotor is a common part of various material collection machines. The picker units of the cotton picker use the fan rotor which is driven by a belt. The fan rotor is mounted on the common shaft. A multi-rotor blower fan uses several separate fan units for the individual picker units. Fan rotors come in different sizes and models depending on the type of cotton picker i.e. a rear bagger system is going to require a different type of fan rotor.

Auxiliary Pump: The auxiliary pump is used for additional pressure during startup and shutdown of the cotton picker. It is also used in cases of emergency. The auxiliary pump contains a belt drive.

When to replace belts on the cotton picker

With a regular maintenance schedule for the cotton picker, you should be able to determine if the belts need to be replaced. Visual evidence of wear includes excessive cracks or missing chunks on the belt. Any cracks more than halfway through the belt means you should replace it as soon as possible. The noise of the belt can be another indicator of belt issues. Listen for any squeaking noise. There could be more than one reason for the belt to make that noise so have a technician checkout the cotton picker. It is best to get the belt replaced before any serious issues arise. If your harvester has been used for a long time, it might be a good idea to get the belts replaced even if you don’t see any apparent issues.

Buying New vs. Used Replacement Parts

The spare parts could be one of the expensive elements to repair a cotton picker. There is the option of buying new or used spare parts. Let us examine some of the pros and cons of buying new vs used spare parts. One of the clear advantages of new spare parts is extended warranty. There is greater peace of mind when buying new spare parts. If there is a manufacturing defect or workmanship issues, generally, those are covered under warranty. The other major benefit of the new spare part is the potential of a longer life of the product. This will depend on the type of spare part being used.

The disadvantage of the new spare part is cost. As you might expect, the new spare part is going to cost significantly more than a used part. Another potential disadvantage of a new spare part is availability. Many new spare parts have to be shipped from the manufacturer to the dealer before you can purchase it.

When it comes to the advantages of used spare parts, there is a clear advantage of cost. It will be cheaper to buy used for spare parts. There is also the advantage of having a larger selection. Although this will depend on the type of spare part. If it is a special or custom designed spare part for a particular model of a cotton picker, it might be more difficult to get a used version of it. The disadvantage of a used spare part is a limited warranty and lifespan. The decision to buy new or used will depend on several factors and it will come down to personal preference, type of part, budget, and more.

Where to buy replacement belts for cotton picking machine

You can buy genuine replacement Case IH or John Deere belts for cotton harvesters from Certi-Pik. They have been in service since 1988 and have clients all around the world. They have a wide range of cotton harvester replacement parts. They are located in Hospers, IA, but they serve the global market. To get more information about Certi-Pik, you can visit their website.