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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was working on a wheel this morning to even out the tention and got conflicting "readings" from my ears and the TM-1. I don't plug the spokes with my fingers but rather hit them with the rubber handle of my spoke wrench while dampin as many spokes I can. Gives a nice clear tone. I only use the tension meter to get the initial ball park tension. Anyway, I trusted my ears and was wondering what experienced wheel builders would have done?
 

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carl1266 said:
I was working on a wheel this morning to even out the tention and got conflicting "readings" from my ears and the TM-1. I don't plug the spokes with my fingers but rather hit them with the rubber handle of my spoke wrench while dampin as many spokes I can. Gives a nice clear tone. I only use the tension meter to get the initial ball park tension.
Ears can never be as accurate as a tensiometer. There are so many variables with ears and so few with a tensio, that the only compelling reason to NOT use a tensio is cost.

That said, there are lots of experienced wheelbuilders out there that have never used anything BUT their ears, and their wheels last a long, long time.

carl1266 said:
Anyway, I trusted my ears and was wondering what experienced wheel builders would have done?
On the first ~1000 wheels that I built I used my ears. On the last ~3000 I've used a tensio. With the tensio, there is no guessing or estimating.

MC
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
mikesee said:
Ears can never be as accurate as a tensiometer. There are so many variables with ears and so few with a tensio, ...
I have to disagree. The frequency resolution of a human ear is about 2 Hz (see here). For the frequency of a spoke (I am guessing at least 1760 Hz, probably higher) this means a change of .13% in the frequency will be noticed. For guitar strings doubling the frequency results in quadrupling the tension. Assuming the tension/pitch relation for spokes is similar this would result in a tension change of .5%.

I very much doubt, that the Park tension meter can accurately measure such a small change in tension. I would compare it to a cheap guitar tuner. It gives you an idea as to where you are but is by no means accurate.

Granted there are interferences when plugging a spoke but a trained ear should be able to sort them out in most cases. You can and should have much more faith in your ears.
 

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carl1266 said:
I have to disagree. The frequency resolution...

I very much doubt, that the Park tension meter can accurately measure such a small change in tension. I would compare it to a cheap guitar tuner. It gives you an idea as to where you are but is by no means accurate.

Granted there are interferences when plugging a spoke but a trained ear should be able to sort them out in most cases. You can and should have much more faith in your ears.
You're picking nits, and I should have been more clear in the way I wrote my response.

Few of us have perfect hearing.
Precious few of us have an environment free of background noise or distraction.
Not every pluck or strike is the same as the one before it, or after it.
If you're hungry/thirsty/tired/impatient, you may hear what you want to hear, as opposed to what the tension actually is.

A tensio can eliminate all of those subjectivities and give you objective numbers to work with. You have to exercise consistency when using it, otherwise you can skew the numbers.

As mentioned above, many people have (and do) produce durable, high quality wheels using their ears (or no method for checking tension at all). It can be done.

I just don't think it's the most consistent way to do it.

MC
 

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Carl, you also asked about the experiences and opinions of wheelbuilders. Even if you do not like Mike's response that is how he feels about it. I happen to agree with him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
shiggy said:
Carl, you also asked about the experiences and opinions of wheelbuilders. Even if you do not like Mike's response that is how he feels about it. I happen to agree with him.
Sorry, I am a bit grumpy today. I crashed and fell on my butt yesterday and can barely sit. :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
mikesee said:
You're picking nits, and I should have been more clear in the way I wrote my response.

Few of us have perfect hearing.
Precious few of us have an environment free of background noise or distraction.
Not every pluck or strike is the same as the one before it, or after it.
If you're hungry/thirsty/tired/impatient, you may hear what you want to hear, as opposed to what the tension actually is.

A tensio can eliminate all of those subjectivities and give you objective numbers to work with. You have to exercise consistency when using it, otherwise you can skew the numbers.

As mentioned above, many people have (and do) produce durable, high quality wheels using their ears (or no method for checking tension at all). It can be done.

I just don't think it's the most consistent way to do it.

MC
I do see your point that the "ear-method" will not work well in a shop environment. The problem I have with the TM-1 is getting consistent readings. From what you say I believe I am to impatient. Since I don't build wheels for a living (and have the liberty to take a break whenever I feel like it) and have trained ears I find it much easier and faster to work with my ears. At least on a grumpy day. ;)
 

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How close are the TM-1 readings? Park says within 20% is okay and any better is gravy. You're mostly limited by the rim. Unless your rim is perfectly round, you'll never get perfectly even tension.
 

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carl1266 said:
I do see your point that the "ear-method" will not work well in a shop environment. The problem I have with the TM-1 is getting consistent readings. From what you say I believe I am to impatient. Since I don't build wheels for a living (and have the liberty to take a break whenever I feel like it) and have trained ears I find it much easier and faster to work with my ears. At least on a grumpy day. ;)
Agreed that it's personal preference. Since I DO build wheels for a living, I prefer to take all the guesswork out of my customers' wheels. That means that I use the tensio (DT Swiss in my case) on every wheel, which adds less than 2 minutes to each build.

MC
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
mikesee said:
Agreed that it's personal preference. Since I DO build wheels for a living, I prefer to take all the guesswork out of my customers' wheels. That means that I use the tensio (DT Swiss in my case) on every wheel, which adds less than 2 minutes to each build.

MC
How do you like the DT Swiss compared to the Park? When I worked on the tension I had one spoke where the TM-1 told me the tension was too high while my ears told me it was to low. I decided to only use my ears and double checked at the end with the tension meter. Everything was fine then. Could it be there was something wrong with this particular spoke (twisted or so)?
 
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