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Old School Vibration Analysis; Hearing is Believing

Now that you have your high-tech vibration analyzer you should NOT stop using all of your human senses; especially hearing. What you can see, smell and feel (when safe) can tell you SO MUCH about your machine - but what you can hear can reveal information that can lead to the fast and accurate detection of fault conditions (that you may otherwise struggle to learn from your spectrum).

When you collect your normal spectra there is a very good chance that you are recording a very short snapshot of time. You may not be recording the entire "story" the machine has to tell. Likewise, the waveform you collect may also be only telling you part of the story (look for future tips that discuss this in more detail).

However, if you were to listen to the machine from the time you place the accelerometer on the machine until the time you remove the accelerometer, then you would hear all kind of sounds that would reveal a great deal about the machine. Faults such as lack of lubrication, bad bearing, broken rotor bars, cavitation, turbulence, rubs, rattles, surges, and other sources of impacts, modulation and beating all make very distinctive sounds.

If you listen to the machine you will soon learn to recognize these tell-tale sounds. You may then choose to perform additional tests while you are still out at the machine, or you would know to check the data from that machine, already with an idea about the fault, as soon as you get back to your office.

You will need to discuss this capability with your vibration analyzer vendor, or you may need to buy an external listening device.

For more information about vibration analysis training and certification, please visit or write

Tip provided by Mobius Institute

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