Ball Machine only Shooting Rockets

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by cincyMike, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. cincyMike

    cincyMike Rookie

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    I recently purchased a silent partner ball machine, and when I first purchased it everything worked ok but the battery would die in like 20 minutes. I went ahead and purchased a replacement battery for it and ever since I have put the new battery in the ball machine can't shoot a slow ball and the spin control seems out of whack. I put the speed on the slowest and the spin on neutral and the ball comes out like you have it set to the fastest speed and the ball stops almost when it hits the ground like it has backspin on it.. On the slowest speed setting I have to move it at least 6 ft behind baseline just to get it in the court.

    I wasn't sure if anyone else has experienced an issue like this, and if anyone had any suggestions. I'm hesitant to purchase another battery since the battery itself is working, and I can't really switch back to the old one because it dies so quickly. Anyway please reply if you have any experience with ball machines because its definitely not my area of expertise and am just seeking some advice. Thanks.
     
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  2. WARPWOODIE

    WARPWOODIE Rookie

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    Did you buy it used or new...directly from the vendor or from a third party?

    But it definitely sounds like the mother board has gone bad. The mother board controls the settings on the machine and the motors so in order to give you the varying feeds that you want. If you bought it from the vendor within the last year, it should have a guarantee, and they can send you a replacement mother board, as it is very easy to install. If you bought it from a third party, you will then have to purchase the board which is about $150. I have the same problem, this is the second time :(
     
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  3. cincyMike

    cincyMike Rookie

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    Bummer. After reading your post I found the original manual and it states that if this happens you have to call their tech dept which probably means its exactly what you are saying. I guess that's what you get when you buy from Craigs List. Thanks for the feedback.
     
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  4. cincyMike

    cincyMike Rookie

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    Luckily the board ended up only costing $80, but still a hassle. Now I'm hesitant to mess with it too much due to how sensitive the electrical parts are.
     
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  5. AndI

    AndI New User

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    CincyMike, it is hard to say what SP uses on their motherboard; MOSFETs are known to be more sensitive to static electricity than bipolar transistors, but you can kill any electronic component with static charge. Battery connected to the motherboard provides a "buffer" for static electricity spikes the same way as car battery protects sensitive electronics by absorbing voltage spikes from alternator/ voltage regulator. The point of time when the battery is disconnected is the sensitive moment. Normally, I would not expect electrical motor controller to be that sensitive, but apparently the one installed in SP is sensitive enough.

    Be sure to discharge yourself. The best way to do it at a minimum is to touch a grounded object before working on your electronics, or better yet to buy or make an anti-static bracelet (around $5) to remain connected to the ground while you are working (if you want to make it, use a flexible wire without isolation to wrap it around the wrist and 10-50 kOhm resistor. Do not overcome the resistor because it is a crucial safety feature) and connect it to a grounded object (e.g., ground wire in your 3-prong outlet). Once you do that, you will be safe.

    Do the same whenever you decide to replace the battery. Of course, make sure that you observe the polarity and do not switch "+" with "-" as that would be a guaranteed way to fry your control board. I hope this is not what happened when you were changing the battery.


    If the board is not very sophisticated, you can figure out the schematics and fix it. You are lucky that it is only $80 to replace. It could've been much worse.
     
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  6. cincyMike

    cincyMike Rookie

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    Thank you for the advice, I am quite nervous about replacing this board due to the sensitive nature of it. Although it was only $80 I don't want to spend $80 again if I botch the install! I will heed your advice and buy a static electricity bracelet. After some research this seems to have happened to a lot of people during battery replacement. Its too bad there isn't a better safeguard to prevent this, I would have liked to keep an extra battery to switch in while playing with the machine, but due to the risk I think I will avoid doing that.
     
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  7. AndI

    AndI New User

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    Good luck! Just in case if you are not familiar with static electricity, one likely source where it can come from is friction between your shoes (especially those with flashy synthetic soil) and synthetic carpet. Sneakers or tennis shoes are not good for electronics work. Since it is summer now, you can use a "natural" way to discharge yourself instead of a bracelet: set up a small work bench on a lawn and walk a few yards back and forth bare feet on the grass before opening the machine. Obviously, you cannot do it in winter, but in summer it may even feel pleasant to do it this way. You do not need to be worried about being grounded without a current-limiting resistor while you work because you only work with a 12 V battery.

    If you have a desktop computer, you can discharge yourself by touching its metal chassis which is usually exposed in the back, where the power supply's fan is. It can also be a good spot to connect your bracelet to.

    Back in the graduate school days when I was soldering circuits for my experimental setup, I would always ground myself, especially when working with op amps. Don't worry, when you are grounded, there is no risk of damaging the circuit board. No need to be nervous, just follow the protocol :)
     
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  8. victorleo

    victorleo New User

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    Hi cincyMike,
    Always opt to buy a pitching machine from an authorized dealer. It is also important to get the customer service even after you have purchased the machine from the online retailer. I have very positive experience with a leading online retailer, viz. pitchingmachinepro.com
     
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