Buying a used tennis ball machine?

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by 10usnut, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. 10usnut

    10usnut New User

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    Hi All,

    Slowly but surely, I've been saving up for the purchase of a tennis ball machine. Currently, I'm mulling over the idea of buying either of the following:
    TennisTutor 4 Plus
    Lobster Elite 2
    Silent Partner Pro

    Each has it's own pro's and cons but the gist of my message was that I wanted to know if others have bought used machines from someplace like **** and how have they held up.

    I'm aware of the demo units that the various vendors offer along with their warranties but wanted to see what the rest of the group thought.

    Also, finding good reviews on the various ball machines is almost impossible (excluding this great forum!). Does anyone know of any web sites/discussion boards that review ball machines?

    Have a great day!

    chris
     
    #1
  2. mark rodgers

    mark rodgers Rookie

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    If you're going to buy a used machine most likely it's not going to be in tip top shape. I would take into consideration the cost of replacement parts that you are surely going to have to take care of. My Tennis Tutor 4 plus is about 2 years old and I'm just now having to replace some parts.

    Batteries: $60
    Ball Feed Wheels: both for $60
    Hopper carousel motor: $45

    Another item you might need to be replaced is one or both of the motor(s). They are $60 each.

    These are all "wear" items and will eventually need replacing.

    I don't know the cost of the circuit board but I'm guessing it is easily several hundred bucks. So make sure the control panel is in perfect operating condition.

    So take into consideration those costs before you buy a used unit. If I were looking for used 4 plus, I wouldn't pay more than $900 for it with the understanding that I would probably need parts to get it back to 100% functionality.
     
    #2
  3. godeyes

    godeyes New User

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    As mark said, I would like to buy a new one.
     
    #3
  4. mark rodgers

    mark rodgers Rookie

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    LOL, I didn't mean to scare you! I think buying a used machine is a good idea if you can save some $$$. And honestly I'm surprised that parts are relatively inexpensive. I was trying to figure out how they came up with $1600 for a new 4P considering the cost of parts. The biggest expense must be the circuit board. When I first got my machine I was dreading the day that I would eventually need to change the batteries. When that day came, I had no choice but to open it up and to my surprise it was much easier to work on than I thought. Now I have no problem opening it up to clean and check it out. If you're just a little mechanically inclined and have some basic tools you can work on it. Basically, you're just removing the old component and installing the new one.

    I got my 4P as a demo unit direcly from Sports Tutor. I bought it minus a remote control for $1100 and they included the 1 year warranty. This was my first ball machine and looking back I'm glad I did it that way.
     
    #4
  5. LionsNC

    LionsNC New User

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    Does anyone know where to get parts or repair for a Little prince machine?

    I bought a older model Little Prince off a co-worker for $200.00, The only problem I have is that it has this O-Ring with Rubber(looks like a piece of motorcycle innertube) attached. When I insert this in the tube it jams a lot. It works fine without it but the pace is somewhat limited. Great for a working on the soft to med pace shots, but if you want more pace this machine won't currently provide it. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
    #5
  6. ffrpg

    ffrpg Professional

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    When buying a used ball machine, make sure the battery still holds a charge. I had a Tennis Tutor Model 2 that came with a dead battery. The battery is usually one of the first things to go, if it isn't properly charged.
     
    #6
  7. shinta

    shinta Rookie

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    FYI, Lobster has their new Elite 3, which is basically the Elite 2 + two-line feature.
    http://www.lobsterinc.com/html/batt_model_three.html

    BTW, regarding the question of why these things are so expensive, it's definitely not because of the circuit boards. (I used to design circuit boards, and for a tennis ball machine, i can't see it being more than $100 or even $50.) It's probably more due to other parts and supply/demand factors.
     
    #7
  8. 10usnut

    10usnut New User

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    What makes the tennis tutor such a hottie is that..

    if you get a demo from the site, you get the benefit of a 1-year warranty. Personally, I'm a wee bit hesitant of buying something from **** over a grand with "As Is" the only warranty I've got (no matter how little it has been reported to have been used).

    One thing that sucks is that Playmate (man, what an odd name for a ball machine ;), is just down the road from me but they do not sell directly to the consumers (not even demos).

    chris
     
    #8
  9. mark rodgers

    mark rodgers Rookie

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    #9
  10. LionsNC

    LionsNC New User

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    Thanks Mark, I will check them out.
     
    #10
  11. Bates2005

    Bates2005 Guest

    LionsNC: Did you ever find a cure?

    Lions.

    I have an old "Little Prince" ball machine with the exact same problem. I even called Prince Customer Service (had to be handled in India). They were no help and could only offer me http://www.tennismachines.com as a possible solution.

    All I wanted was a stinking .pdf file of the original manual. I am kind of handy and with a little cement glue, I bet I could fix it. My trouble is I don't quite know where to re-attach it (low in the tube or just before the plastic insert).

    If anyone else has any thoughts, please let me know.

    Thanks.
    Steve

    P.S. I just left a message with the guys at Master Sports, so I'm just trying to cover all bases with this post.
     
    #11
  12. tennisxlsdk

    tennisxlsdk Rookie

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    Any updates as to where I can repair parts for a Little Prince Tennis Ball machine, an older model, one w/o wheels ?? I am going to buy one used, guy says electronics are fine but machine jams once in a while, so wondering what the problem could and maybe an easy fix with some parts or adjustments.

    Help would be greatly appreciated, plan on opening it up and posting pics once I buy it.
     
    #12

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