help with final decision on ball machine?

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by kingswild, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. kingswild

    kingswild New User

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    I have a $2,000ish budget (don't mind going up a bit if it's worth it though) to buy a portable ball machine.

    I have it narrowed down to the Spinfire Pro 2 and the Lobster IV.

    My main goals is to use this mostly for cardio...so I want it to be as fun as possible so I do it more and more.

    They both seem to have little things where one is slightly better than the other. But major advantages of each (for me):

    Spinfire: the internal oscillation that supposedly makes it harder to tell which direction the ball fires out from. For anyone that has used it, does it really mask the direction? or can you still tell if you look close?

    Lobster: truer randomness with speed and spin also being random.

    So these two features are my main decision point. Just wondering what any users of either machine (or similar) might value more between these two features.

    Thanks for any input!
     
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  2. kingswild

    kingswild New User

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    also can anyone comment on the sound level of each of the machines? The courts I will be using this on are public and I don't want to be a nuisance.
     
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  3. kimguroo

    kimguroo Hall of Fame

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    no playmate option?
     
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  4. kingswild

    kingswild New User

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    I looked at the paymate and haven't completely ruled it out...the two reasons I prob won't get it is 1) the extra 20 pounds and 2) there is no 3 line random oscillation. I think it only does right and left.
     
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  5. mrw

    mrw Semi-Pro

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    I love my SP Pro. Never a problem and does a great job. It cost me $1100. six years ago.
     
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  6. AndI

    AndI New User

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    kingswild, I do not have experience with either of these two ball machines. I wish I could offer you more help. I can comment, however, on the cardio component. Weight control and cardio are fairly high on my priorities list as well. As a Playmate Volley owner, I can say that a 2D oscillation is more than enough to get yourself out of breath in a short time. I usually use 2D oscillation not even in the forehand-backhand mode but set it to a narrow angle cross-court and do it all forehand or all backhand with a variability within a some 20 -30 degrees angle. I also use 2D oscillation for overheads and volleys, and this also provides a good amount of movement and cardio. In theory, one can have a good cardio workout even without 2D oscillation (one could e.g. hit a ball, then run to the net and back, ready position, next ball, etc.) but this requires a little more creativity.

    I am missing the 3D option on a Volley, but I see it not as much as a cardio drill but as a game simulation. When you do not know what is coming (direction, speed, height, or spin), you have to adjust quickly.

    A good question to ask owners of Spinfire and Lobster is how well 3D oscillation feature works and how easy it is to set it up. If you think about it (especially after setting up a ball machine a few times), 3D oscillation is tricky to implement for several reasons. For one thing, one has to adjust speed, elevation, and spin simultaneously to achieve a desired trajectory, and the settings depend also on ball condition. It takes more than just speed or just elevation to emulate realistic ball trajectories, and totally random combinations of settings are likely to give weird results. The machine has to have a good algorithm which take into account interdependencies of these parameters. The other factor is that throwing wheels have a fair amount of inertia. In my Playmate Volley, it takes up to 3-4 balls for a new speed to stabilize. You rotate a knob and watch the next few balls gradually go further and further. In order to achieve a fast wheel speed change (on the order of a second or less), one needs to utilize electric brakes or regenerative braking to slow them down and have powerful motors to accelerate the wheels quickly. This would make the machine a lot more expensive to build and much less energy efficient (an issue for a portable). I trust this is what programmable plug-in machines priced in the $7k range have.

    I've been reading about 3D features, too, and I saw mixed reviews from owners about efficiency and useability of these features. My impression was that it sounds great in theory but does not always work very well. The complaints were mainly along the lines that it is tricky to set up the 3D oscillation so that balls do not land outside of the court area and do not get into the net. I do not know if the latest generation machines have gotten better in this respect. Have you tried searching through this forum?

    In Playmate Volley, internal oscillation makes it absolutely impossible to predict in which direction the next ball would go. I assume it is the same with Spinfire because principle is exactly the same. The interesting thing, however, is that in real life tennis one oftentimes can make a reasonably good guess about where the ball would go before the opponent hits it using the opponent's body position prior to the contact with the ball. This would likely put real life situation about halfway between internal and external oscillation :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
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  7. kingswild

    kingswild New User

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    AndI,

    thanks for the response. I would love to hear from those users about the use of the 3D feature. most of the ball machine threads are older...but I read through all of the ones form the last few years.

    when you say it's impossible for you to know which way the ball will go with the playmate, don't you know at least one of two spots where it will go? I read that the random feature of the playmate only made it go to the far right and left randomly...whereas even in the 2d oscillation modes of the lobster and spinfire, it can launch the ball randomly throughout the entire span...so you can get one up the center, one partially to the left, one all the way right, etc..

    i used a friend's Tennis Tutor that had a random feature. and yes even right and left would be great cardio. but i found myself cheating once I started to get tired. I know it sounds dumb but the funner and more challenging something is, the more likely I'll be to do it. I guess perfecting my tennis stroke should be challenge enough...maybe one day it will be but not right now.

    good point about the inertia of the wheels and slowing down the speed. i did read somewhere that some of the lobster shots hit the net. not sure if they have a brake in there or something. It's also possible though that that could be due to user error (intermixing of different balls...not calibrating it right, etc).

    regarding calibration, this is from mamba tennis re the spinfire: "Utilizing infrared sensors, the Spinfire Pro 2 will calibrate itself before every use, allowing you to line up the machine to the center of the court. When turning off horizontal or vertical oscillation the machine will calibrate itself back to its original position."

    the lobster has a crossbar that you put right on the baseline...not sure the exact process there but I imagine they have it worked out decently well.

    I mean even if 10% (just made up that number) of balls hit the net, it still might be worth it to get a good forwards and backwards run going. plus sometimes you might not be able to tell it's gonna hit the net and you will partially move over there anyway. so it won't be a total loss of a rep.
     
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  8. AndI

    AndI New User

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    Yes, indeed, with the Playmate you know the two locations where the balls will land (with the accuracy of ball to ball variability). It is determined by the setting of the "width of oscillation" dial and can be varied continuously from zero to max. However, with the "random" setting turned on, you have no idea to which of the two pre-defined locations the next ball will go. The machine can send up to 3 balls to the same spot... or change it after one ball. Since rotation is internal, you cannot see how it rotates (in theory you should be able to see it, but from the other side of the court you can't) and you can't cheat. You just don't know where the next ball will go.

    If you already caught yourself cheating, you might want to have that internal rotation. I had the same experience in tennis lessons - when instructor tells me ahead of time what balls will be sent to me, I do not wait for the next ball - I run to where I know it will land. This is human nature :)

    I suspect that infrared sensors used by Spinfire could be internal sensors which return horizontal and vertical oscillators to the same position in which they were when oscillation was turned on. I cannot imagine that it would calibrate itself relatively to the court. An App on iPhone would do it using image from built-in CCD sensor, but portable ball machines are built using technology which dates back 5 to 10 years (think about B&W liquid crystal displays, menus with up and down arrows navigation, and foil buttons). Let's call it "well proven technology". In reality, production volumes and profit margins are likely not sufficient to sustain development at up-to-date level.

    I cannot imagine that a feature would be released to the market if it totally does not work. Perhaps it is just takes longer to set up and calibrate than most people want to spend fiddling with the controls. Or maybe it works well only with brand new balls or only with pressureless balls which tend to have less variability.

    Please share your experiences when you get your machine. Hopefully owners of either of your preferred choice machines will share their experience with 3D oscillation.

    I hear you when you are saying that repetitive drills may get boring over time. This is the same with a treadmill or elliptical machine at the gym. My take on this is that one has to have a bigger goal than just a drill on its own (lose weight, beat up your friend or relative in tennis, get to the next level, get prepared for a tournament, surprise your instructor with your day to day progress, etc.) to keep it going.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
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  9. V1_Classic

    V1_Classic Rookie

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    Playmate volley owner here as well. I can definitely vouch for the efficacy of its internal oscillation feature. It was one of the reasons I opted for it over other brands.

    Something you might consider, and it's what I do for the kids I work with during some of the drills I put them through is mix in a bunch of dead balls, some of which have small holes through them. Forces them to "read" the shot immediately and react to it. You'll get some variation in terms of depth even with all new balls for obvious reasons, but the effect is magnified 3-times over with old balls, especially if you drill a few holes. ;-)


    So you can choose for a Spinfire that's a few dollars less with only left-right random oscillation and save few bucks.
     
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  10. tennissavvy

    tennissavvy Rookie

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    You can easily make out difference without owning any ball of the machine. One thing I will put above everything is internal oscillation. Lobster type machine nullifies any advantage of random oscillation because an entire machine move in the direction of the feed (even kids can figure out). I will not buy lobster for sure because pre-programmed drills are predictable after few use, and you can only change interval between balls (everything else set internally...checkout Amazon reviews on that)

    Spinfire pro2 & playmate has internal oscillation in the market. I will go with spinfire pro2 for many reasons portability, easy to set lob setting from the touch panel (no manual nob), no calibration, can take any balls (info from mamba tennis), free two way shipping in case of repairs under warranty (2 years), remote control with so many features controlling (not just on/off), larger battery for 8 hours of operation (fast charger can be connected to power outlet to have unlimited play time.. in short it is battery operated and AC only as well) , 3 ways random oscillation (checkout mamba tennis website for drills pictures or spinfire pro website for details), spinfire provide easy two feed for 7 years to 70 years old; spinfire has a max flat short range (talk to mamba tennis) and pretty easy to transport.

    You can get all the above information by reading owners manual or asking few questions to a dealer of any machine (Lobster and mamba tennis have a top-notch customer service). SP & tennis tutor are good ball machine with internal oscillation.
     
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  11. nn

    nn Hall of Fame

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    #11
  12. AndI

    AndI New User

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    This discussion highlighted a very typical mismatch in information between various sources. This is the very reason why I shared in my recent thread as much information about the Playmate Volley as I possibly could (both positives and negatives). I wish owners of other brands did the same.

    Two examples of how it quickly gets confusing. I will make references to Spinfire Pro 2 manual which can be found here

    http://www.spinfiresport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/spinfire-pro-2-manual-2-7-2.pdf

    1. Page 13 of the manual states that in case of a warranty claim, the machine has to be delivered to authorized service agent (I assume, mamba tennis in Florida) and freight both ways is paid by the owner. Tennissavvy stated two posts above that freight is free to the owner. This contradicts warranty disclaimer and is most likely incorrect.

    2. Page 11 of the Spinfire manual says: "We strongly recommend the use of Spinfire Juice, Tretorn Micro X or Babolat Academy balls as we have found these to be the most trouble free. Old balls and less expensive balls are more prone to jamming and could be the cause of your problem. "

    Tennissavvy stated that he called mamba sports and they told him that Spinfire can be used with any balls. Now, you read the manual and wonder - if it can be used with any balls, why the manufactures strongly recommends (in explicit language, at least twice through the manual) specific brands of pressureless balls? Does it jam with regular balls or does not? If it does not, why specific ball brands are strongly recommended? How can one figure this out before taking a plunge?

    The manufacturer or sales rep will be happy to talk to you about it, but they are biased by definition as they want to sell their machine to you.

    This is exactly the type of problem that I went through. I needed very good ball compatibility, and I ended with Playmate Volley not because it was the most feature-rich (which it is not) but because their message about ball compatibility was the most consistent. I still do not know how Lobster or SP or Spinfire would work if I had loaded it with orange low compression balls (which I regularly do for my son with the Volley). I am very curious to find out and am looking for posts where someone would share this information.

    P.S. kingswild, the manual has a detailed description how the Spinfire machine does its internal calibration. It is clear from the manual that it is calibration of the position of internal components relatively to their end positions and not calibration relatively to the court. Evidently, the purpose of this calibration is to make sure that if you turn the machine off in the middle of the oscillation, next time you turn it back on, it will not start shooting balls diagonally.

    P.P.S. Tennissavvy, it was not my intention to pick on your post, I used it only as an example of controversial information available from different sources.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  13. JonC

    JonC Professional

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    I have a SPinFire2 - you can see it oscillate but you have to really try. It's a great machine and the customer service is good.
     
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  14. AndI

    AndI New User

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    JonC, I certainly do not want to hijack the thread, but since you are a spinfire owner, could you please share more details for the benefit of the community:

    1. What balls do you use it with, what types of balls did you try, have you ever had any problems (too high inconsistency, jams) with any of them? If you experience jams every now and then, how often does this happen?

    2. What was the reason why you used their customer service, and what was the outcome (why did you rate it "good")?

    3. What you like most about your machine, and what you would like to see improved?

    4. How often do you use 3D oscillation feature and how happy are you about it? Is it easy to use, is it fun to use?

    I am sure kingswild will have many more questions for you..
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  15. tennissavvy

    tennissavvy Rookie

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    Warranty:
    Spinfire Pro2: You can contact Mamab Tennis (Ray or Susan) to confirm (they do on the TT forum and stated this) about free shipping both ways for repairs. In fact, they don't need a machine back for repairs since most of the parts are very easy to install by owners. Playmate failed here to support the owners. Lobster pay one way shipping. SP & TT (3 years warranty) both support, one way shipping and most of the time you don't need to send them (easy to replace parts).

    Balls:
    All the machines take orange, green dots and regular yellow balls without any problem. I have used all three balls in spinfire pro2, lobster elite series and grand 5 ltd, SP & TT without any problems. You are naive in your assumption that only playmate is the greatest machine that supports orange and green dots...:???: Have you ever talked to Steve (SP), Curt (Lobster) or Ray (Mamba Tennis) to find it out or send email?

    After using all the brands, I feel playmate is best in construction (rock solid for teaching pros), lobster grand series (lower speed 35 mph) better suitable for advance players and SP/TT for the intermediate players (it is my observation not verdict...as someone tries to latch on it for nothing)

    Lobster has 30 days return policy, SP take it back with return shipping cost on you and Spinfire pro2 with $300 restocking if you don't like it. They are all backing their products and in business for long time, so saying they are throwing junk info on the website is totally wrong.

    @AndI, You never contact anybody else or try to find out if they use orange or green dots in their machine e.g. lobster, SP, spinfire or tennis tutor. You just read something on the website and decide they don't support.

    I have used lobster, spinfire, SP and TT at club, friend's or someone let me hit with them.
     
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  16. nn

    nn Hall of Fame

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    I was lucky enough to try out spinfire pro2 from someone on our team bought for his kids.

    [1] I can answer that question easily. We used regular yellow balls (some were junk to be honest). Friend used orange and green dots with his kids (daughters around 6 and 9 years age) without any jam. It was fun to watch nice warm up feed using orange balls. You can easily generate some serious flat balls and top spin balls. I was impressed how easy it was to create lobs and volley drills with a touch panel (only four settings to change)

    [2] My friend recommends highly and said customer service is top notch. if I have to pick something it will be remote because it is made of plastic. I hold it on few times to pause the feed and restart etc. It has nice feature of putting machine on pause to save battery while picking up balls and taking water break etc..

    [3] My brief hits with machine, so I am not going to point out many. One come to mind is change of spin and speed in random setting will make spinfire pro2 best one on market for replicating players style. Maybe remote of better quality (take out plastic). Also easy to transport but wheels are small (friend says they are adequate for most of the surfaces but uphill path will be difficult to navigate)

    [4] We did use random oscillation for ground strokes. I tell it with 100% confidence that internal osc is way better compare to external one. I was easily play random balls from lobsters but hard to judge one coming out of spinfire pro2.

    I will never get playmate because of weight and size (don't fit in car but big SUV). Lobster is best in transportation.

    BTW: I will never use pressure less balls because in real matches we use regular balls and feel is different. If I buy machine then regular balls are the one goes into machine and little search says spinning wheels get damage over time can be replace for $50 - $100 bucks (in 2 years warranty period it will be free)
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  17. AndI

    AndI New User

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    tennissavvy, this is a good detailed response. Thank you for taking time to write it.

    To answer your questions, I called several manufacturers and started a thread on ball compatibility on this forum a couple of months ago. All answers I got were vague at best.

    Generally, I have significant trust in other owners' experiences. I take specifications and written materials (e.g., warranty disclaimers) with a grain of salt, but I consider them invaluable in the sense that they are written documents which can be enforced or can be used as basis for warranty claims. The manufacturers can go above and beyond of what their policy states, and we have examples of this, but I would not bet my money on this unless I hear from other users again and again that this is their practice. Even if they were great in the past, they can always tell you "no" and point towards their written policy. Finally, I put little trust in sales people's promises because their job is to sell and not to provide unbiased reviews. Many of them are truthful and have integrity, but it happens the other way around, too.

    This is common sense. This is how you choose a contractor. This is how you choose a new car. This is how you pick a TV brand. Call your local car dealer and ask them how often their cars break and how good their service is - what do you think you will hear? That they make crap cars which are rated the worst in the industry and all their customers cannot wait until they sell their old car and move to the other brand? Of course not. You expect them to present their product in the best possible light because it is their job - or avoid direct answers if they do not want to lie but cannot say the truth.

    When half of the ball machine manufacturers state on their web sites and in manuals that "we strongly recommend pressureless balls and specifically brand X", you start wondering why they say that and what would happen if you do not comply. If this was not an issue across all makes and models, why would they use this language in their manuals and on their web sites? Ball compatibility is just an example, but this topic was important for me personally.

    For this very reason I prefer to hear someone to step in and say "I have a Tennis Tutor and I use it with low compression balls regularly without any issues", or "I had a warranty claim and these guys paid for shipping and fixed my machine with 10 days turnaround time", rather than "I called John at Silent Partner and he told me you can use it with any ball and we will pay for any repair and shipping regardless of what our written warranty policy says, do not worry". In fact, I would rather buy a ball machine which never breaks or malfunctions so that I would never ever have a need to call the manufacturer or deal with their support. :) Honestly, I do not want to know these guys by their first names!

    I did not make an assumption that only Playmate supports orange balls. Rather, I made an assumption that no ball machine was designed to support orange balls, but I had fewer reasons to think that Playmate would have issues than other brands. I wish there was a perfect ball machine but there is none. Selection is a tradeoff.

    I am glad you shared your positive experience with all three types of balls in ball machine brands which you listed ( I hope it was not a single experiment but repeated testing). Thank you. It is great that nn has also contributed by sharing his experience.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  18. nn

    nn Hall of Fame

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    @AndI, You took type of ball used (e.g. type of gas used in car) to very extreme in selecting ball machine. If ball jam happens, it won't be hard to remove it (take 2 or 3 minutes)

    If you read the many threads on a ball machine, mostly all the brands support warranty without a hassle because they want a repeat customer, and recommendation drives the sale. I think it is very true if my friend owns particular ball machine and shares positive experience.

    TT brand even supports second or third owner for warranty repairs (all other brand support warranties to the original owner).
     
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  19. AndI

    AndI New User

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    nn, you are absolutely right. I do not recommend my approach to anyone. I am a scientist and an engineer with experience in a business environment and I sometimes put too much attention to details and pay too much attention to data. I learned in line of my job a difference between verbal and written information. Oftentimes it helps in daily life, sometimes it becomes a hassle. I made my purchasing decision, and it works well for me. In this thread, my comments fueled the discussion and helped with getting good responses, like yours :)

    I guess the reason why I was so serious is that in most cases you have to order a ball machine from a merchant or manufacturer who does not take returns at all or in best case returns are pricey (shipping + restocking). There is not much margin for error. The choice is final. Lack of detailed information, lack of unbiased reviews, or centers where one can get a demo or rent different units does not help at all.

    As for ball jams... One ball jam once a while is not an issue. I trust your judgment that it does not take long to remove a jammed ball. My concern was that due to lack of compatibility, every 10th or 20st ball could jam if one does not use recommended balls... or they would fly in random directions.... But again, it was my personal concern which does not apply to most users because who in sound mind would use orange balls unless one has to?
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  20. kingswild

    kingswild New User

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    @nn:

    thanks for writing back. can you just confirm that the 3D feature was indeed easy to set up and didn't launch too many balls into the net or too far out of bounds?

    Also my only other concern would be the noise...Do you think people on a nearby court would be annoyed with the noise levels? (obv i would set it up to hit balls crosscourt away from them if I happened to have a neighbor). (noise was not an issue with my tennis tutor that I borrowed. just want to confirm though).
     
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  21. kingswild

    kingswild New User

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    yes it seems like each of these three machines have seemingly no brainer huge convenience advantages over the others...which I don't get why the others don't implement

    playmate having the removable battery and easily rollable (plus build quality and internal oscillation), spinfire with the 3D mode and internal oscillation, lobster with the random spin & speed.
     
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  22. nn

    nn Hall of Fame

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    Spinfire was easy as moving to spot from where you want to start the feed. You can change setting while machine is throwing the ball (no need to stop or pause to change the settings). Most of the time we put the machine at the baseline (center) and service line (center). I can easily put that middle of ad or deduce side and practice return or angle shots or whatever you like to work on.

    Noise level is close to zero (nobody came to us saying machine is loud take it out of the court). In fact, pause feature in between ball pick up or drink make machine go to sleep. First time when my pause the machine I thought he shutdown the machine, so you can imagine. Also balls don't go into net on flat balls (even at max setting). Lobster was worse on flat setting (ball goes into net). Top spin balls should be use with car because at high speed you are going to feel on shoulder. You should refer the manual for all the settings.

    At the end of the day machine is additional tool but not the ultimate solution( you know what I am saying)

    Lobster grand 5ltd was pretty noisy compare to spinfire for sure but not like someone will ask you to shut it down.

    Checkout mamba tennis website for video and love the total control on slowest to fastest and flat to top spin ball with so much easy on spinfire.

    If I want to buy ball machine then spinfire pro2 is my choice..
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
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  23. AndI

    AndI New User

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    nn, unlike kingswild, I am not in the ball machine market. However, after I spent so much time researching ball machines, I want to use every opportunity to better understand how high-tech features unique to certain brands work and to which extent the owners like them. I am very glad that we have this discussion on this forum.

    If it is not too much trouble, could you tell if you find 3D feature useful? Do you or your friends use it often, or use it at all?

    Would you say it is a tool of certain value for tennis improvement or mainly a way to get a little extra footwork? Does it feel significantly different from regular 2D oscillation?

    Does depth variation feel random? Does it change on every ball? Does it cover the whole range or is it only Deep-Shallow? Do you end up getting a rectangular area where balls can land in random spots, or two lines at different distances from the net?

    What would you say is the typical depth of this rectangular area, for the settings which you used?

    Can it get annoying that balls that land closer to the net always fly higher (because they were shot out with a higher elevation angle but the same speed)?

    Finally, can you adjust the range of vertical oscillation (I got the impression from the manual that this parameter is fixed)?

    Spinfire manual describes 3D feature as small changes in vertical elevation (if I remember correctly, within 4 degrees), without changes to speed or spin, superimposed over the standard 2D oscillation.

    Sorry about asking so many questions. Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  24. JonC

    JonC Professional

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    1. I use Penn and Spinfire pressureless balls. The advantage is that they create less fuzz - any ball will work. Slightly damp balls will not.

    Yes -I have had jams but it turned out to be damp balls.

    2. You speak with one person at Mamba tennis and she knows the machine - can't remember her name. They were very helpful when I couldn't figure out something to do with the pause feature. Can't remember warranty stuff or shipping costs for fixing.

    3. I like that it will oscillate randomly horizontally and vertically and that it has pre-programmed drills. It will lob of course. I think it has the same features as other machines - except for the internal oscillation which I like.
    It does +/- spin and speed up to 80mph - more than I can handle for sure.

    4. I use the drills which incorporates the 3d oscillation. It's great. You can set it so that even Nadal would have trouble getting to the balls.

    It also will reset to straight when you turn it off - some machines will stop and be pointing off to the left or right.

    I holds a lot of balls. It's light.

    Now truthfully, I don't know if I need all those features but I don't mind spending money - it definitely does everything besides serve - those are around 10k.

    Wheels are too small for getting up curbs so I carry it on a dolly. I pack the machine, bag of balls, water, hopper, and racket bag and head off down the street to the courts.

    If you just want to practice strokes I'd get a Silent Partner but for a workout you need oscillation - and the narrow, medium, and wide option.
     
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  25. JonC

    JonC Professional

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    The 3d feature throws balls long, medium, and short and you can have it oscillate horizontally randomly or in a drill (3 balls each side).
     
    #25
  26. JonC

    JonC Professional

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    Also - I've played with a few ball machines at the club. These machines were very errant -with many in the net. I think that has a lot to do with dead balls - get the pressureless balls for sure.
     
    #26
  27. AndI

    AndI New User

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    JonC, thank you so much!

    If nn also comes back with his comments (I am curious if he agrees with JonC or has a different take on 3D drills), it may become the best thread on Spinfire Pro 2 that we had so far!
     
    #27
  28. nn

    nn Hall of Fame

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    @AndI, You are not thinking like a tennis player but a statistical or mathematical way. It is not going to cut the deal in terms of features you are asking or looking in 3D or any dimension.

    I will try to answer in tennis terms. Basically, you got horizontal oscillation (medium/wide - always random) and turn on vertical oscillation to get a random feed (fix speed and spin). Now you can create beginner, intermediate or advance level of drill by changing four parameters (available on touch panel). After looking at manual you will see table for lobs, flat, topspin and slice. Now you pick setting for one type from three levels and turn on horizontal osc and vertical to have more fun or torture up to you.

    You can have 2 line drills where you can get narrow, medium and wide with vertical oscillation.

    Now you will ask true random with spin and speed change with all other parameters. Lobster grand 5 ltd try to do that and mess up big time. When they try to change speed with a flat ball, either they go in net or come out as a missile. If they try to change a spin level, it goes over your head (adult height) which nadal can hit or generate (goes out of baseline as well).

    You can hit forehand or backhand only at any angle (1 to 18 locations of lobster grand 5 ltd edition feature) with vertical oscillation to create a random height ball. Try same for volley, drop shots and lobs. I didn't try all of them because of a time limit but reading manual and hitting few times give you entire picture.

    I can imagine changing all four parameters to your need and mixing horizontal or vertical oscillation create lots of combinations that you will never get bored.

    If you watch video of spinfire on mamba tennis, you will get idea how many things you can do with it. I can't do a lot of things because friends want to work on particular shot, and I join him.
     
    #28
  29. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    This thread appears dead but can anyone answer whether the Spinfire Pro 2 can do topspin and backspin in triple oscillation (ie 3D as some call it) mode. The manual does not specifically say it can and I am asking because for some reason the SP Smart can only do topspin in what they call all-court mode, which is the same as triple oscillation/3D.

    I am also wondering about people's experience with the range of the Spinfire Pro's Soviet Union era plastic remote with antenna that one has to keep extending and retracting constantly when taking it out of one's pocket (which also subjects it to breakage).
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
    #29
  30. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    Wanted to bump this as I'm considering either the Spinfire or SP and would love current opinions / updates. It looks like the Spinfire Pro 2 has an updated remote. Any longevity complaints amongst owners?
     
    #30
  31. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    Nevermind guys - I got drunk and impulse pre-ordered a Spinfire Pro 2 after seeing the comparison videos. Looking forward to getting it early June and giving a full review.

    The internal oscillation and overall oscillation speed both vertically and horizontally were what sold me. Really just hoping for a high quality product with some longevity.
     
    #31
  32. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    To answer my questions in post 29 above, the Spinfire Pro 2 can indeed to do backspin, topspin and no spin in triple oscillation mode. Also, a new and better remote is being released during the next few months which will also not have an external antenna.

    I am currently awaiting my Spinfire Pro 2 to be delivered next month, hopefully.
     
    #32
  33. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    That's great news! I think I'm waiting for the same shipment (if you're in the US). Susan said early June.

    With regards to Triple Oscillation Mode, how random is it and how do you enable it? I read the manual but was a little confused as to what would enable the third bit of oscillation. Also, how would you enable the different spins?

    I broke the news to my gf that I picked one up (still haven't told her how much I paid for my PT57a or the fact that I'm awaiting 2 more...) - and somehow, I still have a gf! Testament to her I suppose...
     
    #33
  34. speed101

    speed101 New User

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    I want to order a Spinfire Pro 2 as well but was holding off until the update. Is your June shipment the updated version?
     
    #34
  35. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    Which update are you referring to? I was told that the shipment will be firmware upgradable, but is there another update you've heard about? Where did you read / hear about an update?
     
    #35
  36. speed101

    speed101 New User

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    #36
  37. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    I am in Canada and won't get my unit until next month. There is currently only one unit left in the shipment the exclusive Canadian distributor is awaiting.

    I think everything will be pretty clear on how to operate it when you get the unit and since I don't have mine I can't answer your questions.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
    #37
  38. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    There is only one major upgrade which is the remote which has not been released yet and the date is not certain but I am told is expected to ship in the next few months. The machines shipping now are firmware upgradable. To update the machine to operate with the new (and, btw, also the old) remote the machine will have to be flashed with new software unless it already ships with the new software. I am pretty sure it does not yet. Also, a new user-swappable receiver chip must be installed as the existing chip will not operate with the new remote (unless it ships with the new chip but I am pretty sure it does not). Of course you will then have to acquire the new remote which I am pretty sure is not a free upgrade.

    I decided not to wait until the machine ships with the new remote as who knows when it will actually be released and we are already 2 months into the outdoor tennis season here in Toronto, Canada. Also, the upgradeable remote is a minor aspect of the machine from my point of view. If I were you I would not wait as there is no way of knowing how long that will be and as we all know new releases usually get delayed.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
    #38
  39. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    Yeah, I'm not too concerned with a new remote. Seems like the current one has all the necessary functionality.

    My only major concern is the triple oscillation and varied spins you mention as I still can't find where / how you would enable that. Where are you getting this info as I really can't find much.
     
    #39
  40. tennissavvy

    tennissavvy Rookie

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    http://www.spinfiresport.fr/exercices/

    which mode you are referring to from above exercises?

    you can't change speed & spin during any drills (narrow/medium/wide) & horizontal (medium/wide)...

    No problem with remote apart from plastic feel & buttons are sensitive but never expand antenna.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
    #40
  41. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    #41
  42. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    I asked the supplier.
     
    #42
  43. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    Which supplier? I guess it doesn't matter that much as I'm getting one anyway, but I don't quite believe that the machine does anything more than stated in the manual. There are no instructions stating that it can vary spin, nor does there appear to be a button to select "random / oscillate spin".

    When the guy trying to sell you something tells you it does everything you want, but you can't find it in writing anywhere, you should consider calling ******** 90% of the time.
     
    #43
  44. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    After rereading your above post where the distributor tells you there was one left in the shipment, and Savvy says you can't vary speed or spin, I'd probably call double ********. No knock on you, I'm just saying not to trust that distributor too far - seems pretty salesy
     
    #44
  45. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    I do get what you are saying, ie tell everyone there is one left in the shipment even though you have many more available in order to encourage people to buy right away (just like 'that is the only hotel room we have left'), but they now say right on their website that their entire shipment is now sold out (vitalsports.ca). Would they say this if it was not true? Hardly as that now only discourages people from buying especially when they don't even provide a date when they will be back in stock. So, it is obviously true as lying in this manner only now is a disadvantage to them.

    As for the spin, for greater clarification on whether the Spinfire Pro 2 could do topspin or backspin/slice during triple oscillation mode I asked the manufacturer in Australia this questions. The Spinfire Pro 2 can do either topspin, backspin/slice or no spin during various modes. However, it cannot randomize or change the type of spin on its own during a particular mode of play, ie such as 2-line drill, vertical, horizontal, triple oscillation etc. nor did I say it could. However, you change it to the spin you desire and then it remains that way while in that mode until you change the spin again by adjusting the settings on the machine. Having it randomize the spin on its own during a particular mode would be nice but it does not do that. Doing that would require on of the various motors in the machine to slow down, stop and then quickly change direction and likely this cannot be done on a satisfactory basis with the current design of the machine. Likely the software could handle it if reprogrammed though. Another nice feature would be a 'Select-A-Drill' mode where you program a sequence of up to 10 locations you want the balls to go to. The machine then fires balls in sequence to those locations and then starts over again from the beginning. The Silent Partner Smart has this mode but does not have internal oscillation which is one of the major reasons I did not buy that brand. Another variation on this, which SP Smart does not have, would be Select-A-Drill mode with the shots being random for the locations you picked. Further expanding on this is Match Play mode where, as SP's manual states, 'the machine starts a sequence of shots with a short ball in the deuce or ad side, followed by a series of shots that replicate real match rallies'. However even with SP's machine you cannot randomize the spin during Select-A-Drill or Match Play mode.

    These two additional modes that the SP Smart provides are nice-to-haves but were not a need to haves for me. I wanted internal oscillation more and triple oscillation and the various other modes the Spinfire Pro 2 has is more than enough for me.

    Also, for further reference see page 7 of the manual (http://www.spinfiresport.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Spinfire-Pro-2-Manual-August-2014-v2.8.7.pdf) where it clearly states, beside SPIN:

    'Using this setting, you can add topspin or slice to
    each ball. It can be set from -10 to +10. When set
    to -10 you will achieve the highest level of slice.
    When set to 0 you will have flat balls while +10
    represents the highest level of topspin. You can
    also set mild levels of spin.


    For further clarification take a look at this video at 2:46 and you will see the guy adjusting the spin on the LCD display: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUDwndaTzwA

    Maybe I still don't understand your question!
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
    #45
  46. Snipe

    Snipe New User

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    Hey TT,

    All very good points! I think it was a misunderstanding on my part as I thought the distributor told you that the the SFP2 was able to randomize spin during a drill. Hopefully they'll release an update in the future that enables that, but I'm not counting on it.

    With regards to the "this is the last one" - I'm in sales and it's a classic sales trick that many of the less refined sales guys will use. The thing that made me wary was that my US distributor said the same thing - and while I liked and trusted her - it seemed like perhaps their distribution licenses or w/e came with the same sales training materials.

    In any case, really can't wait to get mine. Pretty sure my gf is tired of hand feeding me buckets :/
     
    #46
  47. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    I've been in sales and yes it is a classic sales trick but only where it does not reduce sales. The way vitalsports has implemented it it will.
     
    #47
  48. tennissavvy

    tennissavvy Rookie

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    Once for all spinfire pro2 doesn't change spin & speed in any drill or setting. Only vertical and horizontal oscillation is random. Coming from 2 years of ownership.
     
    #48
  49. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    Yes. I don't think that conflicts with anything I have said though, does it?
     
    #49
  50. TorontoTennis

    TorontoTennis Rookie

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    Why would you want to be able to randomize spin? That would not really help with grooving shots as it's only repetitive shots sent to you with the same characteristics that allow you to do that.

    It might be helpful in triple oscillation mode to help simulate match play a bit more realistically but for that you really need a match play mode which the Spinfire Pro 2 does not have.

    What other machine randomizes spin?
     
    #50

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