How To Pressurize / Revive Old Tennis Balls...

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by SeasonedNovice, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    One trick Barry Mulder of Pressureball shows me to help fix the leaky tube is to leave the clamp on the tube as is and deflate it and pour hot boiling water over the clamp area for about a minute on each end. I tried it and it seems to help a little bit but eventually it starts leaking again. But it's not a rapid leak. So if you use it to maintain the pressure of your balls until the next use in a few days, then the slow leak is not too big of a problem. It's mainly a problem when you try to revive flatter balls with it and expect it to not leak too much when you just leave it inflated for a few weeks. You'll need to add more inflation to it within a few days to a week to restore the pressure back to 20psi.
    Yeah, I notice that buying a bundle of 2 ZT-1 will knock it down to $29.95 for 2, which is not too bad. I've emailed them about further discount if I want to buy 3 bundles but haven't heard back from them. At least the shipping cost seems to be $3 flat no matter how many you order, so they're not trying to rip you off on shipping.

    The version with the pressure gauge is convenient if you only want one. But if you want multiple of these, it's probably cheaper to buy multiple plain ones (ZT-1) with no pressure gauge and buy your own single detached pressure gauge separately. I'm not keen on the idea of adding a pressure gauge permanently to the device. It would just be another potential point of failure for leak to occur eventually. It'd just be a matter of time. I'd rather have the simple single valve to minimize the point of failure. It'd only take a second to apply an external pressure gauge on it for a pressure readout anyway.
     
  2. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    I emailed Zombie Tube about possible further discount if I bought more than a few bundled pack of 2 on 12/22 and never heard back from them. I went ahead and ordered 3 bundled pack of 2 (for 6 ZT-1 total) on 12/26 anyway at their advertised price. Never got any email confirmation from them acknowledging my order yet to-date. On 12/31 I sent them an email asking for a tracking number for my order shipment and still haven't heard back as of today. So far it's a black hole as far as communication from them and I'm not impressed. But I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt about my order happening around the holidays so maybe they're on vacation or something. Let's see when/if my order will show up... I think the previous poster said it took 2 weeks for his order to arrive.
     
  3. mhd

    mhd New User

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    I modified a used 6.0 quart pressure cooker for this job. I uninstall the original air pressure release valve and tapped a 1/8 NTP thread on the hole. With a 1/8NPT tee, I could install both a pressure gauge and a air tank valve through this hole. The best part was that the safty features was intact. The parts that I used were
    1. an air tank valve
    2. a 1/8 NPT tee
    3. 1/8 male to male adapter
    4. a used car tire pressure gauge
    It can hold about 18 balls. Good for a small batch. The same technique can be applied to a pressure cooker with large capacity.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    I received my ZT-1 Zombie Tube order a couple of days (for three 2-pack bundle totaling 6) and starting using them. I put 25 psi on them and they seem to hold up fine.

    Today I tried to put 30 psi into one that has fairly newer balls according to their online instruction. It seemed fine but a few minutes later I heard a loud pop and found a crack across the middle of the top half.

    Their website claims that the unit can handle up to 45 psi. Apparently not so based on what happened to my unit. This makes me disappointed.

    I've sent Zombie Tube an email asking for a replacement part. Hope to hear from them soon. Will keep you posted.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Booger

    Booger Professional

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    Bummer. I've had 30-35 psi in mine pretty much since I got the thing. I do worry about cracking the acrylic by over-tightening the wing nuts, but didn't think it would crack under normal use. Hope you get it sorted.
     
  6. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    One thing I really don't like about the design is that their wing nuts don't use any washer. So there's definitely a risk of over-tightening them and cause cracking like you said. Or over time the wing nuts will wear down the acrylic top for sure and will cause complication that will eventually lead to failure. It would have been a smarter choice to use a metal top instead of a flimsy acrylic top like this. I may go to Home Depot and buy a bunch of washers to put on them to correct this deficiency.

    At least based on where the crack occurred, it's not due to my over tightening the wing nuts because the crack line didn't run through a wing nut location. It just goes to show that the acrylic choice of material is too brittle. Metal would have give a little and not crack like that.

    I also wished they had provided the longer 4 ball can instead of the shorter 3 ball can. I can't imagine that it would have cost them much more to go from a 3 ball can to a 4 ball can. I know you can go buy your own 4 ball can to replace it but it's another hassle to do. It's kind of misleading to post 4 ball can pictures all over their website, but for the 2 pack bundle they cut corners and only give 3 ball cans for this bundle.

    Now let's see how their customer service will be in handling my replacement request. When I called them on Monday to inquire about my tracking number (after no response to my email inquire the week earlier), they said they'd ship my order out that night and I'd be receiving a tracking number via email when they create the shipping label for my order. Well, I never got any email, although the order did show up 2 days later.
     
  7. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    I didn't hear back from the Zombie Tube people today yet about my replacement request for my cracked tube. Their website says 24 hour response and I emailed them last night (almost 24 hours ago). I also called a few times this morning during business hours but nobody picked up. Left a message but no call back so far. I'm a bit disappointed in the lack of a prompt response. Maybe by now I will lower my expectation and just hope for any response at all. I never got any response back from my email inquiries last week about my order status either.

    PressureBall's Barry Mulder gave me very prompt and great customer service. Too bad his plastic tube design doesn't last long and has slow leak over time.

    Rebounces' Bill Dirst is also very responsive to my email inquiries on the Mini Green Tennis Machine.
     
  8. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    Does your ZT hold pressure well? I pumped one up to 25 psi yesterday and today it came down to 15 psi. I only have the ZT-1 so I have to measure mine with an external gauge. But I have a pretty high quality accurate gauge so that's why I opted for the cheaper ZT-1.

    I notice that you have the ZT-2 with the built-in gauge. I assume that it's a bit more handy to monitor any pressure drop with it at a quick glance.

    Not all my ZT-1 seem to leak quickly, though. Most of the other ones I have at about 20 psi seem to hold pressure better. Maybe I didn't tighten the other one (the one that dropped pressure quickly) tight enough. It's kind of a balancing act trying to tighten the nuts well enough but not too hard as to crack the acrylic top half

    Also, the one that dropped pressure more quickly is a 4-ball can that I just switched in to replace the 3-ball can that came with it. Don't know if that made any difference, though. Don't see anything obvious that would.
     
  9. Booger

    Booger Professional

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    Mine does leak a little, but very slowly (maybe 1 lb/day) so it's not such a big deal when starting at 35psi. I wonder if it's the seal, but I suspect it's the thin plastic ball can.
     
  10. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    I think it's the area where the valve meets the acrylic. I just can't see the plastic can being porous. It may also be at the lip of the plastic can where the metal ring wraps around that lip. They probably design the metal ring at the lip to withstand 15 psi but anything higher than that will leak.
     
  11. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    Thanks for the updates. As an international buyer, I think I'll pass on this one: at least until there's an updated design.

    It's a shame that shipping things from the UK to the US isn't cheaper. It's all four-ball cans over here, and I have empties in abundance!
     
  12. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    Just FYI, I was able to get a hold of somebody at Zombie Tube this morning after a couple of tries (somebody named Lee). He told me that my case was the first one that cracked at the top out of the last batch of 300 that they sent out. He said that there were a couple of cases he heard back from that cracked at the bottom piece, which is less surprising to him because the bottom is just an outer ring with a big hole in the middle so it's more vulnerable, while the top is a whole solid round piece so it should be less vulnerable. He said that maybe there's a chip somewhere on the top that resulted in the crack when under pressure.

    He also told me that the material used in their next batch that will be coming in a couple of weeks will be of a 40% stronger material. He said he'll send me a replacement now and will also send me another replacement when this new batch come in.

    I asked him about the lack of washer on the wing nuts and whether that should be a concern. He said no, they've played around a lot with it and haven't seen any issue with the wingnut not having a washer.
     
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  13. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    I spoke with Aldric Lee of Zombie Tube some more this morning and he said that they're now shipping their redesigned version. He said that the bottom is the same, but the top has been made thicker to avoid cracking. He told me that since I reported my issue to him of my cracked top, he's also had a few other cases of the top cracking up like mine. He believes that the new batch should solve this issue because the top has been made much thicker. He said they had sold out all their old units so all new units being shipped now are of the new design.

    Also, he said that they've redesigned the top to be "slotted" so that you wouldn't have to remove the wing nuts completed anymore to remove the top. You'd just have to twist the top to get the open slots under the wing nuts and the top can be removed with the wing nuts still screwed on. I think this is a major improvement that will save a lot of time and add convenience. Hopefully between this change and the thicker top, they now have a greatly improved product.

    I also asked him about if they can ship with the 4 ball cans instead of the 3 ball cans. He said that they got their recycled cans from the USTA and they're mostly 3-ball cans so that's what they have to ship with. It's no big deal anyway since you can just buy your own 4-ball cans and swap them.

    I order a few more units of the new design to try them out. I'll report back on how I like them.
     
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  14. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    I received my ZT-1 top replacement today. Below is a pic of it side by side with the old top. As you can see, the new top (on the right) is much thicker. It's also carved around the edge to allow the top to be put in place without having to remove the wingnuts. I thought that was a very clever solution. I cranked the can with the new top up to >30 psi and so far it's holding up OK without cracking.

    The second image below is yet another top that cracked (the old design) as I tried to go above 30 psi on one of the cans again. I was trying to see if the first crack I had was just a fluke or not. So it's confirmed now that it's repeatable and you shouldn't be putting too much pressure into your can if you have the old top, or else you WILL crack the top. That's the reason they redesign the top to be much thicker now.

    I asked Aldric if I bought more ZT-1 from him, will he send me new top replacements for the old ones and he said OK. So I bought 4 more ZT-1 from him (2 bundles) and he said he'll send me 5 new top replacements along with this order for my 5 remaining old tops.

    I guess technically I didn't have to buy more ZT-1 from him. I could have just cracked all the old tops and call in to ask for replacement (with the new top design) for all of them, because they're still all under warranty. But I'm sold on this new top design so I wouldn't mind getting a few more new ones anyway as long as he sends me the 5 replacements at the same time.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
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  15. Booger

    Booger Professional

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    The new design does look like a major improvement. I wish I had that one.
     
  16. marco forehand

    marco forehand Rookie

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  17. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    If yours is still under warranty and it cracks under normal use (then you should be able to call in to ask for a replacement.
    What pressure do you normally set your Tennis Ball Charger at? One thing I notice is that the flatter balls will collapse at higher pressure. So if you have a mix of balls and you put all of them inside a big container like this, you either try to keep the pressure lower so no balls would collapse, or you use higher pressure and not be able to charge the collapsed balls. But you can't really tell how many balls collapse in the mix to find the optimum pressure because you can't see inside. You can use lower pressure, but then the lower pressure would take longer to recharge the balls. That's why Rebounces use CO2 on their container to address this issue. It allows you to use lower pressure to avoid collapsing balls, but the CO2 will penetrate the balls faster.

    But the disadvantage of the CO2 system is that every time you open it up you waste all that CO2, even if all you need is a few balls and not the whole basket for that session. For coaching or serving, needing to use a whole basket of freshly inflated balls, it makes sense to use a big container. But for individual rec players, the smaller container like the ZT-1 or the yellow Tennis Ball Saver makes more sense.

    The advantage of the Zombie tube is that you can pump it to higher pressure if you want to recharge faster. And the clear tube lets you know if any of the balls collapse so you can adjust accordingly for optimum pressure. You also don't need to open up all 75 balls at once if you only need a small handful each time you play.

    I think in the use case of many balls at once (coaching or serving or ball machine), the Mini Green Tennis Machine using CO2 is the best option.

    In the use case for rec players needing only a handful of balls each time, the Zombie Tube is the best option.

    If you have many flat balls you want to charge but need to access just a few at a time , multiple Zombie Tubes of 4-ball cans is also the best option.

    The soft plastic Pressure Ball is also good for the rec players with up to 8 balls per tube. BUT you shouldn't pump it more than 20 psi (according to its label). So in that respect, the ZT is better because you can pump it a high as just shy of collapsing the ball to faster recharge (although I'd still limit it to 35 psi to avoid cracking the lid).
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016

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