Review : Silent Partner Star

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by Roddick85, May 7, 2013.

  1. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    As some of you may already know based on my previous threads, I was thinking of buying a ball machine to improve my practice sessions. I'm not going to lie, I've spent many hours researching for information/user reviews on the models made by Lobster, Silent Partner and Tennis Tutor and could never be fully convinced about either of them.

    Seeing as how it was very difficult to get Lobster machines in Canada, and thinking about potential servicing, I ruled that out. Even thought I heard great things about Tennis Tutor and my local shop was an authorized reseller, I just didn't like the model. The handle looked short and that big black box isn't necessarly great looking either, and the machine was a bit too expensive for the features offered in my opinion.

    I nailed it down to Silent Partner Star or Quest. I ended up picking the Star due to it's smaller size, and because after re-evaluating my needs for a ball machine, I realized that while the Quest sounded good on paper, the extra cost didn't really give me a higher quality ball machine (components are all the same). I could of used the 2 line features to alternate backhand and forehand but it wasn't worth the extra 500$. The other feature, the random ball oscillator could of been nice, but after reading reviews on how it required re-adjustment and maintenance, I figured it wasn't worth it. Afterall, I want to use my time for practice, not adjusting the machine :)

    Because of credit card fraud in the province of Quebec, I had to wait 30 days before getting the machine shipped which meant paying the total amount before it being expedited. I finally received the machine today and took it for a spin tonight. Here are my observations :

    1) Packaging was good. Out of the box, I think the machine looks pretty good. The wheels are OK but having bigger wheels wouldn't of hurt either. The luggage style handle is OK as well. Machine does feel a bit heavy when grabbing it to put it in the SUV. Just an FYI, I have a Mazda 3 Sedan and it doesn't fit in my trunk. I might get it to fit on the backseat, but having a hatchback or a SUV surely makes for easier transportation.

    2) Getting it setup on court was a bit complicated. As I was short on time, I just wanted to see if the machine worked or not. I was able to hit a few volleys and short balls. Trying to adjust for a deeper ball gave me quite some trouble as the machine kept sending balls way too high, going over the fence, or the other extreme, balls going too low. I tried cranking up the top spin to 4-5 and boy, this is way too extreme, ball accelerates so much upon touching the ground you can barely react. When I have more time this week-end, I will spend more time at adjusting the machine. My goal is to have a ball that's slow enough for me to work on my form but also fall deep enough to simulate actual rally shots.

    3) I had just brought about 20 balls, thinking it'd be enough. Never did I realize that 20 balls with a ball machine go by very quickly. I'm going to buy more balls this week-end so that I have at least 100.

    I'll post an update after i'm done with my 2nd practice.
    Thought I'd share this with all of you as I know I'm far from being the only one looking at ball machines and having real feedback on particular model is always good when your doing research.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
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  2. pingu

    pingu Semi-Pro

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    Congratulations on your new machine and thanks for the feedback. Hope you enjoy it !

    I'm in the market for a machine but have not had any luck finding any used one yet. Tennis Tutor seems to be the most popular. However, the wheels are too small. I think SP and Lobster's wheels are much better.
     
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  3. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    I took my silent partner out for a 2nd time yesterday. Yeah the weather has been this bad in Montreal, played indoor for most of May because of the awful weather. Since the weather was good yesterday and I didn't have any match scheduled, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to practice.

    1) As I only had practiced with 20 balls last time, I brought many more this time, about 60 in my ball hopper. Obviously it was much better, but i'm still amazed at how fast it goes before you have to pick the balls up. I think a ball hopper is an absolute must, otherwise having to constantly bend down to pick up balls can be tough for those with lower back problems. I will build up my ball basket gradually to try to have 100 balls soon.

    2) I bought a case (24pk) of Wilson US Championship balls from my local retailer for the machine. I like the feeling. I thought about buying the pressure less balls at first, but availability in Montreal for pressureless balls is very limited and almost nonexistent. I was also told by my local retailer that these kind of balls are tennis elbow balls, so in the end I played it safe and went with regular balls. I know this will cost a bit more in the long run but I think comfort is better than risking an injury. I expect to use the machine a lot more in the coming weeks when the summer finally arrives.

    3) I'm slowly getting used to setting up the machine to have the ball landing where I want it to. It's challenging but after 15 minutes, I was able to set the machine up to send balls to my backhand yesterday and have a pretty good practice session. I tried to crank up the feed rate to 50% yesterday, boy is this fast, it will give you quite the workout. I practiced with the speed at about 3-4, top spin at 1 and feed at 4. I still have to spend a bit more time with the machine to get exactly what I want in terms of ball placement. The balls I was receiving were landing about 1-2 foot inside the baseline but had a bit of a low trajectory, I would like to get something that bounces perhaps a bit higher as I want to work my one handed backhand with high bouncing balls since my opponents tend to abuse my backhand with the strategy (Damn you Rafa for making this strategy popular!! hehe)

    4) I had a blast practicing volleys with the machine. You can crank up the speed and not worry too much about the ball landing in, it works your reflexes. Easily the best part of my practice yesterday. If you want to fine tune your net skills, it's really great.

    5) Very glad I got the model with the remote. The first time I took the machine out, I had forgotten the remote at home. I really appreciated it yesterday. While having other settings beside sweep/feed would be nice, I think this does the job vs price paid for.

    6) This is something I didn't expect, but damn does this machine grabs a lot of attention, probably a bit too much :evil:. It seems these ball machine really amaze people, almost as much as a Ferrari. Both times that I took it out, I always get people coming to see me and ask questions about the machine and whether I teach or not, if they can try it or watch me playing. I honestly didn't think it would create such a reaction with people. While I don't mind answering a few questions, it can quickly become annoying as afterall, your there to practice, people bugging you prevents you to do so.

    7) From the moment you tell your tennis partners you own this kind of machine, make sure your ready to deal with them asking you to borrow it. I had to set the record straight with some of em, for the price these machine go for, I don't want to lend it to someone just to see it come back broken. So if they want to use it, I have to be there.

    Overall, pretty happy with the machine. There's plenty of practice scenarios I want to try, like practicing overhead and inside in/out forehands. Bumping up the feed rate while the machine is in sweep mode can give you quite a good workout and improve your footwork.
    I'm planning to spend more time with the silent partner when i'm on vacation later this summer.
     
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  4. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Congratulations on your machine. I'm also close to Montreal and have been using an SP machine for about 7 years now.

    I agree with most of your comments. I would however, suggest that you buy a bucket of Tretorn X pressureless balls. You will find that your balls start losing pressure and different speeds and within a while, some will get stuck in the machine. Do a tt search on them and you will see that Tretorn are reasonably soft and are considered the gold standard. They're probably still available on the auction site, but not at any local retailers, or TW.

    Enjoy.
     
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  5. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I used Micro-X balls for a couple of years and while they still have fuzz they are very good in a ball machine.

    Last year I had to decide whether to spend another ~$150 to replace my worn out Micro-X balls or do something else. I ended up using some used Cornelius kegs I had left over from beer brewing to make a tennis ball repressurizer system. Each keg holds about 65 balls and I have 3 which is plenty. You need some high pressure hose and the connectors for the keg plus an automobile tire inflator.

    I took an old bicycle tire and cut off the valve, attached that to the high pressure hose with a keg connector on the other end and, voila, I have a tennis ball repressurizer. I just throw out the ones which have worn out or won't repressurize and replace them with balls I've used in matches or picked up from the courts.
     
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  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    It sounds like you are enjoying your ball machine.

    Over time, you will be able to much more quickly set up the machine for the ball speed, spin and placement you want to achieve. Don't forget that changing the angle of launch can get the ball deeper without having to add speed.

    Working on the footwork of getting to the ball is one of the areas you can and should always be working on.
    So get in the habit of setting up so that you will have to move at least a few steps to the ball - and after each hit return to a neutral position so you have to run to hit the next ball and recover again.
    This works with volleys as well as with groundstrokes.

    You can get used to greater velocity by very slightly turning up the speed each time you refill.

    As you get up in speed, you have to move the machine further and further back to get the ball over the net, and then have it come down on your side of the court.
    If you get to the point of having to move the machine too far back, consider placing it on a cart so the ball doesn't have to be fired up to go over the net.
    A cart can also give you a more realistic angle for practicing returns and for tracking balls in volley practice.


    They seem expensive, but the Micro X balls are your best bet after your pressurized balls go dead.
    The Micro X balls are softer than other pressureless balls - you are less likely to develop overuse problems of the elbow, wrist or shoulder.


    Have fun!
     
    #6
  7. retrograde

    retrograde Rookie

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    I've found that I prefer to use ~150 balls in my hopper. Any less than that and it feels like I'm taking too many breaks to pick up balls. I'll usually hit 3 to 5 hoppers per practice session.

    I have a mix of Treton Micro-X's and regular balls that I pressurize in a soda keg (same as beernutz). The slight variability in bounce keeps me on my toes.

    Yeah, its funny how many people come up to me and ask about my Lobster.
     
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  8. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    Are you still digging it? Any further comments? Wondering if you've been able to use Charlie's suggestion about launch angle to help fine tune ball behavior.

    I'm seriously looking at getting a machine. I'm looking at a number of them, but in the Silent Partner line I'm looking at the Star and then the Rival (next one up from the Star). Would love to get the Rival to be able to control ALL the features via the remote. And then it has 3 memory settings, so it sounds like once you get things dialed in for, say, groundstrokes you can save it and go back to it at the touch of a button. Then have another for volleys, maybe another for overheads.

    Would love to have a ball machine.
     
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  9. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    I forget where I saw it, but there is now Micro-X Soft, in addition the regular Micro X. Mine are still going strong after about three years, so I am not in the market for new balls. My SP Star keep rolling, just passing it's 4th birthday and getting a new battery as a present.
     
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  10. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    Chotobaka....I'd really love to get a response from a Star owner about my concern of lack of memory settings. How big a pain is it to manually reset everything to get it the way you want it when you get back to the court? That's the thing that really appeals to me about the Rival. Get things dialed in so you get balls fed as you want 'em, then save it as a memory setting and now there's no more fiddling around with it every time.

    Issue, or no?
     
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  11. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    I've had mine for a year. Love it. I set it and forget it for ground strokes. That's all is use it for.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
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  12. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    No issue for me. After just a short time you will pretty much know how you want to set up elevation, ball speed, spin and time between balls for different drills. It seems very intuitive to me. I had thought about applying marks to the side of the machine with elevation adjustment, but it just is not necessary. By the way, do not limit yourself to ground strokes. You can practice a whole lot more than that -- easy to feed different types of volleys (different speeds, different heights, including really low ones) and overheads. Overtraining with hard paced volleys fired at rapid speed is great. Ditto to starting your overhead position with your racquet resting on the net and setting the machine for a deep overhead at fairly rapid feed. Then repeat over and over and over.

    Once you spend some time with the machine you will figure it all out very quickly.
     
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  13. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    Yeah, no way I'm only going to use it for groundies.

    My goal in every point is to get to the net at the first legit opportunity and dictate play on my terms. Sometimes that happens almost every point, sometimes only once every few games. Depends on the opponent and style of play.

    So I plan to to a lot of volleying practice with this, for sure.
     
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  14. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I agree with Chotobaka, even though the Star's settings are manual they aren't a problem to adjust. The adjustment that is most time consuming for me is getting it set up for lobs as high as the Star will throw them and still land on the court. That requires moving it back until it is almost touching the fence, raising the altitude all the way up with the front feet extended down, and then firing test balls while adjusting the speed and spin until the balls stay in the court and are high enough to get under.

    Unfortunately I haven't found a way to get it to throw really high lobs like you see in actual play but the fact that it allows me to hit 100 overheads in a row somewhat compensates for that limitation.
     
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  15. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    For really high lobs, can't you just add a block of wood under the front?
     
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  16. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    edited. Had a question about the battery but figured it out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
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  17. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    When I've tried that, sometimes the balls will not feed correctly.
     
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  18. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    Ok, just got back from my first court session with the Star. Had a blast.

    Now, I'll say flat out, I really wish I had the Quest and I'm gonna keep an eye out on ****. If I can score one at a pretty good price, I'll buy it and sell the Star. It would be great to be able to control everything via the remote, things like elevation, etc... Also, having the memory settings would be great. One setting for initial warmup, just throwing light balls from the service line, then one for more aggressive, and another for volley drills.

    That said, it was a lot of fun and a VERY productive session.

    One complaint is that the ball bin isn't concave it's pretty flat and not once did the machine feed ALL the balls. It would stop throwing balls when there were still 5 or 6 left in the bin because they'd be over to the side and not falling down to the feeding area. Has anyone played with taping anything in those areas so balls can't rest there?
     
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  19. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I sawed off a broomstick and stick it in the front groove when using the Star which was where most of my non-thrown balls were sticking.
     
    #19
  20. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    yeah, that's a good idea. I'm seeing them get stuck at both ends of the bin, but mostly back towards the handle. something wedged in there like a broom handle or even some thick foam with light adhesive on the bottom would seem to do the trick.
     
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  21. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    By the way...SP just discounted the machines today. You can get the Star for $849.
     
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  22. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    I am darn tempted to buy a Quest and then put this Star up for sale in a month.

    But then, I'd imagine once I get used to fiddling with this thing that the adjustment times will drop dramatically.
     
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  23. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    One other thing I'd love to get in the Quest the Star doesn't have is automatic centering once you turn oscillate off.

    Would also love it if I could specific a narrower range of oscillation than what the Star does. I find I let about 20% of the balls just go when it's on full court oscillation.
     
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  24. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    I'm technically capable of modifying the machine to add the centering and such. What I like about the Quest is the electronic control of height.
     
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  25. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Just move the machine back to narrow the oscillation field. You can bump the speed to compensate for the little bit of extra distance between you and the ball machine. Self-centering is a non-factor for me.
     
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  26. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    I just ordered the Star yesterday and am now considering calling them up and splurging for the Quest. The Rival would also be just as good as the Quest, but less money.
     
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  27. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    one issue I think I'd have with the Quest, I don't know for a fact but I'll bet the wheels might be a bit wider than on the Star. Right now I have no problem fitting the Star in my trunk, but it barely gets INTO my trunk. The wheels are so wide that if there were an inch or two wider I wouldn't be able to get it through the opening of my Infinity Sedan. It's a big trunk once stuff is IN there. I may have to check on that to be sure, but my guess is it's a bit wider than the Star, which would mean it's a no go for me.

    And honestly, I think once I get the settings of the Star down, while the Quest would be nice, I can do most of what I want with the Star. I do wish it had the ability to limit the range of oscillation.
     
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  28. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    I'll take a look inside once mine arrives. Limiting the range of oscillation is certainly doable if one is willing to void the warranty. :)
     
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  29. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    And I have no issues with fitting things into my car...I have a hatchback.
     
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  30. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    ok, a quick note on results. I drilled with the Star last Saturday and Sunday, then hit with one of my regular hitting partners tonight. We usually do some drills and then play a set. Last week, I lost 6-4. It's usually pretty close.

    Tonight, we drilled and I was absolutely LACING my forehand. I feel so much more comfortable with this grip change now than before the two sessions with the Star. And in the set, I played very well, won 6-1. The last point was awesome, just ripped a heavy forehand return of serve right down the middle, my opponent barely managed a very short, weak reply. I moved up and put the ball away for a clean winner to end the set. The grip and stroke were perfect.

    And that was after 2 sessions with the thing. If you've read "The Talent Code", what a machine like this does is give you the opportunity to "deep practice".

    Now, just a word of warning. If you're not taking lessons and you're just going out and whacking 500 balls, not only will you not get better, you might get worse and you might hurt yourself. But if you know precisely what you're trying to do and know how to tell on a given shot whether or not you did it, and you slow down and take your time and don't just bang balls, this is an AWESOME way to do deep practice.

    I'm really excited to see where this takes my game.
     
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  31. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    I got my SP Star this week. Took it out for a short while today.

    I only have a few comments on the machine. But I can definitely say that the Gamma pressureless practice balls I got from Dick's are just HORRIBLE. It's like trying to hit baseballs.

    The few things I can say about the machine so far:
    * I could not get consistent ball placement. Perhaps that is the fault of the balls, I dunno.
    * It seems really stupid that the cheaper Sport model has a delayed feed, but the more expensive Star model does not. You have to turn on the machine and then immediately stop the feed with the remote.
    * For $850 I expect sturdy rubber wheels, not cheap plastic/foam ones.
    * Handle seems like something from a cheap piece of luggage.
    * As noted by Posture Guy, the hopper doesn't properly funnel all of the balls to the feed. Bad design. Sometimes I had seven unfed balls left. And one time I had two balls come out at once, I'm not sure how the heck that happened.
    * The front lift hole puts fingers too close to a circuit board. It should be a deep molded depression instead of an open hole.

    I'm pleased I got the machine, but I would not have paid the "original" price of $1100 for it.
     
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  32. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    MikeK....I got the Tretorn Micro X pressureless balls everyone raves about and they're really good, feel pretty close to pressurized balls. Spend the money on the real deal. I got 144 of 'em, don't regret it.

    I agree with you on the wheels and handle, seem kind of flimsy but hopefully both hold up well. It's not like I'm gonna lug the thing through airports or go 4-wheeling with it.
     
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  33. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    What machine would you buy for $1100.00? The only machine with similar features that I would go for is a PLaymate Full Volley -- $1700.00 and change street price.

    Question: Have you ever owned a ball machine before? Perhaps your expectations aren't reality-based.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
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  34. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    What kind of functionality were you hoping for? A fixed changed in oscillation, or adjustable? And what range?

    My Star arrived last week and I can see that there is a steel link under the machine that is used for oscillation. If you have a modicum of tools a shorter link could be made. If you just wanted to change the oscillation range and leave it then this is an easy solution. The only "odd" tool needed is the proper size tap for the setscrew hole.

    Controlling the oscillation angle electronically, however, is much more involved. I haven't seen the insides of the Scoop series, but the Edge machines don't use full H-bridge control of the motors. That means the motors can't be run in reverse without coming up with your own controller circuit. When you have forward and reverse control of a motor you can then control its range of operation. The amount of effort involved versus benefit probably wouldn't make this worth it.
     
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  35. retrograde

    retrograde Rookie

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    You should see the Lobster Elite I use. It's from their previous generation. It has a one-piece fixed-height handle that you attach/detach by using two cotter pins and pushing tubes into tubes. Plus the height is too short for me so I have to hunch down when rolling the machine.

    Not a perfect setup, but still happy to use it.
     
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  36. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    I'd love to just narrow the oscillation range a bit, but no way I'm messing with the guts of the machine. I'll just live with it.
     
    #36
  37. RolandW

    RolandW New User

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    Thanks for all the great info. I upgraded from a Tennis Tutor ProLite to a Silent Partner Star about a month ago. A few questions:
    • The biggest difficulty I've had is adjusting the speed and feed. The knobs are very touchy. Anything below 4 is ridiculously slow, and anything above 5 is too fast for a comfortable, not-too-challenging workout. Within this narrow range, the adjustment is crazy-sensitive. The slightest nudging of the speed sometimes sends balls into the fence. Is that normal for this model?
    • I have a lot of jams, but I’m using regular balls left over from matches and admittedly many are flat (need to give those Micro-Xs a try). Is it common knowledge that flat balls cause jams? My old machine actually fed more reliably, but it only held 125, so the weight of additional balls bearing down on the carousel was not as great.
    • Could somebody post more details (pictures?) on the construction and use of the ball re-pressurizer?
    I found a neat little stand that I altered to use with my old machine. It put the release point at a more realistic height, and I continue to use it with the SP, although since this machine is taller it makes it a little harder to fill the hopper. I was curious to see whether this would be high enough to simulate a serve with the Star, and it's not bad. With the topspin cranked all the way up, I can get most of the balls to land deep in the service box with pretty good pace. Not many people I play have a big kicking serve like that, but it's fun and challenging to practice returning them.
    For ease of setting elevation, instead of making permanent marks with a felt-tip pen, I used a paper punch to make some little round dots that can be stuck on the plastic above the elevation knob slot for reference. So far I have just one to mark what seems to be a good starting place for practicing groundstrokes. Easy to remove if I change my mind.
     
    #37
  38. retrograde

    retrograde Rookie

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    #38
  39. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    Someone on here made a nice template suitable for printing onto a large label and sticking to the machine. It has graduated marks for setting elevation. It's nice.
     
    #39
  40. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    The adjustment potentiometer might have some dirt in it. Try this: With the machine off, rotate the knob back and forth through the full range ten or more times. See if that helps.
     
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  41. BodegaBay

    BodegaBay Rookie

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    Interesting. I have a STAR enroute and was going to just use 3M green masking tape to draw the marks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
    #41
  42. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    #42
  43. RolandW

    RolandW New User

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    Retro and Mike, thanks for the replies. That elevation sticker is nice. I forgot to mention that the dots I punched out to mark mine are from address label stock.
    I will try the speed and feed settings again after rotating the knobs repeatedly as you suggested, Mike. Haven't had time to take the machine out lately.
    In another thread today I saw that someone set his SP on top of a rolling cart to simulate serves. I have some similar carts in my shop that are just the right size to hold the stand that I now use. With the machine on the stand, and the stand on the cart, the ejection point will be about 6 feet off the ground. Might need a ladder to fill the hopper, though.
    I too would prefer a slightly narrower sweep for the oscillator. It looks like a simple job to make a new crank arm with the outer hole closer to the shaft. How much closer do you think it should be? I was thinking of moving it in by 1/4" to start. I would note that it is the metal crank arm that needs to be shortened, not the link, which is plastic on mine.
     
    #43
  44. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    a quick update. I'm LOVING this machine. Wanted to do a light practice session last night after work. Reserved a neighborhood court, got there and got setup on the court. Went through two full loads of balls working on groundstrokes and volleys from various angles. Would do a forehand drill where I set up on the left side of the baseline, ball machine crosscourt feeding me balls at an angle and I would hit two inside/out forehands (as if I was hitting to a right-hander's backhand) and then the third up the line to their forehand.

    Mixed up various drills like that, did a volley drill, hit about 25 serves and then packed up and left. From the time I got out of my car to back into it was just a bit under an hour.

    Awesome.
     
    #44
  45. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    Simple if you have the tools. Probably a lot of guys on here don't. I do. :)

    On mine there is a tiny set screw that holds the link to the motor shaft. Cutting such tiny threads in metal always risks breaking the tap. Be careful. Use lots of cutting fluid and only cut a little bit before reversing to break the chip.

    I don't know how much you want to narrow the osc. range, but the link is already pretty short. I would go with 1/16" - 1/8" shorter. I suppose we could figure this out with some geometry.

    I could make a new link, but can't try it out anytime soon as I injured my knee recently.
     
    #45
  46. RolandW

    RolandW New User

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    Sorry to hear about the knee, Mike. Get well soon. I'm 61, so something always hurts when I play. :|
    Yep, simple definitely is in the eye of the beholder. I'm guessing the set screw is either No. 6 or 8, so you're right: the tap will be fairly fragile. Since this is a through hole, I would suggest a gun tap. Gun taps have angles ground on the ends of the flutes so the chips are pushed out ahead of the tap instead of crumbling and clogging things up. The tap will run into the hole nice and easy, almost like threading a screw into a Nyloc nut. No need to reverse to break chips as with a standard hand tap. I've only broken a gun tap once, and that was on a CNC machining center because a drill chip happened to be sitting on the edge of the hole when the program got to the tapping cycle. Crunch! Unfortunately, these are not usually available at the hardware store. I get mine from MSC Industrial Supply (beware: minimum order).
    I'm probably going to put this on hold anyway. My wife and I want to try hitting groundstrokes and volleys together as if we were playing doubles, and for that I suppose we would want the existing wider sweep.
     
    #46
  47. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    Has anyone else with this machine noticed if the wheels are cockeyed?

    Mine don't point straight, but are quite tilted to the left looking from the front of the machine. I've had the machine open and saw that the motors aren't mounted square to the mounting arm. I haven't used the oscillation yet, but I'm assuming this tilt will cause uneven court oscillation.
     
    #47
  48. RolandW

    RolandW New User

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    Mike, I noticed the same thing right away and contacted SP. The guy said this is intentional, to compensate for the flexing of that whole assembly that takes place when the ball is ejected. Seems to work, because the balls do come out more or less square with the baseline.
     
    #48
  49. MikeK

    MikeK New User

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    That's interesting, since it puts the ball chute/track out of alignment and causes the ball to not be fed into the middle of the wheels.

    I returned my Gamma practice balls to Dick's and got new regular balls. I just haven't tried them yet to see if they give consistent ball placement. I thought the skewed motor mount arm looked like the reason for the wild placement.

    I may build a new controller and add electronic elevation control while I wait for my knee to heal. One simple thing it needs is a battery monitor.
     
    #49
  50. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    MikeK.....why do you keep getting the wrong balls for your machine? Get the Tretorn Micro X Pressureless and be done with it. If you now have pressured balls, you'll love them for a half dozen hitting sessions, then once they lose their pressure, not so much.
     
    #50

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