Silent Partner - Final Few Balls get stuck in the bin

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by JPW, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. JPW

    JPW Rookie

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    If you own a SP Lite I suspect you've seen where the balls will get stuck in the bin. It is toward the very permiter of the bin in the front and the back where the holes are for latching the bin in to place. I find it a little annoying since I can't always tell when the ball machine is out of balls.

    Has anyone found what they think might be a good solution to this issue?
     
    #1
  2. WileyCoyote

    WileyCoyote Rookie

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    Stuck

    For the front of the bin, I cut a length of 1" PVC pipe that fits snugly across the front. I used a heat gun to bend it a bit so it follows the contour of the front. This will keep the balls from "hiding" in the front.

    As far as the balls in the rear corners, I have not found a solution yet, but there are never more than two and you can see thru the hopper window that all the others have been thrown. If it is a big deal, I think you could make and place some plastic cones over the corner posts and that might work. If I try this, I will let you know.

    Hope this helps,

    Harry
     
    #2
  3. Mig1NC

    Mig1NC Professional

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    We discussed this a while back. I think there was a guy who said he used some kind of foam strips or something to fill in the edges.

    PVC seems like a good idea too.

    It bugs me all the time... One day I will care enough to fix mine.
     
    #3
  4. Faithfulfather

    Faithfulfather Rookie

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    My sp lite does the exact same thing. When I start to see the hopper getting low, I just start using the machine as a target. When I make contact with the machine, the vibration knocks the balls into the feeder. ;-)
     
    #4
  5. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Happens to mine too. 1, 2, or 3 balls out of 150 isn't bad.
     
    #5
  6. IdrinkYourMilkshake

    IdrinkYourMilkshake Rookie

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    How often do you guys have your ball hopper jam? It happens to me 50% of the time I load it. I use 125 balls.
     
    #6
  7. JPW

    JPW Rookie

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    Thanks for the comments everyone. I did find the other post with pictures of the foam board solution. I might give that a try.

    In regards to the ball hopper actually jamming, 50% of the time seems like too much to me. I've had problems with balls getting stuck on the ramp before, but when the next one rolls down they both basically come out at the same time and then the rest of the lot isn't too bad. Actual jamming as you described it isn't something I've seen much of at all.
     
    #7
  8. IdrinkYourMilkshake

    IdrinkYourMilkshake Rookie

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    Thanks. What I found was jamming occurs only on slow feed rates. If you get a ball every 2-4 seconds it's usually fine, if you feed at 6 or longer then I get problems. The real issue is the weight of the balls, the problem goes away as the ball load goes down. I'm going to put a bridge across on the inside to hold some of the load off the bottom of the pile on slow feed.
     
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  9. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Never had jams in the hopper itself. The only time I had balls jam was when the wheels needed a cleaning -- and this was 3 years in. I have a Star, but I believe the internals are the same as the Lite.
     
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  10. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    That's funny.....I do the exact same thing! Love the
    machine as I have a not too dependable hitting partner.
     
    #10
  11. WileyCoyote

    WileyCoyote Rookie

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    Jamming

    Jamming on my machine was usually caused by too much distance between the bottom hopper lips and the carousel that feeds the balls. The balls jam under the hopper and try to feed two balls.

    I redrilled new holes on the posts so that all the posts hold the hopper down tight and do so with a closer tolerance and also used the heat gun to bend the lip on the hopper so that it "kisses" the carousel. This helped a bunch.

    Also, the very slow feed rate as mentioned earlier can be a contributing problem. If you are good enough to hit the hopper now and then, that also helps feed.

    Harry
     
    #11
  12. njboy

    njboy Rookie

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    Every time

    3 or 5 balls in the bin.
     
    #12
  13. momolabs

    momolabs New User

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    No jams on my lite. I dont mind the extra few balls in the hopper.
     
    #13
  14. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Not sure of this - on my SP Lite the pin can be inserted on one of two posts that are drilled, the third post is not drilled. The manual shows the pin on one of the posts nearest the handle. (Why are two of 3 posts drilled?)

    Once I had the pin through the post nearest the feed hole and something did not function as it should. I can't recall if it was the feed, a jam or the hopper was tilted. Put the pin in nearest the handle and always flip the ring over the post as otherwise the pin can fall out on the ground, as mine once did.

    The only problem with 3-5 balls staying in the hopper is that you look into the feed hole to judge whether it is out of balls. When you see some balls you think it will still be firing. Solution, judge how many balls are left in the machine and if it fails to feed when low assume it is done.

    Engineering and building something to just take up extra space exactly like the trapped balls are doing.........?.......... But SP should improve its design though.
     
    #14
  15. IdrinkYourMilkshake

    IdrinkYourMilkshake Rookie

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    I have to push the hopper bin down to expose the hole enough to get the pin through. It's a snug fit to keep the hopper pressed down. Check and make sure they didn't accidentally make the first hole too high in the post, then decided to re-drill the correct height in the other post. That's my theory. I know from experience if the hopper tilts a little bit while holding balls, you will have a problem, because the spring arms will catch and actually push the hopper off the top, ball jam, etc.
     
    #15
  16. qwanta

    qwanta New User

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    I've had jams after I got caught in the rain once and some of the balls were still a little wet. But that's the only time.

    Someone in this forum once mentioned pipe insulation as a way of preventing balls from staying at the edges and not going down the chute. I can confirm that this works and I usually have between zero and 2 or 3 balls left. Something like this:
    home depot pipe insulation

    It's cheap. I went with a small diameter in the front and larger diam at the back of the ball hopper.
     
    #16
  17. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I don't have a problem with balls being left on the back part of the machine but I fixed the problem I was having of balls getting stuck in the front part by cutting about 12" off a broomstick and putting it in the inside front part of the hopper before adding balls. That works great and cost me $0.
     
    #17

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