Silent Partner Lite Ball Machine review

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by rhelm, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ Great, thanks.

    I'm currently on the fence between a LITE-R and a STAR. The only difference I can tell from the website is the regular battery vs the heavy duty battery. Not so much of a cost issue as much as weight as my wife and young son will be using it quite a bit.

    Anyone have feedback on the standard battery life? Can you get a true 2 hours out of it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
    #51
  2. frank52

    frank52 Rookie

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    If you think you are going to use it over an hour per day then get the model with the bigger battery. Mostly the unit will be wheeled. Even with the extra 9 pounds the unit can be wrestled into a car trunk or back seat.

    An option is get the Lite and then buy or make a portable power pack containing a 9-21 AH battery and a power cord with a 2.1mm jack that will plug into the ball machine. That way you have a light machine with a big battery that you can carry separately.

    I read the instructions on how to change the heavy duty battery. There are so many steps that I gave up and cut a hole in the side of my machine. Hey Silent Partner Company - fix your stupid battery removal process!!!
     
    #52
  3. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Removing the battery is a tedious proposition. Lots of swearing is part of the process. I have toyed with the idea of cutting an opening on the back of the machine and installing a hinge and lever to secure it. A battery access door would be a nice upgrade.
     
    #53
  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I've opened the case on my Star 3 different times and I agree the first time was a PITA but the last two times I used an electric screwdriver with a socket attached to remove and later reattach the outer outside screws which greatly speeds up the process.

    That GD screw which can only be removed from up under the bottom of the machine through the base is a b*tch to take out and replace but still the entire take-apart and put-back-together time was about 30 minutes. Since I removed the battery entirely the last time I had it apart I'll probably never have to crack the case again (fingers crossed).
     
    #54
  5. frank52

    frank52 Rookie

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    I have the older style (grey) Silent Partner that had a 7 AH battery in the lower area. I made a new battery holder that can hold a 21 AH battery. I should be set for the next three years.
     
    #55
  6. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Anyone know if there is a lifecycle difference in their standard battery vs their heavy duty battery?
     
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  7. frank52

    frank52 Rookie

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    Both batteries are general purpose AGM batteries, one is a smaller 9ah battery and one a larger 21ah battery. You can see the pics of the batteries on the company website - just standard, made in China, lead-acid batteries. Looking at a typical cycle chart for these types of batteries you see that draining the battery 100% the battery should last 300 cycles. Draining 30% the battery should last 1500 cycles. So the larger, so-called heavy duty battery should last longer because you won't drain it so much each time. If you buy a machine with the "standard" 9ah battery you can always put in a 21 ah battery later. A 21 ah battery runs between $45 and $70 (plus shipping).
     
    #57
  8. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for this. Has anyone started with the 9 ah battery and replaced it with a 21 ah battery? Aren't the connection different and hardware to secure the battery different? I would assume it also voids the warranty of the LITE?
     
    #58
  9. frank52

    frank52 Rookie

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    The 9ah battery uses F1 (.187 inch wide) connectors. The 21ah battery uses F2 (.250 inch wide) connectors. You can get converters at Ama zon (UPG C1076 - F2 to F1 Step Down Adaptor - For SLA Batteries - Requires 2 per Battery). Or you can file down the tabs on the battery. Or you can cut off the F1 connectors on the wires and solder on F2 connectors (buy F2 connectors at hardware stores).

    The 21ah battery would require a new holding bracket due to its length and height. 21ah battery is 7.14"L x 3"W x 6.59" H. The 9ah battery is 5.94"L x 2.56"W x 3.74" H.
     
    #59
  10. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    I have had one of the 'antennas' that moves the balls around come off - now I just make sure before each use it's tight. Other than the occasion ball jam (and that could just be the ball not the machine) it's an awesome machine.
     
    #60
  11. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I opted for the bigger battery and remote and ordered a STAR (didn't want to mess with mods). Also ordered another 72 Tretorn MicroX's to go along with the 72 I already have.

    I'm excited to see if the machine can help my son and I achieve better consistency. We both need reps on various shots and I felt this was the best way to do it. We rented a machine at some nearby courts a few times to get a feel for it. I suspect we'll know if it's helped in about 6 months if we use it regularly.
     
    #61
  12. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Congrats -- solid machine and the Micro X's are great. Both based on my own experience over four years.
     
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  13. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Another question on battery lifescycle. Frank52 points out that a battery drained 30% each use will last more cycles than draining it 100%. Makes sense.

    So, if you use an SP machine with the battery charger plugged in, can the battery be continually charging while the machine is in use - like a laptop? I usually play at one of two courts - one has no AC, the other does, so I could have the machine plugged in while using it at that specific court and only drain the battery 5% or 10% if at all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
    #63
  14. Waynehicks

    Waynehicks New User

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    I have the Silent Partner Scoop Smart battery powered model purchased 2014. I wish I had purchased it long ago. Easy to clean and maintain. Powerful, remote works well if you lift it to head level (or just put it to your temple and use your head as an extended antenna), programmable. Unfortunately, you cannot alternate shots between topspin and slice like on some heavy commercial units. Ideally you should use it under pro supervision atleast until you have a firm understanding of your stroke mechanics. Easier to groove strokes...double edged sword. 50 lbs. Kinda big to put into avg. sedan. Watch your back when lifting this thing in and out of minivan or truck. Plastic flexible and looks cheap but this is better when balls hit it. Less likely to crack. Will be a pain to change battery. Should have made an easily accessible battery compartment.

    The battery can be made to last much longer with a desulfator: http://www.xtremechargers.com/colle...rs/products/xtreme-charge-12v-battery-charger
    You need to splice a female power connector to the charger's wires so it will fit the SP. Works for me.
     
    #64
  15. frank52

    frank52 Rookie

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    BMC9670 - looks like you purchased a battery only ball machine. Your regular 2-amp charger won't keep the battery fully charged while you use the machine. What you can do is: Fully charge the battery, connect an AC 30-amp power supply to the ball machine charging port, and use the machine. The battery won't draw current from the power supply because it's already charged. You can build your own or buy the "External AC Power Supply" from Sports Tutor (Tennis Tutor) website for $125. You might call them just to verify it will work with the Silent Partner Star. In prior years both Sports Tutor and Silent Partner were using 2.1 mm power jacks.
     
    #65
  16. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ Thanks. I went with the bigger battery and have not come close to running it out during play.

    Another update for those interested or researching. I had my first issue with the Star. After about 7-8 sessions, the feed carousel would stop intermittently. It would start up a again if I wiggled the machine. As I used the machine more, it got worse. I called Steve at SP Tennis and he sent me a new top motor (the smaller motor that turns the carousel). It arrived in 3 days, was an easy replacement (about 5 minutes and 4 screws). Used the machine for 2 hours yesterday and it worked perfectly - not one stop.

    Because no machine is bullet proof, one reason I went with SP was their good service reputation in case I had an issue. Their reputation was spot on in my experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
    #66
  17. mrw

    mrw Semi-Pro

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    lol, I am about to change the batteries in mine again. It is a bit tight in there. I too have thought about opening up a side door. It would also allow a complete cleaning. I have tennis ball fuzz in there from 2007:)
     
    #67
  18. Byakuya

    Byakuya Rookie

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    Been looking to buy a best bang for the buck ball machine, and was considering the Silent Partner Lite, but it seems it's not at the $699 price tag anymore. Anyone know when it will go back down in price?

    UPDATE: Just picked up a Silent Partner Lite-R used. Hope it works out good!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
    #68
  19. kailash

    kailash Rookie

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    How is the SP Lite-R working so far? In the market for a ball machine and this is also in the list.
     
    #69
  20. kailash

    kailash Rookie

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    Nice review. Is the machine still faring well or faced any issues?
     
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