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Topspin_80 01-23-2013 07:31 AM

Lithium battery for a ball machine
 
I had my ball machine for 2 and a half years now , I am going through the second battery and ready to get a new one .

The first battery , the original one , was an 18 AH lead acid , within 5 months playing time was half of what I was getting at the beginning , so I decided to get a new one with more capacity , I bought a Panasonic 22 AH also lead acid .

With the new battery I was getting 5 and a half hrs without any spin nor oscillation and with the standard speed of 60 mph , since I play with plenty spin and with two line or any of the pre-programmed drills , a little over 4 hrs was all I used to get .

Now after 2 years , playing time has dropped dramatically to about 90' , this is not enough for me , therefore I am buying a new one .

I can not buy a bigger size because it wouldn't fit inside the machine so I can only go for bigger capacity .

I was going to buy a silicone lead greensaver 24AH , but then I saw a lithium battery twice as expensive as the green saver , I started doing some research , and apparently , I say apparently because I am not an expert on batteries and I can get lost with the specifications , it can give you much more running time .

Does anyone have experience with Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries ???

Any input would be much appreciated

IdrinkYourMilkshake 01-23-2013 08:11 AM

I'm looking for the same solution. Currently I'm using a 35ah lead acid that sits externally behind the machine. I put a plug in the back. The best solution I could find was this, its not cheap, but if the user does get 5x the life then it more than pays. 50% less weight is nice. I thought about building my own pack from LiFePO4 cells, but they don't naturally add up to 12v, which is why the 12v batteries have circuitry to bring it down. Also they need to be protected from overcharge and discharge. So a specific 12v battery is the best solution, there just aren't many different ones available. A123 Systems is the top of the line cell, but I can't find any12v from them.

BoingTennis 01-23-2013 08:38 AM

Very interesting idea! I'm having the same battery life problem with normal SLA battery. My 2year old Lobster only last max 2hrs now.

With good SLA at around 40-50 bucks, I'd be willing to try this lithium batt if it at least doubles the lifetime of the old SLA. I'm not looking for a batt that would last for more than 4hours each session, but more concerned about capacity maintenance over the lifetime of the battery.

Do we need to swab the batt charger as well? My Lobster premium charger is made by Soneil. I believe it has pulse mode charging to remove sulphation which the lithium iron batt is not compatible with.

Chas Tennis 01-23-2013 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Topspin_80 (Post 7153509)
I had my ball machine for 2 and a half years now , I am going through the second battery and ready to get a new one .

The first battery , the original one , was an 18 AH lead acid , within 5 months playing time was half of what I was getting at the beginning , so I decided to get a new one with more capacity , I bought a Panasonic 22 AH also lead acid .

With the new battery I was getting 5 and a half hrs without any spin nor oscillation and with the standard speed of 60 mph , since I play with plenty spin and with two line or any of the pre-programmed drills , a little over 4 hrs was all I used to get .

Now after 2 years , playing time has dropped dramatically to about 90' , this is not enough for me , therefore I am buying a new one .

I can not buy a bigger size because it wouldn't fit inside the machine so I can only go for bigger capacity .

I was going to buy a silicone lead greensaver 24AH , but then I saw a lithium battery twice as expensive as the green saver , I started doing some research , and apparently , I say apparently because I am not an expert on batteries and I can get lost with the specifications , it can give you much more running time .

Does anyone have experience with Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries ???

Any input would be much appreciated

A friend of mine had a Tennis Tudor with a lead acid battery. He replaced the battery with two white plastic battery holder tubes that had 3 or 4 rechargeable D cells in each tube. I assume that they were Lithium batteries. They were very reasonable in cost.

I burrowed the machine. Although I did not do long hitting secessions I found the performance to be very satisfactory for running the machine. They are much lighter than a lead acid battery. I guess that you could analyze running time using amp-hours.

The machine manufacturers should research using them instead of lead acid.

I posted the details in this forum I believe but did not find searching so far.

Topspin_80 01-23-2013 09:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BoingTennis (Post 7153699)
Very interesting idea! I'm having the same battery life problem with normal SLA battery. My 2year old Lobster only last max 2hrs now.

With good SLA at around 40-50 bucks, I'd be willing to try this lithium batt if it at least doubles the lifetime of the old SLA. I'm not looking for a batt that would last for more than 4hours each session, but more concerned about capacity maintenance over the lifetime of the battery.

Do we need to swab the batt charger as well? My Lobster premium charger is made by Soneil. I believe it has pulse mode charging to remove sulphation which the lithium iron batt is not compatible with.

I have also myself a lobster , I have the original 1amp fast charger , but I ended up buying the 3 amp premiun charger , because the 1 amp fast charger would take for ever . When the original 18 AH battery was fully discharged with the fast charger it would take 22hr 30' to recharge , so if I had to go back to back days to the park at the same time , I had to take it not completely recharged .

Premium charger solved this problem . Specially since I had already bought the Panasonic 22 AH and since it has more capacity it would take 30 hrs to be fully recharged . With the premium charger less than 4 hrs .

I live currently in Holland , and things here are more expensive than in the States . I can buy an 18 AH SLA for $60 , but the max time it can give me is around 4 hrs , and I do play 4 hrs , but that means full discharge , if with a SLA you go full discharge after full discharge , immediately your playing time dwindles a lot , then is buying time again .

I am not sure , but what I gather after reading some specifications is that Lithium batt with the same capacity than a lead acid , runs at least twice as long , so if for instance , a lead batt can give me 5 hrs playing time , from a lithium I can get 10 hrs .
I am not sure about this , that is why I would like to hear from someone who had had a Lithium batt .

Not that I am planning to play 10 hrs , but if they have the capacity to give you 10 hrs , and you play 4 , the depth of discharge is 40% and with such a low discharge , you can get 3,000 cycles .

You know what 3,000 cycles are ??? is playing everyday 4 hrs for the next 8 years . Then paying twice or thrice as much it would still be a bargain .

Topspin_80 01-23-2013 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IdrinkYourMilkshake (Post 7153624)
I'm looking for the same solution. Currently I'm using a 35ah lead acid that sits externally behind the machine. I put a plug in the back. The best solution I could find was this, its not cheap, but if the user does get 5x the life then it more than pays. 50% less weight is nice. I thought about building my own pack from LiFePO4 cells, but they don't naturally add up to 12v, which is why the 12v batteries have circuitry to bring it down. Also they need to be protected from overcharge and discharge. So a specific 12v battery is the best solution, there just aren't many different ones available. A123 Systems is the top of the line cell, but I can't find any12v from them.

I can only imagine how much that 35 AH batt can weigh .
Lobster also have the external battery solution , but this is something I really want to avoid , the batteries I have weigh around 17 lbs , so 2x = 34 lbs , whereas a lithium battery is only 6 lbs . 28 lbs difference !!!!!

Topspin_80 01-23-2013 09:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chas Tennis (Post 7153901)
A friend of mine had a Tennis Tudor with a lead acid battery. He replaced the battery with two white plastic battery holder tubes that had 3 or 4 rechargeable D cells in each tube. I assume that they were Lithium batteries. They were very reasonable in cost.

I burrowed the machine. Although I did not do long hitting secessions I found the performance to be very satisfactory for running the machine. They are much lighter than a lead acid battery. I guess that you could analyze running time using amp-hours.

The machine manufacturers should research using them instead of lead acid.

I posted the details in this forum I believe but did not find searching so far.

Thanks for the input .

What I would like is to hear from someone who bought a brand new tennis machine , because they all come with lead acid or gel at the most , and then decided to switch to lithium .

I would like to hear from someone like this , because that person would know exactly the parameters of both batts , and that can really help .

IdrinkYourMilkshake 01-23-2013 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Topspin_80 (Post 7153944)
I can only imagine how much that 35 AH batt can weigh .
Lobster also have the external battery solution , but this is something I really want to avoid , the batteries I have weigh around 17 lbs , so 2x = 34 lbs , whereas a lithium battery is only 6 lbs . 28 lbs difference !!!!!

This is the exact one. Site says it's 25 pounds, but I carry it in a small pouch with nice handles. I have a Silent Partner lite and put the plug out the back. I am finally tired of lugging the battery around and was about to open the machine back up and put it in there, but since I saw this post, I think I'll try one more time to roll my own solution. It would be too heavy with the lead acid I guess.

BoingTennis 01-23-2013 06:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Topspin_80 (Post 7153966)
Thanks for the input .

What I would like is to hear from someone who bought a brand new tennis machine , because they all come with lead acid or gel at the most , and then decided to switch to lithium .

I would like to hear from someone like this , because that person would know exactly the parameters of both batts , and that can really help .

Topspin, I don't think we will find a lot of feedback on these batteries being used with ball machines.

I find this to be a worthy project to try, since my Lobster is in need of a replacement battery anyway. I myself do not live in the US, and that is the more reason for me to buy these LiFePO4 batteries since they are so light, shipping it to Asia would be cheaper.

After I did some google research, these are some of my findings:
1) This battery type will most likely work very well with our ball machines. They have been used extensively in many applications including automotive, EV, etc. Both high-discharge and sustained-discharge types of applications have been covered.
2) Some batteries has better electronic features than others. Shorai batteries (big with motorcycle owners) does not seem to have as much built-in protection and balancing features as the batteries from Powerizer.
Battery balancing feature seems to be an important one to have.
3) Price varies greatly and it looks like it depends on the electronic features I mentioned above.
4) Our stock charger (for Lobster owners) which are most likely made by Soneil are save to use with the LiFePO4 batteries. Pulse mode charging in the Soneil will only function when the battery is at 0.5V-5V. LiFePO4 batteries are not supposed to be discharged below 10V, so our charger will never have its pulse mode charging activated. Soneil charger highest charging voltage is 14.7V, which is below the max charging voltage for LiFePO4 batteries (15V).

Here are the alternatives (for Lobster owners) 7.13L x 3.03W x 6.57H:

1) Shorai 18Ah 5.83L x 2.60W x 4.13H
Only 2.12 lbs, prismatic cells, smaller than stock Lobster battery, same capacity as stock, doesn't seem to have built-in protections/balancing.
2) OEM Battery from BatterySpace with Balancing
7 lbs, prismatic cells, same size as the stock Lobster battery, 20Ah capacity, has balancing PCB but no built-in protection.
3) OEM Battery from BatterySpace w/o any extra features
6.6 lbs, prismatic cells, same size as Lobster battery, 20Ah, no balancing/protection, cheapest I've found.
4) Powerizer w/built in protection and balancing (PCM)
7lbs, cylindrical cells, same size as Lobster battery, 20Ah, complete built-in balancing and protection, expensive.

I'm going with option #2. Will purchase today and will probably get it within 3 weeks. I'll snap some pictures and test it ASAP.

IdrinkYourMilkshake 01-23-2013 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BoingTennis (Post 7155492)

I'm going with option #2. Will purchase today and will probably get it within 3 weeks. I'll snap some pictures and test it ASAP.

I checked the specs and it doesn't say anything about over discharge protection of course, so how are you going to prevent the machine from killing the battery? Same goes for charging it? I think the powerizer is the safe bet.

retrograde 01-23-2013 10:28 PM

Folks who know tons about lithium polymer and other types of batteries are radio controlled model airplane enthusiasts! Some of them are extremely technical in knowledge. You can find them hanging out in this forum:

http://www.rcgroups.com/batteries-and-chargers-129/

A very friendly group and willing to answer questions.

From what I know, lithium batteries are very sensitive to discharge levels so you have to stop using them after they drop below a certain voltage per cell. You can't necessarily run them until the ball machine drops below a certain performance level. Model airplane enthusiasts often monitor battery voltage with on-board electronics, or they use a timer.

Chas Tennis 01-23-2013 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chas Tennis (Post 7153901)
........................He replaced the battery with two white plastic battery holder tubes that had 3 or 4 rechargeable D cells in each tube. I assume that they were Lithium batteries. They were very reasonable in cost.
.................................................. .......

Charging: For these D cell rechargeable batteries they were removed from the ball machine and individually charged in their normal chargers designed for maybe 2 batteries. This was inconvenient especially with just one charger.

jam54 01-25-2013 08:30 AM

Batteries
 
Regarding batteries for tennis ball machines: SLA (sealed-lad acid) are still the most practical and affordable option. Lithium batteries are very expensive and may not work with all applications.

Ultimately, battery life and effectiveness has more to do with the owner's
charging procedure than the type of battery used. Depending on the type of charger, an 18Ah lead acid battery will last 3-4 years with normal use and provide over 2 hrs of playing time on a charge. I think it's pretty unusual for any individual to use a ball machine for more than 2 hrs at a given session unless you a teaching pro.

But a battery is only as good as how it is charged. Most ball machine companies, such as Tennis Tutor, only use "smart" chargers. Smart chargers
will not overcharge the battery (one of the enemies of batteries) and make it
very convenient to recharge. If a machine is inactive for a long period and not charged, batteries will deteriorate -- another reason smart chargers are effective to prolong the life of lead acid batteries.

There is always the chance of getting a "bad" battery but that is pretty rare. So ultimately, I think the answer is to follow the charging procedures and not try and reinvent the wheel.

retrograde 01-25-2013 10:41 AM

Sealed lead acid batteries should be stored for long periods with your smart charger attached (but not a dumb charger):

http://www.atbatt.com/faq/1.asp#4

I have a friend with a Lobster Elite. He left it in his gargage for over 6 months unattached to the charger - this killed his SLA.

This is the PowerSonic battery currently used on the Lobster Elite 1. See the datatasheet and battery care document for good info:

http://www.atbatt.com/product/3595/s...180-f2/battery

IdrinkYourMilkshake 01-25-2013 12:43 PM

jam54 is right. And once again I tried to justify Lithium Ion, but after reading this, I decided it's unknown if the investment really pays off with the so called 5x the life claim. I think especially with these cheaper Lifep04 cells in the market, the odds are not good of making 10 years and to buy a top of the line cell from A123 doesn't add up. I think I'm better money and headaches ahead to wait for a real alternative to Lead in the next 4 years. I think some patents expire and hopefully a major revolution occurs for hybrid and electric cars in the next 5 years that brings forward a good lightweight and better battery over SLA.
A123's bankruptcy and Boeing's 787 problems aren't good signs for the viability of the technology.

jam54 01-25-2013 02:28 PM

retrograde,
Your friends second mistake was storing his ball machine without it charging
for that length of time. Plus there are far better SLA batteries out there than PowerSonic.

His first mistake was buying a Lobster ball machine and not a Tennis Tutor!

IdrinkYourMilkshake 01-25-2013 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jam54 (Post 7165013)
retrograde,
Your friends second mistake was storing his ball machine without it charging
for that length of time. Plus there are far better SLA batteries out there than PowerSonic.

His first mistake was buying a Lobster ball machine and not a Tennis Tutor!

Can you recommend a good SLA? I'm looking for a source of information but I can't see any difference in the brands.

Chas Tennis 01-25-2013 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chas Tennis (Post 7156566)
Charging: For these D cell rechargeable batteries they were removed from the ball machine and individually charged in their normal chargers designed for maybe 2 batteries. This was inconvenient especially with just one charger.

I asked the guy who installed some lithium batteries in a Tennis Tudor and here is what he had to say

"Originally it came with a small 12V lead acid. Then after that died, I replaced with 2 pairs of 4 Trustfire Lithium size 18650 from dealextreme.com that I had on hand for high performance LED flashlights that I was using for my mountain bike night lights. Lithium rechargables have a voltage through most of their discharge cycle of 3.7V with a max of 4.2 and min of about 3.2. So with my 4 in series, I had 14.8V. I also recovered 6 from my daughter’s dead laptop computer. Laptops usually use 2 pairs of 3 in series for 11.1V nominal.

Later after you had it, I bought some plastic holders to replace the copper tubes for about $2.50 each. I also bought an 18650 charger from DX. The only pain was the charger is only 2 batteries at a time. You can buy multipack chargers, but they are expensive."

Anyone pursuing should look into the safety of charging these batteries in any way not using the manufacturer's properly designed chargers.

Topspin_80 01-26-2013 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jam54 (Post 7163765)
Regarding batteries for tennis ball machines: SLA (sealed-lad acid) are still the most practical and affordable option. Lithium batteries are very expensive and may not work with all applications.

Ultimately, battery life and effectiveness has more to do with the owner's
charging procedure than the type of battery used. Depending on the type of charger, an 18Ah lead acid battery will last 3-4 years with normal use and provide over 2 hrs of playing time on a charge. I think it's pretty unusual for any individual to use a ball machine for more than 2 hrs at a given session unless you a teaching pro.

But a battery is only as good as how it is charged. Most ball machine companies, such as Tennis Tutor, only use "smart" chargers. Smart chargers
will not overcharge the battery (one of the enemies of batteries) and make it
very convenient to recharge. If a machine is inactive for a long period and not charged, batteries will deteriorate -- another reason smart chargers are effective to prolong the life of lead acid batteries.

There is always the chance of getting a "bad" battery but that is pretty rare. So ultimately, I think the answer is to follow the charging procedures and not try and reinvent the wheel.

Regarding batteries for tennis ball machines:  SLA (sealed-lad acid) are still the most practical and affordable option.  Lithium batteries are very expensive and may not work with all applications.


How do you know that?? Do you have first hand experience ? On what grounds are you basing that affirmation??????
What applications are you talking about .

But a battery is only as good as how it is charged. Most ball machine companies, such as Tennis Tutor, only use "smart" chargers. Smart chargers
will not overcharge the battery (one of the enemies of batteries) and make it
very convenient to recharge. If a machine is inactive for a long period and not charged, batteries will deteriorate -- another reason smart chargers are effective to prolong the life of lead acid batteries.


All the big companies , Silent Partner , Playmate , Lobster , Tennis Tutor , Wilson , they all provide smart charger , and basically it is the only way you can recharge the battery , dumb chargers don't come with the necessary plug to be used on the tennis machine .
So , bringing this subject is really dumb .
Keeping the batteries well charged , is only one part of the equation , you fail to say anything about something that is also vital for any kind of battery and not only SLA .
How much you discharge your battery is instrumental for its longevity , if you discharge your battery 100% , like I do , that is gonna kill your battery in no time .
I run my batteries to the ground , because for me is more important to get my playing time , than the cost of a new battery .
You fail to provide that important fact the DOD , with a SLA you have to keep your DOD at 50% in order to get it to last over 3 years .
With a DOD of 50% , I don't get my playing time so I have to go beyond that , and that is how I run them to the ground , and that is why I am looking for alternatives other than the external battery .

I think it's pretty unusual for any individual to use a ball machine for more than 2 hrs at a given session unless you a teaching pro.

You think , well , thinking is just not enough .

To own a tennis machine is very unusual , less that 0.01% of the tennis players own a tennis machine , so it is pretty unusual to own a tennis machine .
If you think , playing longer than 2 hrs is unusual , then you don't know many tennis players , in my club there are a lot of senior citizens that play 4 hrs 3 times a week , a whole bunch of little kids play 3 hrs once a week .
I don't think that to play more than 2 hrs is unusual .

What is really unusual is that you open an account just to post in this thread .

Looks like you have an agenda , in your second post , you only post here , you belittle Lobster , and you praise TT , how come fella ????
This thread is not for this purpose , this thread is just to share experiences with lithium batteries , if you don't have any , you shouldn't waste your time here .

Topspin_80 01-26-2013 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by retrograde (Post 7164252)
Sealed lead acid batteries should be stored for long periods with your smart charger attached (but not a dumb charger):

http://www.atbatt.com/faq/1.asp#4

I have a friend with a Lobster Elite. He left it in his gargage for over 6 months unattached to the charger - this killed his SLA.

This is the PowerSonic battery currently used on the Lobster Elite 1. See the datatasheet and battery care document for good info:

http://www.atbatt.com/product/3595/s...180-f2/battery

This is exactly the same battery I got with my Elite Grand V LE , probably mine was faulty, otherwise it is hard to understand why it didn't last longer .
The one I currently have is a Panasonic LC-XC1222P , 12 Volt, 22Ah/20HR .
Having 4 amperes more than the PowerSonic gave me more playing time .
I think is a great battery , but I need something with more capacity .
It can not be bigger size , otherwise wouldn't fit in its case , and the max I have seen for that size is a silicone greensaver 24 Ah , other option could be lithium , but no one is coming with a personal experience where you can compare them .
Panasonic costed me $130 , the greensaver costs $170 , and the Lithium one has a price tag of $370 .
I'd pay $370 if I knew it is worthy , but I am not going to take the gamble just for the heck of it .


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