Hi, I just want to share some of my findings and experience with my ball machine.
I've had my Lobster VLE for about 2 years. Bought it from Lobster's authorized dealer in Singapore. The dealer had a ball machine rental business and they exclusively used Lobster machines. The owner had evaluated and tried most of the major brands and he finally chose the Lobsters for his rental business.
Now from my own experience with my machine, here are some findings that might be useful for others looking to buy a ball machine:
1) They are all pretty simple and straight-forward machines. Basically 3 main components: the control panel (brain), battery, and some motors for oscillation and ball throwing.
From comparing the Lobster with other major brands, they all use similar kind of battery and motors.
Most problems occurs because of defective battery or control panel. These two things are very simple to fix, since everything are plug-and-play.
If I were you, before shipping it to SP, I would spend less than $50 to buy a new battery and try swapping that first.
2) Save your money and stay away from any premium chargers. You could get your own "premium" charger online for less than half of the advertised price.
Same thing for the battery. Buy your own battery online for a lot cheaper. Just make sure you stick with the better battery brands.
3) Remote is a must-have!
4) At the end of the day, the main differences between the major brands are the durability of the outer case of the machine, features/programming, and most importantly customer service.
I use my Lobster for around 4 hours each week for the past two years and I have not experienced any major problem. Outer case and the hopper are made out of thick plastic, no problem with them breaking. The stock Powersonic battery has been holding up ok as well. I just keep it plugged to the charger 24/7.
Hope that helps...