Babolat Star 5 or Prince 5000

#1
Hi all,
A couple of electronic machines have become available I'd like your input on.

Babolat Star 5 $1500
- 1700+ racquets
- personal & business use 10 years

Prince 5000 $800
- 1500± racquets
- business & personal 7 years

I'm a fairly new contentious stringer who got into the game to lower my stringing costs. Six months later I'm stringing for 10+ "club" friends without asking, lol. So, as there is the potential to grow this into a part-time business I'm interested in upgrading my Ektelon H. Yes, definitely not needed. ;)

I understand that both are EOL (end of life) but the Prince may be a more risky buy because of electronics (motherboard) are no longer made? I have no personal experience with either machine, only my Ektelon. Haven't seen either in person yet. Just trying to become familiar with the benefits/cons of either.

My initial thoughts are the Star 5 is priced too high and the 5000 is good but risky.

At these price points, are either a good choice?

I've also come across several Star 3 & 4's too ($800-$1100) but don't know if it would be smart to consider them.

Babolat gurus abllee2198, uk_skippy and others feel free to chime in with your opinion. :)

Thanks guys!
 
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#2
Neither. Tennis Machines will support your 'NEOS'. You can also upgrade the clamps to swivel using David 110's stuff. However, if you want an eCP tension head, get a WISE. It will be supported.
 
#3
Star 5 is a bit high IMO however proven to be a work horse... maybe for 1000$ I would pull the trigger all day.

PRINCE FOR THAT PRICE is pretty darn good. I havent heard too many issues from the p5000. My friend bought one from SA when they closed down and he said no issues and he averages 6 racquets a day I believe.

Babolat no if that the price

Prince worth the risk
 
#6
depends on what you're really willing to spend. I don't think the price is outrageous for either. I'm actually sort of concerned that the prince is less than $1,000. That makes me think it may already have a problem. Even without being able to buy replacement parts that was a 5k machine a few years ago. The babolat is a workhorse and 1700 rackets is just breaking it in. I've seen Star 5 with 5-15,000 rackets on them.
 

uk_skippy

Hall of Fame
#8
Star 5, all the way. Support over the years will be better.

As long as the Star 5 is in good shape, not discoloured, no damage, still pulls strong, I think the price is fair.

My Star 5 is 8 year old, over 10k rqts; and in the UK market is still worth £1500

I'm just about to buy a relatively new one, hardly used over recent years and has 66 rqts on it, for £1750
 

kimguroo

Hall of Fame
#9
Don’t go with prince since they might not support broken machines.
I have electronic machine which was broke. it was fixed but broken again.
Stuck with it now and need to find a place to fix. Honestly, tennis machine is only option but I personally bring the machine to St. Louis instead of shipping which costs a lot and If he can’t fix, at least we can talk some possibilities with new electronic or wise option.
 
#10
Read @Rabbit thread on his sensor base clamps. He said Babolat was very clear, that they are no longer making any parts for the sensor and the Star 5.
So if parts will soon not be available, you could be out of luck. I guess it's a fact if machine gets old, more susceptible to breaking down, and more likely no parts either.
So fairly soon the Star 5 will be like Star 4 and just no parts, and as you know electronics do break down. Most likely all are built to last only so long.
I would assume Babolat would rather sell more new machines than sell parts to keep existing ones going, after all they need to make $.
Reason somewhat cheap prices on them now I would assume.
 
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#11
@uk_skippy & @jim e both make great points on both sides. It all comes down to your comfort level.

Were it me, I’d probably go for the Star 5 and take my chances.

I also heard Prince machines are still in production and viable. The 1500 had some supply issues.
 
#12
If it was me, I probably would just spend a thousand more and go with a new machine like the Alpha Ghost. A while back my LCD screen died out on my Pro Master machine and fortunately I was able to get a replacement. What if that happened to the Prince or the Star5 a month or two after you purchased it, and was told part no longer available. Then that great deal is not so great. It's a chance with a end of life machine and a greater chance with the two you mentioned as they had business use Also with the Star, if the tension head was serviced Babolat resets the racquet count to zero so there could be a great more use than you really are lead to believe. I believe @Irvin commented about this with his Star 5 when he had Babolat service his. Just something to think about.
I guess the only way I would get one of those is if I could also find a broken down one as well that is cheap for future parts.That is why I am looking for the older Wilson, or xtremesportsmachines for future parts as mine is a rebranded one of those.
 
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#13
Read @Rabbit thread on his sensor base clamps. He said Babolat was very clear, that they are no longer making any parts for the sensor and the Star 5.
So if parts will soon not be available, you could be out of luck. I guess it's a fact if machine gets old, more susceptible to breaking down, and more likely no parts either.
So fairly soon the Star 5 will be like Star 4 and just no parts, and as you know electronics do break down. Most likely all are built to last only so long.
I would assume Babolat would rather sell more new machines than sell parts to keep existing ones going, after all they need to make $.
Reason somewhat cheap prices on them now I would assume.
I agree that Babolat may no longer be making parts for the Sensor & Star 5; but there is so many of these machines, certainly Sensors, around that they will be a stock pile of spare parts. Babolat will support the machines for 10 years once they stop making them.

Like any machine, standard electrical parts like micro switches etc and easily by replaced. It will be the PCB's that are always the problem; and tho goes the same for all older machines.

I haven't read the thread re: Babolat Clamp bases, but I'd be surprised if there were spares around. And failing that, any mechanical part should be able to fabricated by a suitable company.
 
#14
I agree that Babolat may no longer be making parts for the Sensor & Star 5; but there is so many of these machines, certainly Sensors, around that they will be a stock pile of spare parts. Babolat will support the machines for 10 years once they stop making them.

Like any machine, standard electrical parts like micro switches etc and easily by replaced. It will be the PCB's that are always the problem; and tho goes the same for all older machines.

I haven't read the thread re: Babolat Clamp bases, but I'd be surprised if there were spares around. And failing that, any mechanical part should be able to fabricated by a suitable company.
Rabbit commented that Babolat had 12 of the base clamps remaining for the Sensor. That's it, since he bought two they are down to ten now, certainly not a stock pile like you think, and that was a common replacement part for that machine as it had issues. I guess if you hunt around you may find someone who can fix with rigged up parts, but there comes a time to say goodbye just like an old car, unless it is a collectable, but I bet not too many collect old stringing machines.
I can get any part for my 25 year old John Deere lawn tractor, but once a stringing machine gets 10 years old, manufacturer would like to have you get a new one than supply any parts that typically fail over time.
 
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#15
I can get any part for my 25 year old John Deere lawn tractor, but once a stringing machine gets 10 years old, manufacturer would like to have you get a new one than supply any parts that typically fail over time.
OK, now that is good news. I had to buy a new lawn tractor a couple of years ago, my first two were Sears. The first one was an greats, Kohler engine, lasted 15 years. The second one, I thought yeah..Kohler engine, Sears, should be fine....wrong.......crappiest piece of crap I ever crapping bought. lasted about 3 years. Built in China. My neighbor has a John Deere, hell he never even changed the oil, the break in oil, for the first 10 years he had it.....I bought one.....love it (so far).

Back to topic on hand, it's all about a) what you want and b) how much risk you're willing to assume. I was concerned (and still am to some degree) that I had a rather expensive large boat anchor on my hands. If it goes down, nobody is going to pay $200 in freight plus $'s to me for the thing. On the other hand, the Babolat fellow, Mia, told me that with 3600 rackets on it, it was just getting broken in. The clamps are in great shape (and those are available). It's a used machine, came from a tennis shop. There is no telling how the clamp bases were treated. And now I have a new one AND a spare.

If I were a glass half full guy, I'd have to say that with two new bases available and the soon-to-be-had knowledge of how to take the turntable down, I'll be able to maintain the machine and keep it super clean which should prolong it's life. Since I've moved upstairs, I only plug it up -- right now it sits right by the wet bar upstairs -- when I use it. For a home stringer, chances are it'll last me well....as long as my new LED lights in the kitchen will.....until there is no me :).

Then again, it could sizzle and shoot sparks tonight. Then I'll be buying a Ghost.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
#16
Rabbit commented that Babolat had 12 of the base clamps remaining for the Sensor. That's it, since he bought two they are down to ten now, certainly not a stock pile like you think, and that was a common replacement part for that machine as it had issues. I guess if you hunt around you may find someone who can fix with rigged up parts, but there comes a time to say goodbye just like an old car, unless it is a collectable, but I bet not too many collect old stringing machines.
I can get any part for my 25 year old John Deere lawn tractor, but once a stringing machine gets 10 years old, manufacturer would like to have you get a new one than supply any parts that typically fail over time.
Bases on the Sensor may have broke from using gravity release feature. Not sure if they would fit or not (@abllee2198 @uk_skippy ???) but you should be able to upgrade to the Star 5 ergonomic clamp bases and use the old sensor clamps. The simpler Star 5 bases should last for eternity although one may have to repair them after years of use.
 
#17
A player that I taught to string is using an old Babolat Starring from the early 80s. She moves it between her club in Barcelona and courts in Vilanova I la Geltru stringing about 600 racquets a year. Babolat machines are made to last. Not saying they will all last almost 40 years, but take care of it and it can.
 
#18
Bases on the Sensor may have broke from using gravity release feature. Not sure if they would fit or not (@abllee2198 @uk_skippy ???) but you should be able to upgrade to the Star 5 ergonomic clamp bases and use the old sensor clamps. The simpler Star 5 bases should last for eternity although one may have to repair them after years of use.
How would the gravity release cause a base to break? Oh, sorry, you were speculating again. From what I've seen, the gravity release is no different than a manual release on those bases. The idea for replacing with a Star 5 base is a good one except they aren't making any more Star 5 bases either so supplies are limited there as well. The only other alternative would be to see if the Modular base clamps would work...and those look more like the Sensor clamp bases than the Star 5.
 
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#19
Not overly scientific.....but although they aren't supported anymore alot of star 3 star 4 and older babolat machines are still going strong (including mine). Assuming build quality has been maintained to star 5 then hopefully it's got many years left. Certainly don't hear so much about older prince machines but that may be representative of their market share.
 
#24
And your Ektelon H is probably the fastest and most reliable stringing machine ever. Unless you are getting a killer deal, stick with what you got.
You should know.
Whatever machine you now have, your always looking for something better that's out there.
It's the nature of it all.
 
#27
Rabbit commented that Babolat had 12 of the base clamps remaining for the Sensor. That's it, since he bought two they are down to ten now, certainly not a stock pile like you think, and that was a common replacement part for that machine as it had issues. I guess if you hunt around you may find someone who can fix with rigged up parts, but there comes a time to say goodbye just like an old car, unless it is a collectable, but I bet not too many collect old stringing machines.
I can get any part for my 25 year old John Deere lawn tractor, but once a stringing machine gets 10 years old, manufacturer would like to have you get a new one than supply any parts that typically fail over time.
Was that amount in USA or France? I'd think that it should easy to get some made by another company.
 
#28
Was that amount in USA or France? I'd think that it should easy to get some made by another company.
Hi, I bought these from Babolat USA per a recommendation from @10shoe in a thread I posted about the Mighty Sensor's base clamps. I have one that is difficult to lock. The chap at Babolat was the one who told me that Babolat is no longer making parts for the Star 5 or Mighty Sensor. He also gave me a head count on the number of Sensor base clamps he had left which prompted me to purchase a spare. If I had to, I would look into one from another company, but since I don't have to and can afford the base clamp, I'm cool with the path I took.
 
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