Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by rjw, Sep 28, 2011.
I am curious to know what kind of problems people have had with their ball machines, if any?
I have an SP Lite.
The only problem I have had is that there is a occaional jam of the balls that doesnt allow the carousel to pick them up.
It will pause and then sometimes throw two weak balls back to back and then resume normal function.
SP Star. Functionally, nothing, it does everything it promises.
There are a few things that can't be helped:
1) Hitting the hopper panel that holds the ball, letting all the balls drop on the court.
2) Hitting a ball into ball launcher area causing it to jam and may ruin the motor.
You must have one of the older model Stars with the sides that fold up to create a hopper? I have the molded plastic bucket type hopper on my Star and I could probably hit it with a bat and the balls wouldn't fall out.
As to problems, my only one was a dead battery which was replaced quickly and for free by SP as my machine was still in warranty. My machine will be two years old in February.
I have had experience with two machines:
1. Lobster pneumatic. Total failure to throw because latex sleeve that grabs ball until pressure builds up had aged and did not work. To be fair, a now totally obsolete design. Never, ever buy one now.
2. SP Star. Initially had typical occasional ball jamming problem until I used a heat gun and reshaped lip of hopper to reduce clearance between it and the carosel. Old low pressure balls make it worse. Also had a lower spin/propulsion motor fail which SP covered under warranty.
The Star has been used 3-4 times a week since delivery in January 2011which is a lot for a personal non pro machine. Even though it had these two problems, I would recommend it and SP to anyone. Great company and great product.
If you do buy a machine, you may find yourself with newfound friends.
I also have a LIte....late model, maybe 3 months old
When I got it something was wrong with the board and it would only spit out balls at fairly high speed and with a tad of backspin.
Had to set the machine at the back fence and even then, they mostly were landing beyond the opposite baseline.
Had a feed gearbox die, and most recently I've notice that the plastic carousel which used to be a tight fit on the g-box shaft, is now getting looser.
A ball got hit back into the machine and jammed the wheels. The breaker kicked, but once things were unjammmed, it starting launching at high speed/backspin only mode....again.
Seems that this can happen anytime and nothing can be done to prevent it...probably the same with most other brands?
Occasional double feed, like some others, but not too often.
I hated that there were always 7 to 10 balls left in the hopper, but that's taken care of with my $1 mod.
SP has reacted very quickly to keep me up and running, so that is excellent service for sure.
Any others with non SP machines?
I'm trying to decide whether to keep it once it's off warranty or sell it.
Got a Lobster Elite Freedom. Had it a little over a year (including two summers). Both my wife and I use it, so probably four times a week seven months of the year, and an average of once a week for the rest. So based on these approximations, we've used it 200 times or so (very rough guess).
Two "feet" have fallen off, both control knobs fell off, the battery is dying, and now the handle used to push it around has had a piece fall off, so transporting is a bit of a chore.
Based on all this, I'd probably buy from another company if I had it to do over. That being said, we've gotten a lot of use out of it, and most of the breakdowns are minor. New "feet" and knobs are a few dollars (props to Lobster for not soaking us on these). The battery was probably overcharged, and that's my fault. The bottom line is it's still shooting balls, and I love being able to leave work in the evening and bash tennis balls afterwards without having to schedule something or actually play a match. I'm enjoying it much, much more than I anticipated, and the repairs (besides the battery) are pretty minor.
I wasn't sure about purchasing the machine, but if there were a tennis facility that had one, and only charge a few dollars to use it, I'd be thrilled. So if I've used it 200 times, and paid $800 for it (maybe it was $700. I don't remember), that's $4.00 per use if it dies tomorrow (and all but the battery is covered for two years). Good value in my book.
Oh, and if I had it to do over, I'd get something that could hit topspin. This thing shoots balls flat, so they skip through the court. Still fun to hit, but not the same as real tennis (unless the guy hits weird flat strokes), so you can't really work on anything, because the ball you're getting is so completely different than what you're likely to get in a real match. I really wish I'd have paid extra to get something that could produce a ball I'm actually likely to see when I play against a human.
I have to say that my Sp Lite does launch a fairly realistic ball.
fwiw, I bought a heavy duty battery locally, for under $40 (12 volt 20 ah) It's good for 4 to 6 hours of constant all out use. So your battery woes might not be that big of a deal to fix.
The vendor also told me that it was impossible to overcharge it...I bought a smart/fast charger anyhow, so I just plug it in and forget it. ($60 shipped).
I have an SP edge lite that I bought this spring.
The upper motor bolt snapped after about a dozen uses.
The best theory put forth on the TT boards is that it was damaged in shipping as another owner reported his battery mounting had come loose in shipping as well.
SP sent me replacement bolts free of charge. I prefer to do it myself instead of sending it on another rough ride on the round trip through the mail.
It would be a good idea if they could ship them with some kind of stryofoam support for the motors as they are fairly heavy. I wish I had thought to ask for the same.
these comments always are funny - it's like saying my battery died, don't ever, ever buy a battery machine whose battery dies....
Lobster pneumatic machines are world renown for working for 30 plus years - only catch....you have to repalce that pesky rubber sleeve every 2 years,...the pneumatic machines have been out of production for 2 years now.
I have a Lobster Elite Freedom. It's about 4 years old and out of warranty. The circuit board is bad on it and keeps resetting. Let me know if anyone has a used working circuit board for sale.
How much is a new board?
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