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 Chief Delphi Quesiton on Pitching Machine Motor
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#1
08-04-2012, 01:26 PM
 pmccorm2005 Registered User no team Join Date: Aug 2012 Location: United States Posts: 1
Quesiton on Pitching Machine Motor

Hello...

I stumbled across this site when googling how to decrease the speed of a pitching machine. Not sure this is best place to ask but here goes... I own this machine: http://baseballpitchingequipment.com...-w-ball-feeder

Although it has a speed control on it, even at the lowest speed, it pitches wiffle balls too fast. I'm trying to determine if there is something I can do to lower the speed without having to break the unit apart and do stuff (I'm certainly not qualified to do that).

Any ideas? Thanks very much!
#2
08-04-2012, 02:06 PM
 quinxorin Mentor now :( AKA: Ian Pudney FRC #0862 (Lightning Robotics) Team Role: Mentor Join Date: Jan 2009 Rookie Year: 2009 Location: Lightning Robotics Posts: 148
Re: Quesiton on Pitching Machine Motor

There are two ways to do it. The first, and "best" would definitely involve taking the machine apart and doing stuff, specifically altering the gear ratios. However, that isn't too practical anyway, given the machine's compact construction.
The alternative would be to limit the power getting to the machine, most likely with a resistor. Use a multimeter to measure the current going to the motor, and multiply that by the voltage (110 or so) to get the power. Then, install the appropriate resistor in the plug wiring to decrease the power - guides for the math are available online. The decrease in speed will be about proportional to the decrease in power. You'd likely need a rather large resistor, though, or you'll see it catch on fire.

A more efficient way, but probably more expensive, would be to install a transformer to decrease the voltage. This won't waste energy like a resistor will (and therefore, won't catch on fire), but would be more expensive.

No, this isn't exactly the right forum, but we do know quite a lot about this sort of thing.
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#3
08-04-2012, 02:38 PM
 Jim Wilks Electrical Engineer AKA: Jim Wilks FRC #1360 (Orbit Robotics) Team Role: Mentor Join Date: Feb 2008 Rookie Year: 2008 Location: Oakville, ON Posts: 1,209
Re: Question on Pitching Machine Motor

Hold on, I'd be a little careful before installing a series power resistor or a transformer. The exact kind of motor in the machine is very important here. Many AC motors will burn out if operated at a reduced voltage via series power resistor or transformer.
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#4
08-04-2012, 03:28 PM
 Tom Line Don't lay blame. Fix probems. FRC #1718 (The Fighting Pi) Team Role: Mentor Join Date: Jan 2007 Rookie Year: 1999 Location: Armada, Michigan Posts: 3,235
Re: Question on Pitching Machine Motor

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Jim Wilks Hold on, I'd be a little careful before installing a series power resistor or a transformer. The exact kind of motor in the machine is very important here. Many AC motors will burn out if operated at a reduced voltage via series power resistor or transformer.
Absolutely. I've checked a couple other models from this company, and they all state it's a DC motor. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find the manual for this exact product.

It is also meant to be used with a rollingpower battery pack.

Best guess is that it's a DC motor, however, modify at your own risk.
#5
08-04-2012, 03:40 PM
 msimon785 Fusing Function with Form AKA: Mathew Simon FRC #0973 (Greybots) Team Role: Mentor Join Date: Dec 2010 Rookie Year: 2008 Location: Los Angeles Posts: 251
Re: Question on Pitching Machine Motor

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Tom Line Absolutely. I've checked a couple other models from this company, and they all state it's a DC motor. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find the manual for this exact product. It is also meant to be used with a rollingpower battery pack. Best guess is that it's a DC motor, however, modify at your own risk.
Quote:
 The powerful A/C motor throws lite-balls at variable speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
Your best and safest bet, while (comparatively) expensive, is a VFD or Variable Frequency Drive. You will need to find one appropriate for your motor's HP.
Automation Direct sells one for \$100.
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#6
08-04-2012, 03:40 PM
 Jim Wilks Electrical Engineer AKA: Jim Wilks FRC #1360 (Orbit Robotics) Team Role: Mentor Join Date: Feb 2008 Rookie Year: 2008 Location: Oakville, ON Posts: 1,209
Re: Question on Pitching Machine Motor

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Tom Line Absolutely. I've checked a couple other models from this company, and they all state it's a DC motor. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find the manual for this exact product. It is also meant to be used with a rollingpower battery pack. Best guess is that it's a DC motor, however, modify at your own risk.
The OP's link says "powerful A/C motor" and that the unit runs on "A/C Power".
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#7
08-05-2012, 01:45 PM
 DonRotolo Waiting for the storm FRC #0832 Team Role: Mentor Join Date: Jan 2005 Rookie Year: 2005 Location: Atlanta GA Posts: 7,337
Re: Quesiton on Pitching Machine Motor

First off, welcome pmccorm2005 to the ChiefDelphi forum! While we're not really into pitching machines, we do know a lot of things about a lot of things.

You see, we're a bunch of geeks (and proud of it!) that work with an organization called FIRST Robotics (www.usfirst.org), dedicated to inspiring kids to better understand match, science, and technology. We build robots to help accomplish that goal. Kind of like wiffleball for the mind.

Anyway, to your question: If this is in fact an AC (alternating current, like what comes out of the wall) motor, the only real way to vary its speed is to vary the frequency of the AC going to it (and, as already noted, these start at about \$100). BUT since it is already variable in speed, it is far more likely that while the unit runs on AC, the motor control is something else and not a variable frequency drive system. Meaning an external controller is more likely to just get the pitching machine angry and let out the magic smoke.

Before you start getting out screwdrivers and soldering irons, the first step should be to contact the folks who make this unit. They may have some simple suggestions for slowing the pitches down even further than what you have now. Ask for the engineering manager, or the technical support team, explain what you have and what you want to do, likely they'll be able to help. If you don't understand what they tell you, write it down, tell us, and we can help there.

Good luck!
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