Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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What is a tennis ball recharger?
To increase their bounce, the hollow core of a tennis ball is pressurized at the factory and then stored in a pressurized can until ready for use. Once a can is popped open, their environment immediaely changes and the balls begin to slowly lose their pressure. Air pressure outside the ball is now less than that inside the ball, forcing air to seep through the ball cover where it is lost to the atmosphere. This seepage is inevitable and occurs even when the ball is not being used. Hitting a ball with a tennis racquet accelerates this loss. Federation tournaments change to new balls every 7 or 9 games. Tennis ball rechargers serve to restore the lost internal pressure and, thereby, the original bounce. Typically, a tennis ball loses its pressure before losing its felt.

How does a tennis ball recharger work?
Once the balls are placed in the recharger canister and the unit is sealed, the recharger is pressurized using an expernal source of air pressure. If you have an electric air compressor, you're ready to go. If not, a bicycle or athletic ball pump will work as well. The recharger restores the pressurized environment of the original can in which the balls were shipped. The pressure outside the ball is now greater than the pressure inside the ball, slowly forcing air back into the ball. When equilibirum is reached, air transfer stops and the balls are ready for play!

Are all tennis balls pressurized?
Nearly all tennis balls used today are pressurized. Pressureless balls are avaailable, but these usually hae a stiffer, woodier feel than pressurized balls and typically do not bounce as high as new pressurized balls. To date, all ITF, ATPP and WTA events use pressurized balls. For more information about tennis balls and ball changes, see Wikipedia.

How many balls will the recharger hold?
The plans show how to assemble units that hold 3, 7, or 20 balls. However, the principles that are discussed can be applied to any number of balls. For the typical family, a large-capacity recharger will usualy be unecessary since balls can be rotated through a smaller recharger. This rotation schedule is provided in more detail in the Instructions. I prefer the 7-ball unit.

The thing we like most about these units is something that was unexpected: With a quick glance, we can always tell if balls are in the recharger, and how many, and the gauge tells us if they are being recharged. This is the only recharger we've seen having both these features.

Why does this recharging system work, when others fail?
The physics of recharging a tennis ball could not be simpler. Increase the pressure environment, and the ball recharges. Motivated by sustainability and frugality, I've purchased almost every ball charger, saver, recharger, and maintainer available in the marketplace in the past 20 years, and wasted my money every time. In some cases, the unit did not create enough pressure, thus rendering it almost useless. I say almost useless, becausse even some pressure will retard loss and somewhat extend the life of the ball. But, in time, the battle was always lost—losing bounce before losing felt. In other cases, adequate pressure was initially created, but then air would seep past the seal, also rendering the unit useless. Central to this homeade system is a canister having a reliable seal. When used properly, it will not leak. Further, you control the pressure.

What about safety?
When constructed of quality components, appropriately tested, and used as instructed, the ball recharger is safe. The operating pressure (28 psi) is less than a bicycle tire and muncipal water supplies. However, anything pressurized should be constructed and used according to proven rules. This ball recharger includes a "safety relief valve" for additional protection (unlike the retail systems I've used). Can Junior explode his football by over-pressurizing it, and even his bicycle tire? Yes. However, these canisters are rated for 150 psi by the manufacturer. The safety valve is set at 40 psi. And therefore the safety valve is designed to prevent over-pressurization, even in those rare instances that Junior is determined to overpressurize the recharger (for whatever reason). Complete instructions and safety guidelines are included inside.

Email us a blurb about how you enjoy using this ball recharger, and if we use your quote (anonymously), we'll send you a free safety sticker to mount on the unit.

Will the ball recharger also work for other racquet sports, such as racquetball, squash, mini-tennis. and handball?
I don't currently know the answer to this. Some handball sports use a ball substantially similar to a tennis ball, and the recharger will likely repressurize those balls.

How much air pressue is required to recharge?
About 28 psi (pounds per square inch). By comparison, bicycle tires require 40 to 100 psi and the pressure of the municipal water supply is typically 50 to 100 psi.

What is the cost savings of using a ball recharger?
The answer of course depends upon how many balls that you now use per year. Before I started recharging, I was purchasing about a dozen cans of tennis bals per year, which makes me an occasional player. After recharging, I now purchase about 4 cans per year. Since I pay about $8 per can of balls, that's a cost savings of $64 per year. Given that the components of my 7-ball recharger cost about $66, then I recovered my outlay in a single year. Further, the balls that are passed down to my practice basket still have plenty of bounce, which is an additional benefit. I now buy the "heavy felt" tennis balls because I know that I'll get to use all the felt.

Personal savings are important, but so is saving the Earth. By using a ball recharger, you will be sending fewer balls to the landfill. It's great that such a grand sport can also become sustainable.

How easy is it to get the balls in and out of the canister?
Unlike some other rechargers, balls are not added or removed under pressure. Balls are removed by unscrewing the unpressurized canister from its base while unpressurized and then pouring them into your arms or tennis bag. I have found this sysem to also be easier than others I've tried. I have recharger mounted to the wall so that there's nothing to "wrestle with." For those needing a little help breaking the seal, a plastic wrench is avaialbe for $2.00, though most will find it unecessary.

How long does it take to recharge? How long does it last?
The answer to this question depends on how much air remains in the ball. A completely de-pressurized ball may require 2-3 weeks to recharge. Inside, I discuss an accelerated schedule for re-constituting a dead ball. I find that balls which are used routinely, whether daily or once a week, recharge in a single night. However, they can be left in the recharger for extended periods without becoming over-charged. For the occasional player, just keep the balls in the recharger between play dates. Even for those playing 3-4 times per week, recharging once a week for two overnights should be sufficient. The time required depends greatly on how hard the balls are hit during play.

Is this recharging system portable?
Sure, it can be. As much as we'd love to see these recharging units being used across the planet, any recharger is clumsy at courtside for the typical tennis player, or even for the advanced player. A recharger is just "one more thing" to carry onto the tennis court. I keep mine at home, next to where I hang my tennis bag. If I consider that the balls need a boost after returning from play, I'll place them into the recharger where they stay until I'm next ready to play, whether that is the following day or the following week. Leave them in as long a you like. Balls out-of-play don't lose their pressure quickly, and so there is little difference whether you recover your balls from the recharger at courtside or homeside. So instead of pressurizing tennis balls in a special container while on the court following play, and vice-versa, just throw the balls in the bag and go through the same routine at home.

The trouble with retail ball rechargers
Safety issues: Please read

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