Questions asked by owners of NuBall have included the following. If you have a question that isn't covered here, use the "Contact Us" page to send us an email.
Will NuBall run in areas (countries) that have 220-volt electrical systems?
No - plugging NuBall into such an electrical source and turning it on will damage NuBall seriously. Never do so! You must use a 220-volt-to-110-volt converter. Any such converter will do, as long as it is rated for 500W or more. Little units used for charging phones and razors, etc., will not do the job.
While it is possible for us to buy such a device and resell it to customers, or to tell customers how to buy one on the internet, shipping costs money, and such units tend to be heavy little things - therefore costly to ship. In every known case, it has proved to be least expensive to the customer to simply buy such a device at their neighborhood electronics store. The store employees can instruct the customer on its use.
Why is there a temperature control when you recommend always running it at 135 degrees?
The top of NuBall is made for a different application. It would have required some expense - and more importantly, delay - to do the minor re-engineering that would have been required to remove the temperature control, or change its function. We wanted to make NuBall available to the public without delay, so decided to leave it alone. We’re glad we did - see the following question.
Why does my machine have a label around the temperature control?
Not all our machines do.
When the very first machines arrived from the factory, we tested them to ensure that actual temperatures attained inside the machine were in fact the temperatures indicated by the control knob. Some were accurate, and some weren't.
Now we test every machine before we sell it. On those that aren't accurate, we find the pointer setting that does produce 135 degrees internally, and we apply a high-quality label so that 135 on the label is at the point where 135 is actually produced.
Whether your machine has a label or not, setting the pointer to 135 degrees will heat the ball to that temperature, plus or minus about 3 degrees. When we started, about 30-40% of the machines we sold had such a sticker. Since then, the manufacturer has designed a better thermostat specifically for NuBall, and we now need stickers on less than 10%. Also, the new thermostat is more active - that is, the old thermostats would keep the temperature within about 6 or 7 degrees each way from 135. The new one keeps the temperature within about 3 degrees each way.
Should I heat the ball until it is completely dry on the surface?
The answer is basically no. Visible oil on the surface of the ball will disappear very, very slowly.
Usually, if you run NuBall for 60 minutes, you will get all of the oil out of the ball pores. If any remains, it will - logically enough - be fairly deep in the pores. When you use the ball, the top part of the pores will be oil-free, and the ball will act very much as though the job had been done completely. In that event, you might expect that the pores on your ball might fill up again sooner.
Don't worry about it. Just follow the rule: if your ball hits weakly a couple of times in a session, and it hasn't been heated for a few sessions, run it through again. Running it through again costs you only a few minutes of your time, and it won't hurt the ball in any way.
Should I take my ball out every few minutes, wipe off the oil, then put it back in?
We doubt that this practice is worth the added effort, but it doesn't hurt anything.
Some users have adopted the following practice, which seems effective. They run a ball in NuBall for an hour. If it gave out a lot of oil (maybe a teaspoon or more in the cup), they take it out, wipe it off, and run it in NuBall for another hour. This should completely clean out the pores of even very old or neglected bowling balls.
How should I dispose of the extracted oil?
Lane oil is mostly mineral oil, which is a byproduct of petroleum production. It can be somewhat toxic in significant quantity. Therefore it should be recycled much like motor oil, from a purist point of view. For more information, eHow has a great article on the matter. Note that baby oil is mostly mineral oil, and mineral oil is taken by some adults as a laxative.
The oil extracted from a ball in a typical NuBall usage is about a teaspoon or so. Each user can use his own conscience to decide whether to worry about the release of this small amount of oil into the sewer system. If you care to, you can check with your own state's regulations about disposal of mineral oil.
I ran my ball through the machine and got no oil out of it. Is something wrong?
If the ball is warm, but there is no oil, then one or more of the following could well be contributing factors:
Pearls soak up less oil than solids (though old pearls that are no longer shiny may be every bit as bad as solids).
If you wipe off your ball with a towel after every frame, your ball will accumulate much less oil.
If you clean your ball after every session, your ball will accumulate much less oil.
If you occasionally have your ball rejuvenated at a pro shop, it will contain only the oil accumulated since the last rejuvenation.
If your ball is warmed by other means (in your trunk in summer, or sitting next to a heater, etc.), it may have been partially rejuvenated by being in those situations.
Some balls just appear to be more porous than others, and therefore pick up more oil. For instance, the Ebonite 250K series seem to absorb a lot of oil, while the Hammer Black Widow Venom seems to absorb comparatively very little.
Added ALERT - November 9, 2014 - At least some balls - notably the Hammer Black Widow series - have not yielded much oil in past NuBall treatments. They seem to need to be at least partially resurfaced before using NuBall. One person did it himself and got "tons" of oil out of the ball. We had our pro shop resurface our Black Widow Venom and it yielded about one full teaspoon of oil in the cup. There may be other balls that will respond this way. So - if your ball yields no visible oil on the first try - sand it to a lower grit, then to the proper grit, then try running it in NuBall again.
If the ball is not warm or has hot spots, then your machine might be defective. You can check by putting a thermometer in the machine. A candy or meat or oven thermometer can be used - any thermometer that can read between 100 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the thermometer inside NuBall, put the top on, set it to run at 135 degrees and run it for at least 20 minutes. Then look at the thermometer - if it reads outside of the 130's, contact us for further advice.
Don't worry! NuBall has a three-year warranty. We'll make sure your NuBall is running right, or we will send you a new part to fix the problem.
Why is there no on/off switch or timer?
We wanted to make NuBall available to the public without delay, so decided not to request that the factory make a change to the existing device. We will require an on/off switch as a feature of an updated model of NuBall.
In the meantime, if you want to run NuBall in a timed manner, the "Woods Import 5559206 Digital Countdown Timer" is available on Amazon.com. It will allow you to run NuBall 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours and shut off automatically. In July 2013, it sells for $11.86. If you can combine it with another purchase so you exceed $25 total, it ships for free.
The center does not seem to fit the bottom of the machine. Why?
This is a problem that has been corrected! See the "NEWS" page for more information.
The top and bottom are parts of a machine originally designed for a different application. In that usage, they had to fit with a short center structure which had virtually no "draft" - that is, it was almost exactly columnar - the top and bottom of it were almost exactly the same size. The center section of NuBall is made here in the states by KASO Plastics. So that it will come off the mold in the injection plastics press, it must have a "draft" of about 1.5 degrees. Given its length, that means its bottom edge is about 3/16 inch wider than the top.
The base of NuBall has a channel all the way around it, just inside the edge. The plastics engineers at KASO designed the pointy tabs on the bottom of the center section so they would extend down into that channel, positioning the center onto the base. It does leave a very narrow gap around the top edge of the base. A little air leaks out there - but notice there are big vents in the sides of the base anyway. The air lost thru the gap is small by comparison, and does not affect NuBall's function. We have done all our testing and measuring with that gap in place, and it has no effect. We know the reason for it - and the way to do it - are by no means obvious, but once you get it in place, you'll get used to it, and you'll almost forget about it.
How many times can I bake a ball and how frequently can it be done?
Basically, "baking" a ball is a very innocuous process. It does not damage a ball at all. So, you can bake a ball as often as you wish, for as long as you wish. We have baked a ball overnight a couple of times with no ill effects at all. (We did so by forgetting it was running. One thing we want on a new edition of NuBall is a timer that will shut it off when a set amount of time has passed.)
As a practical matter, say you carry 4 or 5 balls and use most of them at least every few days (fairly typical for a lot of league bowlers). Just run them all through NuBall about once every 3 weeks. Doing it that often, you should never notice any degradation of performance.