Solutions For Unsticking Your Newgy Robot

Jena Newgarden

By Larry Thoman

This column will consist of questions that have been asked of the staff at Newgy or our replies to questions posed on the table tennis newsgroup, month's question was posted on the newsgroup under the title, "Newgy Robot Gets Stuck?" by Jake. We encourage readers to send in your own questions.. You may email us at or fax or write us. All questions cannot be answered, but every month we will pick out one of them to answer in this column.

I just tested out the Newgy robot over at Attila Malek’s new training center. I noted that it gets stuck, every once in a while. This is the same problem that I had with the Sitco robot.

Any suggestions? The floors are a bit dusty.

In my experience of servicing Newgy robots for over 10 years, the vast majority of problems with our robots are caused by dirt buildup inside the machines. Dirt normally enters the machine when balls roll on a dirty floor and then are thrown into the machine. As the balls are pushed through the robot, the dirt falls off and get wrapped around the ball feed gears and motor hubs or accumulate on the rubber Discharge Wheel and Friction Block.

The Discharge Wheel and Friction Block are very easy to keep clean. We recommend using our Rubber Drive Cleaner to clean these parts. If you have thin fingers, then you can usually clean these parts without disassembly. Simply wet a cloth with some cleaner, push it into the discharge hole with one finger and rub the cleaner on the rubber surfaces. For the wheel, it will also be necessary to insert a finger from your other hand to prevent the wheel from turning while you are cleaning it. If you have large or thick fingers, then you will need to disassemble the robot’s head to access these parts.

Particularly troublesome are carpet fibers, pet hairs, and other filamentous materials. This type of dirt can wrap itself around the hub of the Ball Feed and/or Ball Speed Motors and strangle the motor to death. This is often hard to spot and always requires disassembly. In 1999, we improved the Ball Feed Mechanism to prevent dirt from getting to the Ball Feed Gears and Ball Feed Motor that are located at the base of the robot body where it picks up balls from the trays. This new "Dust-Free" mechanism can be purchased separately for older Newgy robots that lack this improvement.

Another common problem is the use of new balls. New balls are coated with a gritty powder that is left on the balls during the manufacturing process. If new balls are placed in a Newgy Robot, they often times can cause a ball jam. The solution is to wash new balls in lukewarm soapy water and dry them off before placing them in the robot’s trays. Occasionally, even after washing and drying, new balls can still cause the robot to run erratically until their surface gets further worn down and "slicker".

To speed up the process, run the balls through the machine at high speed by setting the ball frequency at 10, the ball speed to @2.5, the spin to "backspin", and aiming the head at the middle of the table net. The balls will hit the net, rebound, and roll back into the robot’s ball trays (for robots with recycling net systems). For robots mounted in ball buckets, you will need to catch these balls by hand or in a tray or box and then return them to the ball bucket. This procedure will further "rub the balls down". Continue this rub down procedure for at least 5 minutes, and then return to normal operation. Well worn, slick balls work best in our robots.

Another possibility is that some balls are badly out of round or too large. Robo-Pong robots with recycling nets include two go-no go gauges for testing balls. The gauges are located in the Ball Dams that are used to block off the ball trays during storage or repair. Each Ball Dam contains a hole that is exactly 38mm or 40mm in diameter, depending on the robot model.

To test the balls you are using in your robot, pass balls one at a time through this hole, rotating each one along several different axes. The rotation is necessary because lopsided balls may pass through along one axis, but not along another axis. If the ball passes through this hole, it should be OK to be used in the robot. If a ball hangs up in the hole at any time during this test, do not use that ball in the robot.

If the above suggestions don't solve the problem, go to I recently updated this list and it will help you to narrow down the potential solutions. Keep your robot clean and you'll get top performance from your Newgy for many, many years. To reduce the dirt entering the machine, it is highly recommended to keep your playing area clean and to block off dusty areas into which balls can roll. Periodically cleaning the balls you use in the robot will further help. And ALWAYS wash new balls before using them in the machine.

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Controlling Amount Of Spin From Your Robot

Jena Newgarden

By Larry Thoman

This column will consist of questions that have been asked of the staff at Newgy or our replies to questions posed on the table tennis (ping pong) newsgroup, This month's question was asked in an e-mail by Ray Miskimins , who is a USATT Certified State Coach from Reno, NV. We encourage readers to send in your own questions. You may email us at e-mail, fax or write us. All questions cannot be answered, but we will pick out one of them to answer in this column.


I received the Robo-Pong 1040 that I ordered from you last week. I got it set up and running and find that it works very well. It is more user-friendly, more consistent and more trouble-free than the $1000+ one I had 10 or 12 years ago. It is very easy to control the type of spin, the speed, the ball frequency and the oscillation of this robot. I have enjoyed hitting with it and I'm sure will find it very useful when coaching.

I have one question that you may be able to help me with; is there any way to control the amount of spin? When it tosses topspin, it pretty much is at a loop level; when it tosses backspin, it simulates a pretty severe chop. In the reality of table tennis play, topspin varies from almost no-spin (so-called "dead ball") to the extreme produced by the best of the loopers; backspin varies from near no-spin to the extreme you see from some good pushers or choppers. I have the impression that there is no way to vary the amount of spin the Robo-Pong 1040 produces (only the kind of spin). Is that correct? Does speed variation have any significant effect on the amount of spin? Does distance you set the robot from the player have any effect on the amount of spin (that is, will tossing the balls from well behind the table affect it)? Is there any way to get the machine to toss a nearly dead ball?

Thanking you in advance for your attention to these questions,

Ray Miskimins
USATT Certified State Coach



Thank you for purchasing a Newgy Table Tennis Robot and for your kind comments. To answer your questions about controlling spin on the Newgy robot, here are some resources that discuss this issue on our website:

Robot FAQ's
Learn About Spin To Improve Your Game
Adjusting Backspin When Learning To Loop

Also read the "Robot Positioning" section on page 12 of the Owner's Manual that came with your robot. (Click Here to download a PDF version of the Robo-Pong Owner's Manual) It will explain how to position your robot and the advantages and disadvantages of each position. Also the "Ball Spin" section on page 8 is worth reading to better understand how to adjust the spin settings on the robot and the limitations imposed by the robot's design.

Since speed equals spin with Newgy robots, the lightest spin you can get with a Newgy robot is at Ball Speed setting of 0. You will then need to adjust the robot's position and head angle to achieve the desired trajectory. If you have the robot mounted at the end of the table so the ball first strikes the table about a foot and a half from the table net, the ball will bounce over the table net, and by the time it bounces on the player's side, there will be little spin left on the ball. Of course, the ball will be very slow as well. Use topspin if you want the ball to go off the end of the ping pong table or backspin if you want the ball to bounce twice on the player's side of the table.

There is one other thing you can do to simulate dead balls and other such variations. Build a device that has a 6 inch by 6 inch flat surface that can be placed on your table tennis table and be adjustable from about 15 to 60 degrees. Cover the top of this device with some type of rubber cover and place it in front of the robot on your ping pong table. Put your robot in the serve position and aim the head at the ramp. By using different covering materials, such as regular inverted, sticky inverted, sponge only, hard rubber, pips out with sponge, long pips, and other like materials, you can achieve an interesting variety of ball effects. For each different material you will have to experiment with the head angle, the ramp angle, and the ball speed setting to get it to simulate the type of shot you want to practice against.

Good luck.

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