Just thought I'd share some thoughts (and pics and vids) of the new Ultimarc SpinTrak spinner that I recently purchased.
First off, the spinner arrived extremely quickly. Two days from England to Chicago. Amazing. The spinner looks like this:
I got two different knobs and both weights because I had no idea what I was going to like.
I was a little disappointed with the finish on the knobs. I thought it was going to be polished shinny, but you could easily see the grooves in the surface:
I got the USB version, which looks like this:
The web site says that the USB Version "has 3 Mouse button connections" but there are no instruction at all included with the SpinTrak and I have no idea how to set the mouse buttons up. Also, there are two rows of pins on the PCB that the harness could connect to, but no instructions as to which set to use. I guessed and it worked out. (No instruction on the web site about either of these.)
The unit fits into a standard 1 1/8" hole and is held in place with a plastic nut underneath. It's really easy to install and feels rock solid. Very professional grade industrial feeling. Here is a video of it spinning without a knob attached:
The knobs are held in place by two set screws on either side. The weights are also held on by set screws (the weights go on the bottom of the shaft. One annoying thing is that the knobs and both the weights all use different sized set screws, so you have to keep track of three different Allen wrenches. It would have been nice if they just all used the same one. I liked the plain silver knob best, so I put that one on, but was horrified by the wobble:
It took me forever to figure out why this was happening and to come up with an adequate solution. Basically, when you tighten down on one set screw, it make the knob go out of level. First I tried tightening one side slightly and then the other, etc., but that didn't work so well (really, I spent a good hour on this). Here is the solution I came up with:
I used three razor blades on each side of the shaft as spacers, like this:
Then I put the knob on:
The spacers ensure that the knob is level and stays that way while tightening the set screws. Then I used two Allen wrenches, one for each set screw, and tightened them slowly simultaneously. As soon as they grabbed, I stopped to see if the razor blades were still tight. If you don't do it right, one set of razor blades will be tight and the other loose. Repeat this process, tightening a little bit each time until fully tightened. Using this method, I was able to get most of the wobble out. If you have a better solution, please let me know.
Here is a vid of the spinner with no weight attached (spin time was 11 seconds):
Here it is with the small weight (spin time was 16 seconds) (pardon the hungry cat)
And here it is with the large weight (spin time was 36 seconds)
Installation in windows is a simple matter of plugging it into a usb port. No special drivers are needed. It shows up in windows as a x axis mouse (it does not interfere with your normal mouse): (happy, fed cat)
And the final test: TEMPEST! (The first bit of the video is one good spin on the knob.):
It worked really well! You can spin it as fast as you like and it wont skip back on you (I forget what that phenomenon is called.) All the spinner games feel totally different now (like they're supposed to feel!).
In the end, I love the spinner. But here are some pros and cons:
Very solid, industrial build.
Fits into a standard 1 1/8" hole and is extremely easy to install.
Weights give different performance options.
USB 2.0, no installation required.
Very good performance and feels great.
Knobs are not polished.
No instructions and a couple of things you need to know are not on the website.
Very difficult to get knob on straight.