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Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Review (With off-stud and quieter mounting)

The Story
One of the things that has caused me to stop playing darts in the few times that I have re-started playing, is the tedium of practice. Soft tips always seemed more "fun" than steel tip due to the gadgetry and games built into the boards. Being a bit of a gadget type of person and a lot of a tinkerer, I decided to get back into darts, but to go the "fun" soft tip route.

I researched boards on line, well the major brands (sadly, I found Darts Nutz AFTER acquiring my board...). After a bit of digging I found that the Arachnid line seemed not to be universally loved, but there were very few comments about board failures and bounce outs were often touted to be at a minimum.

A good friend has a long relationship with a pool/darts store near him, so off we went to look for boards. When he bought his steel tip board, the same store warned him about the noise of soft tip boards. He had been drawn to the automatic scoring and variety of games, but if the board was noisy (due to dart hits) it wouldn't last long in his couple... We got the same warning from the store, but I told them that I'm single and I'm only worried about my neighbours. They suggested that if I hang the board on a non-adjoining wall, the noise shouldn't be an issue.

I was really looking for a Cricket Pro 670 but they only had an 800 and a couple of Interactive 3000. The 670 has fewer games yet offers a split bull on the same plastic as the 800, all for less money, but they don't carry the model. They made me a great price on the 800 and we left with it!

My apartment is a small one bedroom, so I had to know where the board was going before getting it. Basically I would be throwing down my kitchenette into the end wall. The apartment size meant my chances of the
studs on my chosen wall being in a usable spot were basically nil. And I was right...

The board comes with two good quality, long screws to mount the board to wall studs. There won't be helping me. I have to go into the wall right between two steps on my little piece of wall available.

Drywall can easily support the weight of a dartboard with an appropriate insert or plug. Some inserts are guaranteed to hold 75lbs! The issue with ALL of these inserts is that they require the screw to be mounted tightly against it. The Arachnid mounting is for the screw to be left protruding from the wall. Therefore these inserts will not work properly as the screw will not be maintaining the tension on the back of the insert required for it to work.

None of this was going to put off a hardcore tinkerer!!

A trip to the hardware store set off some lightbulbs (or candles if you ask my friends...) for ideas and a solution was born.

In order to have the screw protruding to grab the board's mounting slot AND have the screw tight to the plug, I would need a sleeve of sorts to fit over the screw. The sleeve would have to fit the slot, or, as ended up doing, have the slot fit the sleeve. I'd also need a retaining device to stop the board from sliding off the sleeve now that the screw head is about the same size as the sleeve.

Simple solution, just a bit of DIY and the board was up!

Hardware used:

This is all the components:
Note that the internal bore of the sleeve was a little small for the screw pictured (the one for the insert). It was drilled out for screw clearance.

And this is the slot required in the board. Not for the feint of heart (especially on an expensive new board!), but a quick pass with a 3/8" sanding drum and an appropriate slot was born. (Ignore the white bits on the back of the board, they come into the story later):

And here is what the mount looks like in the wall:
There are 2 required to mount the board. Aligning the washers over the back holes of the board is slightly tricky, but a bit of patience and the board slips on firmly.

The Review
With a slightly modified board firmly mounted to the kitchen wall, we were ready to play!
The board and surround are very sturdy. It looks, feels and plays with the quality you would expect in this price range. The segment quality is really good. After playing on an inexpensive Halex board at another friend's place, you see where the money goes in an Arachnid board!

Mounting instructions are simple and accurate. Put the holes where the manual tells you to and the board slips over the screws easily. The instructions even tell you where to put the oche from wall to get the correct distance from the board face (8 feet).

As I've said above, I live in a small apartment. The volume of the board is defaulted to Mid overtime the board is powered up, and trumpets an intro tune. The volume set to Lo (scroll through the volumes after pressing the Game button) is more than loud enough for my needs. I'd like a Lo-Lo if I could...

The Heckler feature is a gimmick. Tolerable when you are "fun" playing with friends (especially if there is any alcohol flowing), but just annoying when you are competing. And TURN-IT-OFF for practice!!

There is a wide variety of games. Quite a few that are interesting for practice. Nothing beats Flight School, but there are some good games to entertain you while taking a break. The Oh-1 finishes are poor, reducing you to small, off prime doubles. They are OK for parties, but not at all for serious outs. The Cricket part of the board is magic. Scoring is simple, easy to see and allows you to just throw darts and concentrate on your strategy. I guess that's why they call this series the Cricket Pro!

Bounce outs are common. I think this has a lot to do with me being into heavy development of my stroke, but your darts crash to the floor on a regular basis. Just not something I'm used to coming from steel tips. Lighter darts seem to bounce out quite a bit less than heavy ones. Tis is what makes me think that my technique (or lack there of) is a major contributor here.

All segments seem to record easily and accurately. ONE EXCEPTION: the very point of the 12 will call a bull if you are in the last couple of holes. I want to open the board to see if there is anything fouling in there. But haven't gotten to that yet (practice, practice, practice...).

Now the real review: %^&* is this thing LOUD! The crash of the dart into the plastic is not something you will get used to in a few throws. Most throws will have the point slightly off the hole in the board, causing the dart to be minority deflected on the way in. This is good as it imparts a small side load on the segment reducing the impact sound. But every now and then the dart is perfectly aligned with a hole and there is an almighty CRACK when the dart hits! Add to this that the board is hard mounted to the wall, and the supporting wall acts like a drum, amplifying the crash into an annoying SMACK.

An non dart playing friend was over and asked to see how the board worked. After hearing the first two darts hit the board, she asked if the offensive noise was necessary...

The board is great, but the noise has to go (or at least be reduced)!

The Story 2 (Getting a Bit Quieter)
My spidey senses (or engineer's intuition, I always get them confused), told me that the board itself will always have a certain noise factor due to the floating segments. They float so that they activate the scoring sensor behind them on a hit. Plastic thumping against plastic has a certain ring to it...

BUT the interaction between the board and the wall can be improved!

The board will need to be raised off the wall with some kind of soft insulator. Initially I thought about fell pads, but at the cavity behind the board is quite deep the felt would be thick and awkward. So I went on a scrounge for another solution.

Another of my activities is racing Remote Control (RC) cars. As the cars are small, putting air in the tires would be an overly complicated and heavy-for-nothing activity. What we do is put varying hardnesses of foam in the tires. The lightest foam we use is open cell, fairly fluffy "white" foam. Actually, we rarely use this foam and it comes with the tires, so I usually have a bunch of it in my tire boxes. Front tire foams seem to be the right height (just slightly higher than the board's back cavity) and soft enough to absorb with enough surface to be stable.

Out comes the 2-way tape and 5 foams, VOILA!

Re-hanging the board was a bit more involved as I now have to align the washer with the slot AND compress the foam. But surprisingly, it was not as difficult as I thought it might be. The board is definitely not as wobble free as it was (it was impressive before), but it's easy to see the foam working as intended. The circular mounting of the 5 foam blocks ensures the board's stability during throwing, but a tad more extra care is to be taken when removing the darts. But the mounting screw will not be compromised, I can swing from the board (well, I think I could, but won't try).

The results are NOT dramatic. The plastic crash is still very present. But the thud through the building structure is greatly reduced.

The neighbours have not said anything, but I don't practice beyond 10PM. I see them all the time in the hall and everything seems to be status quo.

The Conclusion
I'm very satisfied with the board itself. It seems like it will last a long time. The noise is something special to adapt to, but if the neighbours don't complain I'll get used to it.

The games are OK, but the best is the automatic scoring. Just throw and let the computer do the math. Cricket is amazing, easy to see from the oche which direction the game is turning.

I would recommend the board based on it's quality and features, but would like to compare it's noise to that of other home boards. The DIY bits were due to my specific installation, others with lots of space and no noise concerns will have zero trouble taking the board out of the box, mounting with the box hardware and chucking darts at it!
Dabbler and over thinker...
Just outside Montreal

Current darts: Winmau Sniper 18g barrels; Lippoint plastic tips; #4 Fit Spinning shafts and Fit Super Shape flights
Home board: Blade 4 (playing with soft tips)
Discipline: Flight School
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Great review Phil and good tips for hanging the board. Nicely done! Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.

I seen that heckler function on a youtube clip somewhere, it sounded funny but I can see how it could get annoying after a while Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.

I'm glad we have another tinkerer on here, got a few and you guys always come out with some good tips, +2 for the tips and review Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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Cheers Darren!

The Story 3 (Miss hit fix and quieter still)
After hanging the board back up post review, I hit a 12 right at the point while warming up and got a bull triggered. ENOUGH! Back off the wall and opened her up...

Here is what the back side looks like opened up:

As a side note, this is how the board works: The little dots you see on the back are duplicated on another identical film. They are conductors. Sandwiched in between the two films with the conductors is another film with cutouts that match the little dots. When a segment is hit, there are little fat on the back of the segment that press the two conductors together registering the hit in the computer Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.

What was happening with my 12 is that there is a holding flash that was hanging up on the holding flash of the bull. When I would hit a 12 near the bull, that holding flash would move the bull segment. Obviously the bull would register first and I'd have a miss trigger.

Here is the interference:

A quick trim with a hobby knife and the segments look great:

While in there, I did all the skinny singles and cleaned up some other rough flashes. Not a big job, took about 5 minutes. It's a shame somebody in China didn't do it before assembly...

Now that I understood how the board worked, it was easy to figure out that al lot of the impact noise was from the segment driving the sensor film into the back casing. There is not much room in there and I didn't want to introduce a deformable object (thought about thin foam) to bend the film, so I figured a thin coat of duct tape might reduce the noise somewhat.

Here is the tape applied and trimmed. The holes at the points of the octagon need to be free as that is for the film alignment pins. And I noticed that the edges of the film had dots that just missed the tape, so I added the little strips between the holes to ensure all the film dots were on the tape.

WOW! A significant reduction in noise now. I think completely eliminating the noise is impossible, but the current sound level should allow me to play to whatever time I want. The foam keeps the ringing out of the building structure and the tape dulls the noise from the board's frame.

I'm off for some quiet(er) practice! :darts throw:

Edit: sorry about the dead link to the first pic. Seems that cropping a photo on Flickr changes its address. But you'll be happy to know my toe no longer appears in the photo!
Dabbler and over thinker...
Just outside Montreal

Current darts: Winmau Sniper 18g barrels; Lippoint plastic tips; #4 Fit Spinning shafts and Fit Super Shape flights
Home board: Blade 4 (playing with soft tips)
Discipline: Flight School
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Wow!! This is awesome x 10. Least i can do is offer up a +1 for that info Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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Smashing review plus great extra information. A +1 for each = +2.
Juniper Terrace Soft-Tip Darts - Possibly the first and only soft-tip darts group in Atlantic Canada!
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Soft-Tip: 18g McCoy
Steel-Tip: 18g Crusader
with conversion points
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great product review, I have similar e dartboard but this looks much better
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Now this was an awesome review, you sir should do more stuff exactly like this! Big +1 from me Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
Match Darts: 23g MasterDarts Gold MVG's or Gary Anderson phase 3
Highest out 155 (T-19 T-20 D-19) Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
2015 180's Goal Progress: 108/180

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Thanks guys! I really appreciate the effort you all put into informing us about your findings, so it's my pleasure to share what I have learned.
Dabbler and over thinker...
Just outside Montreal

Current darts: Winmau Sniper 18g barrels; Lippoint plastic tips; #4 Fit Spinning shafts and Fit Super Shape flights
Home board: Blade 4 (playing with soft tips)
Discipline: Flight School
Reply
Found a peculiarity today. The "Split Bull" select function allows the user to select "Single" and "Double". In my mind Single would be 25 for the red and 50 for the black, but Arachnid mean the whole area is a single area, meaning all 50. Double splits the bull into 2 areas as on a sisal board. The default is Double, as I have been playing it, hence never using the function before.
Dabbler and over thinker...
Just outside Montreal

Current darts: Winmau Sniper 18g barrels; Lippoint plastic tips; #4 Fit Spinning shafts and Fit Super Shape flights
Home board: Blade 4 (playing with soft tips)
Discipline: Flight School
Reply
+1 for the mounting!
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(05-20-2015, 01:49 AM)Ni518079 Wrote: +1 for the mounting!

Cheers!
Dabbler and over thinker...
Just outside Montreal

Current darts: Winmau Sniper 18g barrels; Lippoint plastic tips; #4 Fit Spinning shafts and Fit Super Shape flights
Home board: Blade 4 (playing with soft tips)
Discipline: Flight School
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thanks for this, just posted yesterday about getting a soft tip board and this was one of the ones mentioned, looks to be the frontrunner atm
Darts Used: Barney Phase 2 (25g)
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Awesome details, tips and hints! +1 from me too! Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
NATURAL DARTS? https://www.dartsnutz.net/forum/showthre...?tid=22147

A beginner - always experimenting and learning. Lol! Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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It's a great board, lots of games and works really well. It is loud in my small apartment though and has been replaced by a Blade 4. I'm keeping the 800, I'll just find another place to hang it Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
Dabbler and over thinker...
Just outside Montreal

Current darts: Winmau Sniper 18g barrels; Lippoint plastic tips; #4 Fit Spinning shafts and Fit Super Shape flights
Home board: Blade 4 (playing with soft tips)
Discipline: Flight School
Reply
That is a great set of instructions and review. Most soft tip boards I have seen have that same set of sensors to register hits.

My two big hang ups with getting a home soft tip was the sound and the small screens. With some of these tips to quiet down the board at least one of my two concerns would be fixed.
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