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By Bill Mills - July 2005
In the growing paintball battery market segment, Code 242 offers a 9v system for use with the HALO.
When the HALO loader hit the market, one of the criticisms leveled against it was the inconvenience and weight of the six AA sized batteries used to provide it with nine volts of power. While the HALO’s battery case could easily be replaced with a standard 9-volt battery, this resulted in performance problems. According to Chris Goddard who designed the HALO and wrote its control software, its motor is only actually driven with about 3 volts of electricity, but it required the larger cells of the AA batteries in order to have a large enough amperage draw for fast acceleration of the motor. Replacing the AA battery pack with a 9-volt battery (which is actually made up of 6 very small batteries packed in a square case) resulted in reduced performance.
As the HALO design evolved, fast starting of the motor became less critical. The HALO B design utilizes a partially wound spring between the drive train and the drive cone, so that it can feed one or two paintballs before the motor even moves. Still, a single 9-volt battery was a bit feeble for the task, but some players began hacking their loaders, by building Y shaped battery wiring harnesses. Wiring two 9-volt batteries in parallel provided the same 9 volts to the loader, but double the amperage available through a single battery.
Michael Gilbert of Code 242 came up with a simpler solution. Code 242’s parallel battery clip is a simple plastic plate. One side are the snap connections to connect two 9-volt batteries. On the other side is the snap connection to link to the HALO. It allows parallel 9v operation with plug and play installation.
To compliment the new battery clip, Code 242 is also offering Fuel Source rechargeable batteries. These are 220 Mah NiMH (modern chemistry to avoid “memory effect” problems) 9.6 volt batteries. The 9.6 volt rating is important as many “9-volt” rechargeable batteries actually only hold a peak charge of 8.5 volts, and weaken as they discharge.
Code 242 has bundled the batteries with the PoweriZer compact charger. This is a slow-charger that can charge up both batteries overnight, in its two bays. The unit plugs directly into an AC power outlet with no cords. It is not a “smart charger.” This is important to note, as it simply supplies power to the batteries, and if they are left on for extended periods of time, overcharging could result.
While the lack of smart circuitry and ability to charge from a car are drawbacks compared to similar products, but Code 242 has balanced them with the price. Online retailers are carrying the package of two batteries, the charger and the HALO parallel battery clip for a price noticeably below competing systems. Additionally, without cords, the charging system is quite compact and easy to store in a gear bag.
Of course ease of storage and low cost
wouldn’t add up to much if the batteries didn’t have the muscle to get
the job done. To find out if they did, a set was put through several
use cycles, and then wired up to a HALO B loader with Z-Code on the WARPIG
Ballistic Labs loader test stand. Using a Matrix LCD receiver, the
loader was set up to feed 10 shot strings at increasing rates until it
could no longer keep up for all 10 shots in the string.
The results of the test, showed consistent operation up through 16 balls per second, and skipped shots at 17, which is the same outcome achieved when operating the same loader on alkaline AA batteries on the same test set-up.
On the field, a fully charged pair of
the Fuel Source batteries had no problem making it through a day’s play.
At the time of this writing, the rechargeable package for the HALO is available
direct from Code 242 via telephone orders, as well as through dealers who
have begun to stock the product. According to Michael Gilbert, the
company is actively seeking additional dealers, and teams.
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