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Product Testing performed with DraXxus Paintballs provided by Procaps Direct

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Empire Prophecy Loader
by Bill Mills - Photos by Dawn Mills - July 09

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paintballThe entire Prophecy loader can be disassembled without tools, even within the drive train there are no screws or bolts to be found. Metal clips on both ends of the drive axle secure the rip drive wheel, gears and lower half of the magnetic clutch. Although these can be removed by pulling with fingernails, a small flat bladed screw driver makes the job go easier.

paintballThe software driving the Prophecy has four variables which are user adjustable, to optimize for performance with a particular marker. Turning the loader on while holding the mode button enters its programming mode. The programming button can then be used to scroll through the modes, each indicated by the glowing of a green, orange, red or blue LED. In each setting, a yellow LED blinks the current value, while the motor advance/value button can be used to program in a new value by pressing it the desired number of times.

The first of these three settings, motor speed determines how fast the drive system will rotate. It is adjustable in six levels. The Prophecy manual points out that the highest motor speed setting will not necessarily yield the best loading times, a fact borne out by WARPIG.com testing of the Magna Drive Loader. The manual attributes this to excessive drive speeds causing the clutch to slip more often, actually resulting a lower speed for the feed carousel, and also notes that speeds higher than necessary for reliable feeding will result in less than optimum battery life.

The sound sensitivity setting is also adjustable from 1 to 6. It defines the sound level necessary to activate the Prophecy. It can be set higher for quiet markers, to make sure the sound of their shooting triggers the feeding of a new paintball, or it can be set lower to minimize extraneous activation, which would burn through the batteries faster.

Ball stack tension monitoring can be turned on or off. When activated, the Prophecy measures the electrical resistance of the motor to determine whether it is pressing against paintballs or freely turning. The loader can then respond by reducing current to the motor to prevent over-driving, as well as slowing the motor when there are only a few paintballs left, so that the lack of resistance on the feed carousel does not result in paintballs being flung too quickly into the feedneck.

paintballThe final setting, activation mode, determines whether the Prophecy will be activated simply by the sound of a marker firing, or by both sound and a radio signal from the marker with which it has been paired.

 

paintball microphoneLike the Magna Loader, the Prophecy can make use of Empire RF transmitter circuits, mounted in a marker, either triggered directly by its circuit board, or wired in parallel to the marker's solenoid valve. Alternatively, after-market marker boards from Hater can provide a radio signal to activate the Prophecy. The Prophecy automatically detects a radio source when an RF equipped marker is fired within range, so leaving the activation mode setting unchanged leaves the loader ready for either sound or RF use. If using the loader on sound activation only near players who are set up with RF, one may wish to choose sound-only activation to prevent a near by RF equipped marker from activating the loader.

Although the software in the Prophecy is adjustable, it is configured ready to turn on and go.

To test the Magna Prophecy's performance it was put through both the WARPIG Ballistic Labs standardized 10-shot burst and 14-shot ramping feed tests. Testing was performed with both the magnetic clutch and the electronic settings in their default factory configuration.

paintballBoth tests involved filling the loader with 100 DXS Gold paintballs and running the marker on a Matrix LCD receiver, cycling without a barrel into a ball decelerator to catch and verify the number of paintballs fed through the marker without damage or breakage. For the testing, the Matrix receiver is controlled by a custom controller circuit set to fire at precise rates.

The 10-shot burst test involves firing three 10-shot bursts at test rates of fire, and then continuing to the next higher rate if at least two of the three bursts fed flawlessly. This test is particularly demanding for loaders, and does not indicate the maximum rate at which a loader may feed, but rather the maximum rate that a loader may sustain over 10 shots, after starting from a dead-stop.

paintball loader test

Starting at 13 balls per second with the sound of the Matrix LCD activating it, the Prophecy was tested at progressively faster cyclic rates, feeding without problem up to 22 balls per second, where it fed only 9 of ten paintballs on each of three trials. Connecting an Empire RF transmitter to the Matrix LCD circuit board, the results for the same test improved. After firing an initial shot, the Prophecy recognized the radio signal, confirming the connection with a change of its power LED color to blue. In RF mode the drive system also pulses occasionally, maintaining tension on the paintballs. With the RF link, the Prophecy fed at greater speeds, checking at even numbered rates of fire above 22 bps, the loader fed without error at 24 balls per second. At 26 bps two trials fed only 9 paintballs each while the third fed all ten. Sound activated, the Prophecy scored 21 bps on the 10-shot burst test, and 24 bps when radio activated.

The 14-shot ramping test similarly checks for maximum rates of fire that can be sustained over 10 shots, but instead of starting the loader from a dead-stop, it is given a chance to ramp up to speed by first firing four shots at a rate of 10 balls per second. This test more more closely simulates firing conditions found in a paintball game where a player shoots progressively faster, or shoots in a ramping mode that increases progressively faster. The 4 bps starting rate gives loaders a chance to spin up, rather than drive at full speed from a dead start.

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In the ramping test, the Prophecy fed error free with sound activation up through 22 balls per second. At 24bps, it fed properly for 2 out of 3 trials, advancing it to testing at 26 balls per second, where it fed one trial properly, and skipped a ball on each of the other two, for a score of 24bps. With the RF transmitter in operation, performance improved with perfect feeding up to 28 balls per second where two balls were skipped in the third trial for the highest score yet recorded on this test. At 30 balls per second, only 12 balls were fed on each of three trials.

For full test data, click here.

As the next generation in the HALO, and Magna line of loaders, the Prophecy employs the same operational concepts from previous models yet encorporates them in a new design built for simplicity of maintenance and adjustment with improved performance.

 

 

 


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